The original title of the Live Science post linked above is “China wants to build…” but this is incorrect. The National Natural Science Foundation of China is proposing a feasibility study. This is not the same thing as “China wants to build a kilometer-long ship.”
Likely the study will find out that it’s just too expensive and not worth it in terms of effort, resources, and maintenance costs. But it may show the benefits of setting up a base on the Moon and then sending materials there to be 3D-printed for future exploration or human colonies elsewhere.
Sending up a ginormous ship from Earth is foolhardy. Figuring out how to build stuff in space is much smarter.
The Seventh Sister finally shows her hand, and no one is particularly pleased…
Gennaji strolled forward, keeping one eye on the traitor, Andrej. But the miner was no longer paying attention to him. Riss and her crew were the star attraction now. And they seemed to have infuriated Ildico.
He was curious, yet the fate of Sergey gnawed at him. Better to glean whatever information he could here and run to Luna. The old man was stubborn and still had allies. Surely he’d hold out, regroup and bide his time until help could arrive.
“Gennaji!” Riss called. “We’ve been waiting for you. This,” she gestured, “is what we are prepared to offer you.”
Andrej gave a mild yelp and threw his weapon to the floor. “It’s burning!”
“No,” Riss said calmly. “It’s changing.”
Before their eyes, the pistol seemed to melt, then condensate. The grey metal dissipated into the air and the shimmering form emitted a vapor and slight hiss as the color changed.
It was a dull yellow and black.
Gennaji pushed through Ildico and Taygete, knelt at the former weapon. He touched it with a tentative finger, then picking it up. Heavy. Much too heavy.
Captains Clarissa Kragen, Gennaji, and Ildico square off. But something’s not quite right…
When she jumped out of the Artemis cargo hold, waving goodbye to the Hopper and her crew aboard her, Riss had experienced a familiar dread. Even the quantum entanglement cabling tether, which she knew would guide her, could not eliminate the fear that, somehow, she would veer off into the endless vacuum of space.
The blackness rushed up to meet her, envelop her.
And she embraced it. Eyes and arms wide open.
Unlike her dreams, this time a wave of acceptance seemed to pass through her.
She had walked where none had gone. She had become part of a greater whole. The darkness was within her as well as without.
She laughed, the noise sounding only inside her helmet.
Now, finally, she understood the exhilaration her navigator must feel in his vidgames. Relaxed, she toggled her suit rear thrusters. The entry port to the mining station rapidly approached, and Riss realized she had never seen the port from outside a ship. It looked so huge, and yet so tiny and fragile.
Was that all that kept the forces of chaos at bay? The only barrier preventing the internal atmosphere of Ceres from escaping, suffocating and freezing everyone inside? Surely, they could create something of more substance.
Suddenly she could sense the gravitational field of the dwarf planet. Faint, but present. Like ribbons extending, overlapping. All she had to do was tug on them a little…
In the expansive cargo hold, railgun at the ready, Gennaji waited. At any moment, Ildico would give the signal, and he would blast the Artemis with radiation. Its systems disabled, he would board it, find Riss, and do what the Ceres Mining Council should have done years ago.
At his side, cabled into place, stood Andrej.
He wasn’t sure how much he could trust the man, to be honest. As a capable defender, yes. At the helm, yes.
When it came to supporting his revenge?
Gennaji clenched a fist. He would not allow another man’s personal feelings to get in the way of his revenge.
If only he, himself, had been allowed into the Mining Council!
But, no, that wasn’t the plan. Ildico had promised him justice.
Fortunately, the Mining Council had quickly agreed to their joint demands. He had no idea where she’d managed to find two additional hunter crews willing to support them. But evidently the Pleiades was not the only ship with a grudge against Riss. At least, that’s what it seemed like, to Gennaji. What other reason could there be?
In the meantime, he wondered what to say to Sergey the next time they met. If they met. The old captain might not forgive any action taken against his adopted daughter.
Gennaji felt for the hollow point. Safe and secure in his left arm sleeve pocket. He grimaced. Soon, he would discover whether it had been worth spending depleted funds on.
Karel’s voice filled the cargo hold.
“Someone just left the Artemis on a tether. Whoever it is appears to be headed for the mining station port.”
“That must be Clarissa,” Gennaji growled. “So, she gave in, in the end. Too bad.”
He unbolted the railgun and moved to the comm panel unit. At a nod, Andrej undid the tethers from his wrists. It was just as well, Gennaji though with a chagrin.
She hadn’t called his bluff. There was no way he could have used the railgun anyway. Not if he wanted to keep his ship in one piece.
Bluster. He shook his head. Sergey would not have approved. But this was revenge.
All was fair, Sergey, he thought as he completed his final systems check. He turned to the equipment cabinet, yanked out two suits, and tossed one to Andrej. He toggled the comm again.
“Ory, Andy and I are preparing to Hop down to Ceres. Once we’re out, re-establish the solar shield.”
“Captain, we can’t possibly match the Artemis in a one-on-one fight.”
Gennaji frowned. “I know that. I doubt she’ll attack with these odds against her. Still, keep on eye on it. I wouldn’t put anything past that crew of vipers.”
“Captain,” Karel’s voice cut in. “Do you want me to prepare a ballbuster?”
“No. Too close to Ceres. We can’t risk it.”
“Hand to hand, Karel.” Gennaji grinned in anticipation. “If we’re lucky.”
Next: Bringer of Light, Chapter 31: Ceres – The mining station (Part 1). Things may not actually go according to Ildico’s plan, and Riss has a few surprises for Gennaji.
As Riss prepares to surrender herself to Gennaji and Ildico, Sam helplessly watches the scene unfold…
From the command seat of his tiny shuttle, Weng silently watched the face off between the Artemis and the ships of the new Ceres Mining Council. He wished he knew what they were saying.
He also wished Gen were still in the shuttle with him.
Weng grimaced. He still didn’t trust the clone, but he would feel much safer if someone obviously as highly ranked as Gen were in the shuttle. It would reduce the chance of his becoming yet another target.
Apparently, however, this was all going to plan. He mentally recalled the conversation he had with Gen just prior to arriving at Ceres.
“Gen, why are there five hunter ships here? Are we getting ready for a fight?”
“Not to worry, Sam,” Gen had told him. “There will be no fight.”
“How can you be sure?”
“Because we control the Seven Sisters, and without them, there is no fight.”
I started writing stories when I was in 5th grade. Our teacher gave us a list of vocabulary each week — about 10 to 12 words, I think — and said we had two choices: 1) write down all their definitions along with a sample sentence, or 2) work them into a short story to show that we understood the meaning of the words.
I chose the 2nd option. In fact, I was the only one who did out of a class of about 25.
The thing is, the teacher wanted us to read them at the front of the room.
Man, that was not something I was looking forward to. But somehow I managed.
I wrote nothing but detective stories, all in the first person. At some point, I borrowed my mother’s old manual typewriter (originally my grandfather’s, from the 1950s) and typed them all out. I still have most of them.
But my peak as an elementary school age creative writer came part-way 6th grade, when I attempted to write my first horror story.
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