Oct. 10, 3010

Warpagram: Reflective shielding works with supernovas, but only to a point.

Journal
After a long journey to L-546, the crew was excited to finally get out of the sleep chambers and begin this phase of the mission. The scientists say that hypersleep doesn’t have any deleterious effects on the human body, but after a four-month stent in the chamber, my joints are always achy and still, and my left knee will pop for the rest of the week.

Once we got to stations, the science teams were eager to show us “drivers” what we were here to see. We knew that our survey mission was changed to take us to this system, but we weren’t told why until the moment the science teams decided that they couldn’t keep us from it any longer. L-546 had just gone supernova, and we were the first humans to be able to witness the phenomena close up.

Of course, they also couldn’t keep the shock wave from us. What they neglected to mention when they finally clued us in was that we had 10 minutes to ready the ship to take on a class-5 wave.

We sprang to action, altering course so as to not take the brunt of the wave full on, but to tack and try to ride it out. Later, the irony of using these sea faring terms on a warp-capable starcraft would strike me, but the fear and adrenalin were in charge at that point.

As we were turning into the shockwave, there was another element we weren’t ready for: the dangerous fluorescence that accompanied the nova. In order to ride the wave, we had to shape the deflector field to be as “aerodynamic” as possible, which meant pulling power from other areas. Unfortunately, we don’t usually consider the automatic tinting of the windows as “essential” life support. Jenkins and Smith were disabused of that notion quickly. The poor bastards were instantly blinded because it was their bad fortune to be looking in that direction when the tinting field faded. All of us are practically half-blind at the moment. The ship’s medic said that we should be fine in a little while, after the “retinal trauma” fades, but Jenkins and Smith will be getting some artificial eyes when we finally get back to Earth.

One of the science team members – I don’t know which one – had the presence of mind to hit the experimental reflective shielding activation switch, which saved the rest of us from the worst of it. As one of the first humans to witness a supernova up close, my advice is this: Shades and sunscreen, and lots of it.

 

 

(an exercise based on the “10/10/10” exercise from Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer)