Wayward Guardian

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Observations

Ayla’s mother, Ira Geer, was studying a medical textbook to keep sharp with her job as a nurse for the ship and eventually the colony.

The room she and her daughter shared was small, but so was everyones. It wasn’t claustrophobic, but definitely, couldn’t be considered roomy. There would be plenty of space in the new colony for them to stretch out. Plenty of room to start a new life.

The door opened, Ira looked up and smiled at Ayla as she came gliding in.

‘Hi, mommy.’

‘Hello Ayla, how was school today?’

‘We met the ships Advocate today. He answered questions for us and said if I wanted to, I could help him out when we make it to our new home!’

Ira stopped, something caught in her throat.

‘Help him how?’

‘I told him I wanted to be an Advocate like daddy!’ She said with a smile.

Ira turned away from Ayla. She’d never asked Ayla what she wanted to be. She thought she was too young to care. Maybe she was still too young to know what she was saying, Ira thought, Maybe it’ll all just blow away if I don’t draw attention to it.

She thought of her husband, dying alone at the hands of angry, violent, people. Dying on the cold dark surface of the moon. She thought of Ayla as an Advocate. She had to swallow her darker thoughts.

She turned to face her daughter again. With a smile on her face, though it was a brittle one.

‘And he said you could help him out?’

Ayla nodded, beaming.

‘That’s nice Ayla. Glad to hear your day went so well.’

Ayla went over to the seat Ira was on and climbed up next to her, ‘What are you reading mommy?’

‘A medical textbook. It tells me how people work, and how to help them get better when they feel bad.’

‘Can I go over to Susan’s?’ Ayla asked.

‘Yes, you can honey. Just be back in time for bed.’

‘Thank you, Mommy. I’ll be back before bedtime.’

As the door slid closed behind her daughter, Ira’s brittle smile dissolved. Advocates didn’t really have dangerous jobs, but the memory of her dead husband refused to be explained away as an unfortunate happenstance.

The thought of Ayla following down the path of her father was a lot for Ira to try and come to terms with.

She picked up a photo of Tim from the end table next to her.

‘Tim... I came out here to get away from all that. Why is it following us?’ She said quietly.

...

Begin analysis.

Subject; Ira Geer.

Behaviour; Speaking to a dead spouse as though present.

Accessing archive.

...

...

Parallels found.

Behaviour; Normal.

Analysis; Grieving mechanism.

...

Subject query; ‘I came out here to get away from all that. Why is it following us?’

Query; what is ‘that’?

Analysing personal file; Ira Geer.

Contextual filter; Events including Tim Geer.

...

...

Tim Geer; deceased.

Cause; Terrorist attack.

Theory; ‘that’ is violence.

Subject; Ira Geer

Colonial Nurse

Mother of one

Reason for joining expedition; escape violence.

Emotional context; Psychological pain. Fear.

Save analysis...

...

Solar Storage Bay

‘Captain, to what do I owe the pleasure?’

‘Hello, James. I came down to ask you something.’ Howard said.

James was in the lowermost bay of the ship that contained the solar arrays. He was working on some simulations of different arrangements that he had come up with on the journey.

‘And what would that be, Captain?’

‘We’ve got a bit of a problem with our conventional drive control systems.’

‘Ahh yes, I had heard about that.’

‘We may have a solution, but we’re going to need some cabling similar to what we’re using in the other control systems.’

James sat up in his seat and pushed back from his computer, ‘What kind of cable does that use?’

‘It’s high-grade unshielded cable,’ Howard said.

‘What? I would have thought something that important would have been shielded.’ Jame said, shocked.

‘It all goes through the spine of the ship, and the spine is heavily shielded. The secondaries go through the structure on the bottom of the ship. Each subsystem has a shielded conduit.’

‘So there’s no interference from the other systems. I understand then. Are we looking for shielded cable or unshielded for this plan?’ James asked.

‘We’re setting up a secondary helm in engineering. We’re going to be stringing it on the outside of the hull. Shielded would be best, but we may need to make due with whatever we can get.’

James sat back and stroked his chin with his hand. After sitting in silence for a moment he sat up and looked at Howard.

‘We could probably get a good deal of cabling from one of the solar arrays, but that would mean losing one of them. We’d have about a 15% drop in total power output. I could use the scrapped array to increase the output of the remaining arrays, but it wouldn’t be pretty, and it wouldn’t be perfect. Unfortunately, that cable is unshielded because the casings for the solar array cable conduits are shielded.’

‘Could we reuse the conduit?’

‘I don’t think so. Once we tear everything apart, it’s going to be pretty mangled.’

‘I’ll check out other places, I’d really like to see some shielded cable, but I’d start simulating new arrangements with one less working array. These are the largest pieces of equipment we’re bringing with us. I’d also look into how we can lessen the impact of having less power. We need to get this thing set up, so we may just have to make do.’

‘Right away Captain. Hopefully, you’ll find some other way to scrape together the cabling you need, but if not, we can probably manage it this way.’

‘Thank you, James.’

‘Anytime.’

***

Bridge

Howard walked out of the lift at the back of the bridge and walked to his first mate who was sitting in the captain’s chair commanding the second watch.

‘Mr Jona,’

‘Captain.’

’How goes the second watch?

‘Uneventful sir. What can I do for you?’ Mark asked.

‘I’ve been looking for sources of cabling for our new engine control system.’

‘Any luck?’

‘I’m looking for other less vital sources, but if we pull apart one of the solar arrays, we’ll have enough cable to put our system together from the engineering section. But that cable isn’t shielded, and at least part of the cable has to go outside the hull when we wire it all up, so it’s not ideal.’ Howard commented.

‘I’ll keep my eyes out for any other sources. It would be unfortunate to lose one of the arrays,’ Jona said.

‘Unfortunate yes, but not impossible to work around.’

‘I wouldn’t like to think of the difficulty of putting it back together again. If we put it back together again that is,’ Jona said.

‘I’ll talk to James and some of the construction specialists. We’ll get a plan together. Of course, it would be better if we just solved the control delay problem.’

‘Our people are still looking into it. We’re going to do a full analysis on the individual parts in the system. We can’t really do it now because we may still need the system.’

‘Is the secondary system still online?’

‘Yes sir.’ Mark answered.

‘And they’re both affected by our mystery delay... why don’t we start that analysis on the secondary system? One part at a time, though; I want to be able to bring that system back online in at least a half hour if something goes wrong. So long as the primary is still online, I don’t think we’ll have any problems.’

‘It’s against Axion’s regulations to run the ship without its secondary drive control system.’

‘The secondary systems aren’t supposed to suffer from the same problems as the primary system. I’ll take full responsibility.’ Howard said.

‘I’ll note it in the log and send the technicians to begin work.’

Howard nodded and turned to leave the bridge.

...

Internal analysis.

Subject; Captain Fredrick Howard

Behaviour; Disregarding accepted regulations.

Accessing Archives seeking parallels.

...

Definition of good officer varies in archives

Analysis incomplete

...

Behaviour overlaps with the subject; intuition.

Intuition; Human’s ability to make snap judgement based on incomplete information.

Searching archives, subject; examples of intuition.

...

Numerous examples found.

Subject is difficult to comprehend.

Acting without information is illogical.

Potentially dangerous.

Irresponsible.

Action; discuss the subject with Advocate.

End Analysis.

...

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