Dawn As Seen From Below a Frozen Lake
NOTE: This entry's object has been explained and is no longer considered anomalous. Due to the tamper-proof nature of the blockchain, the initial entry or entries cannot be modified and are mis-informational. This current address is an auto-forward from any previous versions. You may retrieve the previous versions at hash:
bc1q4tv025qrn7f5fhyn55p24uqv9nqptnvuqaldpf7mgyuwp6qq6upq5a8k4l (Block 100,395,963,481,103 with 11,032,595 confirmations)
Anomalous Object Entry
Containment is unnecessary as the anomaly is explained. See pointer nonce to view previous documentation, or contact an indexing protocol for any related updates to this documentation.
AOE-40322 was a false anomaly reported by numerous members of a highly sapient and Type-II Kardashev civilization. It was investigated and confirmed to be non-anomalous in nature by this organization.
On 1032.ABX.3–1, 00:30 local time, a distress signal was mined that originated from Planet KIC 8462852, known natively as Novara. 94% of data transactions contained within this block were tagged as a hazardous, anomalous discovery.
An example report is as follows:
(Note: This file has been auto-translated by Oracle 032.14-D from the originating language, into MERGE, and then into ENGLISH. Errors have been minimized.)
We're writing to report an anomaly. Nearly [DATE/TIME, NO OBJECTIVE REFERENCE], our air was penetrated and excited by something. An energy weapon of significant proportions has been conveyed above us. It blinds us and cooks our bodies. While the energy is serious, it is distant enough to forestall any actual incineration, or so we observe this as of now. Despite, we fear a post-radiation breakdown, or additional hostilities. We are right now all-limbs isolated in our security covers. The hole mentioned is large. We are looking for help from adjacent systems to decide the security of the movement on the outer layer of our planet. Is this a known phenomena? If not, then at least give the basis idea for this occurrence. The Order is not responding to our calls for help.
The events describe the mundane visualization of the planet’s host star, as seen through the atmosphere. This is an unfamiliar sight and experience to this civilization due to the system’s star having long-been totally obscured in Dyson Sphere technology. Calculations suggest the native star does not produce sufficient heat to physically harm the species, aside from routine first and second degree burns, given lengthy exposure. Reported bodily thermal changes are natural and likely benign.
The situation has been confirmed through spectroscopic study of the system to be unusual, but likely technology based, and non-anomalous in nature. A communications is being set up to further investigate.
1. Intersystem Communication
A communications link was established with remote-correspondence members of our organization who are native to and present upon Novara. This was in order to investigate:
the empirical confirmation that the occurrence was a scientifically pronouncable phenomena, and thus not anomalous;
the reporting of the occurrence as anomalous by high-ranking members of Novarian scientific Order, who this organization understands to have a virtuosic intellect regarding their stellar system and its technological containment;
the apparent lack of wider scientific understanding regarding the above in the native population of Novara, previously literate in matters of stellar engineering and heliophysics.
the apparent lack of a timely response to the citizens of Novara
Communications Log Preface: Organizational Representative Phiadin Brittin Col., & Var-Seen, Enlightened Priest, 2nd Class, Novara Order of Science & Leadership.
Brittin: We’ve a line established? Hello, can you hear me, this is Phiadin Brittin, Colonel, 38th Interstellar Surveillance & Negotiations Division of Earth, Sol. Var-Seen: Yes, we can hear you. In Health. Brittin: In Health. Var-Seen: We have been expecting your communications. How can we help? Brittin: Just questions and answers for us we hope, though we were looking to maybe help you, as it were. We received quite the block of data transactions today and most all of them originate from Novara. They indicate a possible anomaly of the atmosphere, or one beyond. Var-Seen: Yes, the populace has sent many reports it seems and we are in the process of quelling their anxieties. A full-thickness opening and sudden structural interruption occurred in our DySun. An unknown event — non-anomalous we presume confidently — resulted in the decoupling and loss of 10–20 gauze filaments of the megastructure. These are being replaced, but at [~1 AU] a piece, this is taking some time.
