Icarus – April 14th, 2099

April 14th, 2099

Kira was worse today. She slept most of the day yesterday and woke up this morning still exhausted. There was no fever but her red blood cell count was low. I’m no doctor but that, coupled with her lack of eating and nausea, made it sound like radiation poisoning. We’re not very close to Alpha Centauri’s primary but Kira was out longer and more frequently than the rest of us. Anne dosed her with some anti-radiation shots just to be sure and laid her up in their quarters.

For my part, I have a horrid feeling about the whole thing. They tested the blood from the corpse and found similar readings. Low red and white blood cell counts in just about every one of the dead crewmen. Just to be safe, the rest of the crew made Kate back the Icarus off a few thousand kilometers, but it didn’t make me feel any better. There was no damage to the ablative armor on that ship. Radiation just strikes me as the wrong cause here and radiation doesn’t cause eyes to turn black. Then again I’m no scientist either.

Alex and Bree were busy in the Science lab, taking readings and measurements of the system. There are two planets that we can see and Bree believes there’s a few more by the secondary star. Neither planet can support human life, being too close in orbit. That was the only excitement. The rest was dull and I didn’t offer to see Kate again.

Instead Jennie and I went up to the observation deck and just took it in. The blaze of Alpha Centauri’s primary is glorious in its incendiary blaze. With the viewing ports dimmed as low as they can go and our UV shutters engaged, it still appeared as a great yellow fireball, roiling and spitting.

We spent hours up there, just watching. The two of us sat next to one another but never touched. She was in awe but like Niagara, it was merely an intellectual fascination for me. What must it feel like to be inexorably drawn to beauty and be so affected by it that you are caught up and swept away by it? Sarah was easily taken by such feelings. She tried to describe it to me once. I thought I knew how she felt, for I felt it only once. With her.

It felt like love.

Icarus – January 23rd, 2089

January 23rd, 2089

Luna, God but she is a harsh mistress.

I won’t be beaming this to my Sat-Blog and if anyone ever reads this, it’ll be long after this is done. For now, I’m going to keep it for myself. Just in case. I don’t think they can tamper with it here.

Luna is locked down tighter than the sub-orbital penal colonies. There are blood scanners here, the kind that prick your finger to test your DNA. Then there’s retina scans and voice-print IDs, and that’s all just to enter the staging area for the Icarus.

I saw the damn thing today. It’s half a kilometer long and nearly solid metal, the kind with light-absorbent ablation plating. That stuff is used to take in the light of the stars, and convert the radiation to energy for the drive system. Pretty standard stuff but the level of ablation is ten times higher than the UN’s military vessels. What kind of radiation are they expecting? The Time-Vortex Tunnel puts off very little or so the egg-heads told us.

I trust the scientists as much as I trust anyone on this project, but what worries me is the military being attached with NASA up here. They walk around with armed weapons and fighting suits. I’ve never seen a Zero-G marine before, but the bulky armor reminds me of something straight out of The Forever War.

I’ve had two physicals since I arrived around 2300 last night. They gave us the first one, a full turn-and-cough detail, the minute we stepped aboard. We exited the airlock, had ourselves a quick look around the stark, white hallway and then off we went to the medical bay.

My quarters are located near that medical bay. They have no windows and are about the size of a college dorm room, just big enough for a twin bed, a small dresser for clothing and a bathroom with a cramped shower and toilet. The toilet is an honest toilet, not a suction job. Gravity on Luna Base has been increased through science, something about electromagnetic fields. I’ll have to ask one of the engineers about it sometime.

I’ve had a long time to brood in this little room and a long time to remember her. Talking with [DELETED] yesterday helped distract me from the memories Niagara kicked up but now they’re back. I don’t want them back. God I don’t want them back. It’s time to be honest with myself.

I’m here because I’m running.

Icarus – January 22nd, 2089

January 22nd, 2089

My vacation to Niagara was refreshing and creatively stimulating. I wrote five entire chapters of my novel while I sat comfortably on a reclining chair, gazing out at the splendor of the Falls. She always said nature was the most beautiful piece of art in all of Creation, but she always said things like that.

She also would have asked how I could leave this all behind.

It’s easy to explain. The spectacle was moving but only on an academic level. I found myself studying the way the water tumbles free of its rock bed and crashes with a roar upon the river below. The mist that rose captured my artistic eye and I found several passages within my chapters to use the imagery. This was the only emotional tug Niagara had on me. It gave me the words to work.

Any real emotion lately comes from anxiety about my upcoming voyage. I am eager to cast off my doubts and put myself into the arms of Icarus as we set off toward a new star. Once we are under way, I can do nothing about it, can’t quit, can’t turn back. The security in that lack of choice is what I yearn for now.

I find myself unable to eat as the time draws near. As I write this I’m sitting in the boarding arena, waiting for the shuttle to Luna. The other nine members of the crew are here with me and while I can not divulge their names, I can say that each of us has a partner that was chosen for us based on psychological compatibility. They are of a sex that we prefer and apparently we are encouraged to… well I believe you can grasp at the concept.

I don’t put much stock in the government’s IQ-breeding programs but their personality matching system is apparently very good. I heard it was a remnant of some online dating algorithm used half a century ago. Suffice it to say that my assigned partner is attractive and attentive. She knew I was a freelancer right away, though that doesn’t surprise me, considering her credentials as an investigative reporter.

We’d spoken about writing for hours and I’m glad she’ll be along. I think if the only conversation in town for ten years concerns the equations of a Time-Vortex Quasar Node, I just might go insane.

The boarding light has just come on. The next time I’ll have a chance to write will be from the moon! Here we go.

Goodbye, Earth.

Icarus – January 10th, 2089

January 10th, 2089

The bastards gave us one more free trip in the Can today. They said we were done but apparently we weren’t. I’m not sure if they were looking to test the effects of the couches on hung-over crew members or were just trying to screw with us, but the result was the same. It was bad. I will spare any future readers the gritty details but suffice to say it wasn’t pretty.

And it was supposed to be our free day.

The bright side is our training is now complete and we are at liberty to travel and say goodbye to our planet. Most of us don’t have much to say goodbye to, so most of us are simply traveling, all on NASA’s dime. We will have escorts of course, but it hardly matters.

I am going to Niagara Falls because I’ve never seen it. I figure that once I’m on Luna, I won’t see real, flowing water for nearly a decade. There’s something magical and powerful about the fact that this passive, gentle thing we call water can become a force so intense that it can crush steel. It drives on, ever forward without end.

Is this how the Time-Vortex will be? Will we be swept up in its currents and crushed beneath its awesome force? The science says no but as a writer, or rather a man who – while not immensely attached to his life – values the continuation of it.

Yet I joined this mission, which has so many dangers. Until this moment I haven’t considered them, haven’t thought that I could die on this journey. The briefings told us what can happen and our engineers are prepared to deal with them, but they’re there.

Who volunteers for a mission like this? Perhaps over the next week, I will come to terms with that.