Writing Exercises

Silver Pod Part 5: Vigilant Watcher

Link to part 1

Link to part 4

Ohnsy watched the starship come down. The InvinciGlass through which she looked enhanced the image. She could make out the scaled scintillation of the hull and even determine that its armor could convert any disruptive energy to heat and disperse that heat across three point two, no, Ohnsy corrected, three point three dimensions. At the same time, the ship was not designed for hard acceleration. Point impacts of weapons fire it could shed like rain drops, but gravity would slowly crush her. It was an incredible waste of technology new and old.

Most of the falling starship appeared to be newer than Ohnsy’s ward by at least a century, adorned with all the characteristic hodge-podge accumulation of a self-aware being simultaneously in love with and self-conscious of its own body. In this case, the body was a starship.

Yes, no doubt that starship had held a Post Human alright, one of the transcendent beings that had shed its organic flesh. Judging by the haphazard descent of the vessel, the Post Human had once more shed its skin, leaving the starship’s unconscious autonomous systems to manage the landing or crash. The Post Human probably hadn’t shed any digital tears over it. A shell was only a home if there was someone to live in it.

Ohnsy did not like it. She didn’t like it one bit, she thought, as she scrubbed a barely-visible smudge from one of her ward’s many viewports. It wasn’t proper to be abandoning one’s belongings and casting them away as litter after only a century or two just because all the cool Post Humans were smoking some sort of promised further transcendence.

That’s why Ohnsy had kept her human body. She smiled at her bald and hairless reflection in the InvinciGlass. Her clean head shined. Her perfectly even, white teeth gleamed. Her neatly pressed jump suit proudly displayed the patch of a Class A maintenance worker. She picked a loose thread from the patch and dropped the thread in her pocket. Once more the patch was pristine.

Her eyes refocused on the dramatic final landing of the descending starship. Her grin drooped. The starship, an incredible work of labor and design, touched ground gently, but there could be no touch gentle enough in Earth’s gravity well. The ship had not been designed to support its own weight in such a way.

The old fashioned, but reliable Newtonian ion reaction drives touched down first. The broad drive plates seemed to disappear into the ground, but in reality the rest of the ship was collapsing over top of them. The ship compressed like an accordion. Ohnsy’s mind fidgeted between the knowledge that a ship should not collapse in such a way and the observation that, there it was happening before her eyes.

A cloud of dust rose languidly up to obscure the final settling of the ship. Ohnsy shook her head. Nothing good would come of it. This viewport used to have such a nice view north, with a glimpse of ocean to the north west and rolling hills spotted with once-expensive villas now overtaken by grass, vines, and rabbits. Now there was a lumpy turd of a wrecked starship in the middle of it all.

Not only that, the crash had already attracted attention. Ohnsy’s eyes focused on a flicker of movement in the distance. The reactive glass brought the interlopers into sharp relief. Two people were walking toward the crash site.

Ohnsy’s heart beat faster. They could see her ward from where they walked. She hadn’t seen any people walking about in years. No doubt they were scavengers of some wretched manner. Surely they would be attracted to Ohnsy’s beautiful ward. Who wouldn’t?

She summoned her maintenance schedule to her heads-up display, checked the calendar. The anti-intrusion systems weren’t due for their bimonthly diagnostic for another week. She would simply have to fit in an early check.

She hated to disrupt her schedule, but there was no other option. She could not stand to be anything less than vigilant for her ward, her home, the starship Silver Pod.

Link to part 6


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