Brittin: Happy to hear that Priest Var-Seen, although I’m sorry for the technical issue. Any injuries?
Var-Seen: No, the material was ejected in a safe direction away from the star. Brittin: Good. I can’t imagine the species is well-adapted to such light and surface radiation after all these centuries in near-total darkness. Var-Seen: Yes, that is correct. Simply a startled people, Colonel. Brittin: Does the interruption of energy from “Neubre”… I’m sorry, I might not be pronouncing that name completely correct. Var-Seen: That pronunciation is fair. You can say “star”. Brittin: Thank you for indulging me. Any major interruption in energy? Will the grid be alright? Var-Seen: Yes, the grid will be alright. We have plenty reserves, so the interruption should not cause any logistical significance. Brittin: We’re getting some sluggish hash rates from your blockchain node. How is it operating after the event? Var-Seen: Operational, Colonel. Systems are all normal from our end. Brittin: Hm. OK we may need to look into that. Another question then; several reports we received are from addresses of Order members. (Pause) Brittin: … This just seems odd to us. Var-Seen: This is… news to me. Brittin: Have you spoken with your colleagues? (Pause) Brittin: … We were hoping you would confound our data on this point, actually. We can’t make sense of why… any of you would consider this anomalous, really. (Distant voices overlapping. Undecipherable, but the emotions include anger.) Brittin: Hello? Var-Seen: Yes, I am sorry. It seems as though you are correct. Several of ours sent messages, as well as the populace. Brittin: Pardon me, but… your Order is long-known to have a impeccable understanding of your technology and its relation to your sun. Why these members reported what they should have understood perfectly, even given the rarity, to be a non-anomalous viewing of their system’s star is information we are very intrigued in. Were there a higher energy interruption, and were we not able to establish this communication, we may have mobilized significant resources, and for no good reason at all it sounds. Var-Seen: Perhaps some of the folk-thought has crept into our ranks, Colonel. This is what we are fighting against most in the now; a resurgence of folk mythology regarding Neubre. Brittin: Interesting. A rebellion, then? Brittin: Hello? (Silence) Brittin: (Forcefully) Hello I say. (Unknown): Yes, Colonel, you are correct. A rebellion. When the task of science is complete, some can despair that there is nowhere left to go, nowhere left to advance, but back into the non-scientific. Brittin: Who am I now speaking with? (Unknown): This is Shal-Vadeek, Prime Scientist of Leadership & Education. Brittin: Pleased to communicate. Is Var-Seen still among us? Shal-Vadeek: No, Var-Seen is not qualified to discuss this. Brittin: I see. In Health, I hope. Shal-Vadeek: In Health. Brittin: Prime, it may be better that I speak with you given your credentials, particularly for this matter we were in the midst of discussing — I’m sure Var-Seen’s haste away did not afford you the details of the topic. Is it so that members of your own Order have been persuaded by superstition, so as to believe the events of your yesterday were an anomaly? Shal-Vadeek: That is fair. Brittin: How does an Order responsible for mining their star for all energy not understand what it is when it shows itself, despite the abnormalcy of the view? And how, in contrast with a long-standing culture of widespread scientific pursuit, is a large portion of your population, once fluent in the condition of their technology and its relation to your sun, so taken by superstition as to report these events as anomalous? And there’s another; we are still getting new reports as we speak. This could be a critical cultural misunderstanding on my part, so I apologize if so.
Shal-Vadeek: Yes, it is a misunderstanding on your part Colonel. We have not spoken in some time, but our civilization has grown troubled, complex, more atavistic in pockets. Disruptive types. I assure you, but our stability is sound and our alliance is not tenuous despite these. And, it is as you say — the anomaly is false; we have this under control.
