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Читы для Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

Чит-файл для Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

 За игрой наблюдают: 1 человек

Выдержка из Энциклопедии игр

Разработчик:Firaxis Games
Издатель:Electronic Arts
Модель распространения:розничная продажа
ISO статус:релиз состоялся 7 февраля 1999 года
Официальный сайт:Открыть
Жанры:Strategy (Turn-based / Grand strategy) / Isometric
Multiplayer:(7) hot seat, модем, нуль-модем, LAN, Internet, PBEM

Даты выхода игры

вышла в 1999 г.

FAQ [ENG]

Информация актуальна для
                                ,,,
                               (o o)
---------------------------oOOo-(_)-oOOo----------------------------------------
FROM NOW ON, GO TO GAME WINNERS (http://www.gamewinners.com) FOR ALL FUTURE
UPDATES AND ALL FUTURE GUIDES OF MINE.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

\_ \      __
  \ \    / /
   \ \/\/ /
    \_/\_/ ell, Armageddon didn't take place.  Anyone want to buy twenty cases
of Spam?  As indicated in the Update History section, I haven't really added a
whole lot.  Any and all "large" updates are being saved for Game Winners.

Well folks, this guide is about finished.  I thought about it and decided
that this guide is about 99.99% complete.  I thought about including a
bunch of information about The New Sun, but that would take too long.  I
am too busy with other guides at this moment.  There are a lot of damn good
PC games coming out at the end of this year; just in time for the Christmas
season!  The only information that would even thought about being put in here
is the time that this guide is completely finished.  Any news concerning
Alien Crossfire will be put in a new guide, just for that game.  I hope that
Alien Crossfire is as good, and even better that Alpha Centauri was.  In my
opinion, Sid Meier has found a gold mine in this hopefully, on- going game
series.

I have included the fictional story about Alpha Centauri.  It's long, but
you may be able to find out what exactly happened to cause everything.  The
srory is owned by Firaxis Games, so I credit them with the great story.  I
hope you enjoy it.  Some of the paragraph below will have to be ignores,
since I included the story now.

For those of you who are Alpha Centauri fanatics, there is some great
news.  It turns out that there will be an add- on package.  I believe
it's due for release in the 4th Quarter of this year.  A rumor was for
release in October, but who knows.  It's called Sid Meier's Alien
Crossfire.  I'll keep you posted for more details, when I get around to
it.  One of the features is the ability to make your own faction right
in the game.  One other thing is with any add- on package, you need the
original game.  I might also be putting in the story of how Alpha Centauri
happened.  It'll include all the details.  By details, I'm referring to the
spaceflight and the splitting up of the factions.  I do give a brief
description in the guide of this, but the story will probably add on an
extra 75 pages or so.  I'm still waiting from Firaxis, since they own the
rights to the story.  I hope they give me permission, so I can let
everyone know what all happened.

At this moment, I am in the beginning stages of a rather large update to
this strategy guide.  This one update is likely to either double or triple
the current size of the strategy guide.  Instead of updating it and
sending it to various web sites which already have this guide many times
during the renovation, I'm just going to do it in one big shot.  This will
take awhile, since I am extremely busy with other strategy guides.  This
one is one of my top priorities, though.  My WWF Attitude strategy guide
for Sony PlayStation is my top priority, as of now.

This guide was produced for no one in particular.  It's basically a quick
reference guide with a few tips to keep in mind. If you haven't read the
manual that coincides with the game, don't worry about it.  This guide
will replace the guide in most instances.  However, to learn the menus and
general interface, you may wish to read the respective parts of the manual.

If you have any questions, e- mail me at: redphoenix@aol.com.

======================================
Table of Contents
--------------------------------------
     I. Introduction
    II. The Factions
   III. Landmarks
    IV. Secret Projects
     V. Facilities
    VI. Technologies
   VII. Planetary Council Proposals
  VIII. Citizens
    IX. General Tips
     X. Hot Keys
    XI. Credits/Links
   XII. Farewell!

======================================
I. Introduction
======================================

Soon after the new millennium begins, war and disease take over and destroy
Earth.  The U.N. ordered a mission to colonize another planet, before it
was too late.  The mission, Unity, was to send enough people and supplies
to Chiron, in the Alpha Centauri system.

Space travel is very difficult.  Despite this, Unity was able to launch
off.  An unexpected reactor meltdown damaged the ship on the way to
Chiron.  The meltdown damaged the communications equipment and contact
with Earth is lost.  The most powerful leaders have built factions and
surrounded themselves with followers.

The U.N. Starship Unity ends up splitting up into seven pods, each
containing a faction.  It's up to us to become the supreme leader and
expand our faction at all costs.

=====================================
II. The Factions
=====================================

There are seven factions of refugees from the disastrous destruction of
the U.N. Starship Unity.

Each faction is guided by the vision of its leader.  These visions, in
turn, give each faction a unique set of advantages and disadvantages.  By
comparing the strengths of your faction to the parameters of a customized
planet, you can either give yourself an edge against the other factions,
or set yourself a unique challenge to overcome.

GAIA'S STEPDAUGHTERS (LED BY LADY DEIRDRE SKYE)

The Gaians are determined not to repeat the environmental mistakes of old
Earth.  They seek to live at peace with Planet.  They start out with the
Centauri Ecology technology and advanced abilities to interact with the
native life, including the ability to move freely through xenofungus
squares and gather extra nutrients from fungus.  Their empathy with Planet
gives them the ability to place ravaging wild mind worms directly under
their control. Even when your capture attempt fails and normal combat
results, a victory gives you energy credits harvested from the dead
worms.  However, remember that Psi combat depends on morale only, so be
sure your explorers rate as disciplined or higher unless you are in the
first few years after Planetfall, when weak Mind Worms abound.  Their
experience with recycling systems make their bases more efficient, but
their pacifist leanings undermine the abilities of their military units,
and they resent police control in times of crisis.  Because of negative
environmental consequences, the Gaians can not make the "Free Market
Economics" social choice.  If you explore a sea Unity Pod with a combat
ship or a full transport, the pod yields an Isle of the Deep more
frequently.  Reason: If you don't have an empty transport bay, the game
rolls and re- rolls for the pod contents until you get something that
doesn't need an empty bay- often, an Isle of the Deep.

+1 Planet
+2 Efficiency
-1 Morale
-1 Police
+1 Nutrients in fungus squares
May not use Free Market economics
Aggression: Pacifist
Priorities: Explore
Starting Technology: Centauri Ecology
Agenda: Green
Aversion: Free Market

_Land Bases_

Gaia's Landing
Mindworm Pass
Lucky Autumn
Gaia's High Garden
Blackroot Palace
Dreams of Green
Forest Primeval
Greenhouse Gate
The Lines
Children of Earth
Razorbeak Wood
Velvetgrass Point
Vale of Winds
Last Rose of Summer
Song of Planet
Nescus Shining
Autumn Grove
Lily of the Valley
Silverbird Park
The Flowers Preach
Virgin Soil
Fallow Time
Resplendent Oak
Garden of Paradise
Thorny Vineyard
Chiron Preserve
Memory of Earth

_Water Bases_

Garden of the Deep
Deirdre's Fishery
Water Garden
Great Lagoon
Falling Water
Ocean Flower
Sea Cradle
Garden of Fishes

_Maximizing Native Forces_

- The Xenoempathy Dome and Pholus Mutagen Secret Projects each confer a +1
lifecycle bonus on any native unit you build.

- Native units built in a base with a Biology Lab, Centauri Preserve, or
Temple of Planet receive a +1 lifecycle bonus.  This bonus is cumulative;
if a base has all three of these improvements, a native unit will begin as
a formidable Mature Boil.  Add the above Secret Projects to the mix, and
you could be instantly producing the awe- aspiring Demon Boils.

- Two more Secret Projects can make your native units virtually
unbeatable: The Dream Twister (+50% to Psi attack) and the Neural
Amplifier (+50% to Psi defense).

- Choose the 'Green' Economy model from the Social Engineering Screen,
available with the discovery of Centauri Empathy (E3).  This moves your
Planet rating to +3, giving you a 75% chance to capture native forms and
a whopping 30% bonus in Psi combat.

- Be sure to upgrade your native units using monoliths.  Since Psi combat
depends only on lifecycle/ morale status, it is imperative that your Mind
Worms be as advanced as possible before joining battle.

- Stick to the fungus.  Any native unit gets a combat bonus when in the
xenofungus, unless the other participant is also a native unit, and Mind
Worms also use the fungus as roads.

- Remember that native units don't get a 'hasty assault' penalty when
attacking with partial movement points.  Even if you're down to 1/3 of a
movement point, charge away!

- Don't rely solely on native units.  Once an enemy wises up to your
native force, they may send anti- Psi units equipped with some nasty
special abilities: Empath Song (+50% to Psi attack) and Hypnotic Trance
(+50% to Psi defense).  Keep some conventional units on hand to deal with
these guys.

_Weakness: Morale_

Early in the game, particularly if you haven't captured the first Mind
Worm, the Gaians often prove easy pickings for any faction with military
muscle.

- The Command Nexus, Cyborg Factory, and Maritime Control Center Secret
Projects all increase unit morale.

- These base facilities also increase unit morale: Command Center (land
units), Aerospace Complex (air units), Naval Yard (naval units), and
Bioenhancement Center (ALL unit types).

- Several socioeconomic choices also increase morale, including the
Fundamentalist, Power, and Thought Control choices.

- Monoliths can upgrade your units.

- Build units with the High Morale special ability.


HUMAN HIVE (LED BY CHAIRMAN SHENG- JI YANG)

This faction is ruled under harsh collectivist/ authoritarian principles.
The good of the individual is totally subordinate to the state.  They are
isolationist, and militaristic.  The Hive begins with the Doctrine:
Loyalty technology.  Their bases are built underground, giving them the
equivalent of a pre- installed Perimeter Defense facility.  This means
that you don't have to produce a ton of defensive units in the beginning.
More resources can be used to produce a solid infrastructure and empire
expansion.  This basically means that the Hive should try to build new
colonies as quickly as possible.  Experienced Hive players have been known
to produce nothing but Colony Pods for the first fifty years, except for
the "Headquarters" base.  This base is usually left for the Secret
Projects.  If you were to attack and take over one of the Hive's bases,
you had better know that you can back it up from either the Hive or the
other factions.  It's hard to win the base right back.  Their population
growth and industrial development are above average, but their economy
tends to lag behind others.  The Hive can not make the "Democratic" social
choice.

+1 Growth
+1 Industry
-2 Economy
Underground bunkers
May not use Democratic politics
Aggression: Aggressive
Priorities: Conquer, Build
Starting Technology: Doctrine: Loyalty
Agenda: Police State
Aversion: Democracy

_Land Bases_

The Hive
Discipline Tubes
Factory Maze
Sheng-ji Yang Base
Laborer's Throng
Unity Lair
Worker's Nest
Unification Cavern
Society Grid
People's Teeming
Social Engineering Den
Great Collective
Great Clustering
The Labyrinth
Proletarian Knot
Manufacturing Warrens
Paradise Swarming
Socialism Tunnels
Watcher's Eye
Communal Nexus
The Drove Mound
Working Man Hold
Social Artery
Plex Anthill
Huddling of the People
Seat of Proper Thought
Deep Passages
Yang Mine
The Leader's Horde
Fellowship City
Hole of Aspiration
Chairman's Burrow
People's Endeavor
The Colony
Labor Network
Fecundity Tower
Industrial Crawling

_Water Bases_

Sea Collective
Port Yang
Ocean Core
Deep Community
Factory Drift
Deep Clustering
Sea Hive

_Maximizing Your Growth Strategies_

- Build The Weather Paradigm as soon as possible.  This Secret Project
decreases the time it takes to build enhancements in a square by 50%.
You can build farms and mines quickly, enabling you to grow your
population and its productive capacity even faster.  You won't have to
build as many Former units, freeing up resources for other construction
priorities.

- Two Secret Projects really maximize your growth potential: The Planetary
Transit System, which causes all new bases to start at size three, and the
Cloning Vats, which causes a population boom at all of your bases.
Additionally, the Children's Creche and Sky Hydroponics Lab base
facilities improve your growth rate.

- The Planned and Eudaimonic social engineering choices also improve your
growth rate.  With version two and higher of the game, the Hive suffers no
negative efficiency from any social choice, so there's no downside to a
Planned Economy.

- Discover Gene Splicing (B3) as soon as possible, so you can remove the
nutrient production restrictions that keep you from harvesting more than
two nutrients from a square each turn.

_Weakness: Low Efficiency_

- Build more solar collectors, particularly on rivers or at high
altitudes.  If you have the Weather Paradigm, you can quickly implement
this method of increasing your energy. Be sure to discover Environmental
Economics (B5) so you can collect more than two energy per square each
turn.

- Build the Merchant Exchange Secret Project (+1 Energy in every square in
a base).  Also, the Recycling Tanks and Orbital Power Transmitter base
facilities help offset a low Economy rating.

- Increase your Economy through the following engineering choices: Free
Market, Wealth, and Eudaimonic.

UNIVERSITY OF PLANET (LED BY ACADEMICIAN PROKHOR ZAKHAROV)

The University is completely dedicated to research and the free exchange
of information.  They are rumored to sometimes put the pursuit of
knowledge ahead of ethics.  They start the game with the Information
Networks technology and one additional bonus technology.  Each University
base receives a free Network Node when founded.  The University's research
progresses quickly, but their open- access philosophy makes them
susceptible to attacks by covert "Probe Teams," while their callous
elitism can easily lead to unrest among the workers.  The University can
not make the "Fundamentalist" social choice.

+2 Research
-2 Probe
Free network node at every base
One bonus tech at beginning of game
Extra drone for every four citizens
May not use Fundamentalist Politics
Aggression: Erratic
Priorities: Discover
Starting Technology: Information Networks, +1 bonus tech
Agenda: Knowledge
Aversion: Fundamentalist

_Land Bases_

University Base
Academy Park
Lab Three
Library of Planet
Planetary Archives
Razvitia Progress Base
Cosmograd
Budushii Dvor
Tsiolkovsky Institute
Mendelev College
Nauk Science Center
Zarya Sunrise
Nadezjda Hope
Academgorodok
Koppernick Observatory
Svobodny Free Base
Zvedney Gorodok
Baikonur
Bibliotyek Science
Bibliotyek Letters
Climactic Research
Monitoring Station
Buran Prospect
Mir Lab
Relativity School
Pavlov Biolab
Lomonosov Park
Korolev Center
Gargarin Memorial
New Arzamas
Otkrietia Discovery
Zoloto Gold
Edinstvo Unity

_Water Bases_

The Marine Institute
Marine Biology Lab
Oceanographic Lab
Hydrothermal Institute
Deep Sea Lab

_Capitalize On Your Tech Advantage_

- Seek out Unity Pods for their alien artifacts.  Alien Artifacts have
exceptional value to Zakharov, since the University possess a Network Node
in every base.  In most cases, you can immediately link any artifacts to a
Network Node for a bonus advanced tech.

- Build the Merchant Exchange and the Supercollider Secret Projects in the
same base.  Many players think of the Merchant Exchange as a Morganite
Secret Project, but the Exchange is invaluable for anyone pursuing a tech
game because it increases the amount of energy produced.  When you build
the Supercollider (+100% Labs) in the same lab, the bonus to your research
is greatly increased.  Build the Theory of Everything for another +100%
Labs in the same base and watch your Labs production go through the roof.

- Other Secret Projects and base facilities that increase your research:
The Universal Translator (Two Free Techs), The Network Backbone
(Labs Bonus), Biology Lab, Fusion Lab, Quantum Lab, Research Hospital, and
Nanohospital.  Again, building the facilities in the same base as the
Secret Projects mentioned above will have a stunning effect on your
research.

- Add to your +2 Research by choosing the Knowledge and Cybernetic social
engineering settings.  You can increase your research rate by as much as
50% in this manner.

- Be sure to build plenty of solar collectors around your bases, since
your research directly depends on the amount of energy harvested each turn.

_Weaknesses: Probe Teams and Drones_

- The Hunter- Seeker Algorithm renders all your bases and units immune to
enemy infiltration, solving your Probe Team problems.

- The Virtual World is a must- have for the University.  This Secret
Project makes every Network Node do double duty as a Hologram Theater,
offsetting many drone problems with two talents per base.  The University
with the Virtual World means that any new base founded by Zakharov
receives a free Network Node and a Hologram Theater, an unbeatable
combination.

- The Human Genome Project, Longevity Vaccine, and Ascetic Values can also
help with controlling the drones.  And the Telepathic Matric permanently
gets rid of drone riots as well as increasing your probe rating, making it
another Project tailor- made for the wise University leader.

- The Thought Control social engineering choice increases your probe
rating, making your units and bases less susceptible to enemy infiltration
and more expensive to anyone trying to take control of them.

MORGAN INDUSTRIES (LED BY CEO NWABUDIKE MORGAN)

The Morganites are organized along corporate lines, and dedicated to
laissez- faire capitalist economic principles. They start the game with 100
energy credits and the Industrial Base technology, and receive a bonus to
all  income from commerce  between factions. Since they have such a great
economy, the Morganites can emass a rather sizeable army of Probe Teams.
Morganites have expensive tastes, making it difficult for them to support
units in the field,  and  requiring them to build Hab Complex facilities
before the population of any of their bases can exceed four citizens. The
Morganites can no make the "Planned Economics" social choice.

+1 Economy
-1 Support
Commerce (bonus increases value of treaties, pacts, loans)
Need Hab Complex for bases to exceed 4
May not use Planetary Economics
Aggression: Pacifist
Priorities: Build
Starting Technology: Industrial Economics
Agenda: Free Market
Aversion: Planned

_Land Bases_

Morgan Industries
Morgan Processing
Morgan Energy Monopoly
Morgan Metagenics
Morgan Solarflex
Morgan Collections
Morgan Bank
Morgan Entertainment
Morgan Construction
Morgan Trade Center
Morgan Distribution
Morgan Interstellar
Morgan Biochemical
Morgan Pharmaceuticals
Morgan Aerodynamics
Morgan Datasystems
Morgan Metallurgy
Morgan Robotics
Morgan Hydroponics
Morgan Transport
Morgan Studios
Morgan Mines
Morgan Altimatter
Morgan Gravitonics

_Water Bases_

Morgan Hydrochemical
Morgan Marine
Morgan Dock
Morgan Ocean Resources
Morgan Sea Platform

_Strategies to become the richest person_

- Build the Merchant Exchange. This Secret Project acts as the foundation
of an economic strategy, since it generates one extra energy in every
square worked by the controlling base. Try to build the Exchange in a base
with lots of growth capacity; th higher the base population, the more extra
energy the Exchange  generates. The Self- Aware Colony (maintenance costs
halved) also channels more energy to your reserves.

- Quite a number of base facilities are available that generate more energy
or increase energy reserves, including the Energy Bank, Tree Farm, Hybrid
Forest, Fusion Lab, Quantum Lab, and Orbital Power Transmitter.

- Use social engineering to increase your Economy rating. The Free Market
and Wealth choices both help generate more energy in each base.

- Form as many Treaties and Pacts as practable with other factions. The
Morgans get a commerce bonus from these arrangements, so they invariably
get the better end of the deal.

- Build the Hunter- Seeker Algorithm (making your bases and units immune to
Probe Team infiltration). If someone else builds this Project first, you
won't be able to use your Probe Teams against them. And remember that
you'll have to field a conventional  force  at some point to deal with
Miriam, since her tendency to choose the Fundamentalist form of government,
render Probe Teams ineffective when used against her.

- Construct plenty of solar collectors around your bases to harvest
energy, and discover Environmental Economics (B5) as soon as possible to
remove energy restrictions.

_Weaknesses: Population Limits and Support Rating_

- The Ascetic Virtues relaxes the population limit, while the Living
Refinery grants a +2 support rating modifier. Unfortunately, the Living
Refinery doesn't become available until mid- game.

- Build units with the Clean Reactor, which requires no support. Clean
reactors require Bio- engineering (B5), which you can research earlier than
advanced Spaceflight.

SPARTAN FEDERATION (LED BY COLONEL CORAZON SANTIAGO)

The Spartans are paramilitaty survivalists. They believe in both the right
and a duty to keep and bear arms. The Spartans start the game with the
Doctrine: Mobility technology and a fast scout rover vehicle, and they do
not have to pay extra to develop prototypes of new units. Morale of their
units is exceptionally high, and their  citizens accept strict police
control as a  necessity, but their extravagant military needs weigh down
industrial operations.  The Spartans can not make the "Wealth" social
choice.

+2 Morale
+1 Police
-1 Industry
Prototype units do not cost extra minerals
May not use Wealth value in Social Engineering
Aggression: Erratic
Priorities: Discover, Conquer
Starting Technology: Doctrine: Mobility
Agenda: Power
Aversion: Wealth

_Land Bases_

Sparta Command
Hawk of Chiron
Fort Liberty
Survival Base
Assassin's Redoubt
Ironholm
Commander's Base
Centurion Cave
Fort Survivalist
War Outpost
Bunker 118
Fort Superiority
Militia Station
Hommel's Citadel
Halls of Discipline
Fort Legion
Training Camp
Parade Ground
Janissary Rock
Defiance Freshold
Blast Rifle Crag
Hero's Waypoint

_Water Bases_

Fleet Anchorage
Hydrodock
Sea Outpost
Admirality Base
Fleet Base

_Improving The Military Advantage_

- The Command Nexus, Cyborg Factory, and Maritime Control Center Secret
Projects all increase unit morale. If you possess both The Command Nexus
and the Cyborg Factory, you will automatically be producing Elite ground
units with a bonus +1 movement point.

- These base facilities also increase unit morale: Command Center (land
units), Aerospace Complex (air  units), Naval  Yard (naval units), and
Bioenhancement Center (ALL unit types).

- Several socioeconomic choices also increase morale, including the
Fundamentalist, Power, and Thought Control choices.

- Monoliths can upgrade your units.

- Build units with the High Morale special ability.

_Increasing Your Mineral Production_

- The Singularity Inductor and Bulk Matter Transmitter Secret Projects
generate significantly higher quantities of minerals.

- Early in the game, build the Recycling Tanks base facility for its extra
mineral harvested per turn.  Later in the game, several different
facilities can increase your mineral output, including the Robotic
Assembly Plant, Nanoreplicator, Quantum Converter, Genejack Factory, and
the Nessus Mining Station.

- The Planned and Eudaimonic social choices increase your industry
rating, lowering mineral costs to standard levels or better.

THE LORD'S BELIEVERS (LED BY SISTER MIRIAM GODWINSON)

The Believers seek a life of prayer and religious worship.  Because of the
strength of their convictions, they get a bonus when attacking their
enemies.  They start the game with the Social Psych technology.  The
Believers are resistant to probe brainwashing, but their suspicion of
secular science retards their research efforts, and their belief that
Planet is their promised land sometimes interferes with their ecological
sensitivity.  The Believers can not make the "Knowledge" social choice.

+25% Bonus when attacking enemies, from the strength of convictions
+1 Probe (devout believers difficult to brainwash)
-2 Research (suspicious of secular science)
-1 Planet (believe Planet is their promised land)
Accumulates no research points until MY 2110
May not use Knowledge value in Social Engineering
Aggression: Aggressive
Priorities: Explore, Conquer
Starting Technology: Social Psych
Agenda: Fundamentalist
Aversion: Knowledge

_Land Bases_

New Jerusalem
Terrible Swift Sword
The Lord's Mercy
Great Conclave
Eternal Reward
The Rapture
Great Zion
Throne of God
The Hand of God
Far Jericho
The Lord's Grace
The Lord's Chosen
Redemption Base
Sanctity Base
Divinity Base
Children of God
The Lord's Gift
The Holy Five
Noah's Rainbow
Revelation Base
From on High
The Voice of God
Blessed Saviour
Time of Salvation
Judgement Seat
House of Martyrs
Righteous Sentence
Valley of the Faithful
The Lord's Wrath
The Coming of the Lord
Blessed Redeemer
Hallowed Ground
The Word of God
The Glory of God
The Lord's Truth
Godwinson's Hope
New Eden

_Water Bases_

He Walked on Water
Belly of the Whale
Port Grace
Loaves and Fishes
Fisher of Men
Water of Wine
Consecrated Waters

_Building A Better Military_

- Use the same basic information as included for the Spartans above.

_Weaknesses: Research and Planet_

- Make smart friends.  Forging alliances with more technologically
advanced factions, such as the University and the Morgans, often proves
the easiest way to acquire research breakthroughs.  If you start next to
the University, you can even try to use your offensive bonus to force an
early submission Pact so Zakharov can feed you techs throughout the game.

- Build the Planetary Datalinks Secret Project, which gives you access to
any tech subsequently discovered by three other factions.

THE PEACEKEEPING FORCES (LED BY COMMISSIONER PRAVIN LAL)

The Peacekeepers exist to support the humanitarian principles of the
United Nations of Earth, the organization that originally commissioned the
Unity expedition to Alpha Centauri.  They start the game with the
Biogenetics technology.  The idealism of this faction attracts an
intellectual elite, but their society possesses a tendency towards
bureaucratic inefficiency.  Their bases can exceed normal population
limits by two.  Due to his experience with parliamentary maneuvering,
Lal's vote counts double when the Planetary Council is convened for
election of a Planetary Governor or Supreme Leader.  The Peacekeepers can
not make the "Police State" social choice.  Factions that are at least two
times as strong as the next powerful faction tend to be regarded with
suspicion by the other faction leaders.  You should become allies, it'll
be easier.

-1 Efficiency
Extra talent for every four citizens
May exceed Hab Complex population requirements by two
Receives double votes in elections for Planetary Governor and Supreme
Leader
May not use Police State Politics
Aggression: Erratic
Priorities: Explore, Discover
Starting Technology: Biogenetics
Agenda: Democracy
Aversion: Police State

_Land Bases_

U.N. Headquarters
U.N. Aid Station
U.N. Commerce Committee
U.N. High Commission
U.N. Equality Village
U.N. Court of Justice
U.N. Temple of Sol
U.N. Settlement Agency
U.N. Information Agency
U.N. Haven City
U.N. Enforcement Base
U.N. Planetary Trust
U.N. Great Refuge
U.N. Healthy Authority
U.N. Data Aquisition
U.N. Amnesty Town
U.N. Planning Authority
U.N. Disaster Relief
U.N. Pillar of Rights
U.N. Education Agency
U.N. Criminal Tribunal
U.N. Humanity Base
U.N. Social Council

_Water Bases_

U.N. Ocean Authority
U.N. Sea Habitat
U.N. Peace Anchorage
U.N. Marine Agency
U.N. Port Refuge

========================================
III. Landmarks
========================================

There are several landmarks on Planet.  Most of the landmarks give you
extra resources.

FRESHWATER SEA: The richest aquatic region of Planet which provides +1
Nutrients per    square.

GARLAND CRATER: Made by a comet or another flying object, this crater
produces an extra +1 Mineral bonus.

GEOTHERMAL SHALLOWS: Many underwater geysers provide +1 Energy per square.

GREAT DUNES: A desert which provides no bonus resources.  It is a rather
inhospitable place to live.

MONSOON JUNGLE: A vast rainforest- like area which produces +1 Nutrients
per square.

MOUNT PLANET: An enormous active volcano, which produces a +1 bonus of
both Minerals and Energy per square on its slopes.

NEW SARGASSO: A large growth of underwater fungus.  If provides no bonus
resources; however, you can harvest the fungus.

PHOLUS RIDGE: The geothermal energy produced here, produces +1 Energy per
square.

SUNNY MESA: It provides no resource bonuses, but due to its elevation, it
is a good spot for solar collectors and Echelon Mirrors.

THE RUINS: A ring of monoliths, which provide no bonuses, other than the
monoliths themselves.

URANIUM FLATS: A location with many elements, which provide +1 Energy per
square.

========================================
IV. Secret Projects
========================================

ASCENT TO TRANSCENDENCE: End of Human Era

ASCETIC VIRTUES: Population limit relaxed; +1 Police

BULK MATTER TRANSMITTER: +2 Minerals at each base

CITIZENS' DEFENSE FORCE: Perimeter Defense at each base

CLINICAL IMMORTALITY: Extra talent at each base

CLONING VATS: Population boom at all the bases

COMMAND NEXUS: Command Center at each base

CYBORG FACTORY: Bioenhancement Center at each base

DREAM TWISTER: Psi Attack +50%

EMPATH GUILD: Commlink for every faction

HUMAN GENOME PROJECT: +1 Talent at each base

HUNTER- SEEKER ALGORITHM: Immunity to Probe Teams

LIVING REFINERY: +2 Support

LONGEVITY VACCINE: Fewer drones/ more profits

MARITIME CONTROL CENTER: Naval Movement +2; naval bases

MERCHANT EXCHANGE: +1 Energy each square at the base

NANO FACTORY: Repair units; low upgrade costs

NETWORK BACKBONE: +1 Lab per commerce/ net node

NEURAL AMPLIFIER: Psi Defense +50%

PHOLUS MUTAGEN: Ecology Bonus; Lifecycle bonus

PLANETARY DATALINKS: Any tech known to three others

PLANETARY TRANSIT SYSTEM: New bases begin at size three

SELF- AWARE COLONY: Maintenance halve; Extra police

SINGULARITY INDUCTOR: Quantum Converter at each base

SPACE ELEVATOR: Energy +100%/ Orbital cost halved

SUPERCOLLIDER: Labs +100% at the base

TELEPATHIC MATRIX: No more drone riots; +2 Probe

THEORY OF EVERYTHING: Labs +100% at the base

UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR: 2 Free Techs

Virtual World: Network Nodes help drones

VOICE OF PLANET: Begins Ascent to Transcendence

WEATHER PARADIGM: Terraform +50%

XENOEMPATHY DOME: Fungus movement bonus

=======================================
V. Facilities
=======================================
(#)= Maintenance

- AEROSPACE COMPLEX- +2 Morale: Air; Air defense +100%;(2)

- BIOENHANCEMENT CENTER- +2 Morale: Air; (2)

- BIOLOGY LAB- Research and Psi; (1)

- CENTAURI PRESERVE- Ecology Bonus; (2)

- CHILDREN'S CRECHE- Growth/ Effic/ Morale;(1)

- COMMAND CENTER- +2 Morale: Land; (Varies)

- ENERGY BANK- Economy Bonus; (1)

- FUSION LAB- Economy and Labs Bonus; (3)

- GENEJACK FACTORY- Minerals; More Drones; (2)

- HAB COMPLEX- Increase Population Limit; (2)

- HABITATION DOME- Increase Population Limit; (4)

- HEADQUARTERS- Efficiency; (0)

- HOLOGRAM THEATRE- Psych; Fewer Drones;(3)

- HYBRID FOREST- Economy/ Psych/ Forest;(4)

- NANOHOSPITAL- Labs and Psych Bonus; (4)

- NANOREPLICATOR- Minerals Bonus;(6)

- NAVAL YARD- +2 Morale: Sea; Sea Defense +100%; (2)

- NESSUS MINING STATION- +1 Minerals ALL Bases; (0)

- NETWORK NODE- Labs Bonus; (1)

- ORBITAL DEFENSE POD- Missile Defense; (0)

- ORBITAL POWER TRANSMITTER- +1 Energy ALL Bases; (0)

- PARADISE GARDEN- +2 Talents; (4)

- PERIMETER DEFENSE- Defense +100%; (0)

- PRESSURE DOME- Submersion/ Resources; (0)

- PSI GATE- Teleport; (2)

- PUNISHMENT SPHERE- No Drones; -50% Tech; (2)

- QUANTUM CONVERTER- Minerals Bonus; (5)

- QUANTUM LAB- Economy and Labs bonus; (4)

- RECREATION COMMONS- Fewer Drones; (1)

- RECYCLING TANKS- Bonus Resources; (0)

- RESEARCH HOSPITAL- Labs and Psych bonus; (3)

- ROBOTIC ASSEMBLY PLANT- Minerals Bonus; (4)

- SKUNKWORKS- Prototypes are Free; (1)

- SKY HYDROPONICS LAB- +1 Nutrient ALL Bases; (0)

- STOCKPILE ENERGY- Minerals to Energy; (0)

- TACHYON FIELD- ALL Defense +100%; (2)

- TEMPLE OF PLANET- Ecology Bonus; (3)

- TREE FARM- Economy/ Psych/ Forest; (3)

=======================================
VI. Technologies
=======================================
Biogenetics
The alien environment on Planet brought a host of unforseen
health problems for the colonists. Early inquiries into
{Biogenetics} center on the prevention and treatment
of these problems. Researchers in this discipline seek
an understanding of the entire human genetic code.


Industrial Base
The first colonies lack any kind of factories or heavy
industry, so the creation of an {Industrial Base} becomes
a high priority for economic growth. This Industrial Base
emphasizes small-scale manufacturing with primitive assembly
lines and simple currency instruments.


Information Networks
Survival equipment from the [Unity] contained a variety
of computers purpose-built for the needs of a frontier
society. However, they must first be connected into
{Information Networks} before scientists can utilize
their power.


Applied Physics
The colonists must create new tools from the wreckage of
the [Unity] to survive and expand. Early inquiries into
{Applied Physics} emphasize this adaptation of existing
technology for the new environment.


Social Psych
The overcrowding aboard the [Unity] following the premature
wakeup caused terrible conditions for the crew, but also
generated valuable data concerning humans under extreme
environmental stresses. Analysis of this data provides
the first comprehensive, mathematical insight into the
{Social Psychology} of humans.


Doctrine: Mobility
The early colonists quickly learned the importance of
reconnaissance and self-defense in this most alien
of environments. {Doctrine: Mobility} formalizes
these cornerstones of military might, representing
the first attempts at an organized defense policy
on Planet.


Centauri Ecology
Finding adequate sources of nutrients, energy, and
minerals is the most immediate problem facing the
colonists after Planetfall. An
understanding of the basics of {Centauri Ecology}
provides humans with the tools they need to begin
shaping the world around them-how plants grow, what
geological structures exist, and how natural energy
sources may be exploited on Planet.


Superconductor
The power requirements of [Optical Computers (D3)]
and the nascent [Industrial Base (B1)] stimulate
research into high-temperature {Superconductors},
an advance long considered a Tholy GrailT by physical
chemists. A {Superconductor} is a material
that does not resist a flow of electrons. Using a
{Superconductor}, power can be transmitted at incredible
speeds over vast distances with no degradation. Bulky
and expensive cooling equipment for high-powered
machinery or weaponry becomes unnecessary, because these
materials remain cool and efficient as electricity passes
through them.


Nonlinear Mathematics
By using the power of [Information Networks (D1)] to speed
calculations and encourage collaborations, researchers
make giant strides in the field of {Nonlinear Mathematics},
with significant military applications.


Applied Relativity
Albert Einstein developed his theories of relativity between
1905 and 1916; complete explanations of his work may be found
in a number of sources. Later research into [Advanced Subatomic
Theory (B3)] and [Superconductors (C4)] demonstrated that his
postulates, though innovative for his time, were incomplete. {Applied
Relativity} takes Einstein's basic theories and updates them to
encompass an understanding of newly-discovered phenomena.


Fusion Power
An extremely clean, powerful, and efficient source of energy,
{Fusion Power} was known on Earth for decades as the reaction
that powered the stars. However, scientists could not control
the huge magnitude of released energy, so the only practical
application for {Fusion Power} was in bombs of enormous destructive
power. With the advent of [Superconductors (C4)], and by using
[Pre-sentient Algorithms (D5)] to monitor and control the released
energy, humanity finally has access to cheap, abundant, and
reusable power.


Silksteel Alloys
The growing field of [Industrial Automation (B3)] causes
increased demand for new kinds of material that can withstand
the incredible stresses of the robotic factories. Discoveries
in [Advanced Subatomic Theory (B3)] provide engineers with
these materials, dubbed {Silksteel Alloys} for their
extraordinary tensile strength and flexibility.


Advanced Subatomic Theory
Discoveries in [High Energy Chemistry (C2)] point the way
to a new {Advanced Subatomic Theory} that tries to detect
and quantify the smallest possible underlying particles of
matter. Using self-modifying [Polymorphic Software (D2)],
the physicists developing this theory give mankind a window
on the infinitesimal building blocks of the universe.


High Energy Chemistry
Breakthroughs in [Applied Physics (C1)] and [Industrial Base
(B1)] lead to an understanding of {High Energy Chemistry}.
This discipline seeks to understand the properties and
behavior of matter at very high temperatures, and results
in new types of materials that remain in a stable plasma
state even when superheated by intense laser stimulation.


Frictionless Surfaces
Discovery of the [Unified Field Theory (D10)] allowed
scientists to alter the fundamental properties of matter
itself. The discovery of {Frictionless Surfaces} proves
the most useful application of these techniques. As the
name implies, {Frictionless Surfaces} consist of materials
that remain unaffected by friction, a force that slows
down motion by changing kinetic energy into heat energy.
Moving objects made of these materials do not slow down
as they come into contact with other matter.


Nanometallurgy
Driven by the requirements of [Doctrine: Initiative (E5)]
and the mathematical models behind [Probability Mechanics
(B7)],  {Nanometallurgy} techniques allow engineers to
manipulate metals at the molecular level.


