The Adventures of a Child Prodigy | By: Robin Gosse | | Category: Short Story - Adventure Bookmark and Share

The Adventures of a Child Prodigy

The Adventures of a Child Prodigy
Things have really gotten bad due to the repercussions of World War III. All sides lost the battle and the war, and Democracy fell. Now we run on a government much like a socialist government, all bodies that work, are fed. All needs are catered to, and no cash money exists. What we want we apply for, in time, when the government responds, we get it. There is no more crime, no thefts. Those that kill are killed, it is as simple as that. In the aftermath of World War III, approximately one hundred thousand humans survived, the whole thing, from start to finish, lasted three months. After the creation of AI’s (artificial intelligence — thinking, learning machines), the blasted machines realized that they were getting the short end of the stick, and could easily overpower the humans........they did. It took the sacrifice of many human lives and left most of Planet Earth uninhabitable for centuries, but we won. To me it was a shallow victory. Sure the AI’s were destroyed, but it set the human race back about 100 years! The war ended in 2016, it is now about 2198. The Rags changed the calender, so it is now 47 PA, that mean Post Apocalypse. Aptly named.
We still are not what we once were. But with RAG assistance we will not make the same mistakes we once made. Many people do not believe in the rules that the RAGs set down, but they work! A maximum of two babies per family, any excess children are taken for government programs. I was one of those. My parents lived in one of the more barren regions of the ‘dead earth’. Over half of Earth wasteland. They did not have the equipment to have an abortion and were caught in a random search. The RAGs hauled me away to the newly built facilities on Mars. There I was nurtured, developed and ‘grown’ to be one of the RAGs ‘special ops’. “I was destined to be special.” I was told, “Better than others”. (Although, I am faster than others, smarter than others, stronger than others). Thirteen years of gene therapy and mental conditioning does that to a child.
How else could I have achieved what I have accomplished? I have the qualifications to go far in life, and even farther into the stars. RAG had pulled a few strings to get me where I am, but I have also earned it. They do not take unnecessary risks, and placing me on the prototype ‘Nike’ Exploratory Ship was one of their best choices. One learns to respect the Government, they have operatives in every corner market and every back ally. But I learned to love them from the start. I guess I have an advantage over the other less fortunate people.
What really interests me most about the ship is the engines, sensors and science labs. I designed all three! When in University, I did a thesis on all three of my doctorates, one on the RIPP , it is a prototype engine for faster then light travel. “What is the quickest way between two points?” The age old question, the answer is a straight line, right? Wrong. The quickest way between two points is zero, that’s right! If you fold the fabric of space, you can make two points exist in one. The ship would fold once, and unfold to move light years in a matter of seconds.
My first thesis earned me an instant standing as class valedictorian, no matter my previous grade, this was the most revolutionary paper since the AI thesis. The design was then taken by the government for further experimentation. My other thesis described another revolutionary theory, the ship would send a laser out into the surrounding space in a pattern around the ship, like a spherical spider web, alerting the ship of its surroundings by detecting the change in the beam. Finally, my work in Xenobiology, (the study of alien life forms) brought forth its own set of bounties. It used much of the data collected after the war, the AI’s had a much more efficient and sophisticated computer network, being computers themselves. I incorporated much of the AI software into the programs I wrote, this brought me the Award of Scholarly Excellence in the field of Technical-Biology, to me, it is another trophy to add to the case.
Over all, the ship was a glorious sight! Standing nine hundred meters long, and six hundred wide, it held a ships crew of seven hundred, with a colonization crew of over a thousand. With all the work I put into the ship, I considered it my baby. Known as the ‘Deep void’, its mission is to venture out beyond the farthest point ever traveled by man: To the binary star system of Alpha Centaury, Alpha and Proxima share four planets, the first is a radiated, dead world, much like Venus or Mercury, this world has high concentrations of Calnacite, a vital ore in the construction of starship hulls. The next is a Terran world, more like earth, but with slightly lower gravity, and thinner atmosphere and ample vegetation. The next is a gas giant, like Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus or Neptune, these are uninhabitable at the moment, with no solid surface, it is difficult to construct facilities, maintaining altitude is difficult and costly. The final is another earth-like planet, with much heavier gravity and an atmosphere that is twice as dense as that on earth. RAG had plans to mine out the core until the gravity is more suitable and remove some of the atmosphere and place it on the second planet, this is known as terraforming.
Well, that is the old news, now for current affairs.
The ship leaves in three days, I am writing all this information down now, so I do not forget it later. After all the memoirs of famous people are in high demand these days!

