Icarus – February 5th, 2089

February 5th, 2089

Kate and Jim don’t know if the lasers hit or not. The Chinese vessel went into the Time-Vortex Tunnel twenty minutes ago, just past midnight, Greenwich Time. The other eight of us demanded an explanation. Bree screamed at them both until Alex calmed her down. Jennie was pissed too, but she was asking more pointed questions: How did we miss something like this? Why risk another war?

The answers were simple because the military’s orders were simple. If we were to encounter an Eastern Coalition vessel attempting to enter the Alpha Centauri Tunnel before we did, they were under orders to destroy it. No mean feat considering there have only been two space battles in the history of mankind. This makes three. I’m living history.

I did ask two questions, the easiest ones I could think of. What now? Do we beam a message to Luna and ask for instructions? Kate informed me that there would be no beams leaving the Icarus until we reached Alpha Centauri. In that answer, she answered both of them. We’re going on ahead.

This sparked more argument and I thought Bree was going to cry. She’s a pacifist. During our training I discovered that she helped with the Ecological Fallout Repair Initiative back in ’78. She must have been a college student then. It’s a brave thing, going to that barren, irradiated country, trying to regrow life. I meant to ask her about Siberia and if someone was still there, but I never did. Better that I didn’t.

The fight ended like it began, explosively. Kate restrained her and Jim ordered Kira to dose her. When she hesitated, he did it himself, only he didn’t use an injection gun. I began to wonder if there are hypnotic monitors in our rooms, because we could use them now. Dissent this early doesn’t bode well for our decade-long jaunt.

But we’re going in. Really going in, despite everything. Never mind Bree’s hysterics and our anger, or the Chinese ship that had beaten us there. We were going in anyway.

Jennie explained something to me then. With the Chinese ship jumping nearly an hour before we do, it would reach Alpha Centauri almost six months ahead. It might well be gone by the time we get there. I hope it is. I didn’t sign up for a combat tour.

We’re headed for the Cans again. The Icarus will be at full burn for nearly the whole trip. Jim thinks it will help us overtake them. Evan’s reply didn’t make me feel so confident. He wasn’t sure the ship would react well to burning while in the Tunnel, but there was nothing for it. We’re going in, and we’re going to sleep.

For over four years.

I’ll be glad to wake up after that’s over. Hibernating is better than boredom. Still, if there is a God out there, I sure hope he knows something about biology. I don’t want to come out of hibernation too early and drown in red syrup. If I do, die that is, and this log reaches Earth, please do me a favor.

Find Sarah Boer in the EFRI and tell her I’m sorry.

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Icarus – February 3rd, 2089

February 3rd, 2089

We came out of our burn a full day early.

The morning after we left Neptune we stuffed ourselves into our Cans and didn’t expect to come out again until we’d slipped out of Reality and into the Time-Vortex Tunnel. I’ve never been prematurely ejected from the Can until now and despite this being the slow-ejection, rather than the emergency one, it was still one hell of an experience. An electric current runs through the goop and shocks you fully awake while a flashing red light indicates an ejection situation is imminent. You shove your arm into the tube, there’s a pinch and suddenly the goop is draining and you’re a fish in open air, gasping and heaving the stuff from your lungs. It’s like an exorcism.

Ten naked, squirming, wet adults emerged, hacking and wheezing into Zero-G. If we weren’t all covered in a viscous liquid that resembled strawberry jam, I might have felt self-conscious. We were drawn up into the Science Division and Jim and Kate, our two military pilots, went to the bridge to consult the logistical computer and find out why in the hell we were pulled out early.

Jennie found us some robes and we stood shivering and pale in the stark, blue light of the Icarus’s warm-up illumination. No one said a thing. It was a very profound silence in which no one touched or even looked at one another. We were all thinking the same thing: how damaged are we and how far from Earth?

Jim and Kate returned a few minutes later, still covered in red slime and looking magnificently nude. It was Kate who spoke, her voice strong and trying to sound reassuring. Her words were utterly terrifying.

We are a million miles beyond Pluto and we’ve encountered another ship.

Icarus – January 9th, 2089

January 9th, 2089

I’m going to talk tech-geek for a bit which should be interesting.

Time-Vortex Tunneling is a tricky subject. I am a writer and not a scientist and I briefly considered having one of the others write an article for me on the subject. I stopped considering this when I saw her writing. How someone with a Dual-PhD in Astrophysics and Zero-G engineering can write so poorly, I will never know but she manages with flying colors.

That said, I’ll do my best to explain. Several decades ago, Scientists proved that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was wrong. He assumed that speed and time in Space is constant but it’s not. If they were, there is no way the Universe could have expanded to its current size in the time it’s been around.

Time-Vortexes are pathways through space that operate at a higher speed than the rest of the universe. They exist all over the place and about twenty years ago, we developed technology to find and track them. They are essentially tunnels through Space where one might travel near the speed of light. Some scientists believe that there are tunnels in the far reaches of the galaxy that travel beyond the speed of light. Please put on your flashers when passing, thank you.

Assuming the calculations are correct and we will reach near the speed of light, reaching Alpha Centauri will take nearly five years. Project Icarus is a huge risk but a very exciting one. The funding needed for the vessel itself is enormous, more than [DELETED].

Is this all in the name of science or is it more in the claim? The Chinese have developed a drive that can travel nearly half the speed of light, something the North American Alliance can’t at this time. We are in a Space Race, that much is certain, but with the Alliance still recovering from the Collapse, how much can we really afford to sink into such a venture?

I wonder.

For now I won’t worry about it. The Can does odd things to your senses and judgment and I am definitely not looking forward to being in it for long jumps. My natural paranoid nature is making me see things I’m probably not.

Anyway, now that our tests are complete and the crew finalized, we are going out for drinks and then heading to Doctor [DELETED]’s home for something he calls the “Uranus” brew. Obvious jokes aside, we’ve heard he’s a master at drunken revelry and despite my discomfort with these people, I’m going. I have to spend a decade with them, and you know what they say about drinking companions.

Icarus – January 7th, 2089

January 7th, 2089

Two days in the Can. That’s the unofficial term for the Vortex-Entry Couches. See also “torture”, “claustrophobia”, and “really, truly weird.” Studies show that entering a Time-Vortex creates enough pressure to simulate roughly twenty G’s. Suffice to say, that’s enough to make this skinny guy’s bones crack. So they put us in the Can and fill it up with liquid that’s supposed to insulate us from the G-forces.

What I can tell you about it isn’t pretty. You have to strip naked and you’re given a shot. I’m not allowed to say what the shot is, but once you have it, breathing becomes nearly impossible. It’s like air has become anathema to you. Once the liquid – which is a pale purple goop with the consistency of maple syrup – fills your tank, you can breathe it. I panicked the first time I tried this, I won’t lie. I thought I was going to drown and die right there in front of my nine other crew mates. Pretty pathetic.

Luckily I wasn’t the only one having trouble. I can’t describe the crew yet, but I can say it was one of the women. She recovered quicker than I did though.

After that the whole ordeal got easier. I can’t say I will ever get used to it, it’s frightening as hell and completely unnatural. You have to make yourself breathe. In the Can your automatic functions don’t work like they normally do. It will definitely take some getting used to but there aren’t too many Time-Vortex insertions on this trip, or so I’m told.

We’re fed through imbibing the goop in the Can. It’s basically a nutrient bath as well as an acceleration cushion. I won’t get into waste disposal, thank you very much. I’m happy you can’t see inside those things.

More tests are imminent as the launch comes nearer. For those counting at home, we are t-minus sixteen days until the Icarus breaks orbit from Luna. These will be the last fifteen days I spend on Earth before I ship out to Luna Station and go aboard.

Fifteen days to say goodbye to all of this. What would you do? Cover your eyes kids, because I’m talking to the adults right now. I’m going to spend it drinking and getting laid before the libido inhibitors kick in.