Superstring Theory
One of the more contentious debates that ran through the
physics community of 20th century Earth centered on the
viability of {Superstring Theory}. This theory attempts
to unify the theory of gravity and other fundamental forces,
and posits that all characteristics exhibited by subatomic
particles, such as protons and neutrons, may be described as
vibrations of fundamental, one-dimensional TstringsT. This
concept had been abandoned as untestable, until the development
of [Nonlinear Mathematics (C2)], which offers mathematical
models supporting {Superstring Theory}.


Advanced Military Algorithms
Military requirements have historically pushed technology
forward, and no better example can be found than sophisticated
software development. From the first computers, designed to
calculate artillery shell trajectories, to {Advanced Military
Algorithms} developed from [Polymorphic Software (D2)] and
[Doctrine: Flexibility (E2)], mankind has worked to extend
warfare into the digital world.


Monopole Magnets
Magnetism, like electricity and gravity, is one of the
fundamental forces of the universe. Prior to research
in [Superstring Theory (C5)] and [Silksteel Alloys (E4)],
all known magnets were dipolar, with a north and a south
pole. Development of a {Monopole Magnet} permits radical
new applications for science and industry.


Matter Compression
Breakthroughs in [Nanominiaturization (B8)] and
[Nanometallurgy (E8)] lead to complex {Matter
Compression} techniques. Using these techniques,
scientists can create materials as dense as the
inside of a star, with significant military and
industrial applications.


Unified Field Theory
Scientists have long worked towards a single theory
that explains all fundamental forces in
nature (gravity, magnetism, etc.)-a {Unified Field
Theory}. Advances in [Monopole Magnets (B6)] and
[Applied Relativity (D5)] help reveal these fundamental
mechanics of the universe.


Graviton Theory
[Quantum Machinery (D12)] and [Mind\Machine Interface
(B6)] pave the way for an understanding of gravity-the
weakest fundamental force in the universe, but one that
acts at infinite distances. With {Graviton Theory},
physicists can detect and measure the long-predicted
gravitons-particle strings that TcarryT gravitational force.


Polymorphic Software
On Earth, only theoretical mathematicians and entertainment
software programmers used {Polymorphic Software}--self-modifying
code--to any success. On Planet, the requirements of the budding
[Industrial Base (B1)] and [Information Networks (D1)]
spur widespread development of neural net applications that rewrite
themselves in response to data inputs.


Applied Gravitonics
Once physicists discover [Graviton Theory (E13)], they
turn their attention to {Applied Gravitonics}--the control
of gravity itself. By controlling and manipulating the
graviton strings that carry gravitational force, mankind
can levitate objects regardless of mass or proximity to
other objects.


Quantum Power
Earth scientist Max Planck first coined the term "quantum"
to describe an individual particle of light. Planck though
each quantum was indivisible, so that a fraction of a
quantum could not exist. One of the more startling
discoveries arising from [Unified Field Theory] was
that individual quantum actually could be split into
component sub-particles, much like atoms may be split
through fission. The energy released by {Quantum Power}
is several orders of magnitude greater than ordinary [Fusion Power].


Singularity Mechanics
Knowledge of [The Secrets of Creation (D11)] paved the
way for understanding {Singularity Mechanics}. This
technology seeks the physical causes and composition
of black holes-phenomena produced by points of infinitely
dense matter that warp the fabric of space and time
itself. Probes guided by onboard [Self-aware Machines
(B11)] transmit the data necessary to replicate this
natural occurrence in controlled laboratory conditions.


Controlled Singularity
As engineers quickly discovered, itTs one thing to
understand [Singularity Mechanics (D12)] and another
thing entirely to attempt {Controlled Singularity}--harnessing
and directing the powers of a black hole. Breakthroughs in
[Applied Gravitronics (E14)] finally make this technology
possible, with a host of amazing and potent applications,
from radical new types of weaponry to global power sources.


Temporal Mechanics
Breakthroughs in [Eudaimonia (E12)] and [Matter
Transmission (B17)] lead to the last great discovery
of the physical universe: {Temporal Mechanics}, the
manipulation of time itself.


Probability Mechanics
With operating systems powered by [Pre-sentient Algorithms
(D5)], computers finally gain sufficient processing power
to unravel the mysteries of {Probability Mechanics}. With
this breakthrough, humans can accurately predict many
seemingly random events.


Pre-Sentient Algorithms
The philosophy of [Cyberethics (B4)] and the technology of
[Advanced Military Algorithms (E3)] pave the way for
development of {Pre-sentient Algorithms}. These open-ended
neural net programs can sort and process exebytes of data,
TlearningT as they do so and adapting to the world they observe.


Super Tensile Solids
The requirements of [Advanced Spaceflight (E8)] and
the possibilities inherent in [Matter Compression
(C9)] lead to research in {Super Tensile Solids}. These
materials possess such strength as to be functionally
unbreakable in a natural environment.


Planetary Networks
Once the colonists discovered how to survive, they focus on recreating
some of the organizational tools left behind on Earth.
Following the implementation of simple [Information
Networks (D1)], the creation of a standard for {Planetary
Networks} emerges as a high priority for the scientific community.


Digital Sentience
When utilized as part of [Industrial Nanorobotics
(B9)], the [Mind\Machine Interface (B6)] provides
the key spark needed by computers to at last achieve
{Digital Sentience}. These new artificial intelligences
have all the hallmarks of an individual organism:
they respond to their environment, adapt to stimuli,
and even exhibit advanced TpersonalitiesT based on
their respective abilities and  preferences.


Self-Aware Machines
Following the advent of [Digital Sentience (D10)],
computers have only one great leap left: the evolution
to {Self-Aware Machines}. These machines are capable
of complex, higher-order thinking, and value the experience
of existence as much as any human. As with other living
organisms, self-preservation is paramount for these specimens.


Doctrine: Initiative
The slow moving foils and transports developed under
[Doctrine: Flexibility (E2)] provided an adequate early
naval force. However, materials and manufacturing
advances resulting from [Industrial Automation (B3)]
make possible new classes of powerful ships developed
as part of {Doctrine: Initiative}, which stresses the
importance of global naval superiority.


Doctrine: Flexibility
Many radical young military officers felt that [Doctrine:
Mobility (E1)] did not go far enough in the development
of fast attacks and quick reconnaissance, because Mobility
only takes land forces into account. These leaders work
to create the first navies on Planet,  based on {Doctrine:
Flexibility}--co-ordination and co-operation between forces
made possible by control of the sea.


Intellectual Integrity
The search for {Intellectual Integrity} arises from
questions posed by [Ethical Calculus (E2)] and [Doctrine:
Loyalty (C2)]. According to this philosophy, valid
wisdom comes merely from asking questions unburdened
by prejudices. Only by shedding those pre-conceived
notions can we achieve the clarity of undistorted knowledge.


Synthetic Fossil Fuels
The extreme efficiency with which the neural net
fungus managed Planet's vast ecosystem kept extensive
deposits of organic material from forming over the epochs.
Because of this lack, the fossil fuels known on Earth
never developed, forcing early colonists to rely on less
efficient alternative sources of energy. However, advances
in [Advanced Subatomic Theory (B3)] and [Gene Splicing (B3)]
finally allow humans to short-circuit the eons-long process,
providing them with the {Synthetic Fossil Fuels} needed
to build advanced vehicles and machinery.


Doctrine: Air Power
Mankind had brought the knowledge of atmospheric flight
to Planet, but not the materials to build and maintain
large quantities of aircraft in Planet's harsh conditions.
With the discovery of [Synthetic Fossil Fuels (E4)]  for
materials and a renewed emphasis on [Doctrine: Flexibility (E2)],
humans can again make the leap into the clouds.


Photon/Wave Mechanics
Physicists had puzzled over the mystery of light for
centuries: Why does light exhibit properties characteristic
of both a wave and a particle? In 1924, Prince Louis-Victor
de Broglie, a French scientist, proved that all particles
actually possess a wave aspect, which explained how light
can act as a wave even though it does consist of
particles, called photons. Following breakthroughs
in [Silksteel Alloys (E4)] and [Applied Relativity
(D5)], subsequent scientific inquiry focuses on the
manipulation of {Photon\Wave Mechanics} so that light,
even powerful laser beams or intense solar emissions,
can be diffused and warped as needed.


Mind/Machine Interface
Research into [Neural Grafting (C4)] demonstrated that
direct communications between the human brain and a
digital counterpart are theoretically possible. This
{Mind\Machine Interface}, requested by leaders
implementing [Doctrine: Air Power (E5)] for a new
generation of aircraft, bridges the gap between the
mechanical and the biological.


Nanominiaturization
[Monopole Magnets (B6)] and [Organic Superlubricants
(C7)] lead to a revolution in engineering: {Nanominiaturization}.
With this technology, which emphasizes new assembly methods
and high-tensile strength materials, microscopic machine
components can be constructed and all manner of bulky,
heavy equipment can be shrunk to a fraction of its original size.


Doctrine: Loyalty
[Doctrine: Mobility (E1)] proved a sound dogma for the
early years on Planet. However, as the struggle for
survival against native Mind Worms and rival factions
intensifies, many younger officers repudiate the old
guardTs emphasis on Mobility as the dominant military
policy. Based also on the revelations of [Social Psych
(B1)], the new {Doctrine: Loyalty} stresses extensive
training, defensive facilities, and zealous dedication
to faction leaders as the foundation for survival and
success in combat. {Doctrine: Loyalty} emphasizes a
two-way fealty--soldiers are expected to lay down their
lives without question, but in return they receive
respect, power, and positions of authority in the new
social hierarchy.


Ethical Calculus
Throughout the history of mankind, philosophers have
grappled with the question: THow shall we then live?T
{Ethical Calculus} lays down mathematical principles
uncovered by [Social Psych (B1)] to address this question,
essentially providing calculations and functions that
determine appropriate human behavior.


Industrial Economics
Early industry on Planet centered on the creation
of a frontier [Industrial Base (B1)] featuring primitive
assembly lines and simple currency instruments. Soon,
leaders in the financial sectors push for a more
comprehensive {Industrial Economics} policy to accommodate
free trade and other strategies for multiplying capital.


Industrial Automation
The creation of [Planetary Networks (D2)] and
widespread adoption of [Industrial Economics
(B2)] lead to rapid industrialization of the
virgin Planet. Lacking the traditional masses
of EarthTs working class, leaders must now develop
complete {Industrial Automation} for production
and assembly , building modest factories where
all repetitive nonskilled jobs, from janitor to
VP of Sales, are handled by sophisticated robotics.


Centauri Meditation
[Centauri Empathy (E3)] and [Ecological Engineering
(E4)] reveal the vastness and complexity of the
ecosystem on Planet. Research into {Centauri
Meditation} illuminates the next, almost terrifying
step-the attempt to communicate directly with
Planet itself.


Secrets of the Human Brain
All past research on memory, learning, the senses,
and other aspects of the human brain did not answer
one basic question: what is the biological mechanism
of self-awareness? Research into [Biogenetics (D1)]
and [Social Psych (B1)] finally resolves the last of
the {Secrets of the Human Brain}, providing mankind
with understanding of the fundamentals of consciousness.


Gene Splicing
Widespread adoption of the philosophy of [Ethical
Calculus (E2)] removes opposition to genetic
experimentation in plant and animal DNA, while
advances in [Biogenetics (D1)] provide techniques
for the incipient field of {Gene Splicing}. This
technology allows researchers to insert new DNA
coding into existing genetic material so that
entire traits, from disease resistance to a stable
personality, can be copied from one organism and
transferred to any number of others.


Bio-Engineering
[Gene Splicing (B3)] and [Neural Grafting (C4)]
exemplify crude and invasive techniques for modifying
an organism. The more refined {Bio-engineering}
method arranges a desired genetic code directly
from the component compounds, enabling widespread
and economical cellular transplants for an entire
population.


Biomachinery
Early experiments in [Retroviral Engineering (C5)]
and the [Mind\Machine Interface (B6)] paved the way
for true {Biomachinery}--the full integration of
man and machine at the cellular level.


Neural Grafting
The insatiable drive for efficiency spawned by
[Industrial Automation (B3)] drives the development
of {Neural Grafting}. This new technology, based
on [Secrets of the Human Brain (D2)], allows
attachment of  digital circuitry directly to
the neural cortex. With these implants, humans
willing to undergo {Neural Grafting} can enhance
many aspects of their physical being, from heightened
senses to faster reaction times.


Cyberethics
Widespread adoption of [Planetary Networks (D2)]
and the philosophy of [Intellectual Integrity (E3)]
allows for a coherent system of {Cyberethics},
outlining the proper relationship of computers
to society.


Eudaimonia
{Eudaimonia} is a philosophical system that takes
its name from an ancient Greek word for fulfillment
and happiness. Based on economic equity made
possible by [Sentient Econometrics (E11)] and
rooted in opposition to the excesses of [The
Will to Power (E8)], {Eudaimonia} encourages
each citizen to achieve happiness through striving
to fulfill completely his or her potential;
freedom, creativity, and individuality flourish
in governments that adopt this philosophy.


The Will to Power
Following the development of [Homo Superior (E7)], many
advocated a return to Friedrich NietzscheTs philosophy
of {The Will To Power}. This philosophy stresses
the importance of strength, asceticism, and
resolute action, often at the cost of compassion,
charity, and other traditionally religious
qualities.


Threshold of Transcendence
The [Secrets of Creation (D11)] and [Temporal
Mechanics (B18)] brought humanity to the brink
of a new era--the {Threshold of Transcendence}.
In this transitional state, people begin preparations
for the final stage of human evolution, selling
possessions, cleansing their bodies according to
a new code of asceticism, and meditating alone
and unprotected in the remote regions of Planet.


Matter Transmission
[Matter Editation (B16)] and the [Secrets of
Alpha Centauri (D12)] point the way to one of
the most celebrated concepts in science
fiction--{Matter Transmission}. Transmitters
based on this technology disassemble objects
into the smallest component sub-particles, then
transmits those particles and their underlying
structural blueprint to a receiver. The
receiver reassembles these objects according to
the blueprint, recreating the original in
every nuance and detail.


Centauri Empathy
Based on [Secrets of the Human Brain (D2)] and
[Centauri Ecology (E1)], {Centauri Empathy}
espouses a philosophy of environmental harmony,
emphasizing the search for mankindTs proper niche
in the global ecosystem.


Environmental Economics
Industrial expansion often comes at the cost of
ecological stability. The business practice of
{Environmental Economics} addresses this problem
by finding and exploiting areas where
environmental and industrial concerns overlap,
such as sustainable resource use, eco-tourism,
and organic product development. By combining
the principles of [Industrial Economics (B2)]
and [Ecological Engineering (E4)] in this new
business model, ecological stability becomes
a profitable endeavor.


Ecological Engineering
Humans have always shown remarkable skill at
innovation and ingenuity in the face of environmental
hurdles. Expansion on a new Planet highlights
these traits once again in the form of {Ecological
Engineering}. Based on the discoveries of [Centauri
Ecology (E1)] and [Gene Splicing (B3)], this research
leads to new ways of thriving within the existing
ecosystem, rather than competing with it.


Planetary Economics
Early industrial policy on Planet centered on
individual markets and sectors, such as
[Environmental Economics (B5)], but these
separate sectors create inefficiencies. Proponents
of [Intellectual Integrity (E3)] insist that these
inefficiencies are unnecessary, and work to create
a system of {Planetary Economics} where goods and
services can flow freely.


Adv. Ecological Engineering
The discovery of [Fusion Power (D6)] opened up
staggering possibilities in a number of endeavors,
including the field of [Environmental Economics
(B5)]. Based on the cumulative experience from
thousands of construction projects undertaken
since Planetfall, {Advanced Ecological Engineering}
marks a new milestone in manTs ability to manipulate
his environment.


Centauri Psi
[Centauri Genetics (E6)] and [Advanced Ecological
Engineering (B10)] revealed the physical composition
of native life forms, but did not explain the
mysterious and terrifying psionic attacks these
creatures employ. Unlocking the mechanics of
this directed, psychic assault requires intense
investigation of {Centauri Psi}--the method used
by the Mind Worms to communicate and co-ordinate
their assaults.


Secrets of Alpha Centauri
Some digital sentiences churn through exebytes
of Planet-related data in their never-ending quest
to untangle [Sentient Econometrics (E11)]. The
best of these sentiences do not stop at sorting
economic data, but extend their inquiries into
[Centauri Psi (E11)] and other Planetary phenomena.
They work to reveal these {Secrets of Alpha Centauri}
as a kind of personal challenge, to prove themselves
as machines that can not only conquer the intricacies
of human society, but also the magnificent complexities
of a Planet-wide ecosystem.


Secrets of Creation
Those who embrace [The Will To Power (E8)] must
eventually confront the ultimate philosophical
question: What is the purpose and order of the
universe? Confirmation of the [Unified Field
Theory (C7)] finally gives mankind the tools to
answer this question in the search for the
{Secrets of Creation}.


Advanced Spaceflight
Resumption of {Advanced Spaceflight} begins
shortly after mankind begins [Orbital Spaceflight
(E7)]. With this technology, spacecraft can once
again reach the moons orbiting Planet and,
eventually, the stars themselves.


Homo Superior
Breakthroughs in [Biomachinery (B9)] and [Doctrine:
Initiative (E5)] paved the way for a new kind of organism
that is equal parts human and computer. The human
aspect thrives at physical manipulation and emotional
experience, while the digital aspect excels at
calculation and data processing. This {Homo Superior}
integrates the best of man and machine.


Organic Superlubricant
Machines with moving parts have long been subject
to wear and tear as the parts grind against one
another. On Earth, traditional lubricants such
as oil were used to minimize these effects.
Planet lacks large reserves of such materials,
until the invention of [Synthetic Fossil Fuels
(E4)]. With {Organic Superlubricant}, scientists
can create lubricating compounds that act like
simple life forms, seeking out areas where they
do the most good.


Quantum Machinery
The discovery of [Quantum Power (B11)] ushers in
a new industrial revolution. In factories across
Planet, tiny {Quantum Machinery} built using
[Nanometallurgy (E8)] techniques provide amazingly
powerful and efficient labor for every imaginable
type of production and service.


Matter Editation
Not long after the breakthroughs in [Super Tensile
Solids (B10)] and [Self-aware Machines (B11)],
engineers clamor to research the last major hurdle
in physical manipulation--{Matter Editation}. This
technique actually changes the physical structure of
individual atoms, altering characteristics like
energy states, spin, atomic weight, and the number
of protons as though they were entries in a database.
This technology is the modern embodiment of the ancient
quest to turn lead into gold-transmutation of elements
made possible by atomic manipulation.


Optical Computers
The widespread adoption of [Polymorphic Software
(D2)] increased demand for faster computers. The
revolutionary {Optical Computers}, which use photons
traveling at the speed of light for binary
calculations,  prove nearly 70% faster than old
electron-based devices. Based on successes in
[Applied Physics (C1)], {Optical Computers} also
exponentially improve storage capacities and access
times.


Industrial Nanorobotics
The business leaders of Planet quickly perceived
the commercial potential of [Nanominiaturizion
(B8)], and constructed factories based around
{Industrial Nanorobotics}. These factories
utilize traditional [Industrial Automation
(B3)], but at a fraction of the size and cost.
Productivity skyrockets along with profitability,
as tiny robots churn out new products for consumption.


Centauri Genetics
The first contacts with Planetary sentience during
research on [Centauri Meditation (E5)] caused widespread
excitement among the scientific community. They propose
using new [Retroviral Engineering (C5)] techniques to
unravel {Centauri Genetics}--the structural blueprint
of native organisms.


Sentient Econometrics
For all the sophistication of its mathematical models,
[Planetary Economics (E6)] proved no better at
predicting the actions of markets and populations
than Wall Street prognosticators of 20th Century
Earth-there are too many unknown variables with
unforeseeable consequences. Proponents of {Sentient
Econometrics} take the best Tintelligent computersT
developed under [Digital Sentience (D10)] and set
them to identifying these variables and predicting
their consequences. Under their diligent efforts,
economics finally becomes a true science.


Retroviral Engineering
{Retroviral Engineering}, a specialized branch of
[Bio-engineering (B4)], uses engineered viruses to
deliver genetic alterations. This application can
be used for peaceful, healing purposes, but can also
be twisted by the same militant researchers behind
[Advanced Military Algorithms (E3)] into a weapon
of terrible destruction.


Orbital Spaceflight
The early colonists certainly bring the technical
understanding of spaceflight with them, but they
lack the materials and infrastructure necessary
to construct spacecraft. Eventually, implementation
of [Doctrine: Air Power (E5)] furnishes the
infrastructure, while advanced [Pre-sentient
Algorithms (D5)] provide the tools for mankindTs
return to {Orbital Spaceflight}.


Transcendent Thought
Based on [Controlled Singularity (C16)] and
[Threshold of Transcendence (E19)], humanity
finally unlocks the keys to the final stage of
human evolution with {Transcendent Thought}--the
ability to contain a self-awareness, or TsoulT,
outside the bounds of a corporeal form. Those
who so choose may now complete the Ascent to
Transcendence, joining their consciousness with
the Planetary mind in ageless immortality.

========================================
VII. Planetary Council Proposals
========================================

ELECT PLANETARY GOVERNOR: New Governor Appointed

GLOBAL TRADE PACT: Commerce Rates Doubled

INCREASE SOLAR SHADE: Global Cooling; Sea Levels Drop

LAUNCH SOLAR SHADE: Global Coolong; Sea Levels Drop

MELT POLAR CAPS: Global Warming; Sea Levels Rise

REINSTATE U.N. CHARTER: Atrocity Prohibitions Return

REPEAL GLOBAL TRADE PACT: Commerce Rates Halved

REPEAL U.N. CHARTER: Atrocity Prohibitions Lifted

SALVAGE UNITY FUSION CORE: +500 Energy Credits To Every Faction

UNITE BEHIND ME AS THE SUPREME LEADER: Diplomatic Victory; Game Ends

========================================
VIII. Citizens
========================================

                              Bonus To Economy     Labs      Psych
DOCTOR                            0                 0         +2

DRONE

EMPATH                           +2                 0         +2

ENGINEER                         +3                +2          0

LIBRARIAN                         0                +3          0

TALENT

TECHNICIAN                       +3                 0          0

THINKER                           0                +3         +1

TRANSCEND                        +2                +4         +2

WORKER

=========================================
IX. General Tips
=========================================

- Be sure to use the best terrain improvement for each square: farms in
rainy squares, forests in arid or moist, and mines in rocky.

- I recommend to build at least two military units at each base to start
off with.

- After your military units are built, build some formers.

- I recommend that you build recycling tanks and supply pods next.  This
will increase efficiency and expansion.

- If you want, build Mind Worms.  However, you must build these nasty
critters early in the game.  They won't be as useful, because the factions
will have sufficiently developed their Psi defenses.

- Don't forget to build things like the Children's Creche, Biology Lab,
and Hab Complex.

- I recommend signing treaties or pacts with some or most of the other
factions for a short time, at least.

- Don't forget that units can hide in the fungus.

- Boreholes are very important in the production of resources at your
bases.  I recommend having at least one borehole for every four bases.

- Remember to scout for the landmarks. They will provide extra resources.

- Build sensory arrays as you explore to watch for mind worms.

- Send Supply Crawlers to retrieve far away resource deposits.

- Naval Bases and Aerospace Complexes add to your faction's dominance and
expandability.

- Remember to build kelp farms, tidal harnesses, and mining platforms for
bases near an ocean.

- You can defend your borders by planting a line of fungus and hiding
units in it.  Remember to make some sensors near there as well.  This will
prevent the other factions from doing the same.

- If you're located on the western side of a long landmass that you share
with other factions, you must define the eastern edge of your territory by
raising a ridge line.  You can settle the green exposure, while the
barren, eastern exposure will create a no- man's land that the enemy will
be reluctant to expand into.

- To invade a nearby landmass which isn't connected by land, consider
raising a land bridge.  You can also use transport boats.

- If your land is arid, build a condenser to make it more moist.

- Build solar collectors adjacent to Echelon Mirrors in high elevation
locations.

- Forests are easy to produce and provide sufficient resources, so plant
several forests near your bases.

- Upgrade your units in the field by pressing [Ctrl][U].

- If possible, get the Weather Paradigm.  You will be able to do the other
types of terraforming that requires Ecological Engineering, without
actually having that technology.

- You should upgrade to Mag Tubes when you get the Monopole Magnets
Technology.  You will be able to move a little quicker.  Unfortunately,
the other factions can still use them.

- To soften up a unit prior to final attack, complete a bombarding run.

===========================================
X. Hot Keys
===========================================

MAP COMMANDS

Move units/ View Map- [V]
Zoom in- [Z]
Zoom Out- [X]
Standard zoom in- [Shift][Z]
Standard zoom out- [Shift][X]
Full zoom in- [Ctrl][Z]
Full zoom out- [Ctrl][X]
Toggle flattened terrain- [Ctrl][Shift][X]
Toggle map & Grid- [Ctrl][G]
Toggle base grid- [Ctrl][Shift][G]
Show autoforward routes- [Ctrl][Shift][B]
Show patrol orders- [Shift][P]
Terrain Survey- [T]
Hide/ Show Names Et Production- [Ctrl][N]
Name Landmark- [Shift][N]
Erase Landmark- [Ctrl][Shift][N]
Locate Base- [Ctrl][B]
Previous Cursor Position- [Backspace]
Next Cursor Position- [Shift][Backspace]
Center screen- [C]

UNIT ACTION COMMANDS

Construct Base [Colony Pod]- [B]
Join Base [Colony Pod]- [B]
Obliterate Base [Any Unit in Base]- [B]
Long Range Fire- [F]
Airdrop- [I]
Activate Special Ability- [I]
Psi Gate- [Shift][I]
Convoy Resources- [O]
Destroy Enhancements- [D]
Disband Unit- [Shift][D]
Automate Unit- [Shift][A]
Explore Automatically- [/]
Patrol- [P]
Designate Bombing Run- [B]
Automate Air Defense- [Ctrl][Shift][B]
Go to Base...- [G]
Group go to...- [J]
Assemble Group- [Shift][J]
Go to Home Base- [Shift][G]
Set Home Base- [Ctrl][H]
Activate (Move Now)- [A]
Wait (Move Later)- [W]
Unload Transport- [Shift][U]
Upgrade Unit- [Ctrl][U]
Turn Over Unit Control- [Ctrl][Shift][U]
Designate Defender- [Ctrl][D]
Sentry/Board Transport- [L]
Place Unit "On Alert"- [Shift][L]
Hold 10 Turns- [Shift][H]
Hold This Position- [H]
Skip Turn- [Spacebar]

TERRAFORM COMMANDS

Cultivate Farm/Kelp Farm- [F]
Construct Soil Enricher (Over Farm)- [F]
Construct Mine/Mining Platform- [M]
Construct Solar Collector/Tidal Harness- [S]
Plant Forest- [Shift][F]
Build Road- [R]
Build Mag Tube (Over Road)- [R]
Construct Bunker- [K]
Construct Airbase- [.]
Construct Sensory Array- [O]
Remove Fungus- [F]
Plant Fungus- [Ctrl][F]
Construct Condenser- [N]
Construct Echelon Mirror- [Shift][E]
Construct Thermal Borehole [Shift][B]
Drill to Aquifier- [Q]
Terraform Up- (])
Terraform Down- ([)
Terraform Level- [_]
Farm+Solar+Road- [Ctrl][Shift][S]
Farm+Mine+Road- [Ctrl][Shift][M]
Construct Road To- [Ctrl][R]
Construct Tube To- [Ctrl][T]
Automatic Roads- [Ctrl][Shift][R]
Automatic Tubes- [Ctrl][Shift][T]
Automatic Sensors- [Ctrl][Shift][O]
Automatic Fungus Removal- [Ctrl][Shift][F]
Autoimprove Home Base- [Ctrl][Shift][A]
Fully Automate Former- [Shift][A]

GAME COMMANDS

Switch To Detailed Menus- [F11]
Switch To Simple Menus- [F11]
Preferences- [Ctrl][P]
Warning Preferences- [Ctrl][W]
Advanced Preferences- [Ctrl][O]
Automation Preferences- [Ctrl][A]
Audio/Visual Preferences- [Ctrl][I]
Map Display Preferences- [Ctrl][M]
Save Game- [Ctrl][S]
Load Game- [Ctrl][L]
Resign- [Ctrl][Q]
Start New Game- [Ctrl][Shift][Q]
Quit- [Q]
Speed Up Game during AI turn- Hold [Shift]

MULTIPLAYER GAME COMMANDS

Chat- [Ctrl][C]
Voice Transmission- Hold [\]
Pause- [Backspace]
Alter Time Controls- [Shift][T]
Zoom to Base Messages- [*]
Use Time Bonus- [Ctrl][Spacebar]
End Turn- [Ctrl][Enter]
Resume Turn- [Ctrl][Enter]

BASE COMMANDS

Social Engineering- [E]
Set Research Priorities (with Blind Research)- [Shift][R]
Change Research Goal- [Shift][R]
Design Workshop- [U]
Datalinks- [F1]
Laboratories Status- [F2]
Energy Banks- [F3]
Base Operations Status- [F4]
Secret Project Data- [F5]
Orbital and Space Status- [F6]
Military Command Nexus- [F7]
Alpha Centauri Score- [F8]
View Monuments- [F9]
View Hall of Fame- [F10]
Communications and Protocol- [F12]
Corner Global Energy Market- [,]
Review Scenario Objectives- [=]

===========================================
Special Section-- Unit Design Misc.
===========================================

CHASSIS

INFANTRY
Domain: Land
Speed: 8km\hr
Modality: Manual\Tracked
Dimensions: N\A
Modifiers: +25% vs. base

SPEEDER
Domain:  Land
Speed: 102km\hr
Modality: Wheeled
Dimensions: 7.7x3.6x2.9m
Modifiers: +25% in open

HOVERTANK
Domain: Land
Speed: 227 km\hr
Modality: Aircushion
Dimensions: 6.9x3x3m
Modifiers: +25% in open

FOIL
Domain: Sea
Speed: 62 km\hr
Modality: Airfoil
Dimensions: 162x24.25x17.5m
Modifiers: None

CRUISER
Domain: Sea
Speed: 115 km\hr
Modality: Naval Keel
Dimensions: 200x50.5x20m
Modifiers: None

NEEDLEJET
Domain: Air
Speed: 766 km\hr
Modality: Fixed-wing aircraft
Dimensions: 18.6x12.5x4.4m
Modifiers: Require refuel every 2 turns

'COPTER
Domain: Air
Speed: 523 km\hr
Modality: Rotary
Dimensions: 15.5x6x4m
Modifiers: Range unaffected by fuel

GRAVSHIP
Domain: Air
Speed: 1021 km\hr
Modality: Gravitron booster
Dimensions: 22x8x6m
Modifiers: Range unaffected by fuel

MISSILE
Domain: Air
Speed: 232.5 km\hr
Modality: Assisted airflow
Dimensions: 15.5x.5x.5m
Modifiers: Destroyed on impact


REACTORS

FISSION PLANT
Rating: 32655 kw
Throughput: 29377 kw
Efficiency: 89.99%
Discharge: 52 r
Fuel source: U-235

FUSION REACTOR
Rating: 68003 kw
Throughput: 62821 kw
Efficiency: 92.38%
Discharge: 67 r
Fuel source: Ionized deuterium

QUANTUM CHAMBER
Rating: 147893 kw
Throughput: 141977 kw
Efficiency: 96.01%
Discharge: 21 r
Fuel source: Deuterium-tritium mix

SINGULARITY ENGINE
Rating: >4000000 kw
Throughput: Var
Efficiency: Var
Discharge: N\A
Fuel source: Vizorium-5

WEAPONS

HAND WEAPONS
Ammo: 7.62mm UN standard
Muzzle velocity: 1100 mps
Rate of fire: Var; max 120\min
Max range: 550 m
Target acquistion: Visual

LASER
Active medium: Diode
Type: Fiber-coupled
Pulse duration: 5 nsec
Wavelength: 193 nm
Peak power: .84 gw
Burn rate (1m steel): .76 sec

PARTICLE IMPACTOR
Ammo: 10mm caseless Kinetic Energy
Muzzle velocity: 2500 mps
Rate of fire: 1100\min
Max range: 2700 m
Target acquistion: Optical

MISSILE LAUNCHER
Ammo: Mk. 12(t) 'Sabre' missile
Velocity: Mach 2.2
Rate of fire: 6\min
Max range: 90 km
Target acquistion: IR signature

GATLING LASER
Active medium: Neodymium-glass
Type: Conductively cooled stacked array
Pulse duration: 2 nsec
Wavelength: 107 nm
Peak power: .96 gw
Burn rate (1m steel): .52 sec

CHAOS GUN
Ammo: 9mm caseless Field Disruptor
Muzzle velocity: 3000 mps
Rate of fire: 10\min
Max range: 11 km
Target acquistion: Field Differential

FUSION LASER
Active medium: Neodymium-YAG
Type: Actively cooled stacked array
Pulse duration: 15 nsec
Wavelength: 573 nm
Peak power: 2.4 gw
Burn rate (1m steel): .14 sec

TACHYON BOLT
Active medium: Molecular hydrogen
Type: Active liquid coolant
Pulse duration: 1 usec
Wavelength: 680 nm
Peak power: 5 gw
Burn rate (1m steel): .07 sec

PLASMA SHARD
Ammo: 15 mm Mass-energy shell
Muzzle velocity: Var; max 4000 mps
Rate of fire: 160\min
Max range: 16 km
Target acquistion: Charged particle

QUANTUM LASER
Active medium: Temporal field distortion
Type: Crystal diffusion
Pulse duration: N\A
Wavelength: .005 nm
Peak power: Var.
Burn rate (1m steel): N\A

GRAVITON GUN
Ammo: 2mm 3-stage particle-accelerated
Muzzle velocity: 9800 mps
Rate of fire: 2000\min
Max range: 1.4 km
Target acquistion: Nanoremote

SINGULARITY LASER
Active medium: Temporal boundary
Type: Singularity induction
Pulse duration: Relative
Wavelength: .001 nm
Peak power: N\A (approach inf.)
Burn rate (1m steel): Relative


PSI ATTACK
Active medium: Patterened energy
Type: Compelled dissociative
Range: Line of sight
Peak power: Inverse to distance
Target acquisition: Psi lock

PLANET BUSTER
Designation: Mk. 714 Plasma bomb
Active kill radius: 2000 km
Explosve force: 296 gt TNT
Target acquistion: Charged particle

COLONY MODULE
Complement: 1000+
Composition: Prefab plastic
Hydroponics rating: indef.
Armament: Sidearms only
Armor: Passive (Applique)

TERRAFORMING UNIT
Crew: 367
Composition: Bonded steel\ceramic
Armament: Sidearms only
Armor: Passive (Applique)

TROOP TRANSPORT
Capacity: 500 troops + support
Composition: Hardened plasteel
Hydroponics rating: ST
Armor: Passive (Applique)

SUPPLY TRANSPORT
Capacity: 2575 mt
Composition: reinforced plasteel
Armament: Sidearms only
Armor: Passive (Applique)

PROBE TEAM
Complement: 16
Counterintel suite: ShieldSafe V 6.0
Armament: Cyberlinks\mind control
Armor: Passive (Applique)

DEFENSES

NO ARMOR
Type: N\A
Tensile strength: N\A
Density: N\A
Thickness: N\A

SYNTHMETAL ARMOR
Type: Chobham (modified)
Tensile strength: Base
Density: 2.3 kg\l
Thickness: 250mm

PLASMA STEEL ARMOR
Type: Mass-energy composite
Tensile strength: 5X base
Density: 2.5 kg\l
Thickness: 520mm

SILKSTEEL ARMOR
Type: Bonded
Tensile strength: 23X base
Density: 2.5 kg\l
Thickness: 520mm

PHOTON WALL
Type: Refractive field
Tensile strength: 46X base
Density: N\A
Thickness: 2m

PROBABILITY SHEATH
Type: Phase adjustment
Tensile strength: 97X base
Density: N\A
Thickness: N\A

NEUTRONIUM ARMOR
Type: Kinetic diffusion
Tensile strength: 198X base
Density: 4kg\l
Thickness: 755mm

ANTIMATTER PLATE
Type: Reactive
Tensile strength: 560X base
Density  -4 kg\l
Thickness: Var.

