Day 49. 116 pages, 52,641 words.
After lunch, Predericon checked the supply and logistics data again, and noted its unchanged status.
Gyden’s excursions essentially balanced out, logistically – she wasn’t a burden on the ship’s systems when she was gone, except for the food rations she took with her. On the other hand, the gains achieved by her absence were lost by her coming and going through the not-particularly-efficient airlock system they’d assembled, and the need for additional resources to enable her to move about the surface of the frigid moon.
Still, they weren’t in a dire situation, in terms of supplies. Sooner or later they would run out, and then they would die. But that was a long way off, and their options not yet exhausted.
Predericon performed a thorough maintenance check on all the interior hull repairs and shielding, then spent a few hours alternatively repairing, tweaking, and attempting to use the comms system to raise anyone or anything, anywhere in the solar system. There was a lot of nonsense noise, and even that was almost entirely drowned out by the background shriek of the newly-formed cosmos. If there was anything further out beyond the system’s edge, it was practically invisible and inaudible.
She ate again, read a mixture of mindless entertainment and further simulation exercises through lulltime, and performed another pointless pre-repair prep and materials stocktake for the necessary maintenance required to get them off the ground. She re-checked the figures on escape velocity, gravitational shear and tidal force, adjusted for their shift in location. She tinkered with the sensors and logs but found nothing new to address.
Then she returned to the log interface and made her entry. Climbed and descended the room. Jogged up around the engine block and down to the sleep chamber and equipment storage. Checked the equipment and containers, and the hull at their crash-point. Checked the sleeper bay. Wiped down the glass and looked in at the sleeping phobe’s face.
Went to her cabin and stared at the stone. Went to the kitchen and ate nutrient bars. Realised she’d been a little longer in her cabin than she’d thought, and combined the supply and logistics and hull checks into a simplified visual check. Sat at the comms system. Ate nutrient bars. Lull. Pre-repair prep and stocktake. Adjusted readings on their orbital stats. Checked the sensors and logs. Went back to the log interface and made her next entry.
And then did it all again.
Day 720 (Centre / Mind standard). Reactor at 98% efficiency. Batteries at 100% and stable. Recycling systems condition green (sustainable). Air supply condition green (sustainable). Sleep chamber effective durability at 36%. Estimated depletion of raw materials for nutrient fabricator 492,000 days.
Gyden yet to return, standard excursion is four or five days so she is not overdue at this point. No further developments on the signal.
I’m considering repurposing one of the elevation jets to drill a well. The ice on the surface can be melted and purified in acceptable volumes, and condensers 1 and 3 are still operational, but over time it might be more energy efficient to draw up liquid water from beneath the crust. Still have to run the numbers a few times, and clear with Gyden.
No further communications received. No life signs found. Investigation of possible planetary bodies deeper in-system on hold pending ship repair and sensor overhaul. Ship repair and sensor overhaul on hold pending location of suitable raw materials.
Researcher Predericon Ti Akmet, Lelhmak’s Moon.
She was just walking to the upper corner of the chamber and preparing to descend when the airlock cycle alert sounded and the floor gave a sympathetic shudder. She slid to the door, swung into the passageway and hurried to the airlock they’d constructed in the side of the ship, over the wreckage of its existing access hatch.
Gyden was already inside and was removing, brushing down and stowing the ice-encrusted EVA gear piece by meticulous piece. The young Molran – Predericon couldn’t help thinking of her as ‘young’, although there was less than fifty years between their ages and they had both said farewell to First Prime some time ago – with the bead-highlighted face and the softly-phosphorescent ear-ribs gave Predericon a nod of greeting but didn’t say anything until she had finished stripping off her equipment and clothing. She sprayed herself with cleanser and pulled on a utilitarian one-piece from the nearby locker.
“I found something,” she finally said.
“The source of the signal we picked up?” Predericon asked, filtering as much sarcasm as possible out of her words but still leaving what she considered an appropriate amount. Gyden’s insistence that the garbled deep-sea booming they’d logged shortly after the crash was actually a signal continued to be something of a sore point. Especially since it was Predericon who almost always had to make the log entries, and had as a result noted ‘No further communications received’ upwards of six hundred and fifty times, when ‘No communications received’ would have sufficed.
“No,” Gyden, as always, proved deaf to both sarcasm and diplomacy. “Something else.”
– Posted from my Huawei mobile phone while bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.