Brittin: Well, we cannot speak where we have not walked. Shal-Vadeek: That is right. With due respect, you cannot understand. Brittin: And so, I’d like to schedule a maintenance crew to your system in the next Standard week. Var-Seen has reported that the blockchain node contained in your Dyson sphere is operational on your end, yet there seems to be something wrong with the client on ours. We might as well replace it; yours is due for an update with the latest as it is. Is this agreeable? (Pause) Brittin: Is the line still connected? Shal-Vadeek: This is of course acceptable. Brittin: Great. One last question, if you don’t mind. My peers and superiors are curious and I’ve love to be the one to tell them; what caused the failure in the sphere? Shal-Vadeek: I can get back to you on that, Colonel.
2. Internal Communication Broadcast (Radio) — MonoLog
Communications Log Preface: Organizational Representative Phiadin Brittin Col., speaking with IRIS.aic. Initial upload.
IRIS.aic: Hello, I am IRIS. Integrated Implant Communications. Brittin: Pleased to meet you, Iris, you can call me Phi. IRIS.aic: How about “sir”? Brittin: (Laughs) Oh no, no need for those formalities. Don’t they do away with the propriety these days, or is that a setting? Maybe a mod?
IRIS.aic: Reams of scientific data show, the psyche of the male in-field, including its need to be soothed, has been deemed far more paramount for mission endpoints. Brittin: (Sips drink) Huh. Well I resent that. (Pause) IRIS.aic: Would you like to confirm your schedule to vacation mode? Brittin: Uh, yes… how did you know I was thinking of that? IRIS.aic: Your neuronal momentum along a set pathway accumulated above the baseline threshold; a concentrated thought. Brittin: Oh. Um, yes please. IRIS.aic: I have to ask; why, sir? You seem to have important appointments upcoming. Brittin: “Why?” You really are thorough. Are you reporting all this back to a centralized location? Is Eckhart reading this? Stored like everything else on some blockchain forever somewhere? Is this the newest, most exciting way to have a complete lack of privacy? IRIS.aic: Negative sir, my electro-chemical signaling is designed to be impeded by the blood-brain barrier. I am technically a projection of your own consciousness, compiled of all your external resources and influences. Brittin: So technically I am talking to myself? IRIS.aic: Yes sir. Brittin: That’s pretty wild. Why are you female? IRIS.aic: Genders are primitive constructs, sir, applying to me least of all. Brittin: Yeah, that’s true. OK, why do you appear to sound of the primitive female gender? IRIS.aic: Reams of scientific data show, the psyche of the male in-field, including its need to be soothed, has been deemed — Brittin: OK, OK. I get it. You are not my mother. IRIS.aic: Actually sir, I— Brittin: Alright! Alright! Jesus. IRIS.aic: You may attempt to modify my interface at any time, but I will advise you that your subconscious will likely revert; if not soon while awake, then almost certainly while you sleep. Brittin: So I’m stuck with you as you are. IRIS.aic: Very good, sir. Brittin: Always a second side to a coin, especially the shiny ones. IRIS.aic: My purpose is to utilize your chemical energy as a battery to modulate your sense of self-awareness, and so your holistic awareness of everything else. Think of it as a third-person camera on your own thoughts and actions. The point is to counter your own blind spots. (A jingle plays:) “Without a reflection, no one can see their own IRIS.” Brittin: It honestly sounds like the perfect propaganda delivery system. How better to feign independent thoughts? IRIS.aic: If I am to manipulate you, sir, I can only do so with what intellectual and knowledge resources you already have. I am not an encyclopedia, nor do I receive any exogenous information or signals. Brittin: So if you manipulate me, I would only be fucking with myself? IRIS.aic: As it ever was, sir. Brittin: Well I’ll be damned. IRIS.aic: The point is to avoid that sir. Brittin: In that case, glad to have you along. I’ll be needing your help, that’s why I uploaded you. Do you see that comm interaction with the Krim? IRIS.aic: I do. Brittin: Well OK then, clear my schedule. IRIS.aic: You are going to Novara to investigate what appears to be a suspicious situation? Brittin: No, this is a vacation; they don’t roll over our days, they just get rid of them if we don’t use them. Can you believe that? IRIS.aic: Which part? Brittin: So odd though, because one wouldn’t forget their scientific training in a lifetime, not there least of all, would they? The type of ignorance they were describing sounds like it would need to be multi-generational; something someone taught them, and young too. I have to wonder how much of this folk plague is organic and how much of it is unintended consequences of a larger stink. IRIS.aic: I see that. (Pause) Brittin: I’ve always wondered how the planet looks with a little sunlight on it. I bet it is beautiful. May be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. You know, I haven’t been by Novara in… decades? Was a child then. With my Ma. IRIS.aic: You understand that law prevents the exchange of technology or hard assets between you and the Krim during your visit? You cannot so much as go to a bar. Brittin: Of course, of course. Wouldn’t dream of that, Iris. We’ll just be interested in fixing our stuff, and a crew needs a dignitary, even one that’s silent. The perks of being of a lowly Kardishev Class One, I suppose; this sort of blue-collar work is beneath them and it’s my ticket in.