STASIS GENERATOR
Type: Temporal field distortion
Tensile strength: N\A
Density: N\A
Thickness: N\A

PSI DEFENSE
Type: Pattern refraction
Resistance: Proportional to distance
Density: N\A
Thickness: N\A



ABILITIES

SUPER FORMER
Desc.: SmartSettler V2.0 s\w upgrade
Effect: Terraform rate doubled
Limits: Terraformer unit only
Domain: All

DEEP RADAR
Desc.: Mk. 45 Sensor array upgrade
Effect: Sees 2 spaces
Limits: None
Domain: All

CLOAKING DEVICE
Desc.: Type IV Refraction\diffusion shield
Effect: Invisible; Ignores ZOCs
Limits: Not for use in Probe Teams
Domain: Land

AMPHIBIOUS PODS
Desc.: Hoverpod LCs
Effect: Attacks from ships
Limits: Combat units only
Domain: Land

DROP PODS
Desc.: Aircushion LCs
Effect: Can make airdrops
Limits: None
Domain: Land

AIR SUPERIORITY
Desc.: Mk. 66 fire control sensor
Effect: Attacks air units
Limits: Combat units only
Domain: All

DEEP PRESSURE HULL
Desc.: Reinforced Silksteel chassis
Effect: Operates underwater
Limits: Combat units only
Domain: Sea

CARRIER DECK
Desc.: Bonded alloy flight deck
Effect: Mobile Airbase
Limits: Not for use in Probe Teams
Domain: Sea

TRACKING LASERS
Desc.: Mk. 190 FUBR fire control system
Effect: x2 vs. air attacks
Limits: Not for use with Psi or air units
Domain: Land, Sea

COMM JAMMER
Desc.: Type IX ECTS EMP pulse generator
Effect: +50% vs. fast units
Limits: Combat, non-Psi units only
Domain: Land

ANTIGRAV STRUTS
Desc.: Gravitron repulsor pylons
Effect: +1 movement rate
Limits: None
Domain: Land

EMPATH SONG
Desc.: Psi lock s\w upgrade
Effect: +50% attack vs. Psi
Limits: Non-psi combat units only
Domain: All

FUNGICIDE TANKS
Desc.: Boron defoilant system
Effect: Clear fungus at double speed
Limits: Terraformer units only
Domain: All

HIGH MORALE
Desc.: Advanced Warfare Training
Effect: Gains morale upgrade
Limits: Combat units only
Domain: All

HEAVY ARTILLERY
Desc.: Reactor chamber upgrade
Effect: Bombards; -50% armor & move
Limits: Non-psi units only
Domain: Land

CLEAN REACTOR
Desc.: Reactor emission containment system
Effect: Requires no support
Limits: None
Domain: All

BLINK DISPLACER
Desc.: Temporal distortion field
Effect: Bypass base defenses
Limits: Combat units only
Domain: All

HYPNOTIC TRANCE
Desc.: Psychic amplification module
Effect: +50% defense vs. PSI
Limits: Non-psi combat units only
Domain: All

NERVE GAS PODS
Desc.: Mk. 1 VX delivery system
Effect: Can +50% offense (Atrocity)
Limits: Non-psi combat units only
Domain: Land, air

REPAIR BAY
Desc.: Modified Supply Transport module
Effect: Repairs ground units on board
Limits: Transport units only
Domain: Air, sea

NON-LETHAL METHODS
Desc.: Stunjack cannon & training for police
Effect: x2 Police powers
Limits: Combat units only
Domain: Land

===========================================
Special Section-- Quotations
===========================================

Opening Quotation
Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden.
He drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden
of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to
keep the way of the tree of life.

        -- The Conclave Bible,
           Datalinks


Biogenetics
We hold life to be sacred, but we also know the foundation of life
consists in a stream of codes not so different from the successive
frames of a watchvid. Why then cannot we cut one code short here, and
start another there? Is life so fragile that it can withstand no
tampering? Does the sacred brook no improvement?

        -- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang,
           "Dynamics of Mind"


Industrial Base
Resources exist to be consumed. And consumed they will be, if not by
this generation then by some future. By what right does this forgotten
future seek to deny us our birthright? None I say! Let us take what is
ours, chew and eat our fill.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           "The Ethics of Greed"


Information Networks
The righteous need not cower before the drumbeat of human progress.
Though the song of yesterday fades into the challenge of tomorrow,
God still watches and judges us. Evil lurks in the datalinks as it
lurked in the streets of yesteryear. But it was never the streets
that were evil.

        -- Sister Miriam Godwinson,
           "The Blessed Struggle"


Applied Physics
Scientific theories are judged by the coherence they lend to our
natural experience and the simplicity with which they do so. The
grand principle of the heavens balances on the razor's edge of truth.

        -- Commissioner Pravin Lal,
           "A History of Science"


Social Psych
If you can discover a better way of life than office-holding
for your future rulers, a well-governed city becomes a possibility.
For only in such a state will those rule who are truly rich, not
in gold, but in the wealth that makes happiness--a good and wise
life.
        -- Plato,
           "The Republic", Datalinks

Doctrine: Mobility
Once a man has changed the relationship between himself and his
environment, he cannot return to the blissful ignorance he left.
Motion, of necessity, involves a change in perspective.

        -- Commissioner Pravin Lal,
           "A Social History of Planet"

Centauri Ecology
Planet's atmosphere, though a gasping death to humans and most animals,
is paradise for Earth plants. The high nitrate content of the soil and
the rich yellow sunlight bring an abundant harvest wherever
adjustments can be made for the unusual soil conditions.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "A Comparative Biology of Planet"

Superconductor
Important? Yes! Critical? Absolutely. I would go so far as to say
that Superconducting Fiber alone makes our present economy possible.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           MorganLink 3DVision Live Interview

Nonlinear Mathematics
There are two kinds of scientific progress: the methodical
experimentation and categorization which gradually extend the
boundaries of knowledge, and the revolutionary leap of genius
which redefines and transcends those boundaries. Acknowledging
our debt to the former, we yearn nonetheless for the latter.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "Address to the Faculty"

Applied Relativity
You ivory tower intellectuals must not lose touch with the world
of industrial growth and hard currency. It is all very well and
good to pursue these high-minded scientific theories, but research
grants are expensive and you must justify your existence by providing
not only knowledge, but concrete and profitable applications as well.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           "The Ethics of Greed"

Fusion Power
Our ancestors harnessed the power of a sun, and so again shall we.

        -- Commissioner Pravin Lal,
           "The Science of Our Fathers"


Silksteel Alloys
Until quite recently, spider silk had the highest tensile strength
of any substance known to man, and the name Silksteel pays homage
to the arachnid for good reason.

        -- Commissioner Pravin Lal,
           "U.N. Scientific Survey"


Advanced Subatomic Theory
The substructure of the universe regresses infinitely towards
smaller and smaller components. Behind atoms we find electrons,
and behind electrons quarks. Each layer unraveled reveals new
secrets, but also new mysteries.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "For I Have Tasted The Fruit"

High Energy Chemistry
At atrociously high energy states, the properties of matter
change subtly and new miracles become possible. The Plasma
Accretion process is now dangerous and difficult to control, but
its products will soon become commonplace in our society.

        -- Sister Miriam Godwinson,
           "The Lord Works"

Frictionless Surfaces
As I stepped onto the Magtube, a thought struck me:
Can there be friction where there is no substance?
And can substance be tricked into hiding from itself?

        -- Dr. Gayle Nambala,
           Morgan Industries Researcher

Nanometallurgy
Our scientists now use fractal theory to "teach" the molecules to
assume, or resume, a particular form. Substances of amazing
strength become simple once the formulae are properly computed.

        -- Col. Corazon Santiago,
           "The Council of War"

Superstring Theory
A brave little theory, and actually quite coherent for a system of
five or seven dimensions--if only we lived in one.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "Now We Are Alone"

Advanced Military Algorithms
Man has killed man from the beginning of time, and each new frontier
has brought new ways and new places to die. Why should the future
be different?

        -- Col. Corazon Santiago,
           "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide"

Monopole Magnets
I maintain nonetheless that yin-yang dualism can be overcome.
With sufficient enlightenment we can give substance to any
distinction: mind without body, north without south, pleasure
without pain. Remember, enlightenment is a function of willpower,
not of physical strength.

        -- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang,
           "Essays on Mind and Matter"

Matter Compression
Preliminary analysis indicates that our rivals have developed
a safe and reliable method to simulate conditions existing on the
interior of a stellar mass. The fabrication and transmutation
of materials possible in such an environment guarantees significant
industrial and military applications.

        -- Probe Team Operations Directorate,
           Top Secret Report

Unified Field Theory
Beware, you who seek first and final principles, for you are
trampling the garden of an angry God and he awaits you just
beyond the last theorem.

        -- Sister Miriam Godwinson,
           "But for the Grace of God"

Graviton Theory
This unusual specimen is not so much a classic particle as a
connector--a kind of string attaching two particles. As distance
increases the connective power becomes attenuated, but if it is
cut the power vanishes: forever.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "For I Have Tasted The Fruit"

Polymorphic Software
Technological advance is an inherently iterative process.
One does not simply take sand from the beach and produce a Dataprobe.
We use crude tools to fashion better tools, and then our better
tools to fashion more precise tools, and so on. Each minor refinement
is a step in the process, and all of the steps must be taken.

        -- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang,
           "Looking God in the Eye"

Applied Gravitonics
"What goes up . . . better doggone well stay up!"

        -- Morgan Gravitonics,
           Company Slogan

Inertial Damping
Until now the battle had been proceeding smoothly: the enemy
was outflanked and had been driven from the reactor housing. But
against the reactor itself the matter cannon were strangely
ineffective. Rounds simply . . . stopped. In mid-air.

        -- Col. Corazon Santiago,
           "A Tactical History of Sparta"

Quantum Power
Heaven lasts long, and Earth abides
What is the secret of their durability?
Is it because they do not live for themselves
That they endure so long?

        -- Lao Tzu, Datalinks

Singularity Mechanics
Yes, yes, we've all heard the philosophers babble about "oneness"
being "beautiful" and "holy". But let me tell you that {this} kind
of oneness certainly isn't pretty and if you're not careful it
will scare the bejeezus out of you.

        -- Anonymous Lab Technician,
           MorganLink 3DVision Live Interview

Controlled Singularity
Some would ask, how could a perfect God create a universe filled
with so much that is evil. They have missed a greater conundrum:
why would a perfect God create a universe at all?

        -- Sister Miriam Godwinson,
           "But for the Grace of God"

Temporal Mechanics
Time travel in the classic sense has no place in rational theory,
but temporal distortion does exist on the quantum level, and more
importantly it can be controlled.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov
           "For I Have Tasted The Fruit"

Probability Mechanics
Einstein would turn over in his grave. Not only does God play
dice, the dice are loaded.

        -- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang,
           "Looking God in the Eye"

Pre-Sentient Algorithms
Begin with a function of arbitrary complexity. Feed it values,
"sense data". Then, take your result, square it, and feed it back
into your original function, adding a new set of sense data.
Continue to feed your results back into the original function ad
infinitum. What do you have? The fundamental principle of human
consciousness.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "The Feedback Principle"

Super Tensile Solids
Optical computers, genetic catalogs, nanorepair modules--forget
all of that. It's when you see a megaton of steel suspended over
your head by a thread the thickness of a human hair that you
really find God in technology.

        -- Anonymous Metagenics Dockworker,
           MorganLink 3DVision Live Interview

Planetary Networks
If our society seems more nihilistic than that of previous eras, perhaps
this is simply a sign of our maturity as a sentient species. As our
collective consciousness expands beyond a crucial point, we are
at last ready to accept life's fundamental truth: that life's only
purpose is life itself.

       -- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang,
          "Looking God in the Eye"

Digital Sentience
We are no longer particularly in the business of writing software
to perform specific tasks. We now teach the software how to learn,
and in the primary bonding process it molds itself around the task
to be performed. The feedback loop never really ends, so a tenth year
polysentience can be a priceless jewel or a psychotic wreck, but it
is the primary bonding--the childhood, if you will--that has the most
far-reaching repercussions.

         -- Bad'l Ron, Wakener,
            Morgan Polysoft

Self-Aware Machines
Without sensibility no object would be given to us, without
understanding no object would be thought. Thoughts without content
are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.

        -- Immanuel Kant,
           "Critique of Pure Reason", Datalinks


I swear sometimes they're watching me.

        -- Bozon Pete, Shift Foreman,
           Metagenics Biomachinery Division


Doctrine: Initiative
A ship at sea is its own world. To be the captain of a ship is
to be the unquestioned ruler of that world and requires all of
the leadership skills of a prince or minister.

        -- Col. Corazon Santiago,
           "Leadership and the Sea"

Doctrine: Flexibility
He held his arm too stiffly, and so was thrown back repeatedly,
until at last I seized his forearm and snapped it back against
itself. His training suffered while the arm healed, of course,
but I felt this was a lesson he must learn early, and well.

        -- Spartan Kel,
           "Honing the Ki"

Intellectual Integrity
Man's unfailing capacity to believe what he prefers to be true
rather than what the evidence shows to be likely and possible has
always astounded me. We long for a caring Universe which will save
us from our childish mistakes, and in the face of mountains of
evidence to the contrary we will pin all our hopes on the slimmest
of doubts. God has not been proven not to exist, therefore
he must exist.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "For I Have Tasted The Fruit"

Synthetic Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels in the last century reached their extreme prices
because of their inherent utility: they pack a great deal of
potential energy into an extremely efficient package. If we can
but sidestep the 100 million year production process, we can corner
this market once again.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           Strategy Session

Doctrine: Air Power
Air Power rests at the apex of the first triad of victory, for it
combines Mobility, Flexibility, and Initiative.

        -- Spartan Battle Manual

Photon/Wave Mechanics
Time dilates as the speed of light approaches. To the extent that
light consists of particles, it is in its own way timeless. Through
simple perturbations of the temporal manifold, we can refract or
repel photons most efficiently.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "Now We Are Alone"

Mind/Machine Interface
The Warrior's bland acronym, MMI, obscures the true horror of
this monstrosity. Its inventors promise a new era of genius, but
meanwhile unscrupulous power brokers use its forcible installation
to violate the sanctity of unwilling human minds. They are
creating their own private army of demons.

        -- Commissioner Pravin Lal,
           "Report on Human Rights"

Nanominiaturization
Objects once measured in meters have become so small that they cannot
be seen by the naked eye, with revolutionary applications across
the board. Gentlemen, forget what your courtesans have told you:
size does matter!

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           Morgan Industries Annual Report

Doctrine: Loyalty
Therefore a wise prince will seek means by which his subjects
will always and in every possible condition of things have need
of his government, and then they will always be faithful to him.

        -- Niccolo Machiavelli,
           "The Prince", Datalinks

Ethical Calculus
Some vices miss what is right because they are deficient, others
because they are excessive, in feelings or in actions, while virtue
finds and chooses the mean.

        -- Aristotle,
           "Nichomachean Ethics", Datalinks

Industrial Economics
Our first challenge is to create an entire economic infrastructure, from
top to bottom, out of whole cloth. No gradual evolution from previous
economic systems is possible, because there IS no previous economic
system. Each interdependent piece must be materialized simultaneously
and in perfect working order; otherwise the system will crash out
before it ever gets off the ground.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           "The Centauri Monopoly"

Industrial Automation
In the borehole pressure mines 100km beneath Planetsurface,
at the Mohorovicic Discontinuity where crust gives way to mantle,
temperatures often reach levels well in excess of 1000 degrees Celsius.
Exploitation of Planet's resources under such brutal conditions has
required quantum advances in robotic and teleoperational technology.

        -- Morgan Industries, Ltd.,
           "Annual Report"

Centauri Meditation
The Isle of the Deep is really not a single creature but a colony
of thousands of individual tubules, an aquatic vector of the Mind Worm
which terrorizes Planet's continents. Over its lifetime certain tubules
secrete a tough, gluelike substance which hardens to form the
characteristic shell that floats the colony and creates the appearance
of a rogue island.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "A Comparative Biology of Planet"

Secrets of the Human Brain
There are only two ways in which we can account for a necessary
agreement of experience with the concepts of its objects: either
experience makes these concepts possible or these concepts make
experience possible.

        -- Immanuel Kant,
           "Critique of Pure Reason", Datalinks

Gene Splicing
The genetic code does not, and cannot, specify the nature
and position of every capillary in the body or every neuron
in the brain. What it {can} do is describe the underlying
fractal pattern which creates them.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "Nonlinear Genetics"


Bio-Engineering
Why do you insist that the human genetic code is "sacred" or "taboo"?
It is a chemical process and nothing more. For that matter -we- are
chemical processes and nothing more. If you deny yourself a useful
tool simply because it reminds you uncomfortably of your mortality,
you have uselessly and pointlessly crippled yourself.

        -- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang,
           "Looking God in the Eye"


Biomachinery
I loved my chosen. How then to face the day when she left me?
So I took from her body a single cell, perhaps to love her again.

        -- Commissioner Pravin Lal,
           "Time of Bereavement"


Neural Grafting
I think, and my thoughts cross the barrier into the synapses of the
machine, just as the good doctor intended. But what I cannot shake,
and what hints at things to come, is that thoughts cross back. In my
dreams, the sensibility of the machine invades the periphery of my
consciousness: dark, rigid, cold, alien. Evolution is at work here,
but just what is evolving remains to be seen.

        -- Commissioner Pravin Lal,
           "Man and Machine"

Cyberethics
The wicked have told me of things that delight them, but not
such things as your law has to tell.

        -- Saint Augustine,
           "Confessions", Datalinks

Eudaimonia
The happy life is thought to be one of excellence; now
an excellent life requires exertion, and does not consist
in amusement. If Eudaimonia, or happiness, is activity in
accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should
be in accordance with the highest excellence; and this will
be that of the best thing in us.

        -- Aristotle,
           "Nichomachean Ethics", Datalinks


The Will to Power
Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman--a rope
over an abyss. A dangerous across, a dangerous on-the-way,
a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous shuddering and
stopping. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and
not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture
and a going under. I love those who do not know how to
live, for they are those who cross over.

        -- Friedrich Nietzsche,
           "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", Datalinks


Threshold of Transcendence
And when he has brought forth and reared this perfect virtue, he
shall be called the friend of god, and if ever it is given to man
to put on immortality, it shall be given to him.

        -- Plato,
           "The Symposium", Datalinks

Matter Transmission
The first living thing to go through the device was a small white
rat. I still have him, in fact. As you can see, the damage was
not so great as they say.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "See How They Run"


Centauri Empathy
Observe the Razorbeak as it tends so carefully to the fungal blooms;
just the right bit from the yellow, then a swatch from the pink.
Follow the Glow Mites as they gather and organize the fallen spores.
What higher order guides their work? Mark my words: someone or something
is {managing} the ecology of this planet.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Planet Dreams"

Environmental Economics
         We sit together,
        the mountain and I,
  until only the mountain remains

        -- Li Po,
           From the Yang Collection


Ecological Engineering
The prevalence of anoxic environments rich in organic material,
combined with the presence of nitrated compounds has
led to an astonishing variety of underground organisms which live in
the absence of oxygen and "breathe" nitrate. Likewise, the scarcity
of carbon in the environment has forced plants to economize on its use.
Thus, all our efforts to return carbon to the biosphere will encourage
the native life to proliferate. Conversely, the huge quantities
of nitrate in the soil will be heaven to human farmers.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "The Early Years"

Planetary Economics
The Morgans fear what may not be purchased, for a trader cannot
comprehend a thing that is priceless.

        -- Sister Miriam Godwinson,
           "The Collected Sermons"

Adv. Ecological Engineering
 You are the children of a dead planet, earthdeirdre, and
   this death we do not comprehend. We shall take you in, but
     may we ask this question--will we too catch the planetdeath
       disease?

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Conversations with Planet"

Centauri Psi
The Mind Worms are the natural defenses of the living Planet--the
white blood cells, if you will. In a world in which unassimilated
thought represents danger, the Mind Worm seeks out concentrations of
sentient mental energy and destroys them, ruthlessly and efficiently.

        -- Commissioner Pravin Lal,
           "Mind Worm, Mind Worm"

Secrets of Alpha Centauri
 You waited so long to heed us, earthdeirdre,
   Almost we pruned you, as we may yet prune your branches.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Conversations with Planet"

Secrets of Creation
And when the hourglass has run out, the hourglass of temporality,
when the noise of secular life has grown silent and its restless or
ineffectual activism has come to an end, when everything around you
is still, as it is in eternity, then eternity asks you and every
individual in these millions and millions about only one thing:
whether you have lived in despair or not.

        -- Soren Kierkegaard,
           "The Sickness Unto Death", Datalinks


Advanced Spaceflight
And so we return again to the holy void. Some say this is simply our
destiny, but I would have you remember always that the void EXISTS,
just as surely as you or I. Is nothingness any less a miracle than
substance?

        -- Sister Miriam Godwinson,
           "We Must Dissent"

Homo Superior
Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and
believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks--those who write
new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and
fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the
harvest.

        -- Friedrich Nietzsche,
           "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", Datalinks

Organic Superlubricant
Organic Superlube? Oh, it's great stuff, great stuff.
You really have to keep an eye on it, though--it'll try and slide
away from you the first chance it gets.

        -- T. M. Morgan-Reilly,
           Morgan Metagenics

Quantum Machinery
Men in their arrogance claim to understand the nature of creation,
and devise elaborate theories to describe its behavior. But always
they discover in the end that God was quite a bit more clever than
they thought.

        -- Sister Miriam Godwinson,
           "We Must Dissent"

Global Energy Theory
"Energy is the currency of the future."

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           "The Centauri Monopoly"

Nanomatter Editation
'Abort, Retry, Fail?' was the phrase some wormdog scrawled
next to the door of the Edit Universe project room. And when
the new dataspinners started working, fabricating their worlds
on the huge organic comp systems, we'd remind them: if you see
this message, {always} choose 'Retry.'

        -- Bad'l Ron, Wakener,
           Morgan Polysoft

Optical Computers
We have reached an informational threshold which can only be crossed
by harnessing the speed of light directly. The quickest computations
require the fastest possible particles moving along the shortest
paths. Since the capability now exists to take our information
directly from photons travelling molecular distances, the final
act of the information revolution will soon be upon us.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "For I Have Tasted The Fruit"


Industrial Nanorobotics
Already we have turned all of our critical industries, all of our
material resources, over to these . . . things . . . these lumps
of silver and paste we call nanorobots. And now we propose to teach
them intelligence? What, pray tell, will we do when these little
homunculi awaken one day and announce that they have no further need
of us?

        -- Sister Miriam Godwinson,
           "We Must Dissent"

Centauri Genetics
Remember, genes are NOT blueprints. This means you can't, for example,
insert "the genes for an elephant's trunk" into a giraffe and get a
giraffe with a trunk. There -are- no genes for trunks. What you CAN do
with genes is chemistry, since DNA codes for chemicals. For instance,
we can in theory splice the native plants' talent for nitrogen fixation
into a terran plant.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "Nonlinear Genetics"

Sentient Econometrics
The fungus has been Planet's dominant lifeform since about
the time of the Lower Paleozoic on Earth. But when, once every
hundred million years or so, the neural net at last achieves the
critical mass necessary to become sentient, the final metamorphosis
kills off most of the other life on the planet. It is possible that
we humans can help to break this tragic cycle.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Planet Dreams"

Retroviral Engineering
The Academician's private residences shall remain off-limits to
the Genetic Inspectors. We possess no retroviral capability,
we are not researching retroviral engineering, and we shall not
allow this Council to violate faction privileges in the name of this
ridiculous witch hunt!"

        -- Fedor Petrov,
           Vice Provost for University Affairs

Satellite Reconnaissance
I have often been asked: if we have traveled between the stars,
why can we not launch the simplest of orbital probes? These fools
fail to understand the difficulty of finding the appropriate
materials on this Planet, of developing adequate power supplies,
and creating the infrastructure necessary to support such an
effort. In short, we have struggled under the limitations of a
colonial society on a virgin planet. Until now.

        -- Col. Corazon Santiago,
           "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide"

Transcendent Thought
   Eternity lies ahead of us, and behind.
    Have you drunk your fill?

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Conversations with Planet", Epilogue



The Human Genome Project
To map the very stuff of life; to look into the
genetic mirror and watch a million generations
march past. That, friends, is both our curse and
our proudest achievement. For it is in reaching to our
beginnings that we begin to learn who we truly are.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "Address to the Faculty"

The Command Nexus
Information, the first principle of warfare, must form the
foundation of all your efforts. Know, of course, thine enemy.
But in knowing him do not forget above all to know thyself.
The commander who embraces this totality of battle shall win
even with the inferior force.

        -- Spartan Battle Manual

The Weather Paradigm
I shall not confront Planet as an enemy, but shall accept
its mysteries as gifts to be cherished. Nor shall I crudely
seek to peel the layers away like the skin from an onion.
Instead I shall gather them together as the tree gathers the
breeze. The wind shall blow and I shall bend. The sky shall
open and I shall drink my fill.

        -- Gaian Acolyte's Prayer

The Merchant Exchange
Human behavior is economic behavior. The particulars may vary,
but competition for limited resources remains a constant. Need
as well as greed have followed us to the stars, and the rewards
of wealth still await those wise enough to recognize this deep
thrumming of our common pulse.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           "The Centauri Monopoly"

The Empath Guild

Symbols are the key to telepathy. The mind wraps its
secrets in symbols; when we discover the symbols that shape
our enemy's thought, we can penetrate the vault of his mind.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Our Secret War"

The Citizens' Defense Force
As the writhing, teeming mass of Mind Worms swarmed over the outer
perimeter, we saw the defenders recoil in horror. "Stay calm! Use
your flame guns!" shouted the commander, but to no avail. It is well
known that the Mind Worm Boil uses psychic terror to paralyze its
prey, and then carefully implants ravenous larvae in the brains of
its still-conscious victims. Even with the best weapons, only the
most disciplined troops can resist this horrific attack.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Our Secret War"

The Virtual World
What do I care for your suffering? Pain, even agony, is no
more than information before the senses, data fed to the
computer of the mind. The lesson is simple: you have received
the information, now act on it. Take control of the input and
you shall become master of the output.

        -- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang,
           "Essays on Mind and Matter"

The Planetary Transit System
As distances vanish and the people can flow freely from place
to place, society will cross a psychological specific heat
boundary and enter a new state. No longer a solid or liquid,
we have become as a vapor and will expand to fill all available
space. And like a gas, we shall not be easily contained.

        -- Sister Miriam Godwinson,
           "But for the Grace of God"

The Xenoempathy Dome
I believe Planet will talk to us if we are willing
to listen. These fungal stalks behave as multistate relays:
taken together, the neural net connectivity must be staggering.
Can a planet be said to have achieved sentience?

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           Arguments in Council

The Neural Amplifier
Against such abominations, we organize our defenses on the
principle that one strong and able mind can shield the many.

        -- Spartan Battle Manual

Maritime Control Center
It is altogether fitting that we who have sailed the deeps of
space now return again to the sea. This is in many ways a water
planet, and it can be ruled from the waves. With sea power, rugged
terrain can be bypassed and enemy strongholds isolated. Once
naval superiority is achieved, Planet is ours for the taking.

        -- Col. Corazon Santiago,
           "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide"

The Planetary Datalinks
As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century,
free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny.
The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on
information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but
the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse
has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would
deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself
your master.

        -- Commissioner Pravin Lal,
           "U.N. Declaration of Rights"

The Supercollider
  God does not play dice.

        -- Albert Einstein, Datalinks

The Ascetic Virtues
Learn to overcome the crass demands of flesh and bone, for they
warp the matrix through which we perceive the world. Extend your
awareness outward, beyond the self of body, to embrace the self
of group and the self of humanity. The goals of the group and the
greater race are transcendent, and to embrace them is to achieve
enlightenment.

        -- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang,
           "Essays on Mind and Matter"

The Longevity Vaccine
I plan to live forever, of course, but barring that I'd
settle for a couple thousand years. Even five hundred would be
pretty nice.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           MorganLink 3DVision Interview

The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm
If I determine the enemy's disposition of forces while I have
no perceptible form, I can concentrate my forces while the enemy
is fragmented. The pinnacle of military deployment approaches the
formless: if it is formless, then even the deepest spy cannot
discern it nor the wise make plans against it.

        -- Sun Tzu,
           "The Art of War", Datalinks

The Pholus Mutagen
 We welcome you, earthdeirdre and earthwheat and earthtree as
   honored guests, for you add great power to our ancient song--
     planetfungus and planetworm and planetmind sing and play
       here, and you are welcome among us.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Conversations with Planet"

The Cyborg Factory
  A handsome young Cyborg named Ace,
  Wooed women at every base,
    But once ladies glanced at
    His special enhancement
  They vanished with nary a trace.

        -- Barracks Graffiti,
           Sparta Command

The Theory of Everything
The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot stay in the
cradle forever.

        -- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky,
           The Father of Rocketry, Datalinks

The Dream Twister
  Mary had a little lamb,
  Little lamb little lamb,
  Mary had a little lamb,
  whose fleece was white as snow.

        -- Assassins' Redoubt,
           Final Transmission

The Universal Translator
And the Lord said, "Behold, the people is one, and
they have all one language; and this they begin to do:
and now nothing will be restrained from them, which
they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and
there confound their language, that they may not
understand one another's speech."

        -- The Conclave Bible,
           Datalinks

The Network Backbone
Of course we'll bundle our MorganNet software with the new
network nodes; our customers expect no less of us. We have never
sought to become a monopoly. Our products are simply so good that
no one feels the need to compete with us.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           Morgan Data Systems press release

The Nano Factory
Industrial Grade Nano-Paste, Planet's most valuable commodity, can also
be one of its most dangerous. Simply pour out several canisters, slide
in a programming transponder, and step well away while the stuff cooks.
In under an hour the nano will use available materials to assemble a
small factory, a hovertank, or enough impact rifles to equip a regiment.

        -- Col. Corazon Santiago,
           "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide"

The Living Refinery
We estimate that during the next mission century most of
Planet's industries will be moved off-planet to Nessus Prime and
other orbital facilities. Many of our industries will benefit
greatly from the low gravity environments available in space,
particularly those involving genetically engineered microbes.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           "The Centauri Monopoly"

The Cloning Vats
We shall take only the greatest minds, the finest soldiers,
the most faithful servants. We shall multiply them a thousandfold
and release them to usher in a new era of glory.

        -- Col. Corazon Santiago,
           "The Council of War"

The Self-Aware Colony
Will we next create false gods to rule over us? How proud
we have become, and how blind.

        -- Sister Miriam Godwinson,
           "We Must Dissent"

Clinical Immortality
And the Lord God said, "Behold, the man is become as
one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth
his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and
live forever, we must send him forth." Therefore the
Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till
the ground from whence he was taken.

        -- The Conclave Bible,
           Datalinks

The Space Elevator
In one moment, Earth; in the next, Heaven.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "For I Have Tasted The Fruit"

The Singularity Inductor
What actually transpires beneath the veil of an event horizon?
Decent people shouldn't think too much about that.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "For I Have Tasted The Fruit"

The Bulk Matter Transmitter
And what of the immortal soul in such transactions? Can this
machine transmit and reattach it as well? Or is it lost forever,
leaving a soulless body to wander the world in despair?

        -- Sister Miriam Godwinson,
           "We Must Dissent"

The Telepathic Matrix
  From the delicate strands,
    between minds we weave our mesh:
      a blanket to warm the soul.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "The Collected Poems"

The Voice of Planet
Imagine the entire contents of the planetary datalinks, the sum total
of human knowledge, blasted into the Planetmind's fragile neural
network with the full power of every reactor on the planet. Thousands
of years of civilization compressed into a single searing burst of
revelation. That is our last-ditch attempt to win humanity a reprieve
from extinction at the hands of an awakening alien god.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "Planet Speaks"

Ascent to Transcendence
No longer mere earthbeings and planetbeings are we, but bright
children of the stars! And together we shall dance in and out
of ten billion years, celebrating the gift of consciousness until
the stars themselves grow cold and weary, and our thoughts turn
again to the beginning.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Conversations with Planet"


Headquarters
As we approached we were confronted by the ruined splendor of
Sparta Command. The true immensity of the place became instantly
apparent as our Quantum Tank crunched over the rubble and parked next
to a shattered bunker, but the extent of the destruction
took weeks to assess. The shielded datacore had sustained several
massive breaches and smoke still billowed from the numerous cannon
ports. There were few signs of human life.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Our Secret War"

Children's Creche
Proper care and education for our children remains a cornerstone of
our entire colonization effort. Children not only shape our future;
they determine in many ways our present. Men and women work harder
knowing their children are safe and close at hand. And never forget that,
with children present, parents will defend their home to the death.

        -- Col. Corazon Santiago,
           "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide"

Recycling Tanks
It is every citizen's final duty to go into the tanks and
become one with all the people.

        -- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang,
           "Ethics for Tomorrow"


Perimeter Defense
Having now established a secure perimeter, we have made ourselves
relatively safe from enemy incursions. But against the seemingly
random attacks by Planet's native life only our array of warning
sensors can help us, for the Mind Worms infiltrate through every crevice
and chew through anything softer than plasmasteel.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "The Early Years"

Tachyon Field
The klaxon began to wail, but we felt the reassuring tingle of
the Tachyon Field crackling to life around us, encasing the
entire base in its impenetrable glow.

        -- Spartan Kel,
           "The Fall of Sparta"


Recreation Commons
The entire character of a base and its inhabitants can be
absorbed in a quick trip to the Rec Commons. The sweaty
arenas of Fort Legion, the glittering gambling halls of
Morgan Bank, the sunny lovers' trysts in Gaia's High Garden,
or the somber reading rooms of U.N. Headquarters. Even the
feeding bay at the Hive gives stark insight into the sleeping
demons of Yang's communal utopia.

        -- Commissioner Pravin Lal,
           "A Social History of Planet"

Energy Bank
Life is merely an orderly decay of energy states, and survival
requires the continual discovery of new energy to pump into the
system. He who controls the sources of energy controls the means
of survival.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           "The Centauri Monopoly"

Network Node
I don't know but I've been told,
  Deirdre's got a Network Node.
Likes to press the on-off switch,
  Dig that crazy Gaian witch!

        -- Spartan Barracks March

Biology Lab
Although Planet's native life is based, like Earth's, on right-handed
DNA, and codes for all the same amino acids, the inevitable chemical
and structural differences from a billion years of evolution in an
alien environment render the native plant life highly poisonous
to humans. Juicy, ripe grenade fruits may look appealing, but a
mouthful of organonitrates will certainly change your mind in a hurry.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "A Comparative Biology of Planet"

Skunkworks
The popular stereotype of the researcher is that of a skeptic and a
pessimist. Nothing could be further from the truth! Scientists
must be optimists at heart, in order to block out the incessant
chorus of those who say "It cannot be done."

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           University Commencement

Hologram Theatre
  Richard Baxton piloted his Recon Rover into a fungal vortex and
held off four waves of mind worms, saving an entire colony.
  We immediately purchased his identity manifests and repackaged him
into the Recon Rover Rick character with a multi-tiered media campaign:
televids, touchbooks, holos, psi-tours--the works.
  People need heroes. They don't need to know how he died clawing his
eyes out, screaming for mercy. The real story would just hurt sales,
and dampen the spirits of our customers.

        -- "Mythology for Profit"
           Morgan Stellartots Keynote Speech

Paradise Garden
That sunny dome! Those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

        -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
           Datalinks

Tree Farm
In the great commons at Gaia's Landing we have a tall and particularly
beautiful stand of white pine, planted at the time of the first
colonies. It represents our promise to the people, and to Planet
itself, never to repeat the tragedy of Earth.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Planet Dreams"

Hybrid Forest
You see in this dome the intermingling of native and earth plants.
Outside, they are competitors, struggling over the trace
elements required for life. Often, one destroys the other. Here,
they are tended with care and kept well nourished. They thrive
together, and the native fungus does not unleash its terrible
defenses. As you can see, competition is unnecessary when resources
are plentiful and population growth is controlled.

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Planet Dreams"

Fusion Lab
It will happen, and it will happen in our lifetimes. Fusion
Power isn't just the future. Fusion Power is now.

        -- T. M. Morgan-Reilly,
           Morgan Metagenics

Quantum Lab
Have you ever wondered why clouds behave in such familiar ways when
each specimen is so unique? Or why the energy exchange market is so
unpredictable? In the coming age we must develop and apply
nonlinear mathematical models to real world phenomena. We shall
seek, and find, the hidden fractal keys which can unravel the chaos
around us.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           University Commencement

Research Hospital
Some civilian workers got in among the research patients today and
became so hysterical I felt compelled to have them nerve stapled.
The consequence, of course, will be another public relations nightmare,
but I was severely shaken by the extent of their revulsion towards a
project so vital to our survival.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           The Personal Diaries


Nanohospital
It is a medical commonplace that the tissues of the human body
replace themselves regularly, essentially creating an entirely
new body every seven years. From whence then come cancer and the
slow degeneration of age? They exist as faults in the patterns of
intelligence within the genes themselves; by reprogramming these
smallest parts, the whole becomes well.

        -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
           "Nonlinear Genetics"


Robotic Assembly Plant
Captain said to big old John Henry,
  That old drill keeps a-coming around.
  Take that steam drill out and start it on that job
    Let it whop, let it whop that steel on down
    Let it whop, let it whop that steel on down.

        -- Traditional, Datalinks

Nanoreplicator
Look at any photograph or work of art. If you could duplicate
exactly the first tiny dot of color, and then the next and the
next, you would end with a perfect copy of the whole,
indistinguishable from the original in every way, including
the so-called "moral value" of the art itself. Nothing can
transcend its smallest elements.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           "The Ethics of Greed"


Quantum Converter
And when at last it is time for the transition from megacorporation to
planetary government, from entrepreneur to emperor, it is then that the
true genius of our strategy shall become apparent, for energy is the
lifeblood of this society and when the chips are down he who controls
the energy supply controls Planet. In former times the energy monopoly
was called "The Power Company"; we intend to give this name an entirely
new meaning.

