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Suiting Up... Shipping Out...

I have never been so in awe and so disappointed in my life. I have also never been so looking forward to something and yet so sad at the same time. There is so much to tell you and I don't know in what order to put it. I'm just going to rant and you can work it out on your end.

Space travel isn't really traveling to something. It's more traveling to where something is going to be. Celestial bodies travel at amazing speeds and you can waste a lot of time and energy chasing them.

The Arcturus was scheduled/vectored to rendezvous with The Moon, or vice versa. At this point, anything was possible. The Arcturus had been in a wide orbit of its own, minding its own business until we got our acts together.

You never forget your first star ship.

The Centaurs were reloaded and we relaunched to meet her. We were told she was dark and more or less non-reflective, so she's been around a lot more than we knew. All I had was templates from science fiction and fantasy to speculate what she must look like.

An Enterprise? A Galactica? Maybe a little of both, with a little bit of Death Star thrown in for good measure. Whatever she is, she's real and she's going to be beautiful.

A great, big beautiful...


As we swung around and were told we could see her, all I kept saying to myself was, "She must be hiding behind that asteroid. What a brilliant maneuver!"

The Arcturus is not made of pristine mega-titanium with a vast array of portholes, radar dishes and space cannons. The Arcturus is made out of rock. By all appearances, Fred Flintstone was an astronaut. My first impression of my first star ship was that it looked like a giant chocolate brownie.

However, once again, the ability to gauge distance and dimension in totality is still not one of my strengths. We approached. We continued to approach. We approached some more.

I've never been impressed with self important giant sized craft. I've worked on several of the, arguably, largest ships in the world. Yes, they are big, but they never made my jaw drop. I think this might have been another minor Arcturus mind set that somehow put me on the recruitment list.

I hope it's too late to fire me. Can you please hand me my jaw?

By now, you can conceive the dimensions of the average Centaur. To refresh, it's about the size of a midtown Manhattan city block and about forty stories high. Now, I want you to picture the biggest statue you've ever seen. Got it? Now, pretend The Arcturus is that statue... and one of the Centaurs is one of the baby toes.
Life In The Fast Lane...

Long story short, wormholes are real. They exist and at least one stable and functioning wormhole is not too far from Earth's orbit this time of year. Like I said, a large part of space travel is calculating how to be in the right place at the right time. We are about to enter, literally, another large part of space travel.

According to the physics guys (the ones I get along with, not the one I pissed off in the Mess Hall), wormholes are made of similar, but slightly 'special' particles. Within the wormhole, these particles actually get, ever so slightly, longer and longer. As a result, existence in the wormhole gets, ever so slightly, faster and faster as you keep up with longer and longer building blocks along the channel of the wormhole. Acceleration is off the scale, but it's relatively nil from particle to particle.

Redress and balance being a somewhat Universal truth, these particles get, ever so slightly, shorter and wormhole illustrationshorter again, until you reach the other end in the same kind of physical space as where you started. Hence, ever so slightly, you slow down and get in step with everybody else again.

There is a non-transversal nature to this phenomenon. You cannot 'see' a wormhole from the outside. In fact, you can travel right across one, like a tire across a gas station bell hose, and nothing would happen. Looking straight into the aperture is the only way, visually, to perceive even the slightest aberration. It looks no more than a slightly blurry patch in the starscape.

The wormhole guys have not yet come up with a name for these particles. Of course, everybody was trying to help. Stretchons was dumb. Accelerons was already taken. Somebody even put Wormholions in the suggestion box. I swear it wasn't me.

This also brings us back to another item I tried to name, the Hydraulic Cocoon. You may remember I tried to christen it the HyCoo. You may also notice that it is still not called that.

All throughout training, we would occasionally hear 'launch stress' as an end to whatever tortuous means we were enduring. We thought the G-Forces of leaving Earth's gravity well, let alone getting to The Moon, were the launch stresses that were now behind us.

Nope, and that's what the Hydraulic Cocoons are for.

Snug As A Bug...

Now let's reintroduce another old friend, the Motor Oil From Hell. No need for reintroduction on this end, actually. That, along with the krispies and the sponges, is all we've been eating since the Crash Course.

By the way, yes, I was told that the Crash Course not only served many psychological and physical survival training purposes, but it was also an homage to the Second Wave that made the all-out one way mission to discover Daedalus.

The anticipated 'stress' of ever-expanding subatomic particles has never been dealt with on any known human participants. The HC (I'm tired of the big name) will be our cushion. As its name implies, there's some 'fluid' involved. You guessed it.

Its actual name is Amnion something-or-other. It's not only a nutrional supplement. It is also oxygenated. This has been done before with a liquid called perfluorocarbon and other materials. These liquids have different physical properties from other fluids and are 'breathable'.

So, we are getting pumped full- lungs, GI tract and between the suit and skin- with Amnion and hoping for the best. Kind of makes bubble wrap look weak. At least we get a little bathing suit to make us feel sanitary about the whole thing.



Throughout my Daedalus Base experience, I've been missing one person in particular. I thought everybody was just too busy and different people were running around in different circles.

I was getting packed and about to get into the Centaur for the trip to The Arcturus when, suddenly, Cassie was standing there.

I've told you she has an invisible smile. I've told you she has an invisible laugh. I've told you she has invisible hands that pull at my clothes like she's making me presentable.

This time she had invisible tears. But her real hands were tugging at my clothes to make me presentable. She kept looking down as she adjusted my pocket flaps and my gear straps.

"My nanites didn't take hold," she said, "I can't go."

Before I could say something, anything, she put her finger to my mouth.

"I'm staying here to further study the Daedalus Facility," she reached into her pocket and thrust cassie's tagssomething into my hand, "Take this with you for me. It'll be like..."

And she looked almost frantically into my eyes. I wanted to look in my hand, but not at the cost of losing a moment of looking into her eyes. She gasped a deep breath and suddenly kissed me.

"Make me proud, cowboy," and she turned and disappeared around a corner.

And then I looked down to see what she gave me.


  in suit in arcturus hard to type more later

(Mission Date: 1102.90.E1.0090)
(Mission Clock: -LE.00 Counting)

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