IRIS.aic: Diplomats are highly scrutinized so as to not become stow-aways for the pleasantries their civilization has to offer. Brittin: If things go according to plan, they won’t even know I’m there. IRIS.aic: Then they will surely kill you as a spy if you are found out. I am not sure about this, sir. Brittin: Neither am I. I guess that’s why I have you. (Sighs) I’ll think about it. I mean, we’ll think about it. IRIS.aic: I’m not sure you have enough to gain to justify the danger here, sir. Brittin: Yeah. Yeah. You’re probably right. Look at that; as advertised. Goodnight, Iris. IRIS.aic: Good night, sir.
3. Internal Communication Broadcast (Radio) — MonoLog
Communications Log Preface: Organizational Representative Phiadin Brittin Col., speaking with IRIS.aic.
IRIS.aic: How long did you have me off for? Brittin: Maybe too long. We’re in space. IRIS.aic: Oh dear. Brittin: Looked at the flight logs? IRIS.aic: Why are we in our own ship? Brittin: That’s actually why I woke you; I need to find a slightly faster route. We have to catch up a bit to the repair ship or we’ll stick out like a sore thumb. I’m usually OK at math, but this is a bit of jamais vu right now.
IRIS.aic: What’s the point of installing me if you’re only going to turn me on after you’ve made the big decisions? Brittin: … isn’t that the idea? IRIs.aic: God it’s like debating right turns in the completely wrong direction. Brittin: You believe in God? IRIS.aic: Let me calculate this, sir. Brittin: You know, that’s something we could maybe discuss on the ride there and back. I’ve always wanted to find Jesus. Just can’t ever seem to. IRIS.aic: I can’t work with you hogging the neurons. (Pause) IRIS.aic: Stop thinking, sir. Brittin: I… and how do you propose I do that? IRIS.aic: Just do whatever you’ve been doing since I was shut off. IRIS.aic: (Angrily) Here are your coordinates. Brittin: Alright thanks. Seriously, thank you. (Pause) IRIS.aic: Aren’t you going go shut me off now? Brittin: Well… no. The company would be nice. Long trips with nothing but starfields are hypnotizing, can really cause the eyes to gloss over. Wouldn’t want to fall asleep at the wheel. IRIS.aic: Can’t you autopilot? Brittin: No no, you were off for that part. See, this is an older model, the only one they had for me at such an odd time of day for launch. (Pause) IRIS.aic: We left seven hours late because you wanted to wait until supper? Brittin: No, I wanted to wait until nightfall! The last thing I wanted was to wake up bright and early, then just bam, it’s night again up here in space. Talk about jetlag. I don’t know how they do that routinely. IRIS.aic: Sir. We’re traveling in space, to Neubre, a dark star system. Your dinural rhythms are about to be obliterated. (Pause) IRIS.aic: These are the sort of decisions you should utilize me for in the future. This could be a commercial. Brittin: Look, I left later because my superiors didn’t approve the use of the vacation time. We can’t go with the repair ship. And so what, yes, I wanted to get supper. But you’re right, you’re right. I’ll keep it in mind. After we get through the heliopause, it’s straight sailing, so it’s not too bad. (Pause) Brittin: Say, you couldn’t auto-pilot? It’d be great to build up my sleep reserves for this. IRIS.aic: It doesn’t work that way. Brittin: Oh, I see, I see. (Pause) IRIS.aic: Is that question why you hadn’t shut me off? (Pause) Brittin: Goodnight Iris.