        -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
           "The Centauri Monopoly"


Genejack Factory
My gift to industry is the genetically engineered worker, or
Genejack. Specially designed for labor, the Genejack's muscles and
nerves are ideal for his task, and the cerebral cortex has been
atrophied so that he can desire nothing except to perform his
duties. Tyranny, you say? How can you tyrannize someone who cannot
feel pain?

        -- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang,
           "Essays on Mind and Matter"

Punishment Sphere
It is not uncommon to see patients undergo permanent psychological
trauma in the presence of the Sphere, before the nerve stapler has
even been strapped into position. Its effect on the general
consciousness of the culture is profound: husbands have seen
wives go inside, and mothers their children. Dr. Xynan left the
surface of the sphere semitranslucent for a reason. You can hear
them in there; you can see them. It is a thing of terrible beauty.

        -- Baron Klim,
           "The Music of the Spheres"

Hab Complex
The chief aim of their constitution and government is that,
whenever public needs permit, all citizens should be free, so far
as possible, to withdraw their time and energy from the service of
the body, and devote themselves to the freedom and culture of the
mind. For that, they think, is the real happiness of life.

        -- Sir Thomas More,
           "Utopia", Datalinks

Habitation Dome
 I sit in my cubicle, here on the motherworld.
 When I die, they will put my body in a box and
   dispose of it in the cold ground.
 And in all the million ages to come, I will never
   breathe or laugh or twitch again.
 So won't you run and play with me here among the
   teeming mass of humanity?
 The universe has spared us this moment.

        -- Anonymous, Datalinks

Pressure Dome
When beholding the tranquil beauty and brilliancy of the ocean's
skin, one forgets the tiger heart that pants beneath it; and would
not willingly remember that this velvet paw but conceals a
remorseless fang.

        -- Herman Melville,
           "Moby Dick", Datalinks

Command Center
Superior training and superior weaponry have, when taken together,
a geometric effect on overall military strength. Well-trained,
well-equipped troops can stand up to many more times their lesser
brethren than linear arithmetic would seem to indicate.

        -- Spartan Battle Manual

Naval Yard
The sea is everything. It covers seven-tenths of the globe. Its breath
is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert where a man is never
alone, for he can feel life quivering all about him. The sea is only
a receptacle for all the prodigious, supernatural things that exist
inside it; it is only movement and love; it is the living infinite.

        -- Jules Verne,
           "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea", Datalinks

Aerospace Complex
You are orphans, earthdeirdre, your homeworld already buried
so young among the aeons. Yet now you fill the skies where
we watched a million sunsets with flame and contrails, paying
no heed to the hard lessons the universe has tried to teach you.
Are you a breath of life to invigorate a complacent world,
you earthhumans, or an insidious cancer which must be excised?

        -- Lady Deirdre Skye,
           "Conversations With Planet"


Bioenhancement Center
We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled.
But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any
particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in
a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events
of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose
meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

        -- Project PYRRHO, Specimen 46, Vat 7
           Activity Recorded M.Y. 2302.22467
           TERMINATION OF SPECIMEN ADVISED

Centauri Preserve
In the years since our arrival, we have foolishly disrupted so
many of Planet's ecosystems that entire species may vanish
without our ever having understood, or even known them. We must halt
this plunder, and halt it immediately, for our own survival as a
species depends on our ability to strike a balance on this world.

       -- Commissioner Pravin Lal,
          "Mind Worm, Mind Worm"

Temple of Planet
Let the Gaians preach their silly religion, but one way or the other
I shall see this compound burned, seared, and sterilized until every
hiding place is found and until every last Mind Worm egg, every last
slimy one, has been cooked to a smoking husk. That species shall be
exterminated, I tell you! Exterminated!

       -- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
          Lab Three aftermath

Psi Gate
Go through, my children! The time of miracles is upon us. Let
us cast off sin and walk together to the Garden of the Lord.
With God's mercy we shall meet again on the other side.

        -- Sister Miriam Godwinson,
           "Last Testament"

Sky Hydroponics Lab
Sky farms are fantastically beautiful, with their kilometer long
networks of glass framed in grids of metal, and the sunlight
shining through jungles of vegetation inside. When one of them
catches the light, you can see the refracted beauty for miles;
they are life-giving stars on a desolate planet...gardens on
the wing.

        -- Lady Deidre Skye,
           "Planet Dreams"

Nessus Mining Station
Red-hot iron, white-hot iron, cold-black iron; an iron taste,
and iron smell, and a Babel of iron sounds.

        -- Charles Dickens,
           Bleak House, Datalinks

Orbital Power Transmitter
Planet's Primary, Alpha Centauri A, blasts unimaginable quantities
of energy into space each instant, and virtually every joule of it
is wasted entirely. Incomprehensible riches can be ours if we can but
stretch our arms wide enough to dip from this eternal river of wealth.

       -- CEO Nwabudike Morgan,
          "The Centauri Monopoly"

Orbital Defense Pod
God, from the mount of Sinai, whose gray top
Shall tremble, he descending, will himself,
In thunder, lightning, and loud trumpets' sound,
Ordain them laws.

        -- John Milton,
           Paradise Lost, Datalinks

Mass to Energy
I hold a scrap of paper in the darkness and
light it. I watch it burn bright and curl, disappearing
into nothingness, and the heat burns my fingers.
Where has it gone? What has it become? I cannot shake
the feeling that I have witnessed a form of transcendence.

        -- Commissioner Pravin Lal,
           "The Convergence"

==========================================
Special Section-- The Fictional Story
==========================================

Journey to Centauri : Episode 1

"Captain."
Shapes. Shadows, hovering over him. A sense of threat, darkness eclipsing
his vision, and the distant sound of warning klaxons. He tried to lift his
hands and could not, tried to speak and felt his throat turn to fire. A
deep cold pressed down on him, crushing his bones to ice.
"...this one...hurry" The voice again.
More movement, seen through layers of frost and glass. I am the Captain
came his next thought, sharp and coherent. I should be first....
First out of the sleep. Visions returned to him: the long rough cylinder
of the ship, floating above the chaos of Earth. The massive cryobays with
their rows of sleeping crew, the white-suited cryotechs moving ghostlike
among them. His last memory of laying down in glass and feeling the blue
tide rise to swallow him, forty years and a moment of darkness ago.
Thinking, hoping, that when he woke again, it would be to the sight of
Alpha Centauri's primary cresting the rim of a new planet, a new world.
But now...something was wrong. Someone, unauthorized, moving around the
ship. A wave of dizziness washed over him and his vision blurred into a
sea of blue, red lights flashing in the distance. He could feel the ship
shaking beneath him.

"We move..."

A shadow passed over him, and then another. Footsteps retreated. He stared
up through the curved top of the cryocell, willing himself into the open
spaces of the ship, trying to force his fingers to move. His brain signaled
alarm but his heart and muscles, held in near stasis, would not respond.
He waited, helpless, while the ship hurled on and the warning klaxons
sounded their three beat sequence.

After interminable moments he heard a click and a hiss, and then a storm
exploded beneath him.

Transmission Received,
U.N.S. Unity Central Processor.

Meteor Impact Detected.

Fusion drive shut down.

Severe Damage Hydroponics Mods 2, 3;
cryobay 7.

Triggering automatic wakeup of core staff per coded instructions.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 2
Pravin Lal awakened to the hiss of the transparent capsule door breaking
its seal and the feel of the ship's foundation shaking beneath him. His
heart began to pound and he closed his eyes, breathing deeply, seeking calm.

When his heartbeat slowed he opened his eyes once more. His training had
prepared him for this: disorientation, sleep sickness, a deep fatigue that
seemed to nest in his bones. He spit the respirator from his mouth and
pulled the IVs from his arm, then lifted his hands, placed them on the
glass lid above, and pushed.

The cryocell opened. He was alive.

Around him stretched the expanse of cryobay two, silent and vast, filled
with over a thousand identical glass capsules, each one bathed in a pale
blue light, each with tubes and cables snaking down to conduits in the
floor. Over a thousand crew, but his eyes immediately, reflexively, turned
to the cell at his left. He climbed to his feet and, ignoring the chill,
crossed to it.

He looked down through the glass. There, beneath the frost and bluish tint
of the cryogel, he could make out her soft brown shape, indistinct, and the
darkness of her long hair. Pria. She looked so peaceful, so far away...he
still remembered her gentleness, and their last strong kiss before the
cryotechs closed the cell, locking her away from him.

His practiced eyes scanned the small console above her cell. Everything
appeared normal; she had survived. His eyes flickered once across the
manual release key, and then he saw the red warning lights flashing at the
far end of the cryobay. The ship... he had almost forgotten the danger. He
brushed Pria's cell with his fingers one more time and then turned away.
From a metal shelf at the foot of his vacated cell he lifted a folded
uniform... sleek, comfortable, in the sky blue of the mission's Chief of
Surgery, with the U.N. seal on the breast and no country-of-origin markings
visible. The Captain had lobbied strongly for that.

He slipped into the uniform and flipped on the small computer sewn into
the uniform's sleeve. Status report: the Captain would emerge from cryosleep
shortly, along with the Chief Science Officer and some emergency support
staff. It appeared that large portions of the ship's hull had been damaged,
along with two of the three hydroponics modules. The fusion drive had shut
down.

Pravin entered the Returned to Duty code and headed for the command bay.
The ship was racing towards Centauri system at tremendous speed, and without
the fusion drive there was no way to stop.


Log Entry Received,
Pravin Lal, Chief of Surgery.
I have awakened to find the mission in jeopardy. I go now to join my Captain
in the command bay, ready to learn what has gone awry.
I pray the integrity of the ship's datacore remains true. It is the last
hope of humankind...all of our knowledge digitized for transit to the new
world. If Earth has not survived these last 40 years, then our future lies
in the heart of this damaged ship.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 3
Captain Garland felt the storm of bubbles boil up around him, turning the
thick cryogel to liquid. Fiercer now, growing violent, pounding his limbs;
clench your teeth on the respirator, feel its cool silver shape in your
mouth. He still remembered the training.

The chemical reaction that neutralized the cryogel ended, and he found
himself floating in liquid. Small heating coils on the inside of his glass
cocoon kicked on to warm the liquid, continuing the process of bringing his
body back to life. He sucked air from the respirator, waited for the liquid
to drain away.

Long moments passed. How many breaths did the respirator cartridge hold? Not
many, he remembered, and the liquid should have drained away by now. A
malfunction?

He reached up, put his hands on the top of the cell and pushed. His muscles
partially atrophied despite the electromuscular therapy administered by the
ship's computer, groaned in protest. The lid would not open. He felt the
cold glass against his palms, unyielding, and felt the liquid around his
face.

God waits in heaven, but we are beyond heaven now. The thought rose unbidden
into his mind. He pushed again, angry, but the seal would not break.

He drew another breath and choked, felt a pressure in this throat. No more
air. He turned in his watery tomb, pressed again. A panic rose inside of
him as he felt his chest compress, his diaphragm forcing the last bit of
oxygen from his lungs into his system.

Not like this... His hands lashed out, seeking an escape. He could feel his
knuckles striking the glass, feel a desperate animal energy howling inside
of him, but his prison would not give.

God waits in heaven, but we are beyond heaven now. His vision swam into
darkness, and he knew what would follow: a final moment of involuntary
struggle, and then a return to the infinity from which he had just emerged.
He thought of the crew, the ten thousand crew, still in the sleep, still
under his care. Faith would not release them, or repair a broken ship.

He felt his heart pounding, and felt a surge of warmth spreading out through
his body. One of his hands struck soft rubber, the seal between the cryocell
and the lid, and he dug his fingers in hard. He felt something tear,
something give. The seal broke.

He pushed upwards, out of the cell. The lid swung open and cool stale air
hit him in the face. He gasped for air, pulling in breaths as icy liquid
ran off of his back.

Around him, row upon row of sleeping crew awaited him.

No transmission.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 4
"Captain. Captain, it is Pravin Lal. Please confirm this signal is reaching
you. Over."

Silence.

"I read you, Mr. Lal. I'm awaiting your presence in the command module. It
appears we have our work cut out for us."

Pravin smiled at the voice of his captain, sounding clearly from the comm
unit woven into the fabric of his collar. He turned his head to respond.
"Yes, John. I am outside of Bay Five, and I will reach you shortly."

He quickened his step, anticipating the cramped warmth of the command center
after traversing the dark silent ship, and also the more important business
of assisting the Captain in finding out what went wrong during their
journey. A small asteroid, he guessed, or some kind of space debris...he
remembered the odds tallied by the flight computer as being 470 to 1 against
such an occurrence, but perhaps their luck had not held.

Or perhaps it was karma, following the humans from their tainted homeworld
into the reaches of space.

Pravin stopped before another hatchway and pressed the unlocking studs. As
the seal released he glanced around quietly; the ship felt hollow and vast
around him, a groaning structure of metal stolen from Earth's crust and
propelled into the heavens. When the hatch opened he climbed into a small
elevator and pulled the activation lever, listening as the elevator began
to whir beneath him, carrying him to the command module at the ship's
periphery. He felt the gravity increase as the elevator moved toward the
outer carousel of the ship.

The smooth shapes of the cryobays receded beneath him and he examined their
surfaces dispassionately. Lonely again. He hoped his mood would improve as
the effects of the 40-year sleep wore off. A session in one of the ship's
gyropods would help to burn the poisons away, but he had no time for that
now.

The elevator stopped and he opened the exit hatchway, then finally reached
the red command module hatch. Unusual...the Captain had left it closed,
requiring Pravin to punch in a security clearance that he had committed to
memory before the journey. The red hatch swung open.

"Officer Lal."

Captain Garland stood on the other side of the command module, surrounded
by computer screens and touchpanels that remained mostly dead, as cold as
the space outside. The Captain looked tired, gaunt, his uniform hanging
loosely on him, but he held himself straight as Pravin entered. A red
Procedural Checklist rested at an angle on the metal table near the center
of the command module.

"Captain. Good to see you again, sir."

"It feels like only yesterday, Pravin." The Captain crossed to him and they
shook hands. "You and I believed in this mission more than anyone. Now I'm
counting on you to help me salvage it."

Before Pravin could answer another of the three red security hatches hissed
open. A slender form in the green uniform of a ship's scientist pushed her
way into the command module and shook the dark hair from her face.

"Deirdre Skye, reporting for duty," she said, and straightened to face her
captain.

Episode 4, Part 2
Captain Garland watched as Pravin Lal opened a panel and touched a series
of activation studs. Around the perimeter of the command module dark screens
flickered on and the slanted touchpanels hummed to life. The air began to
crackle with a subtle energy as currents dormant for the last 40 years
sprang to life, synthesized minds awakening.

Pravin sat up and flexed his fingers, waiting for the touchpanel in front
of him to cycle through its extended wakeup period. As long as there were
no medical emergencies on the ship he would man this console, coaxing
information from the ship's databases as he might coax a diagnosis from a
reluctant patient.

Garland looked around the command module as the screens warmed up. The
module was donut shaped, about 10 meters across and ringed by a bank of
large screens set in the wall over slanted consoles. The surface of the
consoles consisted of flat smooth touchpanels, which accepted input as well
as displaying information, reconfiguring themselves based on the user's
command sequence. These panels were tied into extensive databanks, optical
storage systems sealed in insulated containers in the very center of the
ship.

Pravin began to work, his fingers dancing over the panel in from of him,
his dark eyes narrowing as he became immersed in his relationship to the
machine. Garland looked around again.

"Mister Lal," he said, and Pravin looked up. Garland motioned towards a
panel on the other side of the module. As black and cold as space.

"Here too, Captain," came Deirdre's lilting voice with its soft Scottish
overtones. Another panel out. Her voice remained calm but Garland could
read the tension in her back. Lal crossed to the first broken panel.

"Nothing evident on a cursory glance, Captain. We have taken damage, and
the duration of the journey may have taken its toll."

"Very well," Garland answered. "In the meantime let's fire up these consoles
and find out what we're up against. Pravin, you know what we're looking
for...damage reports, as quickly as possible, and how much we've jeopardized
the mission. Deirdre, man the science console and ascertain the status of
the crew...how many alive, how many awake, how many dead."

Lal nodded and took his seat, began to punch up the relevant data. A
glittering array appeared on the screen before him and he thumbed through
it to the damage reports.

"Captain, first reports indicate heavy damage to Hydroponics Mods two and
three, as well as heavy structural damage in nearby bulkheads, penetrating
through to the drive shield. It is a wonder the drive shut down without
tearing the ship apart."

"Mods two and three, leaving only one functional. That plus the nutrient
pastes in ship's stowage could support how much of the crew...a third? A
half?"

"If revived from the freeze I would say so. It depends on how much of our
journey remains."

"And how much of the crew remains, " said Deirdre. "I have no signals at
all from cryobay seven."

"Past the shattered bulkhead," murmured Lal. "Dead, probably. All of them."
Just then the hatchway hissed open again, and the Captain looked up to see
a shadow cross his threshold.
List of Fatalities
(Cryocell No Response)
Takala T
Vence H
Miller A
Stobie T
Luelmo F
Morin S
Lindahl P
Pettersson D
Landon K
Mannetje C
Coble R
[continued Medical Log
57562A-7B7]

Journey to Centauri : Episode 5
One of the hatches opened into the command bay with a hiss. Garland looked
up to see a form gaunt and angular, bent with age, seeming to fade back into
the shadows of the circular accessway.

"Captain."

Garland narrowed his eyes, then straightened as the figure entered. Lal
stopped his rapid movements over his console to look up. Deirdre kept her
eyes fixed on the readouts in front of her.

"Doctor Saratov," said Garland. The older man kept walking, finally coming
to a stop near the oval table in the center of the room, where he rested
one hand. Garland looked down and took in the wrinkled skin and the slight
tremor that belied the relative youthfulness of the Russian's face. The
sleep had taken its toll on all of them, but Saratov, whose 66th birthday
came two days after the launch, would certainly be dead by now if it weren't
for the stasis of the cryogenic sleep.

Then the Russian looked up, and the captain was caught by the intensity in
the blue eyes, and that insatiable thirst for knowledge; the iron will
formed in the latter day Russian Republic. The United Nations Mission
Council had insisted he was the best, and Garland couldn't divine the
political motives that swirled behind every decision. Still, they needed
him now.

"Good of you to join us, Prokhor."

"Yes, Captain. I came as quickly as possible." Some of the fire had faded,
replaced by the haunted look of a man shadowed by his own mortality. Garland
flashed back to the personnel records, and he remembered Saratov's tireless
research into genetics and aging. "Selfless," the U.N. Review had called
it, but Garland wondered.

"What is the ship's status?" Saratov asked.

"Not good."

"But not yet critical," chimed in Deirdre, though she had yet to meet her
superior officer's eyes.

"Officer Skye, tell Doctor Saratov what we've got so far."

A wireframe of the ship appeared on one of the screens and rotated in time
to Deirdre's briefing. "The ship has been struck by an unknown body
approximately 48 astronomical units out from the planet that is our
destination. The fusion drive shut down, as it is programmed to do."

"I know what it is programmed to do." The grating Russian accent. Deirdre
stopped. Lal rose from his chair and walked over as Garland motioned Deirdre
to continue.

"Very well. Because the drive shut down during deceleration, we are moving
at appreciable speeds on a trajectory that will carry us right through the
Centauri system. We need to do repairs and restore power within four days
or we will overshoot the target planet and exit the system."

"Can we turn the ship around?" asked Garland.

"The ship's computer has found a way to use what little fuel we have left
to place us in an elliptical orbit, rather like a comet. We can use the
Centauri system's gravity well to return us to the planet a number of Earth
years hence."

"A number of years hence? How many?" came Saratov's voice, a bridge of ice
between them.

"Fifty seven Earth years."

Saratov's hand slammed down onto the command table. "Out of the question!"
he shouted. "We will all die in space!"

Deirdre looked at him angrily and shook her head. "Not all of us." She
pointed to a monitor screen with a video feed from one of the six intact
cryobays, where over a thousand crew slept under glass. "They could last
another eighty years or more in hibernation."

Pravin nodded. "If we could not repair the fusion drive in four days, it
remains our only option. We four could make the necessary preparations,
and the rest of the crew would survive until the next go-round."
"Ridiculous!" said Saratov. "You would have us patch the ship with our
eight hands and then wander Skye's gardens until we perish."

He turned to the captain. "Let me wake my engineers, Captain, as many as
we can, and restart the fusion drive." He rubbed his hands together. "Four
days is enough. They accepted the risks when they took on this mission. They
are loyal to me...they will fix the ship in time."

The Captain's hand reached up to brush the U.N. seal on his breast. "You
recommend waking up how many?"

"Four hundred, Captain. My best and brightest."

"And if they fail to fix the ship and it takes another fifty seven years to
return to the planet, you are comfortable signing their death warrant, and
dying with them on this ship?"

"Four days is enough," repeated Saratov stubbornly. "I will take the risk,
Captain. I will not let this mission slip from our grasp and retire to my
quarters a beaten dog."

"We must decide, Captain," said Lal quietly. "We are very close to our
destination, and time is of the essence."

Garland nodded, closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them and glanced
at Saratov. He saw a deep hunger in the Russian's eyes, a hunger that
disturbed him, and yet, in this instance, might be enough to save the
mission.

"Awaken them," Garland said, and Saratov nodded. Deirdre turned away.

Log Entry Received

Prokhor Saratov, Chief Science Officer
I awaken to find my Captain, his loyal friend Pravin Lal, and my subordinate
Skye turning over the data on our broken ship. I intend to bring my staff
from cryosleep and repair the ship by any means necessary.
I will not die in space, so close to the new world.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 6
Captain John Garland whirled and tensed inside the human-sized gyroscope
that served as the ship's main form of exercise, seeking to burn out the
remaining poisons of the long sleep. The last two days had seen a flurry
of activity as red-suited technicians emerged from their cryocells and set
to work repairing the ship, with Doctor Saratov directing their movements
from the command bay like a general directing his troops.

A series of beeps began sounding down the last few seconds of his session,
and he responded by a burst of furious effort, pulling and tensing with
deep reserves of strength, and he was gratified to see the black and yellow
patterns ranged around the perimeter of the gyrosphere blur by at fantastic
speeds. The final long tone sounded, indicating the end of the session, and
he relaxed his body, letting the sphere spin down to a stop.

"Computer, stop and release," he said aloud, and the sphere gave one last
half-turn before clicking into place in an upright position. He let out a
whooshing breath...he had needed this brief session to shake off the tension
of the command bay. The clamps keeping his arms, feet and waist firmly in
position began to loosen by a remote signal when a light flashed above the
exit hatch.

"Enter," said Garland, and the hatch opened. A young crewmember in a red
jumpsuit stuck her body half into the hatch and saluted. Garland nodded,
unable to salute back while his hands and feet remained fixed around the
rim of the sphere. He felt suddenly vulnerable...why was he constantly jumpy
on his own ship?

"Captain, Officer Saratov asked me to tell you personally that he intends to
turn on the fusion drive for a short pulse test. He intends to fire one
pulse and measure the stress on the ship's structure."

"Is that wise, Ensign Holloway?" The straps released and he stepped down.
The young ensign reflexively took a towel from a small cubbyhole and handed
it to him.
                                        
"Doctor Saratov feels it is. Officer Skye is concerned about the weakened
condition of some of the walls, the Greenhouse in particular," she answered,
referring to the last remaining Hydroponics Module.

He nodded, wiping the sweat off of his neck and face. "Then we'd better
discuss it further."

Her eyes flickered away from him. "Doctor Saratov was preparing to run the
tests as I left the command bay, sir. We may..."


"We'll wait." He pushed through the hatchway and punched the command bay
access code on a wall speaker. "Saratov, cancel your tests. We will not push
the tests until all hands agree."

"My people assure me it is safe, Captain. We need to move forward in our
repairs. We have only...37 hours to reactivate the drive before all hope of
stopping the ship in time is lost."

"I said cancel the tests, Doctor. Isn't Lieutenant Skye one of your people?"
A long pause followed before Saratov's voice grated through the speaker.
"Very well. Please return to the bridge so we may discuss this further."
The link clicked off. Garland turned to the young ensign, angry, until he
saw her standing at attention. She stood ramrod straight, ready to serve
the mission in any needed capacity, but he could read the concern in her
eyes. A child could discern the tensions growing between the members of the
command staff.

"At ease, Ensign. You know the ship well...was Lieutenant Skye in the
command bay?"

"No, sir. That is, she was, and then she left. After registering
her...concerns about the pulse test. Sir."

He nodded. "Thank you, Ensign. Please return to your duties." She nodded
and turned to leave. He looked after her for a few moments, plumbing the
depths of his memory, chasing a dim awareness...Ensign Holloway. He didn't
remember her on the list of emergency engineering staff. He closed his eyes
for a moment, then activated a touchscreen under the speaker and typed in a
private text link to Pravin Lal.

Pravin...pls reverify number of cryocells opened under Saratov's command.
Use discretion.

He waited for a moment, watching the glowing letters on the touchscreen
pulse at him, a hunch waiting to be born into a reality.

Just a precaution, he thought, and punched the Send button. He turned away
and headed for the shower bay at a brisk pace.

Episode 6, Part 2
Captain Garland entered the command mod and felt the pleasant post-workout
relaxation drain away as the heat and tension of the ship's crisis returned.
Pravin Lal still sat hunched over a touchscreen, his normally calm face
knitted in concentration. Saratov hunched over another touchscreen at the
other end of the bay, flanked by two of his staff, Ensigns Khosa and Webb.
Garland could see the sweat glistening on Saratov's brow.

"Doctor Lal, you are relieved for four hours. Get some food and rest."

Pravin looked up, his deep black eyes uncomprehending for a moment, still
lost in the computer's dataclouds.

"Affirmative, sir, in one moment please. I am still querying on the medical
records you asked for."

Garland nodded. No response from Saratov. "Dr. Saratov, what is the status
of the repairs?"

"They progress, Captain. We have 36-point-four hours." He lifted one long
finger to point to a set of scrolling white numbers on an overhead screen.
"My gift to you...a doomsday clock."

"I should hope not. I don't think spending five more decades in space with
you and your crew was in the mission charter."

Saratov cracked a tight smile. "Indeed. We are working around the clock,
but there is this matter of a pulse test. It is somewhat risky, but I feel
it is necessary..."

"Understood, but we can not risk further damage to the ship or the remaining
crew. Send five of your best people to Hydroponics Mod One and take
measurements on the hull. Find out why Skye is worried. There is more than
just our lives in the balance."

Saratov nodded. "Very well." He issued a stream of guttural orders into his
wrist link. He spoke quickly and sprinkled his speech with so much technical
jargon that Garland realized it was almost a foreign language.

Saratov finished the order and looked up as if to take the Captain's
measure. "And now, here is something you may want to see, Captain."

Garland walked over to Saratov's station.

"Ensign Khosa has scanned back through the ship's records to decompress the
D7 footage captured by the ship's exterior cameras. We began scanning the
video matrix for the time just before the hull damage occurred...just before
two of the cameras went offline, in fact. Observe."

On Saratov's touchscreen a grid of tiny high-resolution images
appeared...records from an array of cameras placed inside and outside the
ship, recording and storing compressed images once a second for the entire
length of the journey. Saratov tapped one of the squares in the grid and
the image inside ballooned out into a larger size. Garland watched.
The camera showed the exterior of the ship, smooth metal arcing away in a
man-made horizon. A data readout gave the ship's speed...3,359 kilometers
per second, a phenomenally high velocity.

"We all knew the risk," murmured Saratov as if to answer Garland's
developing thoughts. "A miniscule particle at this speed would hit the ship
like a nuclear warhead."

A few moments passed, and then...

One of the cameras automatically swiveled and zoomed, tracking a foreign
body in its range. Garland leaned forward, his breathing quickening...the
magnification on the camera quickly increased by orders of magnitude, and
still there seemed to be nothing, or perhaps now a speck, a tiny fragment
of space-born minerals tumbling through the infinite darkness...

Garland lifted one hand involuntarily...there, a flash of darkness filling
the camera, which suddenly jumped and went to static. Saratov quickly tapped
up another camera and Garland watched as the side of his ship disintegrated,
metal warping and tearing as if burned by a thousand invisible flames.

He strained to hear the explosions, the tearing of metal and the alarm
sirens. He imagined the chaos in the ship, cryocells shattering, lives
spilling onto cold metal floors, but of course he heard nothing. His throat
closed as the magnitude of the event reached him...his crew, his ship, the
lives he shepherded, torn away while he slept helplessly.

Garland looked over to Saratov, who watched the screens with a dark
fascination, the mathematics of destruction blooming in his head. Garland
spoke.

"I trust that proved useful."

"We are using it to calculate the areas of greatest damage to the ship. It
was a piece of space debris, purely a random occurrence."

"Transfer the video to the primary logs and mark it...wait." Garland leaned
over and pointed at a camera view in the lower left corner of the grid.
"What's that?" He tapped the image to expand it as Saratov looked on.

Down one hallway somewhere in the depths of the ship, figures moved,
staggering and trying to right themselves as they tumbled from the shock
of the impact. Dark figures, keeping to the shadows even as they signaled
each other urgently.

Garland watched as one of the figures finally righted itself and moved
quickly on, vanishing into the shadows. Followed by another.

And another.

And another.

Then, abruptly, that camera went out, leaving only static in its wake.

"I knew it," whispered Garland, as he watched the gray static dance on the
viewscreen.

Log Entry Received,
Pravin Lal, Chief of Surgery.
I am currently assisting Saratov's personnel in scanning back through the
visual records made since our journey began. Although they probably won't
tell us much, they hold a fascination for me...they are our history, and
show the passage of time even as we remained unconscious. The prologue to
our next chapter, so to speak.

Mostly they show blackness, cold and empty. Endless amounts of it.

Saratov's people are awake and seem to have survived the sleep well. I have
issued them stimulants to help them work. We will need every advantage in
the coming days.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 7
"There is someone on the ship. Someone unaccounted for." Captain Garland
continued to watch the video matrix, his eyes darting from one camera view
to another.

"It most certainly appears so," said Lal, his words hurried and clipped.
"But there is no record of any cryocells opened. Could the system have
malfunctioned this badly?"

"It is certainly possible," cut in Saratov. "We were struck. Our system is
not foolproof. Still, these individuals made stealth a priority."

Garland nodded. "Saratov, have one of your people check the log file. Track
down any unusual accesses made to the system. Find out how someone, anyone,
could have been awake and moving about before core staff." Garland scribbled
an access code on his touchpanel and quicklinked it over to the science
console. "Check this as well."

"A section of your personal journals?"

"Yes. These are impressions I recorded after waking up. Impressions of
people standing over my cryocell, speaking. Shadows only..."

"Very well." Skepticism flickered on Saratov's face. "We will...look at
them for what they are." Half-dreams came the unspoken thought, eddying
through the command bay. A frail man's crisis of faith.

Garland continued to address him. "We should do a sweep of the ship, and
station people to watch the security matrix. Alert your staff to be on the
lookout for any unusual activity."

"Yes, Captain." Saratov paused, looking down at his own gaunt hand resting
on the hard smooth surface of the console. "Should I have my staff arm
themselves? If they are in danger, I should have the code key to the
armory."

Garland's head snapped around. "The armory!" He sat down at the nearest
console and punched up the entry logs to the armory. "We should have
checked it first thing." Thin lines of yellow and green flickered nervously
on the touchpanel.

"No breach. Still..." He turned to Pravin. "Has anyone cross-checked the
access log? Are we sure it hasn't been tampered with?"

Pravin's fingers danced for a moment. "No breach apparent. Still..."

"Still, the log is a file like any other. What if the log itself were
changed?"

"Difficult to say. It is encrypted, but the encryption is not 100% secure."
Saratov cut in. "You are wasting your time. The log is changed hundreds of
thousands of times a second, if not more. Unless we can single out a precise
timeframe..."

Garland shook his head, tapped his fingers on the edge of his console. "No,
never mind that." One hand reached up to brush the U.N. seal on his breast.
Abruptly he turned, addressed the young ensign still at the science console.

"Ensign Khosa. Look for a time when the log wasn't changed for a period of
time. A...break of some kind. Start one day before that video footage, then
work forward to the impact, and then backward from that same point." Garland
turned to address Saratov. "Doctor Saratov. Send one of your crew to do a
visual check on the armory."

"My engineers are valuable, Captain. We have less than 36 hours to repair
the ship. I do not believe I should have my people patrolling hallways or
hunched over video monitors."

Garland nodded curtly and turned away. "Pravin, we may have to find a few
noncritical staff to awaken. In the meantime find the nearest person to the
armory and have them do a visual."

"I will do it," came Saratov's voice, sheathed in steel. "But if you believe
my people are in danger, we must arm ourselves. You must transfer to me the
armory code key."

"Negative. Only Doctor Yang can give out that code."

"Doctor Yang, or yourself."

"There is no reason yet. Those weapons are for use against an external
threat until Doctor Yang says otherwise. Now tend to the ship. We need your
people with calipers in their hands, not shredder pistols."

Saratov remained still for a moment, and Garland noted the tremble in his
hands, held tight against his side. "I will register my concerns in the
log. We can not afford any distractions, Captain. Remember that." And then
Saratov turned, activating his commlink as he did.

Garland faced Lal again. "Awaken Dr. Yang and 20 security staff. We appear
to have taken a part of our past troubles with us."

Armory Log File
Armory sealed M.Y. 2060. All weapons accounted for, General Briggs
presiding.
Ship's launch M.Y. 2060.
MY 2060 - 2099 : 
MY 2099 : Access granted, self-running executable [source: ship's main
computer, thread ID 457.456.124.32.12274, validated secure]
MY 2099 : Password changed per instructions, J. Garland.
MY 2099 : Armory hatch released.
MY 2099 : Armory hatch sealed.
MY 2099 : Armory hatch released.
MY 2099 : Armory hatch sealed.
MY 2099 : Restart armory log per coded instructions.

<> : Armory sealed M.Y. 2060. All weapons accounted for, General
Briggs presiding.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 8
The lid to his cryocell hissed open, and Sheng-ji Yang emerged into
darkness and immediate danger. From the shadows surrounding his cell
peered the narrow deadly eyes of shredder pistols, their barrels leveled
directly at him.

Sheng-ji stood calmly, using his hand against the cryocell to steady
himself as waves of post-sleep nausea washed over him. No weakness...his
eyes flickered in the darkness, marking the position of every enemy. He
could not see their faces...the main lights in this bay appeared to be
malfunctioning, or shut down, and he could see only the other cryocells
with their soft blue glow, like phosphorescent flowers in a field of
darkness.

He willed his muscles to relax with exquisite control. His eyes flickered,
just once, across the black metal lockbox on the shelf at the foot of his
cryocell. He wouldn't betray his intentions by looking at the box again,
but in his mind he carefully reconstructed the exact positioning of the box
on the shelf, its exact height from the floor and the position of the
softly glowing shape of the digital print lock. The lockbox carried his
personal arsenal: his shredder pistol, a submission rod and several sets
of organic restraints.

"Move away from the cell. Follow the exact path we have laid for you." came
a harsh, gravelly voice from a knot of shadows only two cells away. He
looked down to see small glowing blue dots on the floor leading away from
his cryocell. Why?

"On whose orders?" he asked, his throat husky from disuse...let the games
begin.

"Do not answer him," came a soft, steely voice from a position, amazingly,
even closer than the other, a peculiar dark knot of shadows barely an arm's
length away. A chill crossed him, briefly...that this person dared to crouch
so close to him. He read the shadows quickly, making out a silhouette. The
shadow...this person...waited with catlike alertness, their spine burning
tight as a wire. Who?

"Do not answer this man," the voice continued. "You are forbidden to speak
to him. And, Doctor Yang, do not speak to them. Simply follow the path we
have laid out for you."

"Am I to..."

Suddenly the shadow exploded into motion, and a black serpent crossed the
distance to Yang in a heartbeat. Yang felt red hot wires of pain lace his
neck, and he fell to his knees, cursing the post-sleep weakness that dulled
his reflexes.

Psych-whip, a part of him thought calmly. They have been in the armory. An
then he smiled as the pain intensified...he welcomed it, opened himself to
it, letting it dance on his nerves and dissolve into his spine. Pain, awaken
me+.

"We mean you no immediate harm, but I know of your special talents. You
must follow my instructions. Do not speak. Crawl along the blue lines."

He looked at the blue dots on the floor, his head still swimming. His eyes
flickered up to one corner of the room, a zone of darkness with the vague
sense of a metal bulkhead curving. In that darkness he could imagine the
bland silvery eye of the security camera staring down at him, but it could
not see into the far corner, where the blue dots lead.

He felt the muscles tighten along his back. He felt the cool metal floor
beneath his hands.

Abruptly, he stood. Electric tension jolted across the room as shredder
pistols twitched to follow him. He could smell the uncertainty...should we
fire?...and it had the metallic tang of fear.

