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.

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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 5th, 2089

January 5th, 2089

I am going to Alpha Centauri.

In a few days time I will be boarding the Icarus for a ten-year journey into the stars. Before I go further, my name is William Shriver and I am a writer and a journalist. I want that put into record right away before any substantial misunderstandings crop up. I am not an astrophysicist or time-vortex engineer. I am not even a science fiction reader. I am a writer and nothing more.

The Icarus is NASA’s first interstellar exploration vessel and will be traveling beyond Pluto to enter the Gamma Three Time-Vortex Tunnel. This should, theoretically, take us near Alpha Centauri and its surrounding planets. Its mission will be to collect data on the system and analyze it for exploitable resources and possible colonization.

I was chosen for this project because I have no substantial ties to Earth. No wife, no children, not even a dog is waiting for me at home. These are requirements to join the Icarus, not all of them, but they are the fundamental ones. The others are more clinical ones of course, the kind having to do with height and weight and if one will spew up one’s guts in zero-g. We have all been sterilized as well.

Finally, you must be willing to spend a decade on a cramped ship with a perfect group of strangers.

My job is to record our journey from the time the Icarus detaches from Luna Space Station until we come home, a decade later. My first few messages will be sent directly to my Sat-Blog, but once we enter the first Time-Vortex Tunnel near Mars nothing is going to get through until we get back.

I am about to go into a briefing with Commander [DELETED], something to do with an upcoming test. I’ll say more afterward.

This will be all I can say about the business that went on in that room. Experimental is not a strong enough word. Even with all the leaps in science we’ve seen here on Earth (credited far too often with the NAA’s mandatory genetic and IQ-breeding mandates) what I was told today makes me worry. Even the huge pile of credits promised me might not make this trip worthwhile, but I can’t back out now.

I prefer to breathe air, thank you very much.