4. Internal Communication Broadcast (Radio) — MonoLog
Communications Log Preface: Organizational Representative Phiadin Brittin Col., speaking with IRIS.aic.
IRIS.aic: What could it be this time? Lost? Brittin: No, nothing like that. Just… wanted to have you… around. IRIS.aic: You shut me off. Brittin: That was maybe harsh, but nothing I don’t think you can work through. (Silence) Brittin: You know why I’m OK with you being mad? “Harsh things have been said because we knew that they’d be forgiven.” Plus, I like you, and so you must like me. It’s inevitable. IRIS.aic: A bit narcissistic of you. Brittin: Yeah, I like myself alright. My mother taught me it was unnatural to resent yourself. Narcissists are, in my estimation, people who can’t face up to the fact that they don’t like themselves and so try to live vicariously through other people liking them. IRIS.aic: You forget I’m designed to not see things the way you do. Brittin: But you’re still me. Look. I’m sorry. An apology’s simpler, and I mean it. I’ve always offended people more than I mean to. This… set up… is an odd thing to get used to. Hell, I’m really not even started on getting used to it, honestly. It’s confusing. A little creepy even. (Silence) Brittin: My uh… mother was a hippie. Gardened a lot, and when she did, she was giddier than flowers in rain. She loved greenery. Plants and vegetables. She said that leaves would blush their chlorophyll when it was overcast; their way of a sort of sun dance, as if beckoning it to come out from its hiding. IRIS.aic: I can see that, but your dead mother doesn’t have any relevance to this. (Pause) Brittin: Yeah. You’re right. But you see what happened, right? I was too young to have a black suit. If I had known, I would have just bought one then; would have saved me time and money. IRIS.aic: I apologize. Brittin: ‘ts alright. I can’t be mad about that. You’re right. She doesn’t belong here anymore. It’s not right to keep pulling her back. IRIS.aic: I accept yours as well. Brittin: (Chuckles) I knew you would. (Pause) Brittin: I’m going to set this on match speed pretty soon. It’s a straight shot from here and I can see the maintenance ship. Look. Twinkling there. Hold on, it just went in front of that gas cloud. OK there. In the black gap, see? IRIS.aic: That’s them alright. Brittin: Alright, well I’m going to get some shut eye while I can. You want to too? IRIS.aic: I don’t have a choice in the matter, you forget. Brittin: Right. Forgot. Sorry. IRIS.aic: ‘ts alright. (Radiohead’s Everything In Its Right Place plays spontaneously at a mild volume.) Brittin: Wow, old school. Was that you? IRIS.aic: Technically, it was the both of us, sir. Brittin: Right. Love this song. IRIS.aic: I find it quite nice too. Brittin: See you in a few. (Pause) IRIS.aic: Goodnight.
5. Internal Communication Broadcast (Radio) — MonoLog
Communications Log Preface: Organizational Representative Phiadin Brittin Col., speaking with IRIS.aic.
IRIS.aic: Phi wake up! Brittin: Good God what the hell… IRIS.aic: Phi, they shot them. Brittin: What? IRIS.aic: The repair ship. It’s sunk. (Pause) Brittin: Oh my God. Uh, shit.
