The transhumanist family saga continues in this installment of Lines, a scifi novel.
Thank you for reading this crucial chapter in the tale of time and tumult
~Joshua Lee Andrew Jones
Chapter 4: Tock
In orbit around the Moon, the recently refitted Hyper-nova class cargo ship Rabelais waits for the solar storm to pass. Three robotic arms hold the spiral-shaped ship steady in the middle of a docking ring above the launch platform on Selene Station. The electro-magnetic shield generated by the cylindrical station struggles to deflect a surge in the stream of charged particles from the Coronal Mass Ejection. The magnetic bubble bends. Sensors go off. The station’s AI increases the energy output to compensate. The shield does not snap. Only a few minor systems are affected as the gale of cosmic wind passes.
The all clear is given to the docked vessels. The fresh officers on the Rabelais wait for the captain to board from his lunar shuttle as they man their two-dimensional touch screen consoles on the elevated rim of the saucer-shaped bridge. All but one of the crew made sure to wear their formal gray uniforms. The navigation officer gets final clearance from the station to depart and inputs a course to Jupiter. A diagnostic is run by the engineer on all propulsion subsystems. The port airlock of the ship makes a seal with the shuttle transporting the captain and a two-part whistle sounds on all decks.
The navigation officer makes a quick glance over to the next station and winks to the life-support officer. She flips back her long raven hair but does not look at him as she leans over and whispers, “Why is the doctor wearing blue?”
He scans the deck over to the doctor and sees him busy reading a display while scratching his scalp through his thick sandy blonde locks.
“I heard he’s a big shot but got caught trading illegal tech, so he had to do penance on the Corkscrew,” the navigation officer says.
“Corkscrew?” she asks.