Well, today is the day we are leaving for the ‘deep void’. The plan is to use conventional engines (I know, where is the fun in that? Anyway.....) To reach safe distance, that is a safety precaution, should the ship detonate, or the reactor breech, which could cause a nuclear winter on any planet it orbits, so, we orbit Mercury. The planet is being bombarded by similar types of waste radiation from the sun, and a bit more should not hurt. The Ion thrusters we use are deathly slow, it takes us eight hours to reach Mercury’s orbit! Geez, like the ship and colonization crew have nothing better to do than sit on out rear ends and watch the show???
Now we have attained orbit, we are jettisoning the COT’s (Conventional Ion Thrusters) and are starting the prelaunch sequence. The ship is growing darker and the escorts fly away, and the megalithic engines powered up for the first time. The energy released from the main engines is awe inspiring, with the inertial dampers at full the ship still has a humm, like that of a bee. To place ones hand on a bulkhead, you could feel the sharp, almost painful sting of the fierce but minute vibrations, truly a wonder. I peer out of the viewport as the stars themselves dimmed, then blurred, separated and doubled, as though we occupied two points in space at once. There was a brilliant flash of light, as our huge yellow sun, slowly changed shape to form a large red and tiny white dwarf sun. The cycle of my RIPP drive is now complete.
We are orbiting the first planet of the alpha centaury star system! What a magnificent experience. The stars look odd...... different...... distant, not the stars I looked up at from my laboratory skylight on Mars, through the crimson atmosphere. But I am certain, that in time, when RAG makes its presence known in this star system, on these planets, this will also feel like home. I am part the first team to explore the surface of Planet Two. Now known as New Terra, we ten brave explorers, venture into the unknown, we have come four light years, and will not be disappointed.
Now for the Descent, a five minute ‘planet fall’, this is where we take a landing craft and speed toward the surface at near five thousand kilometers per hour, we are hoping to land near our planned destination, but with such new territory, what is planned and what is reality are often two very different things. We are clocked for six hours of exploration, this should give us plenty of time to map terrain, search for specimens to research, and get back to the ship. We found many specimens of flora, but no animals, no wildlife. On a planet this far ahead in the evolutionary ladder, some animal life should appear, an odd but interesting surprise. The first of many I am hoping. It is just shy of three hours after landing, I call back to the ship for my report, but I get only static. The ship should be responding to us, this is a reserved channel, only the team would use.
Then out of no where, there is a bright flash, like a fire ball in the sky, near the twin suns. Then a barely audible rumble, and explosion after explosion, the ship is crashing! The other one hundred or so members of my team and I must refuge in a nearby cave and peer on helplessly, as our only way back to earth is disintegrating before our very eyes. In mere minutes the huge ship barrels into the ground, making a crater with such enormity, it escaped all realms of the imagination. Within seconds of impact, the ship detonated, a core breech most likely, standing there in horror we began a desperate search for human life......... we find none. Not a single survivor. What ever happened, it must have been big, like a micro meteorite rapturing the hull into the engine core or something. The hundred of us scavenged what we could from the wreck, and made a makeshift housing system of the trees and caves. There is no likelihood of rescue, the original ship took ten years to construct, and cost more than the colonization of Mars. Another will not be built, well not for a while. That is, until they find out what happened to the original, that could take time. The best we can hope is that we survive long enough to complete our initial goal. To colonize the system, and make RAG proud.

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