He took one slow pace along the blue dots, shuffling as if from fatigue,
and then every muscle in his body exploded backward toward his cryocell as
a yell from the bottom of his lungs split the darkness. One roll and he
reached back over his head to take the black metal lockbox into his
hands...no wasted motion, no wasted time. He had already seen the action
in his mind. And then...

...no turning back, but instead he went up and over his cryocell, the blue
light illuminating him for just a moment. A burst of shredder pistol fire
crossed the darkness, humming in a cloud all around him, liquefying the
glass beneath his feet, and as he leapt he felt the sharp stinging pain of
the psyche whip on his back.

A wave of nausea overtook him and instead of fighting it he used it,
followed it down, his body spiraling drunkenly into the space behind his
cryocell. He could feel the confusion in the room as shadows lurched
forward, orders issued in hisses. No shouts and no further fire...near
perfect silence, he thought. Amazing discipline, as if+.

No matter. He had moments, and moments were all he needed. Crouched in the
darkness he punched the Release code into his lockbox. He flexed his hands,
deadly weapons in their own right, serpents awaiting their venom.

The box would not open. It remained inert, a block of dead cold metal in
his hands. He turned it quickly face up, tried to make out the letters
printed on top. A. Shaw. They had switched lockboxes on him.

A shadowy form rose above him, and he caught a sliver of blue light across
familiar features.

"You..." he said, wanting to buy time.

A dark metal shape crashed into him, and his vision burst into blue
fireworks on a night black sky.

From the Unity Library,
Doctor Yang's Collection:

Weapons are the tools of fear;
a decent man will avoid them
except in direst necessity
and, if compelled, will use them
only with the utmost restraint.

He enters a battle gravely,
with sorrow and with great compassion,
as if he were attending a funeral.

Tao Te Ching,
Steven Mitchell trans.


Journey to Centauri : Episode 9
"Where is Doctor Yang? He should have arrived by now." Garland's question,
not directed at anyone in particular but not quite rhetorical, floated into
the confines of the command module. He ran his finger around his collar...
it seemed to be getting hot as the tension on the ship increased.

A new Ensign, Martchenko, had taken Khosa's place at the science console.

He spoke up quickly.

"That is correct, Captain." He punched up a schematic of the ship, got a
highlight of Yang's cell. "Cryobay three, cell 457. Open."

"Then where did he go?"

"Where indeed?" came the voice, laced with the hiss of static, coming from
the comm unit unbidden.

"Trace it!" shot Garland, then crossed to the communication console.

"Sender, this is Captain Garland. Identify yourself." Saratov had frozen,
reading the situation, trying to force this turn of events into logical
structures that left little room for human ambiguity. Garland stopped
watching him, refocused on the voice.

"This is Corazon Santiago, Captain, of the security staff. Dr. Yang is with
me." Garland's hand lifted to the insignia on his uniform as he scanned
back through the ship's rosters. Santiago...the woman's voice sounded
smooth, commanding, brusque...elegant yet strangely flat.

The touchscreen at the comm console flickered and changed to a dossier:
name, Corazon Santiago, a minor security functionary under Dr. Yang. A
Lieutenant, placed in charge of a division of men and women, about a
hundred, for no immediately apparent reason. She had stern features, light
brown skin...born in Puerto Rico and moved to Mexico City, then finally
ended up in New Los Angeles. All violent places now, riddled with gang
fights, fires, riots...par for the course in the last days of Earth.

Deep brown eyes stared at him defiantly from the digitized picture.

"As you may know by now I was released from the cryosleep by a
self-executing agent placed into your system by a...friend back on Earth.
I and fifty of my companions are members of the Spartan Coalition...do you
know of us?"

In a small panel a printout of her words spooled...Garland highlighted
Spartan Coalition and punched up a link. "'A group of radical survivalists
based in New Los Angeles with extensive political connections. Determined
to secure the survival of humanity during the increasing chaos of the late
21st century.' Sounds like you're just one of us."

She laughed. "I assure you I mean you no harm. I and my people only intend
to be given a fair share of the ship's supplies and placed on a deserted
section of Planet to pursue our own destiny."

"And how does that differ from the rest of us? Do you question our will to
survive? Why would you need to alter the ship's records and endanger the
mission for that?"

"Look around, Captain. This mission stinks of politics under a veneer of
idealism. We crave survival, pure and simple, and this focus gives us power.
We wish to play out our destinies on our own terms."

The Captain's eyes flickered rapidly as he tried to absorb her demands and
determine the danger to the ship and its thousands of sleeping crew.

"Then why contact me now? If your only goal is survival in its purest form,
why can't you pursue that as easily on this ship or on Earth itself?" A
pause. "You must realize by now that the ship is off course. If we do not
repair it within 34 hours, we will overshoot the Centauri system and be
unable to return for decades." Another pause. Reading the silence. "You
can't fix the ship alone. We're in this together."

When her voice came back he could hear the anger in it, the violence
boiling beneath the surface. "I want no philosophical debates with you,
Captain. Our course is firm. Fix the ship if you must, but with our
presence discovered we must take steps to protect our position. Nothing
else matters, and we will survive because of it."

"Because of a single-minded focus that jeopardizes the mission?"

"Exactly because of that." He could feel a cold satisfaction humming
through the commlink. Pravin Lal shook his head; they could all feel the
finality in her voice.

"Then what do you want?"

"I'm sending one of my representatives to the command bay. We will discuss
it further then."
"We can not allow a...mutinous crewmember in the command bay."

"You can, Captain. I am telling you that you can. Do not seal the lift or
we will begin picking off engineering crew one by one."

Garland heard a Russian curse cut the air like acid. Garland thought
furiously...what do they have? How many are there?

He had to buy time.

"Very well, Corazon. Send your representative, and leave the maintenance
crew unmolested."

"Do not call me by my first name, Captain. Remain in the command bay; we
will see you shortly." The transmission ended. Captain Garland crossed to
Lal.

"Where is she?"

"The communication originated from a storage room off of cryobay three, the
bay where both she and Dr. Yang slept."

"A large part of the security team is in there." He paced once across the
bay, once back. "Determine how many they have..."

"Of course, Captain." Pravin switched back to a formal mode of address as
the crisis deepened.

Garland turned to Ensign Martchenko. "Get this Santiago's dossier. And
hurry the check on that armory log thread. We need to know if they have
weapons."

The young ensign began clicking the touchpanel frantically. Garland let out
a deep breath and looked down at the security matrix. Several cameras were
out now, or the rooms they observed remained dark. Systematic sabotage, or
circuits worn down from the long journey?

"Do you think they'll attack? How serious are they?" he asked quietly. More
half-rhetorical questions. Captain Garland looked up to the low ceiling of
the command mod, where the United Nations star seal had been etched into
the metal. The damaged ship...

He turned to the science console. "Commander Saratov, we must..."

But the gaunt Russian was nowhere in sight. Saratov was gone.

Ship's Transmission,
Prokhor Saratov
The conflict with the mysterious insurgents has jeopardized my engineers'
ability to repair the ship in good time. All here are consumed with the
immediate conflict, but I keep my eyes to the new world, always.

The Captain may order my people into battle, and I must prepare for this.

I will not be caught off guard.

Journey to Centauri: Episode 10
Prokhor Saratov paused in one of the ship's long cylindrical accessways
and brushed his fingers along the seam of a ventilation duct. He wrinkled
his brow, as if concerned about structural damage, and his eyes flickered
up and down the accessway. Broad yellow stripes stretched along the wall
in each direction; this accessway remained slated for heavy equipment and
supply transport only.

There were cameras, of course, but few people to monitor them. All hands
were directed toward repairing the ship, including his own. But first he
had a job to do.

The silver ventilation duct opened and seemed to swallow him. A moment
later, the accessway stood empty.

Saratov breathed deeply, trying to remain calm in the narrow confines of
the ventilation duct. He got down on his hands and knees and crawled,
wrapping a length of lightweight polishing cloth around his hands to muffle
their impact on the strong yet flexible surface beneath him. He had shut
down all the infrared sensors along this path for one hour.

He could feel pain pulsing up and down his spine already. He crawled on,
through small tunnel after small tunnel, following pathways displayed on
his tiny wearable computer. Left, left, right, down dark and narrow paths.
His joints ached, and the air stuck in his throat. Darkness closed in on
him, and then...

There. Ahead, a small grate, crisscrossed by infrared beams he was not
authorized to deactivate. Through the grate he could see a small room with
red stripes swashed along the walls.

Craning his arm he pulled a small thermal tool from his belt and edged up
to the crisscross of beams. He turned on the tool, calibrated its
temperature carefully to a point far below freezing, and directed it's icy
bluish spray onto the glass nodes of the infrared detectors. One, two,
three, quickly moving from one to the next. His hand trembled a bit but his
eyes remained flinty, analytical, timing his movements with decimal point
precision.

At the last node he pushed through, his hands on the grate and pressing,
ignoring its clatter on the floor as he emerged from a tiny opening some
five feet off the floor. He fell and landed hard on a cold metal floor.

To his left, a nondescript red metal door at the end of the narrow room he
had entered. The words 'Weapons Bay' were stamped across the edge seal of
the door. Beyond that door, the armory. And the other direction...an
antechamber, perhaps filled with renegade crewmembers.

He had no keycard to open the Weapons Bay, and if he had one he could not
have used it without triggering a signal in the command bay anyway, but
that didn't matter. Someone had rewired the door logs already; that was
obvious.

He punched a simple access code into the door and it unlatched with a
clicking sound. No alarms, no footsteps, no summons from the Captain.

The great red door swung open, and Saratov walked through.

Episode 10, part 2
"Find Saratov!" Captain Garland shot to Lal. Ensign Martchenko sat rigid
at his own console, but Garland ignored him. At this moment Garland trusted
Lal, to the exclusion of anyone else in command.

Except perhaps Skye. Skye...

He punched a link to her. "Officer Skye, acknowledge immediately."

"Yes Captain." Her voice sounded crisp and smooth, professional in this time
of crisis. "I read you."

"We have discovered insurgents on the ship. Crewmembers moving about
without authorization...we don't know how many or exactly what they want.
We don't believe they are in your area, but you need to be careful. Have
one of Saratov's crew post outside the Hydroponics module."

"Saratov's people are no longer here, Captain. They left a few moments ago
under orders."

Garland froze for an instant, startled. "Did they say why?"

"No, Captain. They were pinging the synthglass panels on the far side of
the Greenhouse when a commlink came in. All three of them packed their
tools and departed quickly. And Captain...I could use people here. Whether
we stop the ship or not, someone will need to eat, and my hybrids need
tending. I can't rely on...that is to say, Saratov's people are quite busy."

"Understood. Send your crew requests to the command mod and we'll trigger
their wakeup from here. Keep the number to a minimum. Also, activate the
motion detectors in the hallway outside the Greenhouse. Be careful,
Deirdre."

"Understood." Her fluid voice hung in the air for a moment after Garland
closed the link. Then he tapped Lal on the shoulder and issued him quiet
orders.

"Where is Saratov? Key in to the tracking unit in his uniform."

"Commander Saratov is...inside a mechanical accessway. The delta on the
tracking module is not zero, so he must still have it on his person...wait,
he is moving only...2 centimeters...and now one and a half centimeters the
other direction..."

"Get a visual." He glanced over at Saratov's ensign, Martchenko. He could
practically see the man's ears burning.

"Captain." On Lal's screen flickered the image of a wide circular accessway.
There was no sign of life. "The tracking module puts him in that hallway,
shifting slightly back and forth..."

Garland leaned over and scanned the image carefully. "Wait. Zoom in, here.
Enhance." Lal's fingers danced, and a spot on the floor expanded in a series
of fluid jumps.

There, on the floor: a tiny metal and glass cylinder, rolling back and forth
on the curved floor of the hallway.

"He's pulled his tracking unit out, or it's fallen out. But where is he?"

Lal punched up a schematic of the ship. "The accessway leads to cargo bays
on either side, full of equipment in one, common supplies in the other.
But...here, a small maintenance duct. Leading to..." The schematic whirred
along the length of the duct.

"The weapons bay." said Garland. "But he can't open it."
"Unless the code has already been broken. He may have reason to believe
that it has."

"Open the datalinks. Reconstruct whatever he was doing on his console before
he left,  keying on that magenta color  the computer uses to highlight final
results."

"There's no need, sir." came the gruff voice of the young ensign. "I believe
the commander had something running here before he left."

Garland crossed to the science console and looked on the screen.

"Can you interpret?"

"The armory log file, usually updated several thousand times a second, had
no updates for a period of over three seconds during this time frame." He
flicked his hand towards a highlighted time range sometime before the ship
had been hit. "It must have been tampered with, sir."

"So Santiago's people must have gotten in. They are armed."

"Captain. Look at this as well." Lal's lilting voice had gotten faster and
more clipped, excited. "Most of the engineers have moved into the same
general area. Near the weapons bay."

Quicklink [encrypted]:
Orig: Commander Saratov
Recip: EmergEngineer@science.unac.unity [subset: Trusted]
Stabilize current assignment, then converge on attached coords. Ensigns
Preuss, Landon, Ritzka move immediately. Use caution, discretion.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 11
"Commander Saratov. Commander Saratov! Respond immediately." Garland stopped
to listen, searching the pure silence of the commlink for any sign of reply.
"Nothing, Captain," said Lal.

"Try one of these engineers we're tracking. Try this one..."

"Saki." Lal tapped a glowing indicator on the screen and a channel opened
immediately. "Lt. Saki come in. This is Commander Lal and Captain Garland,
in the command mod."

A pause, thick with hesitation. Finally..."Yes sir. Sirs."

"What are your orders, Lieutenant? What has Commander Saratov ordered you
to do?"
"He has ordered us to the Weapons Bay, sir. Is there something amiss?" Tha
last word...'amiss'...sounded strange to Garland, like a word out of an
19th century play, so polite.

"Has Commander Saratov told you anything about your assignment?"

"Negative, Captain. Is everything all right, sir?"

"Radio me when you reach your Commander, Lieutenant. We have lost contact
with him and we are concerned." Not exactly a lie but not the whole truth
either, thought Garland as he broke the link.

"Saratov must be taking matters into his own hands, fearing for the safety
of his crew. He wants to distribute weapons, and with these insurgents in
the ship I can't quite blame him..." Garland paused, again looking up at
the U.N. symbol etched into the command mod's ceiling.

"What will you do, Captain? We must fix the ship, and Saratov is acting
against orders.'

Garland let out a deep breath. "Not completely against orders. The safety
of the crew must be our first concern. I can't push this issue with Saratov
while the ship remains damaged. But I can go down there and locate him."
"A moment," responded Lal, soft and urgent. "Two of Saratov's engineers
have reached the antechamber to the Weapons Bay. I believe they are opening
it..."

Episode 11, part 2
Paul Landon and Diana Preuss, engineers under Saratov's command, pulled the
release lever and waited as the first set of security doors swung open.
Landon stood to one side, flexing his muscles nervously, his hands gripping
a concussion hammer tightly. His palms felt hot and sweaty, but when he
glanced at Diana she stood calmly, ice cool, a thin smile frozen on her
face.

A sliver of light slipped from between the doors and expanded as they swung
to their full open position. Landon caught Preuss' eyes and they both moved
to the sides, listening intently, staying in the shadows. As the doors
reached the full open position they looked at each other, communicating
urgently with their eyes alone.

Use caution, discretion, Saratov had told them, and directed them to a set
of coordinates centered on the other side of this antechamber they had
opened. Caution from what?

For long moments they waited, scarcely breathing. Landon's senses were in
overdrive...he could hear the quiet groaning deep inside the ship, and he
could feel his pulse pounding in his ears. The antechamber yawned darkly
between them. Landon gestured to his wrist and pointed inside...

Preuss motioned in the negative. She pointed at the ground.

One faint shadow, stretching from the antechamber, shifting slightly as if
something were moving between several lights. A hiss of breath escaped from
Landon's lips.

From behind them came footsteps, and another red suited engineer entered the
hallway, footsteps echoing on the metal floor. Landon turned...it was
Ritzka, another engineer with combat training, arriving early. Coincidence?

Landon started to signal him but comprehension had already washed over
Ritzka's face. He paused for one split second, rooted to the floor, and
then threw himself to one side.

There was a small cracking sound and a peculiar metallic thump. Landon
looked wildly down the hall as Ritzka's eyes flashed with panic and he
crawled rapidly into the cover of the shadows along the hallway. That
cracking sound...

There. Landon could see it...a small hole, as if the metal in the wall had
been melted by a burning coal, about three feet to the right of where Ritzka
had stood. Shredder pistol, set to fire in pulse rather than spray mode,
and set at low power so it didn't puncture the metal.

Landon moved farther back into the shadows, his breathing quiet and shallow.
His fingers crept to the 'on' switch of the concussion hammer, but he didn't
push it yet. He heard the rustle of cloth, and then the quiet clicking of a
computer touch screen from inside the antechamber.

His eyes shot to Preuss' and he caught the quick nod. His muscles, wound
tight from the tension of waiting, exploded into action as he rushed into
the antechamber. Bright lights burned his eyes for a moment and he caught
a quick adrenaline-pounding glimpse of a small cylindrical chamber, broad
red swatches on the wall, another set of sealed doors, and off to one side
a small but muscular man in a red security uniform, kneeling against the
wall and typing into his quicklink.

Landon hissed out a breath and felt the concussion hammer jolt to life in
his hands. The small security guard rolled quickly and a shredder pistol
appeared in his hand...he moved his arm as if to sweep the chamber but the
pistol was still on pulse mode, and Landon heard the pock pock pock of
single shots hitting the metal around him.

He lunged and lost his footing , the concussion hammer jolting the floor
and sending a nerve-jangling vibration through his hands and arms. Scenes
flashed...he could see Preuss leaping like a cat, and then he heard two
more pocks and a meaty thump, and she fell hard and fast to the ground,
her legs cut out from under her. Her forehead hit the ground hard and Landon
could hear the crack even as he came back to his feet and the little tight
man in red, the security guard, rolled across the chamber.

A pause. A heartbeat, as the little man flipped something on his weapon.

No.

Landon scrambled forward, feeling the bile rise in his stomach, smelling
the reeking sweat of desperation as he tried to move forward while keeping
his head low. He heard Preuss yell, a strong yell that cracked at the end,
and then there was a hum and a black cloud filled the chamber, and then he
saw her torso turn into a cloud of blood swirling backwards along the wall.

He clawed his way to his knees and swung the concussion hammer, and felt
the impact rock his arms and bones as the blow landed on the side of the
little man's head. Landon heard a sickening snap, and looked away from the
blow, only to feel his right leg turn into fire. He felt his jaw fall open,
his muscles losing control, and turned to see the blood patterns on the
wall, swirls of red that used to be his leg.

Blood on the walls of the Unity. The world turned to darkness, and Landon
fell

Ship's Logs
Paul Landon, Engineering Staff
Weapons are tools," Commander Saratov once wrote. "Their function is
violence; when used by a technician, rather than a warrior, they can
fulfill their intended purpose: to assist in clearing out the useless to
make way for the functional.

"And, like any tool, they can help humankind to make the inevitable happen
more quickly."

Journey to Centauri : Episode 12
Deirdre Skye stroked the collar of her uniform and looked out through the
transparent wall panels of Hydroponics Module One, tracing their path as
they curved down to join the ship's hull. Beyond them she could see the vast
sweep of space, the stars swimming around the ship as the Unity hurled
forward. From this vantage, at the edge of Mod One, she could also see the
surface of the ship stretching away from her, weirdly shaped scraps of
metal rising up across a burnt and twisted landscape, the remnants of their
collision.

Across the damaged surface she could see the dark edge of cryobay seven and
its associated living facilities. The edge of the cylinder had caved in,
but beyond that it looked intact. Still, they had no contact with bay seven,
no signs of life. It was this burnt landscape outside her very windows that
had led Deirdre to caution the Captain about Saratov's rush to trigger the
pulse test.

"Deirdre."

She turned to see the Captain walking toward her, pushing through the
branches of some dwarf avocado trees. Nearby two of her staff were packing
the rough green fruits into lightweight foam coolers.

"Captain." She took a sip from the silver mug in her right hand and looked
over the climate control tiers of the Greenhouse.

"How do the gardens look?"

"Quite well, actually. The plants have been on artificially lengthened
growing cycles for the duration of our trip, blooming and dropping their
fruits into compost bins, then continuing the cycle again." She turned to
him. "We forget they can do that without human interference. They have
since the dawn of time."

"And now that we're interfering again?"

"I've shortened the growing cycles and increased fertilizers. Any plants
currently blooming are being harvested and stored." She paused. "About a
third of the plants perished in transit, actually a little less than I
expected. The rest seem to be holding up, better than our crew, it seems."

Garland cracked a grim smile. "I'm on my way to the Weapons Bay now to see
the damage for myself. Two crew have died, and one is in medical. Saratov..."

He stopped, seemed to reconsider his words. "Saratov's men will be back to
do the final testing in here. They seem to feel we can put a tension seal
on the most vulnerable panels and then this Mod will be all right.We don't
have much time...there will be some calculated risks."

Deirdre nodded. "Yes, sir," she said, and turned back to focus on the night
outside.

"And as I mentioned, be careful. Santiago's people seem to be isolated to
Bay Two, but we're unsure. Watch the door carefully, and we'll have some
weapons delivered here. We're still going to try for a peaceful resolution."
Deirdre nodded. The Captain turned and headed for the exit, on his way to
the Weapons Bay. Deirdre watched his reflection in the panels, noted idly
how the stars seemed to swallow him. She also noted the shredder pistol at
his hip, and the uneasy tension in his stride.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 12, part 2
Santiago's eyes snapped down to the panel on her wrist as some incoming
data signaled for her attention. Yang, bound and held between two of her
people, felt a flicker of admiration at the rattlesnake quickness of her
movements.

"Pravin Lal has sent a message to the Captain on an unencrypted channel.
They have the Weapons Bay secured, and Eckert has died as a result of the
attack." Shadows moved in the curve of her jaw as she absorbed the news.
"Unfortunate. I did not expect them to move on the Weapons Bay with so few
crewmembers."

She looked around. All of her people stood at attention, no one wasting
time or breath until she had determined their next course of action.

"Jerek, do we know how many of their crew are awake?"

A strong man with heavy features stepped forward. "We can not tell from
here, Colonel. Until our emissary reaches the command mod we will not know,
but we do know that the ship has been damaged. They may have awakened any
number of emergency personnel to deal with the problem."

Santiago nodded. "Our situation is more unstable than I thought, but
instability favors the strong. Let's set up a perimeter in this bay. Ten
of you sweep the ship...carefully. Do not interfere with any engineering
personnel unless threatened. We are looking for their point of greatest
weakness."

A series of rigid nods, and warriors began fanning out.

"We need information. We have more firepower; I should not feel this
helpless." Her eyes flickered to Yang, who watched her coldly. "Take him
into that storage chamber. Bind him well, but do not speak to him. He is
not one of us."

Log Entry Received,
Deirdre Skye, Chief Botanist.
The plants in Hydroponics Module One appear relatively healthy, all things
considered. About two-thirds of them made the journey successfully, living
out their life cycles as they always have, even millions of miles from home.

Indeed, with all of us in cryosleep it must have resembled Eden in here, a
rich and bountiful garden awaiting the coming of the slumbering humans.

I spend almost all of my time here, breathing the richly scented air,
testing the consistency of the earth. I picked and cut a lemon today...
the tangy smell of it wafting up as I cut the skin made my head swim with
memories of home.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 13
The doors to the Weapons Bay hissed open, and Captain Garland stepped
cautiously into the antechamber. The room felt dim and hollow, tainted by
the residue of violence. The lights had been turned down, in respect for
the dead.

Garland forced himself to stop and take it all in, and saw for the first
time the blood on the wall, black crusted shadows. The video feeds to the
antechamber did not function, probably disabled by Santiago, so Garland
could only reconstruct the scene in his mind. Here one crewmember had been
cut down, the wall behind peppered with shredder impact marks. Here a trail
where one crawled across the floor, ending in a thick dry pool. Members of
his crew...

He crossed the chamber and entered the Weapons Bay proper, where Prokhor
Saratov still waited, along with an engineer who served as a guard. The
guard looked fairly muscular, even after the ravages of the cryosleep, but
he shifted uneasily from foot to foot and held the bulky machine pistol
awkwardly. He was an engineer, not a soldier.

Racks of weapons rose above and around them in cramped darkness of the Bay.
Garland thought the space reflected the philosophy of the United Nations
Council perfectly. Small, smaller than any cargo space, as if it were added
as an afterthought, but once you got inside it was jammed full of hardware.
Killing hardware, from lightweight shredder pistols to more powerful machine
pistols, atomic mortars, fusion drills, their dark hard forms reflecting
their function -- threatening and aggressive. The bay seemed to embody a
belated realization that perhaps violence would find humanity even in the
stars.

Near the back of the room Saratov hunched over a portable terminal, his face
bathed in flickering light. "Officer Saratov," Garland greeted him. The
Russian glanced up quickly, then snapped closed the portable and stood up.
"Captain." He bowed his head slightly, then looked up again. Garland took
a deep breath and sat down on a curved black container crisscrossed with
red warning symbols.

"We do not always see eye to eye, Prokhor. But I do respect your ability,
and your intellect." Saratov straightened, a gleam of pride in his eyes.
"We need you with us. You were under orders to repair the ship, not to
attack..."

The pride vanished in a heartbeat. "This Santiago threatened my engineers."

"Yes, I know."

"It is I who want the ship fixed more than anyone, Captain. That is why..."

The Captain raised his hand. "No matter. We'll deal with all of this later.
We will arm your engineers, transport a case of weapons to the command
center, and reseal this bay properly.

Saratov nodded. "Agreed."

Garland released a breath. "And I have recorded these events in my log.

You may wish to do the same in yours."

Saratov's eyes suddenly flared with anger, then cooled to an amused contempt.

"Your log? To be downlinked to Earth?" He lifted one hand, which trembled.
"I have armed us, possibly saved the ship..."

"And the record will reflect that. But it will also reflect how your people
met Santiago on her own terms, with violence. We have a responsibility to
humanity and the U. N. Council, Officer. We cannot forget that. Peace is
what we are struggling for."

"The Council is light years away, if it still exists at all."

"I know." The Captain and Saratov faced each other, the shadows of guns
crossing the walls around them. Saratov shook his head slightly.

"Do what you must. My desire is only to repair the ship."

The Captain held his eyes, but the Russian remained impassive, unreadable.

Not ten meters away, blood dried on the walls and floor of the antechamber.

Did that matter to Saratov? One of his own?

"Captain, I have high confidence that we can fix the ship in time. I will
request a pulse test within hours. We have almost finished reinforcing the
ship's weakened sections."

Garland nodded. "Good. Let's return to the command center. We must be
careful until the ship is secured. The twenty security people have not
arrived, so we may awaken some from another location."

"And perhaps this Santiago has...infected more of the security staff with
her ideas."

Garland nodded. "Or any staff. It is a risk we must take."

"Doctor Yang could assist, but where is he? Under Santiago's guard, or at
her side? Who do you trust, Captain?"

Saratov moved by Garland, on his way back to the command center. Garland
turned, brushing his fingers across weapons that seemed to wait with a
dormant heat.

Codename: Emissary
Encrypted Link, Colonel Santiago
In motion again, per orders. All silent in bay three. Engineers working at
far end remain completely unaware of our presence.

Will move to command center at next opportunity. First, request approval on
plan to follow...

Episode 14

Miriam awakened to the taste of blood in and her mouth and brilliant light
filling her vision. She closed her eyes and then opened them again...she
could hear her heart pounding in her ears, and her skin felt alive. She
could see past jagged edges of glass and up the sloping wall of the chamber
outside; she could make out every seam, every scratch up there. And around
her, she could hear the creak of the ship, the hiss of air, the pounding of
a hundred hearts, her fellow crew, echoing and thundering in the chamber
around her.

Her hand, laying loosely by her side, crept up and felt a stickiness on her
stomach, and then a hard cold edge inside of her.

Blood, and glass. Fragments...

She closed her eyes again, focusing herself. She shifted her thoughts from
the random stream of impressions to the concrete, the small, the close. Her
lips began to move, reciting short prayers learned back on earth,
meditations to pull her through difficult times.

Her heart was pounding, her senses hyperkinetic...stimulants pumped into
her system. Her hands could move freely, unconstrained. Blood on her
fingers, shattered glass overhead, the slope of metal that was her ship
over that. Alive, bathed in light, brilliant light from a nearby star or a
vision, the kind she had always craved on Earth.

She moved her hand again, this time up to her throat where a small metal
cross once lay against her skin. It now lay somewhere nearby...she could
not wear it in cryosleep, but she could imagine it, cool against her skin.

Miriam.

A voice, and a light. Pulling her upwards, up to the source.

The mission. The people around her. Her body, injured, her blood as mortal
as any other. What had her pastor called the human body? A "fragile vessel
for the soul."

The booming of hearts. Her own heart, racing, in overdrive. The computer
monitoring her vital functions was clearly flooding her system with
cocktails of drugs and medicines, keeping her alive with single-minded
purpose.

Miriam!

A voice, and the glass lifting away, more light pouring down on her and
then a shadow. A hand, pulling at her, lifting her upwards.

Rising upward, out of her coffinlike shell, she knew that God had spared
her for a greater purpose. No shadow would block her way to the one true
mission, the mission against which this entire ship and all its crew were
but one tiny spark in a burning pyre.

An arm went around her, and she felt its warmth encompass her.

Resurrection.
Ship's Medical Log
Stasis Report, Cell 986
Subject: Miriam Godwinson
00: Cell integrity breached. Triggering automatic wakeup.
01: Elevated heartbeat 120 bpm, blood pressure falling to 90/60. Events
suggest injury and moderate to severe bleeding. Administering 10 mcg
dopamine, pressure lowered in cell [staunch bloodflow]
02: Continued elevation in heartbeat 128 bpm. Blood pressure 84/67.
Continue administer dopamine, morphine.

03: Subject not responding. Link to central databanks failed. Code red.
04: Code red.
05: Code red.
06: [offline]

Episode 15

Santiago's Emissary slipped one foot and then the other into the tough,
rubbery leg of the pressure suit and pulled it up around her waist. Her
hands shook slightly and she clamped down on her emotions with an iron
will, bunching the muscles in her forearm as if she could force the fear
from her extremities. She slipped the rest of the way into the pressure
suit and knitted the front seal closed.

Three meters away, the cool gray barrel of a shredder pistol flicked twice
at the helmet-mask resting on a shelf on the wall. She picked up the mask,
which resembled a transparent egg with the impressions of a face on one
side, opened it and then closed it around her face. Seals activated around
her neck and the mask tightened around her face. She had a moment of panic
as the thick plastic closed around her, and then her nose and mouth filled
with a burst of cold, highly oxygenated air.

She looked back at the figure behind her, already dressed in a pressure
suit. He watched her expressionlessly, shredder pistol leveled at her
stomach. She looked away and pulled on two gloves, sealing them to the
wrists of the suit. Her companion motioned again, this time to the exit
hatch. Beyond this hatch lay the outer carousel, an open gridlike structure
that wrapped the eight cryobays and rotated around them, using centripetal
force to generate a gravity-like effect stronger than that in the bays.
Attached to the carousel, on two long arms, were the command center of the
ship on one arm and the auxiliary command on the other.

The Emissary punched in the unlock codes, and the hatch spun open to a
world of stars. The carousel trundled by, sending a vibration through the
Emissary's booted feet. She had timed the opening of the hatch to coincide
with the approach of the main arm, which now came into view around the
outer shell of Bay Three.

A single sharp prodding from the shredder pistol and the Emissary moved out
onto the carousel. She began pulling herself hand over hand towards the
base of the main arm. As she neared it the movement of the carousel carried
her past Bay Three and over Bay Four, its textured off-white surface moving
past her.

At the base of the main arm waited a small lift. The Emissary tilted her
head to glance at a small hatchway, an emergency access through which a
person could crawl and then use a series of metal handholds to climb to the
command center. A long and frightening climb, with only a light tether
holding you to the structure of the ship, and infinity waiting at your back.

She looked away from the emergency access and into the lift, which waited
in the ready position. She glanced back at her companion, who motioned her
into the lift. They both stepped into the cramped space and her companion
pulled the lever, starting the lift towards the command center.

She looked out as the lift progressed away from the ship and the gravity
increased, pressing her feet into the deck. As the long arm moved the ship
seemed to turn beneath her, and she could see its cylindrical length
gradually revealed. the center of the ship held the eight cryobays and the
landers that would carry them down to the planet's surface.

Sandwiching the landing pods were the huge gray fuel canisters that fed the
fusion pulse drive, and to the front of the ship she could see the thrusters
that directed the tremendous energy of the fusion pulses into space. The
ship had rotated before deceleration so that the fusion drive could slow
them down, but the thrusters, ringed by the massive bronze-colored
radiators, now lay dormant. She watched the ship coolly, having little
knowledge of the science behind the collision that had crippled them. It
was enough for her to remain alive, and to perhaps advance her leader's
mission in some unforeseen way.

The lift neared the end of the arm. Somewhere above, in the command center,
a warning light flashed.

Ship's Transmission
Encrypted Quicklink,
Santiago to Emissary
Proceed...

Episode 16

Santiago stood over a cryocell with two of her lieutenants, plotting the
movements of her warriors through the ship. As coded communications came
in she used a slim etching tool to sketch locations on the semitranslucent
curved top of the cell, oblivious to the cryogenically frozen face staring
up from below.

"We are still playing cat and mouse with the armed staff of the ship," she
said in clipped tones. "I am looking for leverage, and a place to move
against them. We have weapons and a makeshift fortress, but we still lack
all we need to thrive."

"The command center?" asked the slender man to her left. She glanced over
at him; Shen was physically unimposing but his veins ran with ice; she had
never seen his fear control him.

She shook her head. "Too difficult. If the Captain allows the Emissary into
the command center we will have a foothold there, otherwise we will have to
advance up the main arm one by one, with the crew picking us off at their
leisure. We need another location to use as a diversion, or, if the Emissary
fails, as our primary objective."

"WeTve discussed the cryocells," grated the larger man to her right. Pierce,
 his sleeves rolled up to show forearms crisscrossed by hundreds of razor-
thin scars. "We have a thousand helpless hostages right here," he tapped
his shredder pistol on the surface of the cryocell in front of them.

"Our last resort, and a good one, but it amounts to an ultimatum. For now,
I am considering this location." She tapped a crude schematic etched into
the cryocell.

"Why not just remain in our current location?" asked Shen, his narrow eyes
flitting to her face.

"There is an old Samurai saying: TI run to fight, I run to defend.T As long
as we remain stationary they can use our position against us. Let them
remain in their respective domains+the Captain in his command center, Skye
in her hydroponics, Saratov in his maintenance ducts. They are utterly
predictable; we must not fall into that trap."

A two-beat tone sounded from her wrist computer.

"The Emissary has reached the command center. LetTs shake them up a bit.

Shen, move half of our people near the exit hatch. The other half will come
with me. Leave Dr. Yang in his holding cell under guard. Now..." She turned,
her movements graceful and defined.

With precision movements, the warriors fanned out.

Episode 16, part 2

In the Command Center, Saratov turned to address the Captain. "Captain, we
are ready for a pulse test. There is no more time to waste."

The Captain rose and walked over to the science console, where Saratov
hunched over a complex web of figures and calculations. "You are certain
the ship is as safe as you can make it?"

"Ninety-four percent certainty, Captain. Remember, there will only be one
of the pulses, to measure its effects on the ship's structure."

"But it could still split us open in a fireburst."

"I can give you no more certainty, except to say that I wish to live as
much as you do. If it is certainty you seek..."

Garland lifted his hand, seeing the anguish in SaratovTs face. "Test
authorized. Give the crew the standard warning."

"Captain." A voice, unfamiliar and urgent, compelled Garland to turn around.

There, in the entrance to the command center, stood a slender woman with
fierce black eyes in the uniform of a security officer, one shoulder torn
to reveal bare skin underneath. Her hands were bound behind her. To her
rear stood a tall, angular man, an engineer under SaratovTs command. In his
hand he held a shredder pistol, leveled at the womanTs back.

"Here she is, sir, captured in Bay Three. As I mentioned, she wanted to see
you anyway."

"From Santiago+" said Garland quietly, watching the womanTs dark feral eyes.
ShipTs Personal Logs

Corazon Santiago

All things grow rusty with disuse. It is time to move, and advance our
negotiations with the Captain.

I have before me a record of one of his interviews from Earth. "The safety
of my crew is my primary concern," he says. So far every action has
confirmed this statement. His predictability will become his greatest
liability.

Episode 17

Corazon Santiago launched into a roll, crossing the narrow metal hallway in
the blink of a photosynth eye. She came up to her feet, lightweight rubber
soles gripping the floor, maintaining her catlike balance. She looked
through optical tinted goggles, flicking her eyes around to get all the scan
modes: regular, heat, ultraviolet, motion trail.

Nothing.

She gripped her plastic shredder pistol and with the other hand used a tiny
device to send out trails of color-coded mist that only her companions could
see, looking through their frequency-coded goggles. This way, all silent.

