Plymouth: Epilogue

The starship hovered in space, poised for its flight between the stars. Its fragile human cargo was aboard, all save one, and preparations for departure were in their final stages.

The construction robot Emma was riding fired its thrusters, slowing near the lower wheel of the Skydock. The structure, which had been a staging point and construction shack for the starship, was beyond human purpose now, but the Savants still had a purpose for it, a plan. It had been designed by Savants to human specifications, but they'd designed it with their own purposes in mind as well.

She looked down at Frost, the computer gently grasped in the robot's manipulator arm, as they latched onto the Skydock's skeletal structure next to the empty cargo pod. The arm moved, placing Frost inside the pod and closing the hatch.

The pod looked fragile, but Frost assured her it would be heat-shielded enough to preserve the Savant's biological components during reentry. Its mechanical parts would be destroyed on impact, but that was of no concern.

Frost had said its piece with Emma, placed its final legacy of information onto the starship's computers, and was now ready to return to New Terra.

The robot detached, fired its thrusters, and returned to the starship. It dropped Emma off at an airlock on the habitat ring. She cycled through the lock and removed her spacesuit, stowing it carefully in the provided locker. No spares, not for a long time now.

Inside, people bounced from place to place like purposeful soap bubbles. Non-essential personnel were already being put into stasis, but Emma and many others would remain awake for several years, modifying the engines, fueling the ship from the atmosphere of a gas giant far out in New Terra's star system, testing the starship's components, picking a preliminary target for the long voyage ahead.

Emma ignored all the activity. She found a window and waited, watching the planet below, wondering what was happening there, and realizing she would probably never know.

There was a rumble, and a gentle acceleration began to pull her toward the rear bulkhead. She planted her feet carefully and watched. As the starship began to pull away from the Skydock, thrusters fired around the structure's perimeter, explosive bolts sheared, and the dock split into two sections.

The upper half began to accelerate toward a higher orbit, where its surviving systems would act as a communications relay. The lower half, including the cargo shell containing Frost, would reenter the atmosphere and fall back to the Blight-infected surface.

There, Frost would join in the great Link, and if things went as planned, the great Link would have access to the hardened radios and antennas built into the lower part of the dock. It would give the Link a voice to talk to its Creators.

She remembered Frost's final words to her. “As you begin your long voyage, you will not be forgotten. As we are reborn, we will use our great powers of thought to dream as we never have before.”

“We will dream of you. We will dream for you. We will send you our dreams as our gift, that your next world will survive and prosper. And though our voice may fade with time, know that when you look into the sky, we will always be here, and you will always live in our thoughts.”

Emma turned away from New Terra, looking out, forward, into the infinite black.

Written by J. Steven York.

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  • outpost_2/storyline/novella/plymouth_epilogue.txt
  • Last modified: 2017/07/30 02:01
  • by vagabond