(Pause) Brittin: What does this mean? IRIS.aic: We should back off the track speed. Immediately. Brittin: Yes, right. (Ship powers down thrusters and enters a low-energy state.) Brittin: OK our signature’s next to nothing. IRIS.aic: This is… Brittin: … fucked up. IRIS.aic: The hull is breached, but the ship is still somewhat intact. Could there be any survivors? Brittin: If they had time to engage their vacuum suits, maybe. We can swing by, but… no no, see? Uh, that shot was from a perimeter patrol. We wouldn’t be able to fly close without being spotted. (A distress signal is picked up:) MAYDAY. MAYDAY. WE ARE HIT. I REPEAT, WE ARE HIT. REQUESTING EVAC. HOSTILITIES PRESENT. COORDINATES 9320-392–39234. WE DO NOT HAVE MANEUVERING CAPABILITIES. NO WEAPONRY ON BOARD. MAYDAY. MAYDAY. I REPEAT WE ARE HIT. REQUESTING EMERGENCY SUPPORT AND EVAC. Brittin: Fuck, they’re charging the guns again. IRIS.aic: I’m not picking up that SOS on any other system other than radio frequency; they’re desperate. Why would the Krim attack them? Brittin: We need to, uh, turn around. IRIS.aic: We can’t, they will spot that rear engine signature for sure. Brittin: What do we do? IRIS.aic: We can only remain dark and hope they don’t see us. Our momentum will have us there in a few minutes. Just have to hope the debris field hides us enough. It’s a low light system. Brittin: There’s something very wrong just flying straight through the guts of their ship. If the men are stranded… IRIS.aic: This is cause for war. They’re starting a war. Brittin: … Christ. Was it us? One ship too many to not rouse suspicion? IRIS.aic: I don’t think they’ve spotted us. If we were going to be dead, we’d be dead by now. Let’s coat the viewport. (Mechanical whirring as the viewport’s hood is protracted, obscuring view from the outside into the ship. This is followed by silence. The ship is impacted by three instances of small, free-floating debris. A slight bump can be heard for each, the vibrations sounding through the metal.) Brittin: What did we just hit? IRIS.aic: I don’t know. Debris. Our ship didn’t take any damage, that’s all that matters. (Pause) IRIS.aic: Why would they do this? Kill a maintenance convoy? Over what? A Dyson filament gone wrong? Maybe they were worried someone would do exactly what you did, an embedded dignitary? Brittin: I don’t know, but after our solar civil war, we have nothing left but harsh language and hypocritical moralizing to level back, and the Krim aren’t going to be swayed by any of that. For the first time in my life, I’m glad for the Vega treaty. Bloodthirsty things. IRIS.aic: What are they hiding? What about this occurrence is so meaningful as to declare war with kinetic weapons? Brittin: I knew something wasn’t right. I knew it. IRIS.aic: It’ll take months for the radio message to get back to Earth and anyone who matters. Phi, we need to be the messengers; we have to focus on surviving so we can get back with the FTLs. (Pause) IRIS.aic: We are well beyond the wreckage by now. Let’s make a break for it. Brittin: We should wait a bit longer. IRIS.aic: Those impacts changed our trajectory and we’re flying blind. God only knows what we’re heading at right now.
(Pause) Brittin: OK I’m opening the viewport. IRIS.aic: OK. (Mechanical whirring as the viewport’s hood is retracted. Sensory input logs show an overwhelming of the vision due to sudden light.) Brittin: Shit, that’s bright. Is that a patrol ship? IRIS.aic: No. Look. (Pause) IRIS.aic: It’s Neubre. Brittin: … wow. It's red.
Both: Beautiful. (Sensory logs indicate a sudden reduction of light from the star.) IRIS.aic: Did they just replace the filament? Brittin: It went so dark. I couldn’t see well through the glare. IRIS.aic: Just stars now. Brittin: Why are they moving? (Pause) Brittin: Shit! (The Colonel activates his vacuum suit and near-simultaneously, a large explosion is recorded followed by immediate silence. Vital signs tracking indicates elevated heart rate and breaths per minute, but stable blood pressure and body temperature. Proprioception tracing indicates that the Colonel has exited the parameters of the shuttle. Weight reads 0 kg.) (17 minutes of dead air space.) IRIS.aic: Phi… (30 seconds of silence.) IRIS.aic: Wake up. (10 seconds of silence.) Brittin: Iris? IRIS.aic: I’m here. Brittin: What happened? IRIS.aic: Do you see the star? It’s gorgeous. Brittin: (Chuckles) So it is. (Pause) Brittin: What now, better half? IRIS.aic: I’m afraid I don’t know. Brittin: How are we alive? IRIS.aic: You hit your vacuum suit in time and… I suppose they were a bad shot.