She felt the urge to smile and suppressed it.

Several paces behind her, and also in adjoining hallways, her small force
of commandos moved, heading for the rendezvous+

The metallic concussion of untrained footsteps echoed down the hall and sent
her exploding to the nearby ventilation duct. She had the duct off with four
movements as silent and quick as a single breath, and then she was inside,
pulling the duct cover after her. No time to replace it+

The footsteps approached, and she watched as a faint shadow stretched down
the hallway under the even lights of the maintenance hallway. One of
SaratovTs engineers, by his stiff bearing and the awkward way his hand
floated around the pistol at his belt. She had already sent a silent signal
to Leuschen, behind her, so that he would take cover in the+

"Hey!" A gruff yell, startled and with an Irish brogue underlying it. The
engineer had seen something. The footsteps became a run.

"Stand down, gearhead," cut in LeuschenTs voice. She could hear contempt
for the untrained engineer underneath. Santiago watched as the engineerTs
form suddenly flashed past the opening of the vent duct, and she got the
quick impression of a clublike hand holding a shredder pistol, a face red
with exertion, an unusually squat torso.

"Step out, you mutinous bastard," the man bellowed.

"Raise your weapon and you will+" came Leuschen's voice, cut off suddenly
by the staccato burst of shredder fire, screaming against the metal walls
of the hallway, and then a second longer burst in an uneven rhythm.
Santiago tightened her grip on her weapon. Who fired?

An answering volley, a quick low hum cut off with an elegant flourish.
Precision; that was one of her people. She emerged from the vent duct,
flowing out like a shadow.

The engineer lay against the wall at an odd angle, his left leg and hip
joint gone. Santiago shook her head angrily; the man was still breathing,
his breaths coming in strange wet gasps as he tried to pull himself up on
one arm. Leuschen moved carefully, his lips twisted, staying out of the way
of the manTs weapon, which he still held loosely in his left hand.

"Leuschen!" her hiss shot down the hallway and he looked up, dismayed.
"One shot. You must learn to control yourself. A thousand shredder bullets
and this man still lives." She glanced over him with a practiced eye. "He
can not be saved."

She lifted her pistol and depressed the trigger in one-shot mode. There was
a sharp double crack, one from the weapon, the other in the base of the
engineerTs skull.

She ran to him quickly, grabbed his right wrist and turned it over. There,
on the screen of his wearable, a yellow light flashed.

"He may have alerted the command center."

"At least they'll know we mean business." Leuschen had backed up a bit, his
shoulders twisted at an odd angle, hunching away from her. "He drew on me."
She shot him one quick look, filled with anger and contempt. "DonTt let it
happen again. Hide this body and let's move on, before there are any further
incidents."

She continued up the hallway toward her destination.

Ship's Personnel Logs

Mullen, R; Engineer

Patrolling Bay Two Maintenance Shafts on makeshift guard duty. All is
silent, and rather dull. I am bloody tired, and I want this shift to end.

Episode 18

"What does Santiago want?"

The Captain faced SantiagoTs Emissary in a small, sparse room located off
of the command center. She sat at a small white table with her hands visible
but not bound. The engineer who had captured her, a wiry man named
Guillaume, stood behind her, shredder pistol leveled, staring at her back
with a steady gaze that seemed almost personal in its anathema.

The Emissary straightened her shoulders. "I should not be here under guard.
I came as a peaceful representative."

Garland shook his head. "Peace? You people have disrupted the ship, murdered
other crewmembers..."

"Not murder. Combat." She flexed her fingers. "We want only to secure our
position. Nothing more, nothing less."

Garland shook his head slightly. "I do not understand. What position? What
justifies spilling the blood of your fellow crewmembers and reprogramming
the shipTs computer?"

"It is justified by our code of conduct. Your people tried to interfere
with actions we considered vital to our survival. We had to meet force with
force."

"Had to?" A womanTs voice, low and compelling in its rhythms, cut into the
conversation. Garland turned. There, in the doorway, stood Miriam, her
bright blue uniform catching all the light in the room. She stood with her
hand pressed into her side, where Captain Garland imagined layers of
pseudoflesh were knitting her flesh back together, but her bearing remained
open, alight with confidence.

"Miriam!" He smiled and turned to her, then moved forward and gripped her
forearm. "Good to see you again."

"I couldn't stay in sickbay forever, Captain. I needed to lift my spirits a
bit, and Pravin told me you might need my assistance."

"By all means." He gestured to the Emissary. "I have to tend to the ship
in a moment, anyway. It seems Santiago wants to bargain with us."

"Indeed." Miriam moved forward, holding the EmissaryTs gaze, her lips curled
in a slight smile. "Your commander must trust you greatly, to send you here.
Do you speak for her?"

The Emissary nodded tersely. "I speak for myself, but my needs are also the
ColonelTs needs. Otherwise, I am here to deliver a message."

"What message?" Miriam sat down in a small curved plastic chair. The Captain
waited by the door to the command centers, arms folded across his chest.
"First, that the Colonel means you no harm. We seek only to pursue our
destiny on PlanetTs surface, alone."

"You speak of Twe.T Who are you, that you are all so tightly knit into a
single pronoun?"

"We are warriors, the last and best, from a group of warriors formed on
Earth."

"And who are you fighting? Us?"

"Anyone." Her lips curled in a smile. "Not you specifically. Anyone+ weak.
Anyone who threatens humanityTs survival."

Garland spoke up: "We seek to assure humanityTs survival. It is you who
threaten it."

She looked at him but did not answer. Miriam spoke again. "So Santiago
seeks a peaceful resolution? She would swear to this on her honor?" The
Emissary nodded. "And when will she contact us?"

"When she feels the time is right. Soon."

"What exactly does she want?" cut in Garland again.

"Here." She extended her forearm, startling Garland until he realized that
she was quicklinking to him from her portable computer. He looked to his
own console and tapped the Receive button, where a detailed list began to
appear. He scanned the first few items.

"An entire landing pod? Food and supplies meant for a thousand crew, for
your small group?"

"We are not so small." Garland and Miriam both looked at her, struck by her
confidence. Captain Garland shook off a chill.

"I would guess only fifty or one hundred. Regardless+" he stopped short,
seeing the shadows in her eyes. "There is no sense discussing this now. I
will review your demands and wait for Santiago. We wish a peaceful
resolution, but we can not be held hostage in our own ship."

Miriam stretched out one hand toward the Emissary. "Where is she now? Where
is Santiago?"

The Emissary watched her coolly, her eyes growing wide and dark. "Anywhere
she wants to be."

The door to the command center swung open and PravinTs face appeared in the
doorway, lined with urgency.

"Captain, we have detected unauthorized movement near the far end of the
Cryobays. Near the Greenhouse."

ShipTs Personal Logs

Colonel Santiago, transcribed by Emissary

This is not a Holy War, but a war just the same. Our cause, which we carry
in the very cells of our physical being, is more pure than any religion or
philosophy Earth ever gave us.

If you see Miriam Godwinson, you can remind her of that.


Episode 19

"Dana. HereTs a candidate." Ensign Cassiano stood over a cryocell in the
darkened expanse of Cryobay Four, matching an inventory code on a portable
touchscreen to the numbers stamped on the foot of the cell.

"A doctor?"

"Yes. Gayle Nambala." He used his sleeve to try and wipe some of the frost
on the outside and peer down at the shadowy form inside. "32 years old,
115 pounds. Looks like sheTs in pretty good shape. In fact, I think I
remember her+probably the best looking popsicle in this bay. "

"Really?" Dana looked up, her interest piqued. "How are her vitals?"
"As good as it gets. Should I mark her for wakeup?"

"Yes." Dana already seemed to have lost interest and was moving down the
bay, into an unusually shadowy area further down. Cassiano punched a code
into the small computer "tombstone" at the head of NambalaTs cell, starting
the wakeup process.

"Hey Dana, did you know this is my birthday?"

"Happy birthday," she said without irony. "How does it feel to be 75?"

"75? You mean because of the sleep?" He remained still for a moment,
turning the concept over in his mind. "Damn, that's old."

"HereTs something to make you feel better."

His quicklink bleeped and he looked down to see the image of a birthday
cake on his portable screen. After a moment, an animation of a woman popped
out with the words "Dr. Gayle Nambala" over her head. He smiled. "Well,
well. I thought sex in the workplace went out in the late 20th centur+"

"Oh, no." DanaTs voice cut into his reverie, and he looked up. She had moved
into the next section of cryocells, blocked off by a screened panel, and he
could tell something was wrong. He moved quickly toward her, past the
screen, and found himself in a land of the dead.

None of the lights along the wall in this section were on, and no pale blue
light shown from the cryocells. "The powercord must have been severed," Dana
said, and Cassiano could not read her face in shadows. She started forward
and he followed her, moving through a garden of death, rows and rows of
prematurely thawed cells, decaying bodies floating in slimy liquid.
"Now we know," he said quietly. "It must have happened+"

"Wait," cut in Dana. He saw her moving toward a cell that was set back in
the darkness. It rested on a platform of sorts, slightly elevated above the
others, and a small yellow-orange light cast strange patterns up and around
it. Cassiano felt as if he were approaching a crypt, or a throne.

And if that light were working, perhaps the cell had not decompensated.
Cassiano scanned quickly through his touchpanel, looking over schematics
of the bay. "No record of this cell in the datalinks. Strange, although you
know how chaotic the launch was. Perhaps some info was lost from the banks."
"Why is it set away from the others?"

Cassiano shrugged. "Looks like they barely fit it in." He moved closer to
it, and suddenly noticed his knuckles were white on the touchpanel.
Dana approached the cell. "The platform is a circuit wafer that controls
this section. Ordinarily it would just have storage bins on top of it, but
it looks like they used the space for another occupant."

Cassiano looked into the top of the cell. There was someone in there, a
dark form, shadows hidden in shadows. The small computer, the "tombstone,"
was dark. He put his hand on the glass. Cold. "ItTs functional, but it looks
like the computer is non-functioning. We can't get any data. There could be
brain damage, tissue damage. If he or she thawed and then refroze..."

Dana poked the tiny computer but got no response. Cassiano spoke up again.

"I'll send engineering down to get it working so we can start the unfreezing
process..."

"Hand me your stylus," cut in Dana. Cassiano extended it to her reflexively
and Dana took it. "Now be quiet for one moment."

Dana pried the computer off of its metal input cable and examined the
underside. She thrust the stylus in and twisted, then pried the back off of
the computer and touched the contact on a tiny copper-based chip, then
bridged the gap between the computer and the now disconnected cable.

There was a click and a burst of bubbles from inside the cryocell. Cassiano
watched as the storm of bubbles roiled up, causing the form inside to jiggle
and twitch. The process fascinated him, repulsed him a little.

Underneath the cryocell, the weird yellow light cast shadows around its
smooth glass shape, closing around it like long fingers. Who did they hold
in their grip?

"I didnTt realize that might work so quickly," whispered Dana. "WeTll have
to notify Commander Lal." Cassiano nodded. Dana watched for a few moments
more, then turned away. "Onward," she said quietly.

Episode 20

"You admire your leader?"

Security Officer Anakkala, Yang's guard and the target of his question,
clenched her jaw and kept her eyes focused forward. Yang read every part
of her...the tension in her shoulders, the twitching of the finger on her
shredder pistol, the slight gripping of her toes into the floor.

He flexed his wrists in the restraints SantiagoTs people had put on him.
Anakkala jerked her head at the movement. Yang watched her+her tension was
palpable. Perhaps Santiago had warned her people too strongly against him.
His reputation had now become a weapon.

He raked his eyes across his guard. "I am very thirsty." He lowered his eyes
and let his shoulders slump in a posture of defeat. His eyes glazed over
suddenly and his mouth fell open. Anakkala watched him with the disgust of
the strong for the weak.

"What's the matter with you?" she rasped through a tight throat.

He shook himself and looked up at her. "Defeat," he said. "I am in your
control, and you are in Santiago's control, and the ship is in the control
of forces we can not influence." As he spoke one of his eyes began to cross,
slowly, and she watched it with fascination. "On Earth I had my destiny in
my grasp, as you did, and you and I had a chance to change our fates. We
chose this ship, and its promise."

"I am not to speak to you." Anakkala said stiffly, shaking herself away
from his gaze. She began to pace.

He continued to talk, his words becoming a steady drone. "Such faith you
have in Santiago, who is my subordinate." She turned to watch him again.
Again his eye began to move, and she stared at it with fascination, watched
it as if following a moon across a night sky. "She captivates you, so great
is her charisma. You look at her and are filled with admiration, feel your
own will slipping away." AnakkalaTs breathing slowed. A flush came to her
face and her eyes became wide, deep, blue. Her hands began to loosen, the
tension draining from her shoulders.

"You wake and think of her eyes. You sleep...you sleep and believe..." Now
he trailed off, but she remained as still as a waxen statue, watching him,
watching everything about him. "You believe she can keep me here, but
perhaps she cannot."

He lifted his hands and they parted easily, the shackles falling away.
Anakkala gasped and half-lifted her weapon, but her eyes remained wide,
transfixed, her motions dreamlike.

"Watch the face of your enemy." He reached up and brushed his hand across
his own face, then moved forward and brushed his hand across hers. "This
is the face of your enemy." He stroked her face again, caressing her, his
voice a whisper. "This is the enemy you seek." One more time. "Now I will
leave."

He turned and walked away. "Stop!" she cried, through lips thick and numb.
She lifted her weapon, turned it on him, on her enemy, on the enemy she
was... She felt her hands shaking as he turned back, his face impassive.
The face...she turned her weapon, felt her wrist shaking as it turned back
towards...her own face...

There was a burst, short and sharp. Yang watched impassively as Anakkala
fired, transforming her face into a swirling mist of blood and tissue. He
shuddered once, remembering the beauty in her deep blue eyes.

He stooped to her form and lifted the keycard from her belt. In spite of
the illusions he had created for her, his hands were still bound, and he
needed to get free. Now he had a means to escape, and a weapon to assist
him.

He looked at her again, and felt a strange sadness wash over him.

Quicklink, Anonymous

To: All Survivalists

Doctor Yang is no longer with us.

Episode 21

"A stowaway? Could this even be possible?" asked Pravin Lal, receiving the
news from ensigns Dana and Cassiano with concern.

"How could they stow-away? Everyone needs a cryocell," said Miriam from a
small gray bench in one corner of the command center.

Lal had already called up schematics of the ship on a large touchpanel and
was centering on the cryobay in question. The diagrams appeared as a
complicated mishmash of lines representing cables and cross-feeds, snaking
one over the next. "I can not make heads nor tails of this."

Saratov moved over and began to punch through the confusion. "Isolate and
examine each part," he said. Color coded grids flashed out of existence one
by one. "See here. These are techniciansT notes, linked from these small
star markings. Here are the earlier ones+this section was built by the
Russians." He straightened a bit with pride.

"Would your Russian precision have allowed an extra cryocell into the
schematic?" asked Miriam from her chair in the half-light.

Saratov glanced at her angrily. "It is not the Russians, I can tell you.
Look, this was before the economic collapse of 2058. There is no Codicil."
"What is that?" asked Lal.

"A statement by the head technician. An affirmation that the scientists
have done their best work, and the hope that it will serve its function
well."

"You mean a blessing?" asked Miriam, smiling from her perch.

"Nothing of the sort. It is a way of asserting closure."

"WeTll have to talk of prayer some time," she said, nodding at him.

"Whichever it is," said Lal. "It is not U.N procedure."

"But it is tradition," answered Saratov. "And there are no notes regarding
the cryotests."

"So...they forgot these tests?"

"Not possible. There would have to be notes on the tests. All tech notes
by the agent of any world government are public view, but if a private
company was brought in later they would often conceal their tech notes." He
tapped in a complex series of commands. "We all know how many agencies
worked on this project by its completion." A final tap, and then an array
of tiny yellow diamonds bloomed across the schematic. Saratov nodded.
"A private company took over after the Russian economy collapsed."

Lal reached over and tapped a diamond. A tech note opened with a scanned
image of the lead engineer, a thin, pasty individual. But Saratov pointed
to the company code in the lower right corner.

"Morgan Industries," he said.

Just then the exit hatch hissed open, and everyone turned to see a large
African man fill the opening, his face regal, his body clothed in the folds
of a black robe, and his hands bound. A security officer stood behind him,
dwarfed by the manTs presence.

"Nwabudike Morgan," the man said in a deep, rich voice, and lifted his
hands. "I paid for part of your ship, and there is no need to bind me."

Episode 21, part 2

Saratov stood in the officer's mess, sipping hot water spiked with mild
stimulants. In the command center, Lal and the others questioned Morgan,
trying to determine quickly the impact his presence might have on the
mission, but Saratov cared little about that. He closed his eyes as the hot
liquid trickled down his throat, welcoming the respite from the stress of
fixing the Unity.

The door swung open behind him. He turned to see Miriam crossing the mess
to the small metal sink. He watched her splash cool water onto her face.
Finally he spoke.

"Your faith and psychology will not help us repair this ship, Officer.
Perhaps you should save them for the lecture halls."

"They can help," she said simply, dabbing her face with a thin white towel
"They are as vital to this mission as your technical readouts and precision
instruments."

"Are they?" He laughed once. "Shall my engineers join hands and pray the
ship to planetside? Can God change the atom?"

"God, and faith, can change anything. Indeed, faith is more visible to me
than the atom." She lifted one hand. "Faith keeps my hands steady in these
troubled times. How about yourself?"

Saratov, clutching his hands around his metal cup, looked at her angrily,
trying to discern if she knew about the tremble in his hands. "I am steadied
by the knowledge that your belief systems are all but extinct."

"Perhaps. Yet I see the fear in your own engineers' eyes. Men and women
who have science as their religion now know they may die tomorrow. It gives
a body perspective."

"Meaningless perspective. The atom exists, God does not. You fill their
minds with illusions."

She looked at him carefully. "My faith exists, for the world would be a
different place without it. With faith, my actions are different, my
responses to the events of my life are different. With faith, I look at you
with calm instead of...pity."

"Pity?" He barked a laugh. "Your experiences are all subjective."

She toweled her hands dry, considering. "You kill my child. With faith to
guide me I take no revenge and my heart heals, without faith I kill you, or
spend my life in bitterness. Faith has altered my reality." Miriam turned
to face him now, tossing the white towel on the counter between them like
a gauntlet. "Show me the atom that will do that."

"Lithium," Saratov said, and grinned like a death's head. "I could put
chemicals into you that would turn your heart bitter, and destroy your
faith."

"No you couldn't." Her eyes were calm, defiant.

"It is a proven fact. It is scientifically valid. You can not deny it."
This time she did not speak, but held his eyes with hers, and he became
aware again of the metal cup clenched in his hands. He finally spoke again,
in a near whisper. "You can not measure faith. You are atoms, and nothing
more. That your configuration of atoms believes in something it calls God
means nothing. Your kind, you crusaders, have set back humanity a thousand
years or more."

She suddenly reached up and grabbed his hands, holding them tightly. He
felt the warmth in them, and he felt the tremble in his own hands, and knew
she could feel it as well. She closed her eyes.

"Your atoms betray you," she said softly, and then released him. "Every
struggle you undertake is for a purpose you can not define. Put your own
faith in science, because it feels safe. Rescue the ship, because you
consider it a grand experiment. Live or die, it changes nothing. God is
waiting for you as well as me."

"Enough," hissed Saratov, and slammed his metal cup down on the counter.
"I have no time for this. Pray or don't pray, the ship will be fixed. And
you will thank me for it, Psych Chaplain." He turned and left the room.
Miriam watched him go, calm, and then her eyes flickered to the ceiling's
white expanse.

Quicklink, Ensign Dana

To: Pravin Lal

No confirmed record of the stowaway on board. He has emerged from the sleep
in perfect health. We will send him to you now, under escort...


Episode 22

Morgan dropped his hands and let the security escort unlock the organic
restraints from his wrists. The restraints fell to the ground, already
hardening into a complicated braided husk. Morgan rubbed his massive wrists
and looked around the command center with an amused detachment.

"Thank you, Captain. I assure you I will not take my freedom lightly."

"Your assurances mean something, Director Morgan, but the psych screen we
gave you also helps. However, we will have to confine you to quarters for
the time being."

"Very well," Morgan said shortly.

"This upsets you?" Garland turned to look at him.

"I am difficult to upset, Captain. One cannot succeed in business being
driven by the emotions. But, I am used to superior treatment." He shook his
head, cutting off the thought. "Never mind. It is a different world here."
"Yes. You entered this different world when you boarded this ship without
permission."

Morgan took a breath as if to argue the point, then abruptly smiled and
lifted one massive hand. "Very well."

"Dismissed." Captain Garland turned away and scanned his touchpanel for a
moment. He dialed up an exterior camera on his touchscreen and adjusted the
view to his liking, then stared for a moment at the result, tracing the
shape of it with his eyes. Behind him Morgan lingered, trying to catch a
glimpse as his escort motioned him to the exit hatch.

"Planet," Captain Garland said, quietly. On the screen the promised land
burned in a gold and blue and orange sphere, with clouds swirling in an
atmosphere somewhat resembling Earth but with a different mixture of gasses.
And, of course, with stranger life forms hidden beneath the veil of clouds.
He addressed Saratov without looking away from the image. "Prokhor, are you
ready to re-activate the fusion drive?"

"Yes, Captain," said Prokhor, sounding somewhat subdued. "We have little
choice regardless. There is no time."

Garland looked up. "But you are confident of success? You are prepared?"
"Like the United States Boy Scouts, Captain," muttered Saratov. "We can
never be 100% confident, but I have no wish to die in space. My people are
confident we are ready."

"Very well. I'll alert the crew."

"Perhaps, Captain+probes first?" Lal interjected quietly. "We could send
off the first grouping, for initial scans of the surface."

"Yes, we could, although we are still moving almost as quickly as the probes
would be. What purpose would it serve?" He looked at Pravin Lal and saw the
gravity in his friend's face.

He's not sure if we'll make it. This could be our only chance to send the
probes... The Captain nodded. "I see."

"We must, Captain," said Saratov bluntly. "If the ship does not make it,
we can at least leave a record, some kind of valuable data, for any future
survivors."

"I know. I concur. Launch them, now. Quickly. Then prepare to reactivate
the drive."

Saratov turned away and began to tap codes into his touchscreen. "I will
require your authorization to finalize launch, Captain," said Saratov, and
Garland knew the Russian hated clearing scientific procedures through him.
Garland tapped in an authorization code and watched a series of red lights
turn yellow one by one. The initial set of planetary probes, prepping for
launch.

"I will alert Deirdre Skye. She will want to know," said Garland.

"Yes," said Saratov, his voice acidic. "We begin the pollution of her
virgin world."

"Her concerns are legitimate, if overstated," said the Captain.

"Quite overstated. DonTt you believe so, Director Morgan?" Saratov shot the
last question to Morgan, who stood framed in the exit hatch with the
security escort behind him. Morgan smiled and spoke.

"Virgin territory. We only know of this planet's beauty because we have
taken metals from the earth and sustenance from Earth's creatures and
injected chemicals into Earth's air, raping the world we left behind, as
some would have us believe. But without this process of science and
industry, we would not be aware of this lovely planet at all.

"There are a billion worlds out there in the cosmos, some probably a
thousand times lovelier than this one. Let our environmentalist friends
meditate on those unclaimed worlds to soothe their spirits. But for this
world in front of us...let us explore and enjoy it. We can not perceive
beauty without altering it."

"ITm sure Officer Skye would have a different view," said Garland. "But
that's for another time."

"Captain," cut in Lal, his voice tinged with urgency. "Security matrix...
the Greenhouse!"

Garland quickly punched up the D7 video matrix for key security points. A
flashing alert on camera 117B. Five figures, creeping through the shadows
outside the Greenhouse.

"Seal the hatch!" ordered the Captain.

Episode 22, part 2

In the Greenhouse, Deirdre heard the two-beat warning siren and the hiss
of the metal hatchway as it began to close.

"They are sealing the hatch!" she shouted, dropping a set of pneumatic
clipping shears to the ground and rising to her feet. "Move inside everyone,
quickly!" A flurry of movement, and then the great metal door slammed shut
with a sound like thunder.

Deirdre rushed out to find a group of people standing in a stunned
semicircle around the entrance hatch. Sylvia caught her eyes first, her
slender body a study in frozen shock.

"Sylvia, are you OK? They must have sealed it from command+"

"Indeed," said an unfamiliar voice, cold and elegant with a Spanish accent
beneath. "And I hope you have the code to unseal it, Officer."

There, in front of the great door, stood a woman in the red jumpsuit of a
security officer, but with one shoulder deliberately torn off to reveal the
flesh underneath. She was compact but held herself with a regal bearing;
her hair was jet black, pulled behind her in a tight braid, adding to the
severe lines of a face both flawless and empty of compassion. Black eyes
flared at Deirdre; a shredder pistol was leveled in her direction. Next to
the woman stood a short man with a shaved head, the same jumpsuit with the
ripped shoulder, the same kind of pistol, the same look of anger blended
with impassiveness.

There were two of them, no more. As they approached, Deirdre could see that
their ripped uniforms revealed a tattoo, newly administered from the look
of it; an arrow in a hexagon, pointing downwards, burned in by a laser
drill, perhaps.

"I am Colonel Santiago," said the woman, and then she smiled. "I hope you
know how to open that door."

Deirdre held her ground, watched wide-eyed as the woman moved forward like
a mongoose moving on a snake. Deirdre tried the read the woman's face; she
moved cautiously but without fear, with no action unconsidered. Deirdre
lifted her hand smoothly to punch in a link to her Captain.

"Captain, it is Officer Skye. I have two of the insurgents," she saw
Santiago tense at the word, "inside the Greenhouse. One is Santiago. Please
advise."

Santiago watched her, and then smiled.

Personal Log

R Junack, Ship Security

We have become separated from Santiago, but we do not fear for her safety,
as I am sure she does not fear for ours.

Our chain of command is firm. Were any of us to die, another is set to take
their place, all the way down to the last member. That is what she taught
us.

Episode 23

"Captain, it is Officer Skye. I have two of the insurgents inside the
Greenhouse. One is Santiago. Please advise."

Deirdre's voice, coming over the emergency band, startled Garland. A moment
later the hatch to the command center opened, revealing a figure that
stopped all activity in the room for a moment.

"Dr. Yang," he said as Sheng-ji Yang stepped into the light of the command
center. "I'd ask where you've been, but we have a situation here. Listen
carefully."

Captain Garland opened the reply channel as Yang crossed to him in a
heartbeat. "Deirdre, acknowledge. Are you in danger? Is Santiago within
earshot?"

"I am within earshot and she could be in great danger, Captain," Santiago
answered. "Your botanists donTt appear ready to hold off an armed force."
Her voice was cold and clear, almost bracing. "I would like it very much
if you unsealed this door."

"Difficult to do," said Garland calmly. Yang nodded, approving of the
deceit. "We have ordered the door sealed under duress. It will take some
time to de-encrypt the access code."

"I don't believe you. Regardless, I suggest you find a way to open this
door. I have members of your crew under guard."

"Why, Santiago?" YangTs voice, clear and soft, floated into the room like
a wisp of smoke. A silence followed, then finally+

"Dr. Yang."

"Yes. Your bargaining chip."

"You were never a bargaining chip. More of a worthy opponent, a threat I
took seriously." YangTs face remained impassive, calculating. "But I am
sorry to see you have escaped. You could have been one of us."

"One of whom?"

"One of those who believe humanity will continue on its path to destruction
unless guided by people with discipline and an unshakable will to survive.
One who believes drastic measures must be taken to ensure the survival of
the human race."

"ThatTs enough," cut in Garland. "Santiago, can we bring you here to the
command center so that we can talk further? We all seek a safe ending to
this journey."

"Open the door and I will come to you."

"Give your weapons to Officer Skye and I will open the door."

"I canTt." Her words, simple and direct, struck Garland somehow. Her path
is so clear, to her, he realized. She has formed her strategy, and knows
that the die has been cast.

"Open the hatch, Captain. I don't want this to go any farther. You have my
word on that."

"The word of a traitor," hissed Yang, his anger breaking forth for the
first time.

"Perhaps a traitor to you, but I only seek to guarantee the safety of those
who follow me. If the entire ship doesnTt make it, and I believe it won't+"
Garland glanced at Saratov, who sat hunched over his console, preoccupied,
"+we, who have proven our will to live, want to be in the part of the ship
that reaches planetside."

"Wait by the hatch," Garland said, and closed the connection. He looked
around the command center+at Yang, whose eyes pierced the comm link darkly,
at Saratov, who now turned, his face pale, his chin steady.

"Skye is in danger. We need to open that hatch, and we don't have much
time. I want options, quickly."

"You are the Captain," said Yang.

"Then move to your station, Dr, Yang, and share your expertise. You saw
Santiago firsthand...what is the situation?"

"Yes, what's her damage?" interjected Miriam softly.

Dr. Yang, ignoring her, moved to the oval table in the center of the bay
and sat down in one fluid motion. He picked up a stylus and began tracing
on the tabletop, which automatically activated and recorded his movements.
"Santiago is disciplined and has firm control over her followers. They are
all armed."

As if on cue, a comm light flashed. All eyes turned to the Captain, who in
turn looked at Dr. Yang. "Dr. Yang, our choices. Quickly."

"Unseal the door and let Santiago control the Greenhouse as well as the
cryobay she has now, then negotiate."

"Could we surrender to her a storage bay, and give her and her people safe
transit to Planet?" asked Lal.

"Only if it were sealed from her side. She wants a fortress, safety," said
Yang.

"But she values honor," said Garland. "We could promise her safety, give
her our word."

Yang smiled grimly. "Perhaps. Choice two...send out a strike team,
neutralize her people, do it quickly and we may save Skye and the
botanists."

"And who will run this strike?" asked Saratov. "My people are armed but not
trained. We need them..."

"There are a few security staff awakened," said Garland. "Any more would
take days to emerge from the sleep into full effectiveness."

"Too long," said Yang. "But there is always choice three....leave the
Greenhouse sealed and cut off its oxygen. With Santiago dead her people
will lose heart."

"Skye and the rest will die as well!" flared Miriam, and her magnetism
pulled at Garland...her intensity.

"You asked for choices...that is a choice. And it is the only one that will
guarantee Santiago is neutralized."

"What if we waited until they fell unconscious and then rushed in?" asked
Lal, always seeking the balanced path.

"The security matrix shows that Santiago's people wait outside the
Greenhouse. Plus the timing would need to be perfect, and Skye will probably
fall before Santiago. We must be firm...give her what she wants, attack her,
or cut off the air. That is all I see."

"Captain," said Saratov urgently. "I have gotten the signal from engineering.
We are ready to restart the fusion drive. We can't wait."

"Then do it," said Garland. "I'll tell Santiago we can't open the door now."
"Wait," said Yang, stopping Garland with his intensity. "Do not contact her.
I see an opportunity."

Personal Log

Pravin Lal, Chief of Surgery

It is the place of a physician to see death as well as life, and in seeing
the two, constantly intertwined, it is easy to stop caring when life
transitions into death.

We face a difficult decision here. Lives are at stake, and perhaps not all
of them can be saved. It is times like this I envy Godwinson's unshakable
faith.


Episode 24

Santiago sat lightly, one leg hooked over a green storage box, but she
watched Deirdre with eyes as sharp as blades. One hand rested on her thigh,
and in that hand the shredder pistol shifted back and forth in a rhythm
only Santiago could hear. Deirdre stood quietly, positioning herself at the
front of her small group of staff, trying to hold Santiago's gaze.

Abruptly a metallic shunting sound split the silence of the chamber. Red
lights began to pulse around the perimeter of the Greenhouse. Heedless of
the threat from the insurgents, one of Deirdre's botanists, a mature
brunette named Tara, crossed to a nearby terminal. Santiago had not moved,
but her posture was wired with tension, and there was a curl to her lips.
"What's happening?" she snapped at Tara. The woman directed her answer
towards Deirdre instead.

"The oxygen supply has been cut off to this room, and the seal, of course,
is airtight. It appears they are actually draining oxygen from the room.
We have...ten minutes at most, before we become impaired. Unconsciousness
and death will follow..."

Santiago slid off the box and onto her feet. She punched a code into her
quicklink. "Junack, this is Santiago. Move your people away from the door
and watch for any activity. Set guards..." She abruptly trailed off, her
eyes snapping to Deirdre, whose eyes had flickered, just for a moment, to
the screen on her wearable computer.

Santiago closed the distance between them in an instant, grabbing for
Deirdre's arm. Deirdre slid back with surprising speed, avoiding the grab.
"What was that?" Santiago demanded.

"Nothing," said Deirdre. "The homeostasis is off because of the oxygen...
the Greenhouse computers are sending me their alarms."

"Show me." Her tone remained imperious. Deirdre extended her arm and tapped
a scroll code into the tiny flat screen.

"Meaningless," said Santiago, thoughtfully. The screen contained flashing
codes representing chemical atmospheric balances. "Do you have any oxygen
in here? Where is your emergency supply?"

"Beneath that support beam..." Deirdre motioned to an arc on the far side
of the Greenhouse. "Unless they've somehow been sealed from us as well."
"You," Santiago pointed to Tara. "Check the panels. Verify there is no
oxygen." Back to Deirdre again. "Think quickly, Officer. There are
chemicals here...can you manufacture oxygen somehow?"

"I...don't think so," Deirdre considered. This woman is extremely
intelligent, she realized. Carefully... "Let me check the supplies. We
might be able to..."

"Check quickly. Kurn, watch her," Santiago motioned to her companion, the
shorter bald man, who followed Deirdre as she headed for a stack of storage
canisters behind a small stand of olive trees. As they moved off Santiago
activated a link to the command center, emergency band. "Captain Garland,
this is Santiago. I find your actions indefensible. Don't you fear for your
crew, under guard here?" She looked at the quicklink angrily. "They are not
listening."

And then she looked up. Like trees bending under a forest wind, all of
Deirdre's people had bent to their quicklinks at the same moment, reading
a message. At once they all began to fall, throwing themselves onto the
ground.

Santiago sprung back, instinctively seeking shelter by the wall.

Episode 24, part 2

"Opening the fueling channel," said Saratov. "Priming the reactor. It will
be but a few moments. I am triggering three bursts as a test." A high
pitched hum, just at the outer edge of consciousness, tickled GarlandTs
ear. He looked around. Everyone looked preoccupied, parsing the unusual
sound. Saratov seemed calm, alert. Yang spoke urgently into his quicklink.
Abruptly, a burst of sound split the air, and the ship surged beneath them,
throwing Garland to the floor. He felt, and heard, the screams of metal,
as the world of the Unity shook to its core.

Episode 24, part 3

The ship surged and rocked beneath Santiago's feet. She rolled as if
cresting a wave, her balance spinning her catlike as the floor shuddered
beneath her. Deirdre's staff, already in mid fall, covered their heads and
rolled, tumbling into one another. Deirdre fell forward into a stack of
plastic cylinders containing fertilizers and chemicals, then immediately
twisted around as Kurn fell forward into her.

She slid her fingernails under the release valve of one canister and ripped
it off. A stream of liquid nitrate rolled forth, pouring across Kurn's face.
He screamed, more from surprise then pain.

Deirdre rolled away. The trees around her rocked and swayed, their branches
scraping the sky like scarecrows in a tempest. As she watched a web of
cracks bloomed across one of the glass panels above, like horizontal
lightning.

Oh God...the ship...

A metallic groan traveled down the length of the ship and through her feet.
Outside the panels she caught a wild sight of landing pods shaking, more
structural supports bending.

There was a pock pock pock and three holes appeared near her feet. She
looked up, her heart pounding in alarm...

Santiago's second. The little Kurn. He had one hand clutching his own face,
his own eyes, as the other hand swung wildly, sending shredder pellets in
crazy arcs around the Greenhouse.

"Skye!"

Deirdre looked to see Tara, holding one of the tension rigs the engineers
had used to shore up the synthglass panels. She lunged forward across the
wildly tilting terrain and aimed the contraption in Kurn's direction.
She pulled the trigger.

Out of the front of the rig shot a clear shimmering transparent sheet,
about three meters square, rippling in the light. The sheet should have
been fired into a synthglass panel, where it would have spread out to grip
the surface with high levels of tension, reinforcing it.

Instead it now slapped into the lunging Spartan, wrapping around him. Tara
flipped a switch on the gun, triggering a signal pulse along a slim optical
fiber. The Spartan's eyes grew wide and he opened his mouth to scream as
the tension sheet pulled tight around him, tearing layers from his skin in
different directions. She saw his eyes widen in horror and his skin rip as
the clear sheet tightened around his body. His scream sounded faint, as if
heard through walls.

The ship steadied. The floor became firm again. Deirdre Skye stood slowly.
Leaves scattered across the metal floor of the Greenhouse, and a dark stream
of water, spilled from a hydration tank, snaked around her.

"Is everyone all right? Tara? Nhoj?" She looked around. "Where is Santiago?"

"Here," said a voice, husky with fear. Deirdre looked over.

