This is the first section of the fourth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.
Wow Chapter 4 has come along quickly, the chapters were laid out based upon stages of the story rather than length of text, so there's a bit of disconnect.
Again I think it shows that I'm still experimenting with writing styles...
Alarms, sirens, door open, people running down the corridor outside. She tried to gather her thoughts, naked in bed, door open, anyone could see her, no they’re too concerned with themselves. Focus. Emergency, she had to get dressed quickly, get out of here and to her station. She grabbed some clothes and checked her pad. It was directing her to the simulator. Great, another one of Gwen’s tests. She considered stopping to brush her teeth before setting out, or at least grabbing a drink, no Gwen would check the footage if she was too late, it wasn’t worth it. On the jog to the simulator bridge she tried to think of a way to break the news to Gwen that if you woke people up from their sleep every night for a drill then it became part of the routine, not a surprise.
Malka looked around the bridge, thankfully people were still arriving, she wasn’t the last, but she was the commander so she should have been here sooner.
“Status” she mumbled groggily.
“It’s the Habitat”
Her ears pricked up at that one. “What about it?”
“It’s killing them.”
“The Habitat it’s killing them all.”
“Thousands of bodies have been confirmed so far, but it looks like there’s a constant stream of them from the Habitat, it’s hard for the orbital telescopes to get more than a fraction of a second’s shot and the others positioned nearer to the Habitat are out of action. Looks like they’ve been taken out by the Habitat.”
That one woke her up. If the scenario involved the Habitat and the slaughter of so many so early on in the game then this would be a serious one. “How long until we are ready to launch?”
“Prep for launch in six then, we need this to work first time. No point missing that party altogether I’d rather be late. Program for double checks on all launch, life support, ammo and weapons systems. I’m not having a repeat of last month’s shambles.” Malka sat down in her chair “And where is Gwen, she’s normally prattling in my earhole at around this part.”
“Admiral Ikari is preparing the rest of the fleet, we’re the scout mission”
“Cannon fodder again. Great, our normal duty.”
Malka waited while around her those under her command checked and re-checked the systems. There was only so much the instruments could tell you and most of those were monitored themselves by AIs, but procedure was procedure. When the time came for the battle the familiarity of the good would be a welcome reminder. All too soon she felt the simulator kick and pound the floor underneath her. They had never simulated a trip to the Habitat before, whilst it shared the Earth’s orbit it was almost a third of a year’s orbit around the Sun. Whilst under the Orion drive they’d get there quickly enough the other ships that could be in the area and the lack of a full out war declaration restricted their use of the drive to very select parts of the journey lengthening it to over a day’s journey. Still at least Malka thought it gave her a chance to catch up on her sleep whilst the information drifted in.
Whoever had designed the chair had been well aware of the problems with space combat, the almost inevitable long waits between information that the vastness of space forced on you. Malka sat down in the chair and engaged the commander’s hibernate function, almost immediately she felt herself drift off as drugs flooded her system. Just as she lost consciousness she felt minor discomfort as the chair plugged itself into her system to supplement her body’s functions. Hoping this would be a realistic simulation a day or so in this thing would stand a chance of bringing her back to her old self and then some. As it was a few hours in this thing might at least be worth a good night’s sleep. She wondered how long this would last for and finally felt her body succumb to the drugs.