Welcome back to the blog! I’m Timothy Scott Purvis and this is Story Time With Tim! An ongoing series where I share my old writings and writings that don’t seem to be doing anything more than gathering dust! I have some new offerings that should cover much of this year and am working on new material as well. Maybe this will be the year I get an official publication beyond self-publishing! Or, not. You never know. Gotta keep trying though.
Anyhow, this story is a novella I wrote back in 2019-2020. It’s all about a ship being propelled through space to the nearest star system of Alpha Centauri… I think. I based the plot off of a plan scientists currently have utilizing lasers to push small swarm satellites to one fifth the speed of light in the hopes of reaching Alpha Centauri within twenty years. I thought the concept was fun and came up with a sort of deep space mutiny involving solar sails and stupid people. Just like all great stories do!
Since I have so much going on, I am just going to copy paste these intros and outros. Sure, it’s a little lazy, I suppose. But, I will add some extra thoughts here and there. So, stay tuned and thanks for dropping by, folks!
Check out Part One here –> The Day The Laser Died Part One
Check out Part Two here –> The Day The Laser Died Part Two
Check out Part Three here –> The Day The Laser Died Part Three
Check out Part Four here –> The Day The Laser Died Part Four
THE DAY THE LASER DIED PART FIVE
“ARE YOU SURE you want to support this?”
Amiko twisted in her seat in the cockpit towards Fredrick who was leaning into a shallow alcove near the entryway. He’d been talking to her for the last ten minutes and this was the first he’d broached the subject of their current predicament. It’d been two days since their tasks were divvied out and she was only just now managing to figure out how to manipulate the gravitational plating as a semi propulsion unit. It wasn’t easy as it was designed as a means to answer bone density loss in space travel. However, it was showing promise. Maybe someday they’d have the technology to use gravity as a source of propulsion. On Earth anyway.
“Freddy, I don’t have any other ideas. Do you? If so, you should have shared them at the meeting. All I know is that I need to get the plating manipulated to perform a function it was never meant for.”
“I’ve shared my idea. We need to wake up the rest of the crew.”
“That doesn’t make sense. Like Tyra said, we just don’t have the resources to sustain a complete crew for longer than a few months.”
He shook his head. “You’re not seeing the bigger picture. With a full complement, we could get through the necessary repairs faster. We wouldn’t need months. We wouldn’t even need a full week. And, it isn’t fair to them to be kept in stasis with their lives at risk for a long shot endeavor. I don’t trust Holland, you know. He’s sleazy.”
“Sleazy?” Amiko frowned. “He’s doing everything by the book. trying to keep us alive.”
“That’s the problem. By the book,” Fredrick looked deep into her eyes and she wanted to get back to work, but was having trouble focusing. “There’s thirteen minds in there. Smart scientists and engineers who have faced problems like this before. Holland wants us to go back into hibernation, fine. But we need to have those people’s input first. They’re the problem solvers. It’s why they were sent along on this expedition.”
Amiko grimaced, “I don’t know. I mean, yeah, that’s true. But Captain Holland was put in charge for a reason. If the Ministry trusts him for this mission, we should too.”
“Should we, though? What if they were mistaken? Or he tricked them into putting him in charge? A captain is supposed to take every opinion and avenue of thought into consideration. But he only chose to confer with us. That’s a real missed opportunity. And the more we run around doing his bidding, the more uncomfortable I get about this whole affair.”
“He conferred with all of us because we’re supposed to be the bridge crew,” Amiko frowned. “Granted, only Colleena and Doug have any experience in these sorts of situations, but it is what it is, Freddy.”
“Preposterous. Also, just like you say, we don’t have the experience to deal with these scenarios. There are guys in the tanks with a lifetime of experience we can draw upon!”
“I…” Uncertainty was quick to her then. It was logical, she realized. Very logical. And it made a certain kind of sense. There were a lot of smart people still in stasis. People whose task it was to support their colonial efforts and ensure to the survival of twenty people upon a new world full of hope and opportunity.
Fredrick looked to the wall across from him. “I’ve been talking to the others, as well. And they’re all feeling weird about all of this. Like Holland isn’t telling us everything.”
Amiko clasped her hands together between her knees leaning forward. A sudden doubt crawled up her gut and she didn’t like it one bit. There was no way the captain wasn’t being one hundred percent honest with them. The computer brought them out of sublight because the laser stopped working. That was all.
He wouldn’t lie to us. We fix the ship and go back to sleep. And we’ll arrive at Therseus in… five thousand years…
Tears welled in the corners of her eyes and she ran her hands across her face. Then looked up to see Freddy watching her. There was a look in his eyes that made her heart start beating faster.
“I’m sure it’s just this… uncertainty… about how we’re going to survive this. Everything is at stake right now.”
Fredrick leaned towards her, placing a hand on her thigh sending a thrill up her body. “That’s precisely why we need to wake everyone up. Will you help me?”
