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Aubade: Chapter 3
New here? Let’s set the scenario:
You’re a woman who’s woken up out of stasis and you find out you’re onboard the spaceship Aubade. Last thing you remember is going to bed. On Earth. What is going on?
After I published the first chapters of Aubade I received some encouraging “What happens next?” I listen to you and here’s the next chapter.
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Want to know the truth? This is probably my declaration of love for all sci-fi and action movies I’ve seen throughout the years — all distilled through a strangely romantic and perhaps pulpy lens.
So, you’ve been warned. We’re entering sci-fi land. Which can be a divider. Which in itself also is an invitation to all of you who also love “Alien”, “Terminator” and all sci-fi movies we’ve forgotten the names of but loved (and hated), and hundreds of trashy romance novels, and technology we barely understand, and strong and weak characters we end up sort of liking, or hating. I’ve tried to include them all, because I love that kind of stuff. Even if I’m lightyears from that teenager, she’s still here on the other side of the time membrane.
I don’t know how keen I am to publish another serial but let’s give it a try. You have to tell me when you’ve had enough. There’s a lot of Aubade material in the crypt.
If you haven’t left yet — you’re welcome onboard the spaceship Aubade. Yes, there are those beeping sounds you always hear in a good space movie. And the blinking lights. Yeah, I’ve got those too.
Dr. Renni scanned her every day, and after a week concluded that she was healthy and also mentally stable. Sara found that to be somewhat intriguing since she cried herself to sleep every night, but she didn't protest. Captain Meadows was eager to employ the historian, and so she began providing him with historical information that the colony would soon need.
She spent most of her time in the library gathering information, creating comprehensive handbooks for people who had never known much about life of the Old. She tried not to think too much about what she had left behind, at least not yet. The survival of everyone aboard also rested on her shoulders.
Old books made of paper lined an entire wall in the library. The vast majority of information was stored on the main computer of course, but Sara felt the paper books encapsulated the wisdom of humanity. It gave her a sense of peace after the shock of waking up on Aubade.
She appreciated the formal but mild voice of the AI. All the applications ran smoothly and Sara only had to act as a director of an orchestra. She was the designer but the AI did the rest of the work for her. It was relaxing and satisfying to see the layers of information settle in and find the most logical place. Sara took pride in making the information easy to understand. She liked to build multilayered presentations that unfolded themselves as flower petals.
Several days passed without her seeing anyone other than Dr. Renni or the Captain. Whenever they did stop by, the conversation stayed related to health or work.
Sara became so engrossed in her task that when she one day by accident logged onto a communication channel, she stumbled through her apology, logged off, and felt herself blush. An hour later she was on her way to look for the gym. She knew she had to snap out of it.
It might have been the fact that she ran at the highest speed for an hour followed by one hundred pull-ups that no one spoke to her in the gym. She saw two men and one other woman but all three of them avoided making eye contact. On her way out she heard
"... part of the defense team?"
"Nah, doubt it. They only recruited men with combat experience."
She had met many people in New York with an identical muscular endurance strain, but it seemed to surprise the people on Aubade. They must have been selected for something useful, she figured. Physical strength didn't seem to be it.
On the way back to her room she stopped by the dining hall to pick up nutritional fluid. The entire staff had to rely on a fluid of varying viscosity as their food supply until the colony's organic production facility was up and running. An estimated waiting period of three months already had the entire ship groaning every time they refilled their containers with "porridge" as they fondly called it.
Sara entered the code for hot porridge followed by her personal code. This ensured she got the proper amount of calories, vitamins and minerals based on regular check ups.
The porridge smelled horrible and in an attempt to avoid tasting it altogether she chugged it. Halfway through she began to regret it due to the intense heat in her throat.
"That would probably work better with a cold beverage," said a voice behind her.
A tall man wearing defense team off-duty clothes was leaning over to fill up his container.
"It’s the only code I remember," Sara replied.
"You've been sucking down porridge all this time?" he laughed.
He entered a code and out came a soup-like fluid.
"I call this chicken soup without the chicken," he said and held up the cup for inspection.
She smelled a scent of broth and nodded.
"They give you defense guys the secret cookbook, huh?"
He smiled, held up his cup toward her and said:
"Cheers!" and walked over to a table occupied by two other defense team members. Sara realized how unguarded this conversation had been. They were no longer on Earth, that was for sure. She hid a smile that had begun to grow on her lips.
After a five minute shower Sara took a look at the security level of her computer. She was careful enough not to leave any traces and did not pry into anything dangerous. She did manage to access the code bank for various esters and food products. She memorized five of them before double erasing her tracks. She now had the recipe for chicken soup without chicken and more.
She was lying down, waiting for her muscles to relax and her brain to stop wandering. She had learned to put a pillow to her left so she could hold it, but since it emitted no warmth and nothing that ever could replace what it tried to replace, she kept the door to the library section slightly ajar so the nightlights from the computers lit up the unknown. The tears stopped flowing seconds before she fell asleep.
Well, what should we do? Shall we keep going? Let me know in the comments!
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