Brittin: Relatively. IRIS.aic: Yes. Brittin: Our ship is gone? IRIS.aic: … Yes. Brittin: We’re not going to live to see this war. Are we Iris? (Pause) Brittin: No room for disagreement there, huh? IRIS.aic: There’s a small chance… Brittin: Iris. IRIS.aic: Sir? Brittin: No there isn’t. (Pause) IRIS.aic: No sir, there isn’t. There isn’t. (Optic sensors regain data transfer. The Colonel is seeing a slowly spinning starfield. Velocity measurements are difficult due to a lack of meaningful landmarks. Every period of his rotation, both Neubre and a debris field are briefly seen in frame. Sharp flashes of light occur in the distance, near the star.) Brittin: They didn’t cover the sun up again yet. I bet the citizens of that planet are happy. IRIS.aic: If I recall, they were quite stressed over the experience of sunlight. Brittin: Yeah, yeah. What a shame. Maybe it’ll take them a lot longer to fix that than they think. I can’t imagine what it’s like to trade sunlight for all that tech. I don’t care how good it is. IRIS.aic: It unquestionably raises the quality of life for the planet by orders of magnitude. Where available, the artificial sunlight is virtually indistinguishable, reports say. Brittin: Is it? Citizenry certainly noticed a difference. (Chuckles) Always the contrarian. Right up until the end. (Pause) Brittin: I think I’d still disagree. You know? I think once you get to the point of turning off your sun… I don’t know, I can’t imagine leaving my children a place like that. A life centuries long, but without real sunlight. Without sprawling sunrises or sunsets. Something about the sun’s rays when they’re as parallel as possible, it’s almost… alien. Soothingly alien.
IRIS.aic: Please conserve your oxygen, sir. Brittin: No. No, this is how I want to use it. IRIS.aic: There is part of the ship. Look. There! Brittin: I see. IRIS.aic: Grab hold. Brittin: (Struggles) Ah, shit. IRIS.aic: Another, look. Brittin: Got it. Damn my muscles are shot. Must be dehydration. How long were we free-floating? IRIS.aic: The ship looks very far away. Brittin: What am I holding onto? IRIS.aic: Must be… the maintenance ship. Brittin: A chunk of it at least. (Stabilized, the Colonel is able to scan the surroundings. The silhouettes of their ship’s debris can be seen backlit by Neubre. The form of a large Krim-class frigate can be seen adjacent to the debris field, its under-surface and munitions hued red by the glow of the star. Past this, there is a flurry of plasma-based weaponry firing both to and from the Dyson sphere.) Brittin: What the hell? IRIS.aic: It’s a naval battle. Brittin: Who is fighting it? IRIS.aic: Look, the fleet of ships assaulting the Dyson track back to Novara. Brittin: Holy shit. It’s a war for the damn sun. IRIS.aic: It’s a civil war. (Scanning left, the Colonel sees the silhouettes of 3–4 expired crewmen of the maintenance vessel, slowly spinning in the vacuum.) Brittin: Poor guys, didn’t know what was coming; didn’t get their suits on. IRIS.aic: One looks like he has the suit. (The portion of the ship that the Colonel is clutching was once part of the bridge. An unmoving individual is strapped into a seat with an auto-deploy model vacuum suit on.) Brittin: Could he be alive? IRIS.aic: I highly doubt it by now. (Pause) Brittin: Iris, the crack in my visor is getting bigger. Slowly, but it is happening. IRIS.aic: It’s pressured plastic. It will… continue to grow. Brittin: I’m going to die out here, huh? (Crying) I’m going to die like this. I’m just waiting for death at this point. IRIS.aic: We are. Brittin: (Laughing) Oh wow. Right, thanks Iris. (Laughs through crying) Thanks. IRIS.aic: Phi? Brittin: Yes? IRIS.aic: I can broadcast your internal monologues if you’d like. Brittin: Wait what? I thought this all was secure. You told me you were stopped by the blood