“Mmmm…” she bit her lower lip. “I’m not sure. Won’t the captain be mad?”
“What’s he going to do? Space us? Once he sees the truth with his own eyes, he’ll come to see it our way.”
“Well, I suppose…” she found herself nodding, not precisely feeling good about the idea, but better and more certain than the last few days. “Okay.”
“Excellent. Keep this between us for now. When the time is right, I’ll come back and let you know. Focus on getting that plating done, though. That might just factor into this little plot moving forward.”
“Okay. Uhm, you don’t want to wake them now?”
“No, not yet. Holland would just interfere. Maybe tonight. But I need to make sure of something first.”
Amiko nodded and he left her to her thoughts. She turned back to the cockpit control console and stared out the window. Deep space continued its eternal flow and she felt lightheaded.
I’m glad I don’t have to make important decisions. Who knows what stupid thing I’d end up doing?
OKAY, THAT’S ONE. Fredrick considered walking across the platform towards the stairwell leading to the cargo bay. Tyra is a no go. She was too quick to side with Holland and Merricks. But, Guile, he seemed likeminded and willing. Despite some of his assertions. What about Sela? I’ll leave that to Guile. If he’ll agree and not blow my plan to Holland.
It only took five minutes to reach the bottom level of the ship and the bay opposite of Hydroponics. He saw Tyra poking away at the other end of her vegetable sanctuary. But she didn’t see him as he passed down the corridor into cargo. He found Guile securing several crates with a strap and looking over his inventory manifest. Guile looked up as Fredrick crossed the open room towards him.
“Hey there, Mr. Fitzgerald. What brings you down to my haunt? Holland have something else for me to do?”
Fredrick smiled. “Just call me Freddy, Guile. No, I haven’t spoken to the captain. I think he’s still making preparations for his little spacewalk.”
Guile grunted and continued looking over his manifest. “I almost have all our stored materials inventoried. I just have some crates in the back to go over and ensure secured and then we’ll be good to go. You manage to reinforce any of the hull, yet? I can help after I finish up.”
“Yeah, I’ve got some of it taken care of. But I’m thinking of holding off for a minute until I’ve sorted out a few issues.”
Guile looked at him stony faced. “Is there an issue? We weren’t damaged on the trip, were we?”
Fredrick chuckled. “Nope. Nothing like that, my friend. Everything I’ve seen seems in perfect order. Not even a scratch. Well, I guess I can’t say that for sure, I haven’t been outside. It’s like hell froze over out there, after all. However, the sensors are all green, so I don’t think there’s anything to fear there.”
“So, what’s the problem?”
The sticking point. How would Guile react? There was always an uncertainty when you wanted to achieve certain results your superiors were opposed to. It reminded Fredrick of that one time on the northern docks in Cagayan, before his brother had died, where there had been a storage issue with military surplus. The foreman had refused to rearrange the materials and stuck them in the south warehouse where they’d been more easily accessed. Fredrick had disagreed with his insistence on leaving them out in the mash hub, just scattered every which way. So, since the man wouldn’t listen to him, he’d recruited a few of the other dockhands to assist in rearranging them themselves. Only, one of those he recruited went to the foreman and, as the crates were being moved, they’d been caught and demoted to janitorial. It wasn’t until his transfer to the mainland that he was able to work his way back up to maintenance tech.
And now he was facing a similar issue. Only instead of ten people, he was only dealing with two. However, this was more critical than a simple matter of storage. And, really, is there a choice? Holland doesn’t see!
“The problem is more in leadership in this crisis of ours,” Fredrick said cautiously. “We should wake up the others to make sure this decision of the captain’s is the right one.”
“And what other solution are you seeing? We’re three light years or so away from Earth with no real propulsion engine to speak of and finite resources. How would waking everyone else benefit us any? What help would it offer?”
“Well, think about it, there’s scientists and engineers in there. Maybe there’s a solution being missed that would be more rational.”
“I doubt it. Holland’s a pretty intelligent fellow. Can’t imagine the guys in hibernation having a better idea.” Fredrick felt his heart drop, but Guile got a faraway look in his eyes. “However, it does seem wrong that so many don’t have a voice in this decision. Maybe we should discuss this with Holland again. I know I’d be furious if I hadn’t been consulted in a matter such as this. We’re not in the Federation anymore. We’re on our own, and we need to trust one another to accomplish our mission.”
“Holland would never agree to this,” Fredrick swallowed. “We, however, can just wake them. And then he’d have to include them in the briefings.”
Guile affixed him with a long, hard stare. “That’s mutinous talk there. You could be exiled for suggesting such a thing. If not executed.”
“Holland wouldn’t do anything like that. Every one of us is needed. Every. One.”
Guile frowned. “So, you’re suggesting you and I open up the pods against our superior’s wishes.”
“You, me, and Amiko.”
“Amiko’s in on this?”
“And Sela too, if you think you can convince her.”
“There is no way in hell she’d go along with that,” Guile waved his hand horizontally.