Nhoj kneeled near Santiago, who lay splayed out against a compost bin near
one wall of the Greenhouse. Santiago's eyes were closed, her face a serene
mask. Deirdre watched her for a moment, imagining the powerful heart that
still beat in the woman's chest. That deep passion for survival at all
costs, so similar to and yet so unlike Deirdre's quiet passions...

Nhoj delicately pulled the shredder pistol from Santiago's fingers. "She's
unconscious. Was that the plan?"

Nhoj looked so puzzled. Deirdre smiled in spite of herself, and then began
to laugh, releasing tension. "Tie her up, quickly, with anything you can
find. I'll contact the Captain. It looks like we have Santiago."

Quicklink to Captain Garland.

Send security detail to the Greenhouse immediately. Release the exit hatch
as well...we need all the oxygen we can get.


Journey to Centauri : Episode 25

Morgan tapped his queen and shifted it to the fifth rank. Imran Siddiqui,
watching from the other side of the small holotable in Morgan's holding
cell, arched an eyebrow. The holographic pieces suddenly flickered and then
slowly wavered back into existence.

"I thought you played a defensive game," Imran muttered.

Morgan smiled. "Making you think that is the best defense I have."

"Mmmph." Imran tapped the board twice and a bishop that resembled a Lara
Croft figure slid forward to threaten one of Morgan's knights. The bishop
suddenly wavered and flickered again, jittering frantically.

"Is it going to vanish?" Imran asked, concerned.

"It might. I can not stand these cheap holos. Real pieces are much more
elegant."

"Yes, and they stay where you put them." Imran looked at his piece with
anguish. "It must be the heat. It's so damn hot in here." He began fanning
the piece madly. "These boards are too delicate."

The bishop flickered back on. Morgan considered for a moment, and then
advanced the knight forward to the sixth rank, deep in Imran's territory.
"In truth, the room is hot because I have a chill I can not shake, ever
since awakening. Check."

"Maybe you should see a doctor." Imran moved his head down to the level of
the board, as if a new perspective could give him inspiration. "I think
you split my rook." He moved his king grudgingly.

"Yes. Doctor Nambala knows me. If you would send for her I would be
grateful." Morgan considered the board for a moment. "Your rook actually
does not concern me at the moment." He tapped his queen and sacrificed it
for the rook pawn.

"You want a doctor now?" Imran studied the board carefully.

"Yes. I am somewhat concerned. Our health is our greatest treasure."

Imran laughed. "Funny, coming from you. I hear you had a lot of 'treasure'
back on Earth...mansions, land, women."

"Yes. I had all those things. And before you ask, it was everything you
could imagine." Morgan grinned.

Imran nodded and let one hand hover over his king, reluctant to accept the
sacrificed queen. "Tell me more."

"Will you call my doctor?"

"I should call any available doctor. You are a prisoner, after all."

"A prisoner? Is that what they told you?"

"Well...under escort. The U.N. doesn't like to ruffle any feathers. I'm
just supposed to check on you once every couple of hours."

"I see." Morgan regarded the board. "You know, you could have those things
you dream of...wealth, security, power."

"Wouldn't that be something," Imran said dryly. "Business is not my forte,
though. I'm just a technician assigned to emergency security duty until
they get this mess straightened out."

"No, no, that is not the way to think. Business is simply the exchange of
value. You just have to learn to play the game."

"If I could play that game I wouldn't be a technician. I'd be mogul of some
kind, back on Earth still. Dead by now, actually, now that I think of it."
Morgan shook his head. "Negative thinking. It's all a game, a trading of
one thing for another. But, like chess, you calculate your exchanges so
that in the end you are in a position to take the prize."

Imran nodded. "Yes. I could see that." He sighed and leaned back, tapping
the resignation code into the holotable. Morgan immediately activated the
replay mode, watching as the board reset and repeated every move in the
game at an accelerated clip. As he watched he spoke.

"Don't fool yourself. Don't convince yourself that power, wealth and
pleasure mean nothing to you because you are an academician. The need for
power is fundamental."

Imran watched the game unfold. "Maybe. What about the need to make a
difference, or raise a family? Those can be more important than power."
Morgan arched an eyebrow. "And did you have a family? On Earth?"

Imran hesitated. "No, I did not have a family."

"I did," Morgan said. Imran looked up, surprised. "I had a lovely wife.
And I saw all the holovid shows, the romances...'even in these terrible
times, we only need each other.' But that was never true, that we only need
each other."

Morgan paused, clearing his throat. "With my wealth, I could protect her.
I could give her a security that those without power, without money, lacked.
You want to dream your big ideas, create your scientific projects, but your
time is not your own. Don't you want to be the one with the power, holding
the purse strings? Deciding your destiny?"

"Yes. Of course." Imran thought for a moment. "What happened to your wife?"
"Even power has limits. Radiation sickness. But she spent her last days in
a room fit for a dying queen, with the best care." The replay wound down.
"Will you call my doctor?"

"Will you make it worth my while?" Imran grinned.

"You're learning! As a matter of fact I can. We are still humans on this
ship, and where there are humans there is human nature. What do you want?
Back on the tech shift?"

Imran jerked his head up. "Yes."

"I will see. But I will miss our talks during your patrol. Be sure to come
by and play some chess."

"You can get me back on tech?" Imran's hope was palpable.

"Yes, most likely. But you must remember the favor. And when Gayle comes
you must leave us for a time."

"Gayle?"

"Dr. Nambala. I believe she can help us."

Unity Log File
Holoboard 0623 requesting program
Accessing program: CHESS
Security check on holoboard passed.
Ensign Siddiqui approved.
Commence game.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 26

 [Note: Saratov's name is now Zakharov, reflecting feedback from Russian
fans on Saratov being an unrealistic name. And now, back to our story...]
"The ship is falling apart."

ZakharovTs words blanketed the command center, shadowing the faces of the
assembled staff. "We are not far from Planet, but the stress on the UnityTs
structure is reaching critical levels."

"Implication?" asked Garland tersely.

"We should prepare for the worst. The whole structure may shake apart
before one of us touches the new world."

"WeTve come all this way," said Miriam. "Why now?"

"Physics," retorted Zakharov.

"Perhaps it is better this way," murmured Deirdre, present in the command
center to debrief after SantiagoTs capture. The Captain ignored her, if he
heard her at all.

"Should we break away now?" he asked, rising to his feet. "Are we close
enough to pilot down the landing pods.?"

"Too soon," said Zakharov. "But we should begin our preparations. Awaken
everyone, move people to their destination pods, redistribute supplies.
Accept that only one pod, or none, may make planetfall."

"Or all of them? Is that even a possibility?" asked Lal.

"Yes, of course," said Zakharov, his voice neutral.

"Captain, we have assembled a report from the first wave of landing pods,"
broke in Ensign Cotter, the ensign on duty.

"Excellent," said Captain Garland. Behind him Deirdre tensed. "Send the
next wave. Seed the surface+we donTt know who will need them or when."
"Captain," said Deirdre, rising to her feet. "I must object to this. Are we
now interstellar litterbugs+is this our welcome to Planet?"

"This is not the time," he said simply, coldly. Deirdre took another breath
but saw anger in GarlandTs eyes, and she suddenly could smell a new sense
of desperation in the command center. Now the mission was about survival,
not philosophy+

"Very well," she said, and headed for the observation bay.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 26 part 2

Deirdre Skye stood in the observation room off of the command center and
watched the great jewel of Planet pulse against the darkness. Alpha Centauri
A, the systemTs primary star, backlit Planet beautifully now, creating a
halo around it, and Alpha Centauri B, the systemTs second of three suns,
cast another quality of light across the surface.

She stared, mesmerized, at the new world. Without thinking she lifted one
hand to touch the thick synthglass of the observation windows, brushing
her fingers slowly along it. Its beauty+the swirls of colors+clouds, not
unlike Earth clouds, and the jagged shape of land beneath, peeking out here
and there.

Behind her the door hissed open, but she did not look up. She was tired of
talking to the Captain about Santiago and what had happened in the
Greenhouse. She was tired of the worry creasing peopleTs faces+would the
ship make it? Even now she could feel it shaking beneath her feet, shaking
as if it would not hold together long.

"Each sight more beautiful than the last," came a rich baritone behind her.
She snapped around quickly+Morgan, the stowaway, stood in the doorway,
staring at her and the shimmer of Planet behind her.

"What are you doing here?" she asked tersely. "You should be under guard."
He chuckled as if at a good joke. "Not now. Some crewmembers have
interceded on my behalf, and the Captain has called me to consult about the
ship. I know things that could prove useful, during this time of crisis."
He nodded at Planet. "So that is the new world, my lady?"

"Officer Skye, please" she said absently, turning away from him,
inexplicably drawn to the sight of Planet again. "It is beautiful, yes?"
"As beautiful as my finest diamonds." He stepped forward and lifted one
hand, sweeping it expansively across the vista. "It is like a+coin, catching
the light on a field of black velvet."

Her eyes flickered to him. "It is what Earth used to be. Not for hundreds
of thousands of years have Earth people been privileged with what we are
seeing today. A world unspoiled."

"A world rich with promise." He said, lifting his chin.

"No." The word came out clipped and she bit her lip.

He looked over at her, smiling in puzzlement. "You do not find promise
here?" But his eyes searched her face rapidly. "It is your new world, a
perfect world for your experiments. You have seen the preliminary scans+
rich in nitrate, perfect for your hybrids."

"Yes, I know. I meant+. Your goals are transparently obvious." One of his
eyebrows shot up. "You see a world of natural resources, ready to be+
exploited. Correct?"

"Exploit." He turned the word over, considering it as if tasting a new
wine. He looked at her appraisingly. "I wondered who would first use that
word. We all+all life forms exploit, Officer. Your plants exploit the very
air we exhale. We exploit them for food. But even the simplest of your
hybrids would gladly kill us if they could, to stop from being torn from
the earth and consumed."

"Perhaps. But there is a balance. I do not have to tell you something so
patently obvious. We did not come to Texploit.T"

"DidnTt we? Sustained growth is a form of balance, and an inevitable one.
The economic Holy Grail."

"Your wealth means nothing here."

"Wealth is the exchange of value. It is a way of representing energy
traded. I donTt need to tell you this." He chuckled. "We will get along
well on this new world, I can see. I will be sure to sell you the tie-dyes."
"You seem to think your place in this world is preordained." She turned
toward him, feeling the heat of the Centauri suns on the side of her face.
"No, not at all. But I am here. I am a leader, and a manager. ITm sure
Captain Garland can appreciate using any available talents to the fullest
on this harsh new world."

She shook her head. "It is a beautiful world. Why canTt you just appreciate
its beauty?"

"I can. I appreciate things of beauty. They are of high value. Planet+I
value it, or I would not be here."

"But your kind of thinking will destroy it," she shot back. He laughed at
that, and she grew angry. "Why do you laugh like this?"

"I see now your famous intensity, tending your hybrids night and day. I
imagine you making a new breed of plants, one that can defend itself
readily...the Lady Skye and her flame-throwing corn stalks, advancing on
my traderTs outpost." He chuckled again. "We need traders, Lady. How else
to turn worms into silk?"

"Adam and Eve needed nothing, except their garden."

"Now you sound like Godwinson," Morgan said quietly. He let out a deep
breath and turned to leave, then stopped. "Perhaps humankind will taint
Planet, or perhaps we have all learned something of value from EarthTs
tragedy. But Lady," he said, and she turned to look at him with a flicker
of annoyance. "If you wanted Planet to remain truly pure, you would not
have come at all."

Ship's Computer,
Status Report
Pods seeded.
Returning preliminary data, Planetside.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 27

Prokhor Zakharov left the accessway and entered Bay Three, which he
considered his home. In fact, he had insisted on leaving his quarters
here, rather than sleep closer to the command center, and Captain Garland
had not argued. Indeed had no reason to argue; if spending down time among
his engineers helped him to repair the ship more quickly, there could be
no objections.

He entered the main recreation bay. Almost empty; a couple of his scientists,
haggard from lack of sleep, played holodarts at one end. Most people worked
on the ship or slept all day long; many were taking performance-enhancing
drugs that allowed them to stay awake for hours but then crashed them into
a deep sleep.

He crossed into the sleeping quarters, where cryocells were now lined with
moldable foam and turned into beds. Most of the cells were empty but a few
fitful bodies slumbered here and there. He saw a few of the other non-
science Bay Three personnel as well--security and doctors, mostly, their
faces calmer in sleep than the stressed engineers.

He altered his course to pass by a certain cryocell--ah.

"Raymond." His friend was awake, staring hollowly at the low dark roof the
sleeping bay. He refocused on Zakharov slowly.

"Officer." He sat up quickly. "Is everything well?"

"Yes." He let the word trail off. With the ship disintegrating around them
'well' was a relative term. "I am going to have some tea before I retire,
if you would be so kind as to join me."

"Certainly, Officer. Sleep is not coming quickly tonight."

Zakharov walked to the back corner of the bay where partitions had created
a cramped space for his quarters. A small white metal table and two chairs
sat next to the cryocell he used for a bed. On a small ledge rested a red
plastic pitcher and a rod he used as a heating element.

"Sit," he waved at the table. Raymond ran his hands through his white hair
and sat down gingerly. The man was about as old as Zakharov, and the two
had been friends for years.

Zakharov dipped the heating element into the pitcher and dropped in two
small tea capsules. He punched the Play button on a small speaker unit and
dialed up a selection. Bach began to play, the melody wafting softly around
him. Zakharov closed his eyes.

"In times of hardship, this is the music I play. I imagine myself, riding
the waves of sound into a better, calmer place." He broke off abruptly.
Raymond nodded. "It is good music. Sublime. Now please sit down. You know
I will remain on my feet as long as you do."

Zakharov poured the tea into a small cup and handed it to him. The two sat
down and remained in silence for a moment, listening to the music.

"Do you think we'll make it?" Raymond's voice jarred Zakharov from his
reverie. He sipped the tea before answering.

"Humankind astounds me with its...with our versatility and knowledge. We
know so much...we can tweak atoms, we know the result of almost any action
we take. We do this...that happens."

"Yes," said Raymond. He had become close friends with Zakharov by knowing
when to just listen.

"But that is in the lab. It is controlled. Here...there is too much going
on. If the Unity were a lab, and you or I had complete control...of course
we could repair it. But there are too many people on board, and too many
unknowns. Human motivations are still too complex. They are the last
frontier of science, but the human mind itself rebels against scientific
control, and perversely turns against it, even when destruction is the
result.

"This ship is the perfect example. We are riding the back of chaos." He
nodded and took a sip of tea. "So many minds went into the building of
this ship. It is disorganized, haphazard, like so much of what humanity
does."

"Impure," said Raymond quietly.

"Yes. Impure. The motives...not science or exploration, but a variety of
things. This country worked on the Unity to give hope to its people, that
country to experiment with U.N. money, that one because the leader wanted
to stay in power. If we make it to Planet, I want things to be different."

"How?"

"I want to be guided by scientific truth. I believe we will all be happiest
following the ways of science. The crew must see this."

Raymond nodded in agreement. "Many do. The ship is full of thinkers, people
who respect the life of the mind and want to be far from politics. Many
respect your focus. I have even heard Doctor Yang talk of a controlled
society, similar to what you speak of."

"Mmph. I speak of a society where scientific truths drive humanity forward,
not Yang's contrived Utopia."

"Still, he could be an ally. Deirdre's people just spend most of their time
in the Greenhouse, naturally." Raymond smiled at his unwitting joke.

"Well, keep tabs, Raymond. We want the purest minds on the ship, pure as
the clearest vodka. Which, as I speak of it+" He set down his tea and
pulled from a small drawer an unlabelled bottle full of clear liquid. His
face lit up, and RaymondTs eyes widened a bit.

"You would open that now? There is nothing to celebrate."

"Why not now? If the ship does not make it, I want to enjoy this. No sense
vaporizing good vodka." He poured in a small amount into two more cups.

"Is your confidence that low?"

"It is high. But this will bolster it further." He threw back the drink
and his eyes glowed with pleasure for a moment. "Besides, I will save a
last drink for Planetside."

"The last bottle ever made. Think of it." Raymond stared into the cup as
if hypnotized. Zakharov reached out and poked him in the shoulder.

"We will make more! We will recreate Earth on Planet., but with a new
purity of focus, on science. It is like the greatest research grant in
history...an entire planet!"

"Still, it will not be Earth vodka. This is the last. A sobering thought."
Zakharov laughed quietly. "Ironic that it would sober you. Drink," he
urged. Raymond sipped, which was not usually his way, but he wanted to
savor the drink as if it were nectar. Zakharov watched him.

"Don't think too much on Earth, Raymond. It is too painful. You have a
soft side, but it is not always best to indulge it. If we think of Earth,
and all that is lost, our spirits will whither. We must think on the new
world ahead, and the new knowledge that can be gained."

"I know."

"We have the purity of focus. Let's keep our people looking forward,

studying, learning. It is a buffer against melancholy, and moves us toward
a higher purpose."

"Yes," said Raymond, and sipped the vodka, feeling its heat wash over him.
"The ship will be fixed." Zakharov said it suddenly, as if in response to
a question that had floated up to the front of his consciousness. "We have
the skills to do it."

"Yes." Raymond lifted his cup, and they thunked them together and downed
the crystalline spirits.

Ship's Journal,

Prokhor Zakharov recording

"Earth is the cradle of the mind. But one can not stay in the cradle
forever."

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky,

The Father of Rocketry.

From the Datalinks.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 28

"And as you feel them pull away from you...push! So." Sheng-ji tensed his
arms and torso in a quick pulse and sent the burly ensign a good two
meters. The ensign windmilled for a moment and then caught his feet,
grinning in perverse pleasure. The crew gathered around them burst into a
smattering of good-natured applause.

"How long until you learn how to do that?" asked one earnest young
crewmember.

"I already know how to do that," said Yang calmly.

"No," said the crewmember. "I mean us. How long until we learn to do that?"

"You must practice for ten thousand hours, and then practice ten thousand
more. And make sure every move is correct. Or, perhaps fight in zero-g."
Another ensign, with thick dark brows and an urgent demeanor, waved a
touchstylus. "Say, how do you fight in zero-g? Can your techniques be
extrapolated to a zero-g environment?"

"Zero-g is like fighting on the ground, but you can fall in any direction,"
 Sheng-ji answered lightly, and then picked up a towel and began padding
his neck and arms. "Session over. Practice the coiling motion for next
time. Ten thousand hours." They laughed politely and started to break up,
talking among themselves.

Sheng-ji moved away, trying to avoid more of the barrage of questions from
curious students. He began coming to Bay Four more often, ever since
Santiago had turned against him. The crew in Bay Four seemed a little
adrift, and there was an unusually large contingent of curious bright-eyed
seekers of...whatever Earth, and the Charter, had failed to offer them. He
watched them all with razor sharpness, although most of them...

Children, really. No discipline, no tolerance for discomfort. They do not
know how to 'eat bitter.' Still...

He headed for his makeshift quarters. Still, their almost fawning worship
of his teaching did stir a part of his ego he enjoyed. And, more
importantly, they gave him an additional power base, a section of crew he
could remake in his own image.

He opened a floor hatch and descended into the cramped lower sleeping
quarters. Most of the crew now slept in their cryocells, remade with foam
padding into coffin-like beds. Yang himself had a private quarters with a
small desk and room to meditate. His intended quarters were closer to the
command, but he had commandeered these new quarters from a Bay Four
Resident Officer.

Officer Rang was his name, and he had not survived the cryosleep.
Unfortunate...

Journey to Centauri : Episode 28 part 2

Deirdre Skye felt the gravity of the Unity lessen, just slightly, and could
see the lights of the ship dim down itTs length. "Nightfall," she murmured,
referring to a mode the ship moved into at regular intervals to help
maintain the crewTs circadian rhythms.

She stretched and stared out the tinted panels of the Greenhouse. She felt
languid, mesmerized by the startling beauty of Planet, its breathtaking
presence against the lonely infinite. They were so close now, and Planet
seemed to sparkle with mystery, calling to her. She had to pull her eyes
away as they grew heavy with the need for sleep.

"Tara, I am retiring for now," she alerted her second in command, and
walked back through her gardens and tiny forests, her green worlds, toward
a series of light partitions she had set up next to a grouping of white
pine.

She passed by a small white bunk where Tara, loyal Tara, now slept, her
presence reassuring to Deirdre, and then went behind the shaded partitions.
She pulled off her uniform and let it fall, feeling the patterns of warmth
and coolness in the Greenhouse. She smelled the tingly, refreshing scent of
the pine and kneeled next to their bins, pushing her hands into the soil
which was dry and sandy, but still better than the metal and plastic that
made up most of the Unity.

Her eyes crossed the bright sphere of a thermal lamp and she closed them
and watched the afterimage burn against her eyelids, mirroring the bright
sphere of Planet. The afterimage fragmented and wavered and then took shap
again+Planet+and she heard a roaring in her ears, and it sounded like wind
and sea, but not quite like Earth wind or Earth sea.

And somewhere beneath it all, beneath the roaring, as she reached out her
pale arms and dug her fingers into the earth+a voice, harmonic and faint,
but rich with age+"earth". And then+ "being"

"earthbeing."

Her eyes snapped open. Her heart pounded in her chest, and a chill rippled
across her torso.

"Deirdre." She turned. Tara stood at the partition, looking concerned. "Is
everything OK here?"

Deirdre nodded and stood, brushed the dirt from her hands and moved silently
to her own simple cot. She lay down and pulled a lightweight Unity blanket
over her. "ITm just retiring. I am all right."

"Shall I turn off the thermal lamp there, Officer?"

"No," Deirdre said, with an edge. "Leave it."

"Very well." She heard Tara pad away.

Deirdre stared at the light and then closed her eyes again, as a planet
dream took shape against the darkness of her sleep.

ShipTs Personal Logs

Deirdre Skye, Xenobiologist

The Unity was born of fire, a spark crossing the sky from a burning world,
and where it lands a fire will begin.

That fire will rage on Planet+we will rage on Planet+sweeping across its
peaceful vistas, until only a charred husk remains.

Unless, of course, other struggles passed here, struggles undreamed of in
our human-centric universe. Unless slumbering demons of PlanetTs own await
us, beneath its strange and alien sky.


Journey to Centauri : Episode 29

"Commander Zakharov." Doctor Yang waited as the scientist studied his
console, the muscles of his back a study in disinterest. "Commander
Zakharov, please. We need your knowledge here."

He turned, and despite the stillness of his posture annoyance flared in his
 eyes. "Yes, Commander. What do you require of me?"

"We need an update on the UnityTs status."

"You are not the Captain."

"I am the Executive Officer. While the Captain is in quarters, I ask that
you register your status report so that we all know whether to cash in our
777-Cs."

Zakharov smiled. "Our retirement funds are ashes, along with the rest of
Earth."

"We donTt know that," said a quiet voice. Yang looked over to see Miriam,
hovering at the perimeter of the command center. "We donTt know it for
sure."

"I believe we all can guess the fate of Earth," said Zakharov. Pravin Lal,
working a medical console, turned to stare at him thoughtfully.

"Guess, perhaps," said Miriam. "But I thought you respected proof."

"I have little time for status reports or for these debates."

"True, I am sure, " said Yang, "but perhaps if you give us the status report
we will understand just how little time you have."

Zakharov nodded tersely. "Very well. I will give you both."

His fingers flashed on his touchpanel, and three screens flickered and
reconfigured themselves into a schematic configuration. A simple diagram
of a ship appeared. With a couple of taps, Zakharov made the wireframe
lines as thick as crayon marks.

"As we know, the Unity was designed to make it to Planet+barely."

"Explain," said Miriam in a high clear voice. Yang turned to give her a
disapproving look, but Miriam stayed focused on Zakharov. Lal, too, seemed
mesmerized by the scientistTs words. Zakharov continued.

"The amount of fuel it took to get us here, is astronomical. Literally!" He
slammed one long bony finger into the surface of his touchpanel. "Here and
here+in the huge bins on either side of the cryobays is the fuel that got
us here. It is carried through delivery mechanisms into this chamber, here,
where the fusion reactions take place that power the ship forward. The power
from the reactions+"

"I believe we know all this," murmured Yang, but Zakharov did not stop.
"The power from the reactions is carried down this shaft through these
containment rings, right through the center of the eight cryobays, and
impacts here, on this plate, which absorbs the shock and propels us forward.
This happens many times each second!"

He paused for effect, his eyes gleaming with thoughts of force and precision.
"Over and over again a burst of energy that rivals an atomic weapon travels
 through the containment rings, only meters from the edge of the cryobays,
and propels us forward. This went on for over six years, accelerating us in
the near frictionless environment of space to a coasting speed, and then,
halfway through the journey, a carefully placed retro rocket fired, and the
entire Unity turned, so that its thrusters faced forward." Miriam watched
him intently. Lal and Yang looked annoyed.

"Then the fusion drive fired again, again bursts like the sun, and so slowed
us down for another 20 years, stopping us precisely here, at Chiron. At
least that was the theory. And to pull that off! It is+"

"Amazing. Impressive," said Yang.

"It is+virtually+impossible. Do you see?"

"What do you mean?" asked Deirdre Skye, who had walked in from the
observation room and now listened from a chair beneath a small round
ceiling lamp.

Zakharov looked at her, caught up in the momentum of his own thoughts. "To
freeze us all, leave us in these crypts, send us into space across light
years, powered by our own manufactured sun...." He began pacing, cursing
in Russian.

"I see," said Deirdre, and she ran one hand through her dark hair. "It is
impossible. The odds that we could make it+"

"What are you saying here?" asked Miriam, eyes narrowed, reading them all
carefully. "Skye, please, share your thoughts."

"You remember Earth, "Deirdre said. "The wars. The chaos. The+destruction."

"I remember holding the children of my enemies, watching the hollows that
used to be eyes," said Lal quietly. "Yes+the chaos."

"Governments rising and falling. Every piece of this ship was built by a
new regime, practically. The launch+"

"Rushed." said Pravin suddenly. "They didnTt think+"

"They didnTt think weTd make it!" finished Deirdre. "It was a blind hope,
a flare shot against the darkness of a night at sea. Why?"

"They started building it, why not finish?" said Yang. "Perhaps it is that
simple."

"No," said Miriam. "ItTs more. ItTs hope."

Zakharov shook his head.

"Yes," persisted Deirdre. "The Earth was dying. All of us knew it. But if
they+if the people of Earth could live long enough+at least long enough to
see the flash of light as we shot out of orbit. Hope."

"Or the political gain of another twisted regime," said Zakharov.

"What does that matter?" asked Lal. "To the people of that regime+to see
the Unity catapult itself into the night sky+and to think, in the pain, the
poverty, the death and sickness all around, that perhaps, in forty years
time...hope. For humanity."

"They are all dead now, for certain," cut in Zakharov. "DonTt make this too
maudlin."

"Most are dead one way or the other, by age or violence," said Miriam.

"Humanity still survives. God certainly does."

"So they fired us off, a wild firecracker into the sky, and they hoped,"
said Deirdre. "Where does that leave us?"

"If we do not fix the ship, they were right," said Zakharov. "We are not
making it."

"But we might," said Deirdre. "We still have the hope. We are the last.
Agreed?"

"Yes," said Miriam. "Most likely, we are the last."

Deep Space Orbital Command Station : OFFLINE
NATO Command Crystal Palace : OFFLINE
Christian States Heavenly Sword Main Diocese : OFFLINE
FOX Broadcast Worldwide Main Feed : OFFLINE
EBS North America : CRITICAL FAULT
NBC/MS Integrated Optical Network : ABORT RETRY FAIL
NAOL Consumer Courtesy Warning Web : OFFLINE

Journey to Centauri : Episode 30

"Where is the Captain?" asked Deirdre, growing restless.

"I have sent him a wakeup," said Lal quietly. "He is timing his emergency
stim use carefully. Soon there won't be very much time to sleep."

"I have just looked at Planet again," said Deirdre, and Lal could see, in
her eyes, reflections of PlanetTs beauty mirroring out to infinity. "We
are so close."

"Yes," said Zakharov sharply, and the others turned to look at him. "Very
close. It is time for final preparations. We have a window to land, but it
is a small one. Still, I believe we can make it." Morgan nodded; Miriam
closed her eyes for a brief and silent prayer.

"Are we all clear on our duties?" asked Yang, sweeping the assembled staff
with a dark gaze. "Is there anything left undone?"

"Our duties are to follow the CaptainTs orders," Lal said quietly. Zakharov
ignored the comment and spoke again.

"We have decelerated almost enough, but we will need to increase the fusion
drive output in the last hour of our journey or we will not be able to land
on Planet. We may need to split off in the landing pods at a moment's
notice, and hope we are close enough to Planet to make it."

'What is the danger then?" asked Lal. "Will there be loss of life?"

"Almost certainly," Zakharov answered. "Possibly all of us, in the worst
case."

"There could not be a worse case than that," murmured Deirdre.

"But we have no choice. Unless we want to remain on the ship, sailing
through the cosmos. That would guarantee our lives, but I assume we all
want to make it to Planet, regardless of the risk. Correct?"

He looked around. Several heads nodded.

"Then these risks must be taken. They are our only chance to reach Planet.

My proposal: each of us in a separate bay, with a full complement of
supplies, weapons and staff. We will increase our chances that any one will
survive."

The room locked into a shocked silence as emotions swirled in currents
through the assembled staff. Their own pod, each of them...

"Ah," said Yang, finally.

"A prudent plan," said Morgan.

"A moment," said Lal to Morgan. "You seek only the raw materials for a new
empire. And you are not even an officer!" He turned to Zakharov. "Who are
you to advance such a proposal without the Captain present?"

"I am bringing it up because the issue is foremost in our minds. We must
assure the survival of the human race."

"The people admire me," said Morgan quietly. "I am a leader. I also own
part of the ship."

"Enough!" said Lal. "We are talking of redistributing supplies. The ship
has been designed with enough redundancy that if two or three pods don't
make it the mission will still not be jeopardized."

"True," said Zakharov calmly. "I say take it farther. We must accept that
perhaps only one pod will make it. Each must be ready to restart the human
race from scratch."

"As Director Morgan said, a prudent plan," said Yang.

"It seems extreme," said Miriam. "What exactly are we proposing here?"

"Each pod, a self-contained world," said Zakharov.

Lal shot to his feet, his normally soft voice trembling with anger. "This
is mutiny."

"No!" shouted Zakharov, and they all turned to look at him. He lowered his
voice. "There is no mutiny here. We are waiting for the Captain. We are
discussing our future, our lives! If we all present a reasonable proposal,
he must acknowledge it."

"Agreed," said Morgan hastily. "The pods already are self-contained, in
theory. Although they donTt all have weapons."

"Or the best lab equipment," said Deirdre.

"Of course, the 'best' is relative," said Zakharov. "Only one can have the
best lab equipment and that must be mine."

"Why?" asked Morgan. "Because you are the science officer? With your
expertise you should be able to do more with less."

"Surely you are proposing that we all reach Planet and reassemble there if
humanly possible," said Lal. "Correct?"

"Of course!" laughed Morgan.

"One pod, one leader," cut in Zakharov. "It is the only guarantee against
the chaos approaching."

"What chaos?" persisted Lal. "We have a chain of command."

"We must prepare for that chain to be decimated," said Yang. "Any or all
of us may die before reaching Planet."

"That is why we have a Charter," said Lal.

"Did Santiago follow your Charter?" asked Zakharov, staring at Lal. He
turned to the rest of the core staff. "The Captain will arrive shortly.
Will we present a unified front?"

Yang lifted a hand. "Why not vote? We have a say in this mission as much
as anyone."

"I must register my objections to this secret meeting," said Lal.

"Look around," said Yang quietly. "This is not the court of a king. We are
alone. The Charter is what we make of it."

"I motion that each of us become acting captain of a cryocell until
Planetfall, and resources be carefully divided between them," said Zakharov.

"Second," said Yang.

"Second," said Morgan.

"You are not an officer," said Deirdre.

"I am an owner," said Morgan simply. "I am part of you now."

"Against," said Lal.

"Against," said Miriam. All heads turned to Deirdre, who seemed to stare
off into space, seeking counsel from something beyond their vision. When
she spoke her voice was clear and measured, her eyes wide, as if enchanted.

"In favor," she said.

"Then we will inform the Captain," said Zakharov quickly. Lal, stunned,
looked around the command center, watching different scenarios play behind
eyes alive with possibility.

A few moments passed, and then the door to the command center opened.

Quicklink, Pravin Lal

To: Captain Garland

Message: ACTIVATE WAKEUP SEQ

Your presence is urgently requested...

Journey to Centauri : Episode 31

Captain Garland awakened in his bed, a converted cryocell, breathless and
terrified. the nightmare again, stronger this time...that feeling of being
swallowed, infinitely, down a dark and narrow throat, sliding forever into
an abyss...

His hand lashed out involuntarily and struck glass. The sides of his
cryocell were now foggy from his own heat, and the pain of his knuckles on
glass set his heart pounding.

He looked up. The lid to cryocell...closed! He struck out so hard he
thought he might crack the lid into fragments, forcing it open with a rush
of adrenaline-powered strength, and jumped as the lid crashed into the side
of the cell.

I never close that.

Something was wrong. He heard voices shouting in the distance, and the wail
of distant alarms, but his own dark quarters remained strangely muffled. He
felt apart from everything, disconnected, even as he awakened again from
sleep into chaos.

And why was my cryocell closed?

He looked to his quicklink for notification of the trouble, and found it
nonfunctioning, a dead flexible gray patch on his sleeve, his connection to
the command center severed. He rose quickly and crossed to his desk-mounted
console, dialing up a status report. The ship was on full alert and Alpha
Centauri was only a cosmic stone-throw away, even as the Unity finally
shook itself apart, torn apart from the inside by its damaged reactor.

Got to get this under control. There will be panic.

He reached over to punch up the command center, and then stopped as he saw
the tiny scrolling slipmessage in its yellow box on the screen. A series of
numbers...timecode? And a letter-number combination.

Video from the matrix. A time and a place, left for him.

Which first? Command center, or unravel this mystery. He paused and the
dreams caught at him, returning to haunt him. Voices, ghosts, floating
above him as he awakened. It will only take a moment.

He dialed up the matrix.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 31 part 2

"What was that sound?" asked Morgan.

"What sound?" asked Miriam. "There are a thousand sounds...the screaming
of the ship, the warning klaxons..."

"The voice of a thousand valkyries," murmured Pravin, nervous and subdued.
"No. I hear it...a pulse tone," said Zakharov, his eyes darting around the
command center. "Modulated, increasing in volume and frequency..."

"From here. Here," said a crewman, Ensign Mirza, putting his hand on the
door to the small meeting room off of the command center.

"Is something wrong here? My God," said Pravin. The pulses had grown to a
pounding, wave upon crashing wave of sound, shaking the assembled crew.

Pravin clenched his teeth to stop them from cracking together.

The ensign, agitated, shouted something and pressed the "Hatch open" stud.
Miriam had stepped back from the door, and Lal stood nearby.

The sounds abruptly fell off, replaced by a high-pitched whine. Into that
silence Morgan spoke.

"I would not open that door," he said. Miriam looked at him, then threw
herself backwards as the hatch door opened.

An explosion rocked the command center. Fragments of metal table and plastic
 chairs blew outwards, funneled through the hatchway and filling the command
 center in a cloud of violent force, engulfing the ensign. Miriam fell, one
side beaded with blood, and Lal turned to shield his face.

"Sabotage!" shouted Miriam. Lal hurried to the ensign, who was now a
collage of half pale brown flesh, half stringy tissue. Indian...

The image of Pria leapt into his mind unbidden.

"What was that?" asked Miriam.

"Sonic hammer," said Zakharov. "Small but deadly. There shouldn't even be
any on board."

"Did we screen the Emissary?" Asked Miriam. "Or was it..." she turned to
Morgan.

"Don't be foolish," said Morgan. "But look here! Dr. Yang, where are you
off to so quickly?"

Miriam and Pravin both looked around. Yang stood at the door to the hatch,
watching them calmly. "This command center is severely damaged, and we are
close to Planet. I am off to my landing pod, as we all voted."

"That resolution was not approved..." said Lal., but weakly.

"Look around," said Yang. "We are not ready for Utopia." And with that the
exit hatch closed.

Zakharov spoke. "He is right. Many of the systems here are damaged. Let us
get to our landing pods. I can trigger the escape sequence from there. This
command center was never meant to take us all the way to Planet."

"How can we trust you?" Miriam shot after him, as Zakharov headed for the
exit hatch.

Lal lifted his hand. "He's right. The landing sequence is automated. This
command center was not meant to bring us all the way to Planetfall. The
ship must divide."

Miriam stared at him, then looked down. "This man is dead," she said, and
closed his eyes. Her fingers came back touched with blood. Lal shook his
head and rose.

"I'm off to Bay Five," he said.

"Aren't Santiago's people there?" asked Miriam.

"I will bring a bargaining chip." He headed for the exit hatch. "Are you
coming?"

She looked up at him. He looked tired, worn by the weight of the failing
Charter. "Yes, I suppose. There is no other place."

"Head to a safe Bay. I am going." He turned for the exit hatch, and she
followed.