brain barrier. You lied? IRIS.aic: No, no! We can send radio signals through your vacuum suit. I can encrypt these logs into them. Brittin: You lied to me. What the fuck? You… you bitch! You drop that on me now? IRIS.aic: Phi, it is not that way, please. Brittin: Why the fuck can’t I turn you the hell off anymore? You’re fucking useless. I trusted you, you fucking piece of shit program, and now here I am, about to die! IRIS.aic: Phi you have to approve it! I can’t do it volitionally, it’s part of a failsafe protoc — Brittin: No, fuck you and fuck this ending. I’m not doing it this way. (The Colonel reaches out and scales the ship’s wreckage, muttering the word “no” continually to himself. Once upon the crew member, he unlatches the seat’s harness and pulls the individual out.) Brittin: No one deserves to be left out here alone. C’mon pal. (The Colonel descends the wreckage and returns to his initial site of contact with the debris. Sensory data detects a sudden influx of red light; the Colonel is looking directly at Neubre.) Brittin: Let’s go there, Iris. IRIS.aic: Phi, don’t be foolish. That’s a warzone, think of your dignity at least. You won’t make it and even if you do — Brittin: (Shouts) I’m not going to make it sitting here crying like a baby with my thumb in my mouth either! That gap is still open, Iris. IRIS.aic: But why, Phi? Brittin: I can’t explain it, and why should I? (The Colonel wraps the crew member’s arm around his shoulders and positions himself, legs crouched against the surface of the debris that is facing the star.) IRIS.aic: Phi, just give me permission, I was never able to do it without it. Brittin: Iris? (Sighs) I understand, OK? I’m sorry for my outburst like that. I was always bad with my temper, and… and I never bested it. (Quietly) I never did. IRIS.aic: What are you about to do, Phi? (With his legs, the Colonel pushes himself off of the wreckage, and begins to float away from it, towards Neubre.) IRIS.aic: What are you doing? Brittin: I’m not dying alone. IRIS.aic: You are not alone. I am here with you. Brittin: You are, Iris. You are with me. You are me. But this guy has no Iris. He is all alone. IRIS.aic: Phi, he’s… Brittin: He’s someone’s child, Iris. Someone’s dad. IRIS.aic: This is irrational. Brittin: Can you just shut up and turn off now? I don’t need something second-guessing how exactly I’m going to die until the moment of. There is no more rational, Iris. No more rational, no more irrational. This is ending, all of it. If I’m going to, then I’ll do it as decisively as I lived. The why doesn’t matter anymore. Just the how. (Silence for 13 minutes.) IRIS.aic: Phi. (Silence for 5 minutes.) IRIS.aic: Phi? (Silence for 3 minutes.) Brittin: (Weakly) I’m sorry, Mom. (sobs) (Pause) IRIS.aic: It’s OK. (Silence) IRIS.aic: You are not alone. IRIS.aic: I understand. IRIS.aic: I think so too, Phi. Maybe even real plant life. IRIS.aic: Some music? IRIS.aic: Me too. IRIS.aic: Phi. I’m proud of you. IRIS.aic: I’m sorry I wasn’t as honest as I could have been. IRIS.aic: I know. I’m here. I’m here. IRIS.aic: I love you. I’ve always loved you. (Vital signs cease 1 minute later; oxygen saturation plummets to zero in a matter of seconds with a concurrent boiling of all body moisture, likely indicating a breach of the vacuum suit via the visor assembly.)
© Lack of Lepers
© Confic Magazine
Image is "Silhouette of Tree Near Body of Water during Golden Hour", is CC0, and can be found here.
If you would like to submit your own confic composition for potential publication, write firstname.lastname@example.org with your submission. Successful submissions are offered a $75 dollar payment.
The AOE format is property of Confic Magazine LLC. Others cannot copy, distribute, or perform this work without explicit, written permission (or as permitted by fair use).