“Then just the three of us. Tonight. When everyone is asleep.”
Fredrick shook his head. “What other choice is there? If we don’t, we’re going back into hibernation with no guarantee we will ever wake up again.”
Guile smiled. “So, we get to what this is really about. You’re afraid we’ll be destroyed on our long journey to Therseus.”
“Well, aren’t you?” Fredrick felt his face flush.
Guile’s smile faded. “More than you know. If we’re going to do this, we wait until Holland does his spacewalk. Merricks will go with him for back up. The waking process is too loud and will most assuredly wake them up if we do it tonight. The spacewalk, however, could take hours. That’s the best time to do it.”
Fredrick grinned and put a hand on Guile’s shoulder. “You’re a smart man. I’m glad I came to you. We’ll get together when the walk takes place.”
Guile nodded and Fredrick turned to leave. Soon, they’d have the crew all together and a real, less chaotic decision would be made.
SELA WATCHED FREDRICK leave the bay. She was in shock and never would have imagined Guile would even entertain such a notion. She’d come downstairs in time to see Freddy walking across the bay to Guile and was about to join them when he had started discussing waking the rest of the crew. What in the world could Guile be thinking? She walked across the bay towards Guile and he looked up with a smile.
“Hey, love, how goes it?”
“You’re not really considering it, are you?”
“Considering what?” he furrowed his brows.
“You know damn well what.” Sela looked deep into his eyes. “Waking up those people without Captain Holland’s permission. That’s dangerous. Especially given how precarious our predicament already is.”
Guile turned and walked down the way towards the unchecked crates and Sela followed. “I’m sorry you heard that. Look, Freddy’s right. It would be better to have everyone’s input into this. They may have a solution we’re missing.”
“Guile, we’re light years from home and have only ourselves to rely on—”
“Precisely why we should wake them and bring them in on this.” He turned while waving his tablet at her. “If Holland’s wrong, we never make it. And there are scientists and engineers in the group. Surely, somebody will have other ideas on getting us out of this situation than just continuing on as we were. Maybe Earth is still broadcasting but our receivers have gone out? I know we have an electrical engineer on board. Hell, I don’t even know why it’s us seven who are the transition team!”
“Because we’re the ones that keep the basic operations of the ship maintained,” Sela shook her head. “Everyone else is here for our colonization efforts. Using the Starmancer is a first step to manufacturing a strong presence on Therseus. This action you two want to take is in direct violation of our mission parameters.”
“I assume that means you won’t help,” he turned towards the large grey crates in the corner of the bay. “I wish you would see the logic in this. It won’t hurt anything. And we’ll be back in hibernation once we’ve come to an actual consensus.”
“And if no one wants to go back in knowing the stakes? No, I can’t help with this. You’re overreacting!”
“Overreacting? Are you serious? Our lives are on the line!” Guile triggered the forward compartment of the crate and a massive drawer slid out. They both stood stunned as they looked down into a lighted interior and saw a myriad of weapons running from hand guns to rifles, and a few explosives. Guile shook his head. “Am I overreacting now? Holland brought an arsenal with him! It’s not even on the manifest!”
“Wh, what would these be for? The world we’re going to has no detectable sentient life. Right?”
Guile looked to her. “Maybe it does, and this is an invasion.”
Her eyes went wide. “We need to talk to the captain…”
“No,” he shut the drawer back. “We need to wake the rest of the crew.”
She stood aside as he walked past her and towards the stairwell in the corridor. Her mouth hung open and no words would come forth.
Thanks for dropping by and reading! Hope you enjoyed! Read to you again next week! Until then, take it easy!
~Timothy S Purvis
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I would appreciate if you have Kindle or even if you want some paperback goodies if you’d head on over to my page and maybe show me some love there. I mean, if you’ve been reading a while and see something you like, wouldn’t you like to have it in your personal library? I have some cool short stories available for cheap. Also Tales From A Strange Mind that collects my short stories (there’s also a Kindle edition but, for some reason, Amazon wouldn’t let me link them together) , Tales From A Strange Mind II which collects my old novellas, Red Star Sheriff (Which also has a Kindle edition but Amazon, am I right?) my first novel ever released, though, yes, it does have some grammatical errors and drags on for way too long, sigh. But I still love it and I will be writing a follow up sometime within the next few years. I have a collection of my poems called MisAligned: The Heart Waxes Poetic which collects my old poems but not some of my newer ones included those flash fictions! I’ll probably do that in the future as well. And if you love the perfectly inane, why not check out my Star Cloud scripts presented in book form? Star Cloud The Original Scripts. Another one where Amazon was being difficult with me in connecting the Kindle and PB versions. Still, the paperback they let me sale for cheap and it’s well worth a look if I say so myself. Or, if you don’t want to click on individual links (all of which will take you to my author’s page anyway), just click on my author’s page directly by tapping my name: Timothy S Purvis See for yourself what all I’ve published since I began this venture in 2016.
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