Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sample Sunday - Letters Home

You ever have one of those stories that seem to haunt you, trying to get out of your head and move to your fingertips like molasses in January. This is one of those stories. I have a beginning (which always seems to come in handy) and an end. In other words, I know where I am going, what happens when I get there, but I don't know how I arrived. Sort of like being drunk.

Here is a short little Sci-fi story that I am really going to work on finishing.....Honest....I am.

Letters Home (or Sunset)   {decisions, decisions}

Tuesday, April 25th, 2519. 1300 hrs.

Hey Pops, thought I'd send you this little run down of my day, hope you enjoy it.
For the past month, me and the other twenty-four crew members of the exploration ship Vogt have been in the eco-chamber due to the travel we will be doing for the next twenty years, our systems have to get use to space.

It will really seem like about six months since we will spend most of the time asleep. Each member of the crew will spend a week awake doing all the random stuff, what I like to call ‘grunt work’, that goes on around a ship. General maintenance and making sure we are not off course.

Well to continue, today is the day we get to head off for Gliese 581g, or more loving revered to as Sunset. When the first probe landed there it found a spot almost on the line where the day/night break is. Sunset happens all year round, and a beautiful one too.

At 0600 hours they moved us from the chamber and down a long corridor we could look out of, above a sea of humans. I felt like I was on display at one of those old fashioned zoos Grandpa kept telling us about. Thousands of people came to see us off and wish us good luck. I couldn’t make out anyone specific, but I knew you would be there.

The sealed pleztube stretched out about forty feet between the building and the shuttle that would take us to the ship, fifty feet above the maddening crowd. We stood in the middle of the tube and waved to the peeps down there, just because we were told to. We knew we would never see anyone again, unless someone cured aging. They have practically cured everything else – even cancer. Our life spans have been doubled, once we could only live to around 70 to 75, now most women live till they are 150, most men only last till they are 130.

Even with the excitement of being the first manned ship to leave the solar system – it was still a little scary – body numbing and stimulating at the same time. I saw the mix of emotions running through my crew members faces, fear, happiness, concern and wonder. Jim was showing no expression at all as we fastened ourselves into the seats on the shuttle.

Oh, I never told you about Jim. Well dad – your daughter has a new boyfriend. It isn’t really anything serious – but he is awesome at almost everything he does. The crew is actually split up evenly – 12 men, 12 women. The 25th is an android – his duty is just to walk the ship encase there is an emergency on board that the two crew members need help with while everyone else is asleep. We call him Wesley. He is actually the on board computer – but he also comes in mobile form.

Any way – I don’t have much time to finish this little note so I may have to talk fast. My sleep cycle starts in 10 minutes.

Once planted firmly on the shuttle we lifted off without any problems and circled the giant ship Vogt once before entering the massive belly that serves as the cargo hold. The ship isn’t really that much – the news services are making more of a big deal than they need to about it. Most of the bulk of the ship is the AFTL drive (we cal it the Almost Faster Than Light Drive); it takes up at least 60% of the ship. Wesley has all the specs and owner manuals in case there is a flat tire or something, and I gave him your message – “You better not run out of gas.” Remind me never to tease an android. Everyone has read the manuals at least twice. (In my opinion they are pretty dry for reading materials, but at least we know how to fix it if it breaks.)

Connected to the engineering section is the container that has all the sleep chambers in it, twenty four in all – each scheduled in 12 month cycles, waking two crewmen – male and female – for a month at a time.

Before they put us in there, they shaved all our body hair – even if only one day passes for us, our hair will still grow at the regular rate. Basically we sleep for a year, wake up for a month and then go back to sleep – so only 20 months will go by for us, but you won’t hear from me for a year.

You will only have to imagine your little baby girl bald – I ain’t sending you a picture.
I’m really looking forward to this and please tell everyone I will miss them.
I’m falling asleep now – catch you later.
Love you all,
LT Commander Tia Bourbon

…message sent…

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30th, 2520: 1950 hours.

I've been really busy since I woke up on the first of the month, or I would have sent this earlier. Once the capsule opened it took me thirty minutes to fully wake up. During our training, they told us we wouldn't dream. They were wrong. I still remember some of it, flashes of pictures, like watching a old disc out of the 21st century. Scratched and pitted with only the occasional clear picture. One is a foreign alien landscape charred and broken with totally red skies. Could this be Sunset, or just something my imagination came up with? Another scene is a bloody reminder of human nature,
I'm still trying to make since of it.

Any way, they only wake us for a month at a time, I think I mentioned that, and that month is spent checking up on shop systems, making sure everything is still working like it should.
Jim and I spend about an hour each night getting acquainted again, even if it feels like yesterday we still missed each other.

The pair before us, and all the others, did a pretty decent job keeping the ship in good order. Nothing much happened out of the ordinary this month. Thirty days floating at the speed of light with only one man as company, there wasn't much we could do except get caught up on what's happening back home and each other.

As to our android, Wesley, he spends most of the time walking the ship – if he finds anything at all, he lets us know.

Nothing unusual in our sightseeing duties, we did see a few solar systems that may have a habitual world if Sunset doesn’t pan out like we are hoping.

There was one strange thing; our sensors noticed something off our stern, port side, which seemed to be matching us for speed and trajectory.

I ordered Wes outside to check it out – after spending almost three hours tethered to the ship he came in and said it must have been a shadow of our ship. “A glitch in the sensors,” he said. I didn’t think androids believed in glitches. But I suppose it could have been a shadow of our selves.

Since we are the first humans to travel at light speed, no one really knows what we will experience. That does seem a little scary now that I think about it.

Yesterday we woke two Lieutenants, Dona Tussey and Ted Rathburn. They will keep an eye on the “shadow” as we continue our journey.

Guess I will write again as soon as I can, which should be in about a year.
Night Dad, Miss you.

.message sent….


Hope you enjoyed that, this is still a very rough draft - but the important part is it is out there.

My next book, The Set'la will hopefully be sent to Smashwords tonight. Basic part of the cover is done, just need the title now.


  1. Excellent on the new book!

    Enjoyed the excerpt.

    I know about those stories hanging on and dripping like molasses ...

  2. I worked on it a little between phone calls today at work. It's getting there.

  3. Thanks for the uh input there Syeds.