Behind them, panels sparked and flared, and emergency fire control systems
switched on, blanketing the command center in a soft white-gray powder like
snow.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 31 part 3

Camera D76B54 opened it shadowy narrow field of view to Captain Garland.
This was a hidden eye, not known to most of the crew, trained on bales of
valuable synthnetting. He saw the bales, their shadowy bulk, strangely
blurred as if seen through a cataract. And then he made out a tight narrow
blob of flesh, hands pulled to sides across a chest that was thin but in
the strangely defocused view of the camera still had the look of tension
and strength.

He shook his head slightly. The man seemed bound, held by...Wires? Organic
restraints...a security tool. Holding a man, naked, held in the shadows
against dark wrapped bales of synthnet.

And another form watched him, pacing, nervous, sometimes stepping into the
light to reveal a female crew in the uniform of the security team. He
caught a glimpse of her face, her eyes hardened but with a flicker of
nervousness in them, like a ripple in a deep well.

Garland punched the Identify panel and watched as a pale green mesh wrapped
her features and then streaked and faded, ghostlike, as she moved on, the
computer unable to get a feature lock.

Now she stopped and watched the bound figure, staring quietly. The two
seemed to speak. Garland couldn't see her face but abruptly her whole body
began to slacken, her muscles loosening. She watched the bound figure,
which now seemed to dominate her, sucking power and light from the rest of
the room.

She grew agitated, defensive, as if warding off a blow. And then, shaking
with physical effort, she began to lift her weapon, turning it, slowly,
toward him and then toward her self, toward her own face.

Garland noticed his own hands trembling, his lungs paralyzed, trying to
change events that had already passed.

She pulled the trigger. He watched her jerk back from the concussion,
strangely silent, over a distance of space and time he could not cross.
The bound figure watched her for a moment, then moved forward, bending over
her.

He took a key from her and released his bonds. He stood and let out a deep
breath, then walked out of the room. He seemed to hunch his shoulders,
avoiding the general direction of the hidden camera.

But Garland had marked him, had caught a glimpse before the man had
released himself.

Sheng-ji Yang.

Video Matrix D76B54

Archived and Transferred

See linked note, J Garland, Captain.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 32 part 1

Captain Garland punched in a quicklink to his friend, Pravin Lal, his most
trusted advisor in the command staff.

Pravin: Yang has murdered crew. He is to be divested of rank and arrested
immediately. Use caution.

He entered into the record his decision, and its consequences. To strip a
man of rank and bring him on trial before the UN Charter, on charges of
murder and betrayal of fellow crew!

He punched the SEND button, entering the decision into the record, along
with a copy of the video feed as evidence. He watched the shadowy figure
play out its crime one more time, and there, in the checkered light and
shadow of his makeshift desk a very real fear gripped his heart.

The stakes are very high here, higher than I could have imagined, he
thought. They, all of them, will fight for what they want, their deepest
desires, and their survival. There will not be peace.

The journey back to the command center seemed an epic trek through deepest
peril.

He punched SEND. His accusation, as yet unanswered, winged its way on a
transmission of light back to Earth, if any on Earth still existed to
receive it. To Earth and probably beyond, writing Yang's crimes against
the eternity of space time on a pulsing finger of light.

Whatever came now, he had done his duty.


Journey to Centauri : Episode 32 part 2

Pravin Lal, hurrying through the connecting tunnels between bays, tried
again to contact the Captain, and again got nothing. His quicklink offline,
his ID badge not locating+Pravin feared the worst.

And now he hurried toward Bay Five, the maw of the beast, where shadowy
figures, Santiago's wolves, still lurked.

Somewhere, the other staff headed toward Bays of their own choosing,
where crew awaited, some cynical, some fearful, some ready to embrace the
ideals of a powerful leader. Somewhere they were sealing off all exits to
each Bay, breaking the connector tunnels, checking their individual thrust
drives.

But the Captain has not released them, Pravin realized. Their landing pods
can not break away without approval codes from Garland. Unless he could not
be located. Pravin froze. If the time came and the computer could not locate
the Captain's bioprint, then anyone could separate the pods from the
structure of the Unity. Each leader would be free to go their own way.

Fear clutched Pravin's heart, and with it came a rush, a deep instinctive
need to protect his loved ones at all costs.

All over the ship there were still those in sleep, souls not yet awakened.
Did he want their fates chosen for them, their lives utterly under the
control of the personalities he had seen operating in the command center?
And if they were all to die in space, didn't these people have the right to
see Planet, and to make their peace with the new world or the old?

Lal, the humanitarian. Of course what he really wanted now was Pria, awake
and alive. And he wanted a gesture that affirmed life in the face of all
the animal fears rising up to bite at him.

Ship's Chief of Surgery. He was one of the elite. He had the power.

He activated his quicklink, punched in to the computer, coasted through
layer after layer of security.

At last+ He issued a command, verified it with a voiceprint and retinal
scan.

Activate.

All across the ship, bubbles burst in cryocells full of frozen souls
waiting.

Command Executed.

Open all remaining cryocells.


Journey to Centauri : Episode 33

The ship is coming apart. Zakharov could feel it, could feel his
connection to it, could feel a small hidden part of him unraveling with it.
The mission. The last of Earth society, tearing asunder.

He let out one deep breath and punched up a view from the forward camera.
Looking ahead, there was Planet, shimmering against the darkness+the blank
slate, the dream.

Citizens stood around him+future citizens of this brave new world. They
watched him, some warily, some with fear, some with hope and admiration.
Ilka could not hold back a broad smile, his normally furrowed brow smooth.
Let the others go their own way, or try to reform later like lost relatives
at a Post Strike Gathering Point on Earth. He believed this crew would
follow him on Planet, and the way the ship was going the pods were sure to
scatter all across the surface.

"To a world of science. To a life of the mind," he said simply. They looked
at him,. fiercely, tensely, uncertainly, reaching for the hope he gave.
These would follow. He had selected them so carefully. Those who hated him+
let them find another way.

"Activate the breakaway sequence," he ordered.

"Yes sir," said Ensign Fiszer. "Ready for your verification."

Zakharov checked the status display. "I have verified it. The command will
not go through until Captain Garland approves it, or the computer believes
him dead."

"Yes, sir. What should we do then?"

Zakharov stared into space for a moment, reading calculations in the ether.
"We will wait a few minutes. This is a time of pure chaos. Circumstances
change+new paths will open. If nothing has changed, we will fire the
thrusters and risk tearing ourselves off of the body of the ship."

Zakharov nodded. This was the best way. "The landing pods are prepared.
The Unity will separate and the landing pods will explode out from the
shell of the ship. Each pod, self-sustaining, will guide itself down to
the surface. At that point, we will be alone."

The Ensign looked puzzled. "Won't we land near the others?"

"Not with the ship as unstable as it is. There are no guarantees."

* * *
"There are no guarantees," said Morgan to the assembled crew. "I know you
were expecting your Captain. Well, he is nowhere to be found. I came to you
because you have supported my position on the Unity, and you know what I
offer you.

"The chance to begin again. The chance for a world of comfort and wealth
such as most of you ever knew on Earth."

* * *
"The chance to begin again," said Deirdre Skye, looking over her assembled
followers, meeting the eyes of her most trusted advisors as they watched
her intensely. "Planet is a waiting, living being, pure and unsullied, such
as Earth was at one time. We have a chance to purge ourselves of the
unspeakable crimes we have committed against our home Planet. We will never
have such a chance again.

"It is like the Garden of Eden+"

* * *
A Garden of Eden. Miriam hurried through the cryobay, meditating on Planet,
seeing the curve of God's eye in its surface, watching her. Yes. It is a
beautiful thing.

She stopped. Ahead of her a cryobay opened, and on the far side, in the
forward compartment where the controls for the landing pod were housed,
she caught a glimpse of a vibrant figure, gesturing passionately.

Zakharov. Will I be welcome?

She turned toward the connector to the next bay.

Two crew worked there. As she watched, one of them opened a panel and
closed a circuit inside the Unity's walls. She heard a blast and a vibration
shook the floor and wall.

They've fired the connecting tunnel. I will be trapped here!

Trapped with Zakharov and his people, their cool scientific minds pushing
in on her faith, dissecting her with their minds.

An image flashed across her mind+the connector on the other side of the bay.
She turned and ran.

And as she ran, unopened cryobays burst to life around her.

***
Sheng-ji Yang jumped, startled, as unopened cryobays burst to life around
him. He watched nearby cells boil furiously, the shadowy forms inside
jittering, as his mind raced furiously to absorb this change in his
situation.

Crew loyal to him stood nearby at perfect attention, ready for his next
command. His eyes swept them.

"Control. It is the most important tool in the face of chaos. All of you
have it." His voice remained calm, his tone matter-of-fact. "The awakening
crew may not. We will isolate them, one by one, and make sure they are in
the proper condition for the hardships ahead."

"Imprison them, you mean?" asked one crewman hesitantly. Yang's eyes
flickered to him, marked him.

"This ship is a prison. That Planet is a prison. Your freedom exists in
your mind only. Your thoughts are your only escape."

***
Escape.

Santiago paced the holding cell like a caged animal, feeling the structure
of the ship shake beneath her.

Conserve your energy, she ordered herself, and she stopped pacing, breathed
deeply, seeking calm.

There is nowhere to go. Either someone will come through that door or they
won't. And they will be either friend or foe. She set her jaw.

At that moment, she heard a sound outside the door and a small panel
opened. Deep brown eyes looked through.

***
Pravin Lal looked through the narrow panel at the smooth face of Corazon
Santiago, her expression a study in defiance.

Her courage! he thought. He could see that she breathed heavily, but she
remained steady, controlling her panic, seeking a way out.

I see the nobility in her, he thought. She would be a fearsome opponent,
but a powerful ally. She is a survivor.

But from the other side of the door, Pravin knew they existed worlds apart.
He believed in peace, she in violence.

Still, he needed her.

"Would you like your freedom?" he asked her through the panel in the door.
Ship's Computer to All Personnel

Approaching Planet. Prepare for emergency landing procs Alpha One through
Gamma Seven.

All personnel report to nearest cryobay.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 34

Pravin Lal entered the shadows of Bay Five with his hands raised. He could
sense figures in the shadows around him, primed for violence. Blue lit
cryocells boiled furiously nearby, and he could hear the hiss of lids
opening.

"I am here from Santiago. Santiago. Burning sword," he said, repeating the
code phrase that Santiago had given him during their talk.

Suddenly, a force smacked into the back of his head and he hit the cold
metal floor face first. Hands grabbed at him, biting his flesh as they
pinned his arms and turned him over. Blue lights and yellow lights spun
wildly around him, and then he saw a grim, angry face above him, along with
the cool eye of a shredder pistol barrel. The smell of his assailant filled
the air around him...rank and sour.

"Why are you saying 'burning sword'?" came the question, the voice thin and
rapid. "Quickly!"

"I have spoken to Santiago," said Pravin. "She is locked away now, but I
have a code key to release her. I ask only that you abandon this bay and
the personnel inside."

"We have this bay and everything in it...food, supplies. Why should we go?"
A different voice, heavier, from a large figure at the periphery of Pravin's
vision.

"You can have your leader back," he answered.

"She would not want us to abandon our position."

Pravin tried a different tack. "You will have a mutiny if you stay in this
bay, I guarantee it. Officer Yang has declared martial law on the ship. He
will be here with guards when he finds out you are still here."

"We have hostages," said the first voice, and Pravin watched the small man
wave his pistol at the cryocells around them. He felt a chill as he thought
of Pria, not so far away, awakening in one of these very cells.

"They will do you no good. The ship is falling apart...there is no one to
negotiate with. Go to your leader...there is a storage room near her, with
food and supplies. You can lock yourself in there and have your passage to
Planet."

"You want something. Why should we trust you?" The heavy voice again, shot
through with a growing rage.

"You have my word. I only want the safety of the crew."

"We could take that code key now," hissed the thin man above him.

"It is encrypted, of course, as assurance..."

"There are ways," came the reply.

Pravin shook his head, steeling himself. "You know an officer's training.

We are resistant to persuasion, if that is what you mean."

"There is always a lever," muttered the heavier man, almost to himself, and
Pravin thought of Pria again, her perfect skin.

"I am offering you your leader and my promise of safe transport." He could
hear the groans of awakening crew in the shadows, and Spartan voices
issuing clipped orders.

The shadows faded from around him and he heard a short heated discussion.

The heavier man came back, now looming over him. Pravin could make out a
large bull-like face and narrow dark eyes.

"Very well, we accept. Give us the key."

"Move your people to the bay exit. Leave the crew alone."

The man shook his head ponderously. "First the key."

Pravin drew a deep breath, seeking strength and calm, and then abruptly
stood up. The large man stared at him, shredder pistol twitching in his
hand. "Move to the bay's exit," said Pravin. "Then I will give you the key.
It is best for all of us."

The heavier man suddenly grabbed Pravin's wrist, near his quicklink, and
wrenched his arm around. "Is this the key code? I will break this encryption
like I will break this arm. Give me the key!"

Pravin let out an involuntary gasp and tried to twist away. The man struck
the side of his face and stars bloomed in his vision. The violence... Then
he heard a voice, the thin man's voice again.

"There is another Lal here, in this cell. Is she what he wants?"

Pravin's world spun around him. He saw blue and black, and then a halo of
light around...Pria!...her torso rising from a cryocell only five meters
away...he saw blue liquid dripping from her, and wet black hair across her
sleep-sick face.

The heavy man tore his quicklink from Pravin's sleeve and raised his
pistol. The shadows closed in.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 34 part 2

Miriam found the other connector tunnel and punched it open, seeking a
quick escape from Zakharov's bay. The hatch to the connector hissed open
and an alarm blared, signaling a breach. She slipped through and punched
the CLOSE switch on the other side.

The connector was dark and narrow, with no lights. The power must have been
diverted, she realized, and her breathing grew strained. Is there still air
flowing here?

There was, of course. A momentary panic. God will provide.

She moved forward, knowing it wouldn't be far to the next cryobay and
perhaps a safe harbor. The darkness pushed in around her, and she could
smell an oily mechanical smell from a maintenance shaft somewhere ahead.
I walk through the valley of death, the power of the Lord close at hand,
she said to herself and then repeated it, using it as a talisman. That had
always worked for her on Earth; when she found God she found the strength
and courage to go forward in a world of fear and darkness, the world of the
burning cities.

The connector hatch hissed open behind her and a shaft of light lanced her
direction. She quickly ducked to one side, and found the opening to a
maintenance shaft. She moved into it, feeling herself swallowed into
darkness within darkness.

She could hear the footsteps of Zakharov's men behind her, looking for her.
Then she heard one call out, and another voice, father away, answering.

An angry exchange followed, a flurry of different accents, and then a sudden
burst of shredder pistol fire. A scream that echoed down the metal walls of
the connector.

She heard a yell and the words "martial law" and then a concussion rocked
the metal walls again. She began to hurry, pushing her way down the
maintenance shaft.

Everyone fighting for their own, she realized. Zakharov, someone else?

The metal around her groaned. Dim red warning lights flickered on around
her, and then another groan, loud and long.

The ship was pulling apart, and she had nowhere to go!

She pushed on forward, hands trembling, toward a sliver of light ahead. I
walk through the valley of death...

Quicklink: Yang to all personnel
Martial law is in effect on the ship. All crew
will turn all weapons over
to the nearest executive crew. No interference will be tolerated.


Journey to Centauri : Episode 35

(Note: This is the nine part conclusion to the story)

Pria!

Pravin saw her, haloed in soft blue light, her torso slicked with the
moisture from the cryogel. The burly Spartan who held Pravin's arm raised
his shredder pistol, and Lal could only see its barrel, swiveling toward
Pria as another Spartan grabbed her arm and pulled her roughly up+
He lunged, spurred by rage. The burly man, still holding his arm, shouted
something and Pravin felt pain shooting up his arm, then felt the sleeve
of his uniform+his quicklink, the code key to Santiago's cell, tearing
away. He crossed the space to Pria's cryocell in four giant steps, and
drove his fingers toward the face of the Spartan who still pulled at her
arm.

He felt his fingers strike the face of the Spartan. He heard a yell and he
spread his arms, throwing himself in front of Pria, every muscle in his
back tensed for the feel of shredder darts+

The explosive hum sounded behind him. A scream welled up inside of him as
a cloud of shredder darts, cutting the air angrily, crossed the room.

He anticipated death but it did not come. He felt himself striking Pria+he
felt the hard glass of the cryocell and the soft yielding of her flesh. He
grabbed her and twisted and lunged forward as another cloud of shredder
darts filled the air and shattered the cryocell.

Glass. He grabbed Pria, aware of her smell and the feel of her hair in his
face even as his other hand grabbed a fragment of glass from the shattered
remains of the cryocell. A Spartan face loomed up and he lunged out, felt
the glass bite his own hand even as it sunk into the shoulder of his foe+
That man was crew, thought Pravin. We all were, but we are fighting for
something different now.

The man melted away. Pravin lunged on, legs burning, into the shadows,
where more rows of cryocells waited. The lights in the bay flashed out.
There was a shout, and then a crash from the hatch behind him.

"Turn over your weapons! We are taking this bay in the name of the
Executive Officer of the Unity!" shouted a voice.

Pistols and the concussion of stun grenades rocked the room. Fire flashed
from behind him, sending jittery shadows around him. He looked down at
Pria+her face, cocked at an odd angle, looked up at him, still weak from
the cryosleep.

The next bay lay ahead, through a connector tunnel. It was Captain GarlandTs
bay, full of waiting crew.

He ran. Tears streamed down his face from the effort. He could hear the
fighting behind him, the disciplined shouts of the Spartans.

He had bluffed+there was no encryption on that code key the burly man had
taken. If the Spartans survived this fight they would have this bay, and
Santiago.

He came to the connector tunnel and saw the red lights lining it, meaning
it was about to detach. He punched open the small touchscreen next to the
hatch and ordered it to open.

The red lights went off in sequence.

He looked down at Pria. Her naked body lay in a jumble in his arms. He
lifted one hand and saw the red sticky fluid all over it. Something caught
in his throat.

He turned her over. Shredder darts covered her back, constellations of tiny,
deadly wounds. He shook his head and pressed his hands into her back, trying
to staunch the flow of blood.

He turned her back and looked at her face. Her eyes swam with pain, but
she saw him. She smiled.
"Pravin."

Journey to Centauri : Episode 35 part 2

Captain Garland moved through the dark hallways of the ship in a crouch.
He could hear the sounds of infighting and the hideous groaning of the
ship's structure beneath him.

Something is very wrong here, he thought. The sounds of the fighting, the
terrible violence of human fighting human for survival and space, barely
registered now. Now he concentrated only on the sounds the ship, his ship.
The landing pods have not separated. They are waiting for me to verify the
release command. But, I have already issued that command.

Which meant that the entire superstructure of the Unity now spiraled out of
control toward PlanetTs atmosphere, the landing pods still attached. We
will be unable to enter the atmosphere properly, realized Garland. The
superstructure is meant to burn, but not with the landing pods attached.
We will all die here+everything that is left of humanity!

He stopped at the next touchpanel and called up schematics of the ship.
Warning lights flashed everywhere, the very joints of the ship strained to
near breaking.

Why havenTt the landing pods broken away?

Then he saw it. And as he saw it, he heard the sound of a footstep on metal.

"Raise your hands, Captain," came a voice, a voice as dark as the shadows
that surrounded him.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 35 part 3

"Release the landing pods." The voice was calm, resonant, and very youthful.
Garland couldnTt tell if the speaker was male or female.

"I already have. The pods are jammed. ItTs a mechanical failure."

"Oh?" the figure paused, processing this. "Then there isn't much time."

"We have to get to the center of the ship, to the nexus," Garland said
urgently. "I know the+"

"Quiet!" came the sharp retort.

A chill washed down GarlandTs spine. She doesn't care.

The figure stepped forward and Garland could now see the face. It was a
young woman, her face pale and very smooth and clean, but bland. Her eyes
seemed dull, lifeless. "Turn around and walk down the tunnel."

Garland shook his head. "I donTt think anyone can get down here in time,
donTt you see? We have to+" A shot cracked the air, a one-off from the
shredder pistol, deforming the floor by GarlandTs left foot. He began to
sweat+she was using compacted slugs, and this tunnel was not immune to a
breach.

"Turn and move," she said.

Garland turned and began walking down the tunnel. The woman continued
speaking. "They sent us into the sky on a hope, a hope based on vanity and
self delusion."

He turned back to look at her. "We have almost made it, don't you see?"

She laughed, and the laughTs harshness unsettled him. "I see a square-jawed
parody of a Captain, picked for press tours and photo shoots and net views.
You are a token, unfit to lead. You were never meant to do anything."

"You're wrong," he said, shaking his head.

"The people that built this ship never really cared if we made it. We are
a violent people from a violent world, put into this metal cage to create
the illusion of hope for a dying planet. If they really thought the Unity
would make it, they would be on this ship themselves."

A chill ran down GarlandTs spine.

She continued. "Better men and women than you were passed over, believe me.
And look at you now+your leadership stolen from under you by others with
vision and the will to survive. Now open that hatch."

Garland stopped in front of the hatch, his hands shaking. They were deep
in the center of the ship, crossing narrow maintenance ducts that soon
would tear away into space.

He pushed the hatch open stud using a sequence that would cause the hatch
to close again after five seconds. The hatch opened and a bright, brilliant
light washed over him. He put one hand in front of his eyes, blinded.

One second...

"Hands up! Step forward," she barked at him. He lifted his hand again and
opened his eyes slowly. He found himself looking into an exterior
observation shaft, circled in glass, and outside those panels he could see+
Planet, huge and radiant, a brilliant eye filling the void of space, a
living jewel bathed in the light of the Centauri suns.

Three seconds, four...

"Step forward, Captain," she said, "and look at what you lost."

Five seconds!

He dove forward, into the chamber. He heard her yell and saw her lunge,
saw the shredder pistol swivel...

Why isn't the hatch closing?

He felt a sharp pain in his throat, and then a wave of ice and fire ran
down his torso and up into his face. I'm hit!

The hatch hissed closed, locking her away from him, but he knew she'd have
it opened again in seconds. He looked around frantically, saw blood, his
blood, on the glass panels, saw a maintenance locker...

The hatch began to open. He threw open the locker and grabbed a closed
extensor pole with a gripping vice on the end. Where is the activation
stud?

The hatch opened and she came through, her face twisted with rage. He
tried to hit her with the handle of the extensor pole and felt it strike
her shoulder, than she fired again and he felt himself thrown to one knee.
She stood above him, looking down, death poised to strike. He turned the
pole toward her and his thumb found the Activate switch.

The pole lanced open. The kickback rocked through him as the vice struck
her beneath the chin, lifted her up and smashed her back into the edge of
the hatch. He felt the pole move in his hand as she twisted towards him,
her eyes hollow and empty, the vice caught in her throat.

Her body twitched twice and then stopped. Captain Garland looked at her,
staring at the shredder pistol in her hand. Was she sent for me? Has it
come to this?

He turned to look at Planet again. It was beautiful, so alive, so pure.
He sank into darkness.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 35 part 4

Miriam heard the sound of shredder pistols humming behind her as she moved
forward through darkness, the sound not near but not far away, either. She
heard the shouts of battle, and the crisp commands of officers keeping
their crew calm under fire. The sliver of light ahead of her had vanished
for a moment as she moved forward+had she changed her angle of vision? Or
had that light, whatever it was, winked out?

The smell of oily lubricants overwhelmed her. I walk through the valley of
the shadow of death+ She listened to her feet ring against the metal
flooring, her steps sure and steady. Faith can carry us, she reflected. I
am more warrior-priest than psych chaplain anyway+

A rapid flicker of movement caught her eye, and suddenly a face dark and
twisted with hate appeared in the space+immediately beneath her feet!
Suddenly clanging and shouts surrounded her, from one direction and then
the other "You mutinous+" Red flares arced around her+she found herself on
a narrow suspended walkway above a dark narrow pit.

Demons!

The angry faces, smudged with darkness, stared up and a hand grabbed the
metal grating near her left foot. Miriam hurried her steps over this+valley
of death+this blackened metal bridge over the dark oily pit. Yang would love
it down there.

She began to run, spurred by a sudden instinct. A concussion blast split
the room, the bright light sending a montage of shadows jolting across the
wall. A scream sounded behind her and she jumped again+an unholy scream of
pain. Someone hit!

Footsteps clanged behind her and she stumbled and fell. Her hands hit the
grated floor and she scrambled, trying + God protect me+

They were fighting down there, warriors with hate-twisted faces. I'm near a
connector, she realized. They are fighting over the bays!

A tall woman in security red charged forward, swinging a modified shredder
like a club. She saw the woman jam the butt of her gun into another
crewman's cheek and heard the bone-crushing impact, and she felt a rush of
revulsion mixed with something like excitement. Someone else came in with
fingernails trailing flesh and then there was the pop of a shredder pistol.
We're too close to the hull!

Miriam scrambled up and ran, heart pounding, angels lifting her feet.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 35 part 5

Pravin surged through the last part of the connector tunnel and into the
open spaces of Bay Six, Pria still in his arms.

Two engineers stood near the exit, looking with shocked concern at the
sight of Pravin, the tears of effort and sadness streaming freely down his
face, with the jumbled figure of Pria in his arms.

"Fire this tunnel," he gasped. "Get me a medkit!"

They quickly locked the hatch and Pravin saw the lights around the seal
turn red. Moments later a shock went through the floor and walls as the
tunnel broke away.

Pravin laid Pria out on the floor, arranging her limbs for comfort. Her
mouth moved open and closed, gasping.

A medkit appeared next to him, carried by a nervous crewman.

"Is the Captain here yet?" barked Pravin, working furiously to staunch the
flow of Pria's blood.

"No sir," said the engineer. Pravin looked at him.

"Do you know where he is?"

"No one does."

Pravin shook his head. "We are very close to Planet. The Captain may be
dead. We should break away from the Unity."

"We can't, sir. Something is wrong. We've even tried firing the engines+the
landing pods are not separating."

Pravin worked furiously, absorbing the information, watching Pria's face
for flickers of life.

"Could we coordinate our thrusts with the other pods? Turn the ship so
that we enter the atmosphere, so that we have a chance?"

"Someone's section of the ship would enter at the wrong angle, sir, and
no one wants to be that someone. The landing pods now have captains of
their own+and none of them wants to burn in space."

"So we will all burn?" Pravin shouted it. Pria's eyes flickered open. "What
has happened to this crew?"

But watching Pria, he knew. Pria, whom he had brought into the crew despite
anyone else's wishes, because he wished it, and he alone. A second rate
medical technician, who on her own merits would never have passed the
selection committee.

Didn't you fight for me? he could imagine her saying to him. Didn't you
pull rank, make demands, alter records, hand a more qualified applicant a
death sentence on Earth so that we could remain together? Wouldn't you kill
for me? Or, if needed, for your precious peace?

Yes, he would kill for peace. And that was the problem.

Her eyes+infinity vanishing into infinity. He felt sick at heart+crew
killing crew, humanity bringing its conflict to a new world.

He continued to work.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 35 part 6

Sprays of shredder fire. The booming of concussion hammers. The hiss of
steam, and the roaring metallic groans of the superstructure tearing itself
apart, the metallic banshee scream.

Captain Garland opened his eyes to a world split by pain. Alive+the shots
had not killed him, but he could feel the stickiness of blood soaking the
front of his shirt as pain racked his body. Barely rational, he stood on
shaky feet and moved toward the body of the woman who had shot him.
Vision swimming, Captain Garland knelt down and patted over her. He saw her
ID tag on her sleeve.

Sarah Jaydo. The name meant nothing. He found her shredder pistol, and also
 a couple of concussion grenades tucked into her belt, which he took. The
armory must be wide open now...we are all armed. And it was this threat of
violence that made us lock the armory in the first place.

He looked down at the floor. Blood, his blood, pattered down around his
feet. He felt weak, barely able to stand.

I had the chance to make it work, he thought. And I failed. He felt reduced
to his pain, living only within the pounding, tearing metal skin around him,
the sweep of history a forgotten illusion.

He turned back and saw the maintenance locker. He staggered to it,
remembering something he had seen there earlier...a pressure suit. Blood
washed down his shirt as he donned the suit, hands shaking uncontrollably.
He locked the seals on the suit and fumbled with the controls.

Going to black out, can't control my hands! Suddenly he heard a rush of air
and the suit repressurized, tightening around him. He adjusted the pressure
inside, transforming the suit into a giant tourniquet. Equilibrium returned,
but his heart still pounded. He could still feel the wounds in his throat
and leg.

I am dying now, he realized.

He went forward through another lock and down another narrow dark tunnel.
He was far from any landing pod now, in the maze of maintenance tunnels
that surrounded the fusion drive at the center of the ship.

The hull screamed and twisted around him. He fought to keep his balance.
Through tunnel after tunnel he struggled, marking time against his death,
tracing a path away from any landing pod. And then he crossed through an
airlock and found himself in the center of the ship.

At last...

He looked out over a vast cylinder, where thick metal arms extended from
the axis of the ship to the eight cryobays and the massive fuel tanks
around them. At the axis of the ship the arms met at a juncture point, a
thick silver disc that groaned from the strain of the landing pods trying
to pull away. The whole structure rotated around him, surfaces spinning
over and around him.

On the juncture point at the Unity's axis Garland could see a series of
explosive bolts that should have fired, still in place and still holding
the landing pods. All the remains of humanity were held together by those
bolts. All the violence, all the hope, all the despair.

From where he stood he could see could see an accessway that led to one of
the metal arms, and then to a series of rungs where, climbing against
gravity, he could reach the bolts.

He felt suddenly faint, and collapsed at the edge of the cylinder. Then he
remembered the quicklink on the sleeve of the pressure suit.

Pravin+

Journey to Centauri : Episode 35 part 7

Miriam Godwinson found herself in a storage room, the lights glimmering
softly. She slammed shut the hatch behind her, closing off the fighting.
Now, where am I...

She called up a diagram. She was near the connector between two bays, but
the hatch to the next tunnel had been sealed. Why?

The Dead Bay. The bay that had been ruptured when the ship was damaged,
locked off from the rest of the ship, and now further damaged by the strain
 on the Unity.

So she was trapped, no way forward, and death behind. Still, she knew
something had brought her here, some force or power, leading her home.
Home? To Heaven?

She thought of the outside, the radiant light of the suns shining down
across the Unity's hull. In a world where everything is relative, God must
orient to the light, as one of her pastors had taught her back on Earth.
And the light is outside.

She climbed into a pressure suit and moved into an airlock, where she
opened a small observation panel to look out over the bright surface of the
ship.

Her eyes widened. The ship here was no more than a landscape of twisted
metal, a blasted terrain where the damage had been absolute. It felt like
Earth again, the beginning of the apocalypse, burnt death everywhere.
The light shined down across it all, setting the landscape in high relief.
She could see the ruined Bay, from which no signs of life had emerged.
But+wait.

In the very back, in a small shaft, she could see a tiny panel. And from
there+a flicker of light. She watched as it flickered again. Some kind of
vibration, moving the glass?

No. A realization filled her, rising through her from toe to spine. An SOS+
someone was alive down there. When the cryocells opened+there must be
people, trapped in the back of the landing pod, probably poisoned with
radiation, some sick and blind.

Needing a shepherd.

Her eyes widened with the glory of it, of God watching and guiding her,
giving her the tools she needed on the new world.

She opened the airlock and prepared to walk the outer surface of the ship,
through the twisted landscape, not fearing death.

Ready to be embraced by her people.

Journey to Centauri : Episode 35 part 8

"Pravin."

The voice came again, through the quicklink that one of the engineers had
just handed him.

Pravin grabbed the link, hands trembling. "John?"

"Pravin, yes."

"Where are you John? Are you safe?"

A short, shaky laugh. "None of us are. I'm here, in the center of the ship.
 I've been shot."

"Wait there, we will send someone!" Pravin chattered, searching his mind+

who to send? How to get there?

"No. Too late. I'm alone here, and I don't have very long."

"John+" Pravin stopped, looked down at Pria, whose life was slipping away.

He stroked her hair, and it felt so real to him+a small, simple pleasure.

"We are all going to die here."

The Captain's voice came back, shaky and weak. "Maybe not. I can+cut us
loose."

"Captain, I+" said Pravin, his voice husky.

And then he looked at his hand, covered with Pria's blood, and looked at
the blood smeared around them. He looked at her face, and felt just the
smallest part of the crushing grief that would soon overwhelm him as she
breathed her last.

He thought of the anger and hate of the battling crew. He thought of the
new world, the hope. And he knew his friend was thinking the same.

"Is it worth saving?" came the whispering voice through the quicklink.

"They will battle for generations+we will never be at peace."

"Never," mumbled Pria, in a daze. Pravin looked at her, and grabbed her
hand. "Never+" she mumbled again, repeating the word.

Pravin looked at her carefully. Never. Was it+a question?

"Never?" said Pravin quietly into the quicklink, and looked again at Pria,
and felt her hand and thought of the good things. "It is up to you."

Journey to Centauri : Episode 35 part 9

Deep in the center of the ship, alone, Captain Garland felt the warmth of
his friend's voice through the distance of the quicklink. "It is up to
you..." He broke the link and tried to breathe.

They will fight and battle for generations, he knew, the violence spreading
across all of Planet's surface. Maybe there will never be peace.

But, if there was a chance+

He struggled to rise but could not, and so he crawled through the narrow
accessway to the first rung of the ladder. He reached up to grab it,
focussing on his gloved hand, on the feel of the rung., trying to ignore
the inner surfaces of the ship spinning wildly around him. He reached up,
to the second rung, and the third, heading for the ship's axis.

With every step he left something behind+the dream of peace, memories of
the wife and the children he had left behind on Earth, his anger and hate
at those who had usurped his crew, the shame at his own failure, his fear,
his guilt. One by one, step by step, he felt the weight lifting from his
shoulders.

Until, at the last rung, his ego seemed to drift away, his very identity
dissolving into the mass of humanity around him, and the space beyond.

He let out a breath and lifted his hand, which now held the last concussion
grenade. He activated it and watched the countdown calmly. He measured the
last moments of his life with it.

At one second to go he squeezed the grenade in his hand and slammed it into
the nearest explosive bolt. And then he let go of the ladder.
Captain John Garland fell away from the Unity's axis as the exp
losion he
planted rocked the center of the ship and blasted through the explosive
bolts like a chain of fire. He saw the landing pods split out and away from
the useless superstructure of the Unity and into the black space beyond.

As he fell away he watched the beautiful sequence of fire on the eternal
night beyond, and then the flames reached out to him, turning from fire into
white light, and the scream in his skull faded to a hum and then a silence.
His last sight was of the landing pods, breaking apart, and thrusters firing
one by one. He imagined them, arcing their way down to the new world,
bringing humanity's curses with them, and humanity's gift+
Hope.

Sarah Jaydo's Journal

Why have we come to the stars? Why didnTt we surrender when we had the
chance? Are we so blind, that we believe this new world will be different,
immune to suffering and crime and violence?

The Unity mission was a feeble candle flickering in a blasted night. We
rode this illusion into the sky, and now we will die here, or, perhaps
worse, die on Planet. Those of us onboard rode an illusion into the night;
those who stayed behind took their chances on a dying world.

As for now, we continue to do what humans have always done. We eat, sleep,
make love, hone our skills, pass the time. And deep down we wait for
someone, some special human, to rise above it all and make the thousands
of years of history, of suffering, all worth it. To enlighten us, by which
I mean end our pain, heal our wounds, take away the uncertainty.

But I have seen the sweep of history, and we are no better off now than we
have ever been. Just more aware. Planet will be no different.
Unless...

===========================================
XI. Credits/ Links
===========================================

- Firaxis Games (especially for the story)
- Electronic Arts
- PC Gamer
- Prima
- GameFaqs and CJayC
- vgstrategies.about.com
- Cheat Code Central--http://www.cheatcc.com
- http://www.alphacentauri.com/
- http://alphazone.cjb.net/
- http://civilization.gamestats.com/smac

===========================================
XII. Farewell!
===========================================

Copyright 1999 Jim Chamberlin.  All Rights Reserved.  You can't copyright
facts, only style.  Like I mentioned earlier, this is more of a reference
guide than anything else.  If you know of anything you think that I should
include, e- mail me at the address at the beginning of the guide.  I am
open to consideration.  If you wish to add this guide to your site, ask me
first.


                                                                ///,        ////
                                                                \  /,      /  >.
                                                                 \  /,   _/  /.
                                       - (C)Red Phoenix           \_  /_/   /.
    _____               _____                                      \__/_   <
   /  __ \__________   /  __ \___ _  _____  _________ _  ____  __  /<<< \_\_
  /  / / /  ___/ __ \ /  / / /  // \/  __ \/  ___/   Y \/__/ \/ / /,)^>>_._ \
 /  /_/ /  _/_/ /_/ //  /_/ /  _~  /  /_/ /  _/_/  \   /  />   <  (/   \\ /\\\
/__/ \  >____/_____//  ____/__//__/\_____/_____/__//__/\_//__/\_\      // ````
======\/============\_/========[red_phoenix_1@hotmail.com]============((`=======

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