Friday, November 30, 2018

Fiction Friday: Titans Rising Part 1

Installment 1

Titans Rising - A World Dying

Minerva’s head jerked in time with her music as she watched the application of the last layer in the fabricator. This was the easy part, making sure none of the heads clogged as the last layer of clay was applied for this panel. It was slow work, and she’d had to keep checking the weather as she worked. The window in her office had been taped up, the importance of her work was anchored in a deep place in her, and the sight of the green-gray sulphuric clouds was simply a depressing reminder of just how little time they had left, and how strapped they were for resources.

If it rained, Minerva would have to halt work long enough for the water’s ph balances to wobble their way to their new equilibrium so she could adjust the mixture to make sure the panels wouldn’t delaminate when she fired the tile.

It had only taken once for Minerva to learn that lesson. Thankfully the day had turned out to be simply gloomy instead of immiserating, which meant she stood a chance to actually keep up with her part of the project’s schedule and earn her bunk on the ship she was helping to build.

As the last layer finished, Minerva moved the heads away from the panel and switched the balance on the feed to pure water and cleaned out the fabricator. The action held a familiarity, it was the only part of the project that reminded her she was an artist, following the motions she’d once done as she would finish a new work of art and clean her tools.

Her work now was invisible, hidden layers of striations of pale gray that would stand up to the radiation that her children would be threatened by when her Seed Project ship left the solar system. The invisibility of her work was a frustration as she was prouder of it than anything she’d ever done before.

It meant something. It meant something more than all of the work she’d done in her life before this point. And it put her at the head of the line for the lottery.

It was always obvious that there would be more people who wanted to be on the ship than there would be spaces. Thankfully, the Seed Project had been designed to treat the problem as part of their solution. Technically speaking, nobody had a certain seat on the ship, but you got a number of entries equal to how much you contributed to the building of a given ship. Skilled work like fabricating earned Minerva twice as many entries as the general workers, the people who did the day to day work to keep Project Seed running.

The biggest surprise when the system had been explained to Minerva was that administrative was considered to be general work instead of specialized skills. Seed wasn’t the only group trying to leave Earth, but it was the only one that so strongly emphasized the ability to actually build and maintain a spaceship. It meant that everyone who worked on the project was always trying to learn more technical skills. And everyone who had technical skills was encouraged to teach.

After all, it wasn’t going to be you who’d be setting foot in the new world. It probably wouldn’t even be your grandchildren.

It was another one of those strangely comforting thoughts, Minerva supposed. The idea that she would actually have grandchildren. It wasn’t something that much of the world could hope for. Humanity had signed its own death certificate.

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