Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SEED, Part 3

(Serial fiction, sci-fi)

Just joining us? Go back to Part 1.

SEED4611 traveled eighty percent of the speed of light. It had been flung from Earth's orbit by the quantum accelerators which spun like gigantic centrifuges and scattered SEED vehicles on thousands of vectors toward the galactic center.

It traveled 72 million kilometers in five minutes. Five irrelevant minutes. But 4.067 seconds and 976,000 kilometers after that five minutes ended, SEED4611 received a signal. The first signal in over 200 years.

The message penetrated the encryption algorithms designed to filter out natural electromagnetic interference. The coding exhibited valid credentials. Mission parameters came on line, and SEED4611 parsed the transmission in preparation for data input.

But the code sidestepped the mission menus and hacked directly into the wake systems. It matched the machine-level syntax and embedded a false wake command. SEED4611 prepared to revive the cargo in the desolation of interstellar space.

Valid wake signals originated in the navigation and gravity cores. These guided the vehicle into a gently decaying planetary orbit once an objective was reached. Then, the wake command would activate. But this signal had been broadcast from outside the vehicle.

Offline processors in the main computer lit and flowed with electricity.

Programs booted.

Circuits prepared for the flurry that would initialize the three-month resuscitation process.

After the intricate warming and induction period, the young woman would open her eyes. She would open her eyes to nothing but a pin-prick sky of stars. And she would die sixteen minutes later when the pod's power drained and the absolute cold froze her for the final time.

But the wake circuits winked out.

And the warming protocol did not execute.

A low level subroutine not expected by the hacking signal aborted the process. A failsafe. Not enough light registered on the pod's photocells to indicate that a solar body was close by. The forgotten bit of programming was added as an afterthought to help prevent a tragic loss of cargo in space.

So SEED4611 traveled on.

And covered another span of space.

Another hacking signal hit the wake cycle, and again the failsafe terminated it.

A third signal arrived. A fourth. A fifth.

Then, the listening subroutines of antenna deactivated.

It was another base-level failsafe. In the event of cosmic interference or hardware failure, the antenna was designed to power down for six months to prevent repetitive and catastrophic power drains.

The wake signals continued.

One after the other.

SEED4611 was indifferent and unhindered by the attacks. It sped onward, a speck on an ocean of black oceans.

On to Part 4.
Go back to Part 2.


the walking man said...

The background of what is happening certainly lends itself to the thus far known components of the story. I am becoming thrilled to see more SEED being posted, Jason.

Karen said...

This is really good, and I'm waiting to see if there's more.

Bernita said...

Now that's suspense!

Vesper said...

It becomes increasingly interesting! Can't wait to read more.

Mona said...

Moral of the story: Do not underestimate the power of a seed :D

jokes apart, The speed of story telling matches travel in space. That is real Sci - Fi!

Four Dinners said...

I am becoming very fond of Seed.

Don't you dare do anything horrible to

jason evans said...

Walking Man, that's probably the greatest thing that I could hear. That you're beginning to look forward to more of the story.

Karen, there's a good bit more. :)

Bernita, I'm having a lot of fun setting this one up!

Vesper, this short story is probably my most intricate plotwise.

Mona, I'm also having fun pouring on the science!

Four Dinner, a SEED-hugger, eh? We'll have to see what I have in store for these folks....

Aniket said...

I think you'll a darn good short story on your hands to publish once you've completed the series. The sci-fi department has been dying these days. Eagerly waiting for the next parts.

Nevine said...

At the beginning, it felt like I was reading a science article in a journal.... it was that technical. And that was great! And then, the story slipped in, but still delivered with the voice from the science journal article. And that was awesome! I'm really enjoying this story. Is there more?


catvibe said...

I love how you made the machinery feel alive.

jason evans said...

Aniket, I have a special plan for this story once it's complete!

Nevine, I hope the drama and human element will be ramping up now, although I do appreciate you liking the technical feel. We need some smart sci-fi too. Some Star Trek along with our Star Wars. (At this point, I have 12 parts planned.)

Catvibe, its process is like a life process. It does feel kind of like an entity.

Leah said...

Well, I have two thoughts, for what it's worth (free :).

1) I admire your knowledge of this stuff, and I read enough to see that you probably know what you're talking about.

2) My eyes glazed over lol

I'm just being honest. I know Sci-fi has it's own particular group of fans, but get lost on the techie sorts of details. That's not a bad thing, it's only that it's not my thing.

If I were reading this story (which I am, but I mean if I bought the novel or whatever) I'd be hooked with the beginning. Then I'd gloss and speed-read over this part, searching for parts I need to know so I'm not lost as we go on. If the story is predominantly this stuff, I'd eventually lose interest. But if we get back real quick to the human sort of stuff, or stuff I understand, I'd probably be fine.

It's not about you, it's me, and I'm just an honest sort :D

jason evans said...

Leah, that's cool. :) You either enjoy the technical angle of this one, or you don't. If you do, it has its own drama. If you don't, it's major glaze-ville. The good news is that as I look forward in this series, I think this is the last really technical part.