Deep dispatch #9: Lone≠Alone

There must be a moment, even in the most anti-social and curmudgeonly of explorer’s life, where the urge to be at least nearer your own kind becomes strong enough to do something about it. The last twenty thousand light years to Colonia took me a little over three days to fly; I sped like a racing dog,…

Deep dispatch #8: Desire lines

I’d started to get excited about the numbers. A long trip is steady and with occasional moments of unusual beauty, but mainly it’s a constant level of low-key pleasure. As I’ve said before in these pages, your mind wanders, and craves more amusement than mere colourful baubles suspended in the ether. And so I’d noted…

Deep dispatch #7: SM

It creeps up on you; stalks you. You can run but you know in the end it’ll walk you down. Sooner or later you’re going to find yourself space mad, moon-drunk, sun-tapped. Flying through the strange and infinite nebula between your ears, blithely sailing the lunar sea. It happened to me a few nights back.…

Deep dispatch #5: (First) Discovered Poem

Starting system map… fuel scoop active. Oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus. *UNEXPLORED* Scanning… scanning… earthlike world. 4 3 2 1 engage. Frame shift drive charging. Plotting route. Engage. Scanning. Engage. Scanning. Discovered 1 new astronomical body. Anarchy. Icy body. Shields offline. ││ SLOW DOWN ││ Frame shift cancelled. Jump exceeds drive shift limit. No…

Deep dispatch #4: Home

For those enmeshed in and stimulated by the solid pillars of trading and combat, the rather more esoteric life of us explorers may seem odd: romantic idiots running far from our own species, into the candle-cold dark, to answer questions nobody has asked us. We must be crazy. Some great sage once wrote, “you can’t…

Deep dispatch #3: Snapshots

On long journeys, your mind begins to gnaw upon itself. Observations come into view then fade, like the systems scanned. Snapshots; fractured occurrences – The roiling dust clouds below are both the softest baby’s blanket or a cellarful of tentacles. I look above them to all that clean emptiness, and I can almost remember what…

Deep dispatch #2: Q&A

The question seems simple. Once, it is said, there was a philosophy examination question that read simply, “Why?”. To which one student received top marks by replying, “Why not?”. Of course, it’s not as simple as that. Why do I explore? Why do I fly so far? “Why not?” – not an answer. “Because I…