The Journey | A Prosperous Universe Origin Story

This story was inspired by “Tell Me You Hear Me (A Prosperous Universe Origin Story)”

I woke up, and the door hissed open. My vision was blurry and my body was very cold. I looked around, but all I could see was some white light shining outward onto the low ceiling and some dull, grey metal. Where was I? Was I even still on Talosia? Clearly not, I would not be sitting in a cold, hard, cryogenic pod, I would be sleeping in my soft, warm bed. I did know, after all, that I was in some sort of cryopod someone attached to a cryowall, and I was surrounded by other cryopods. Those cryopods were more than likely part of a starship. The more important question was why was I in this starship? I racked my brain, trying to remember what had happened. I didn’t remember my dream. Was it because I didn’t have one, or because I simply couldn’t remember it, I still do not know. What I did realize, however, was that I had been listened to someone tell me something before I entered the pod. “You will feel a slight chill, but it will go away soon” What else? “We will wake you up after we get there.” That clearly failed, but what did he or she mean by, “when we get there”? It all came back to me in a millisecond.

I had developed a minor space launch system using homemade model rockets and small homebrew (a term for homemade technology) CubeSats. Using my soldering iron I created the electronic parts, the multilayer insulation was made from some aluminum and plastic my Dad had leftover from his business, and I used both active and radiation heating to provide them with warmth. I also used my own programming language, Ninia, to program their functions. Some of them were used to triangulate the locations and trajectories of both themselves and other CubeSats relative to Talosia, while some were used for satphone servers and a minor planetary networking service I created. Not only did the project provide me with funding and reputation, but it also helped me connect with the interstellar network (more commonly know as the interstel, in reference to the internet), which allowed me to do much more with my career. I ordered two starships after months of saving, and also downloaded an open source autopilot and bought an APEX account. I decided to join the field of manufacturing, as it had the highest potential, and my starting package was sent over with the starships. Shipping was time consuming and expensive due to refueling and repairs, but I cared more about developing my company that I would expand and do who knows what with than worrying about the startup costs.

My stomach rumbled. Why hadn’t they woken me up? I walked over to the elevator which was positioned at the left end of the hallway and pressed the 0 button. I was on level -2. I waited to walk out of the elevator as the cylindrical walls retracted into the floor. There were 5 doors if you include the trapdoor above me that led to the railgun control room. Above each door was a semi-holographic display that had text in the font and color I had chosen. The door behind was for the cargo area, to the left was the escape pods and airlock, to the right was the engine room, and in front was the cockpit region. Most of it was merely aesthetic, but the cargo area, airlock, and cockpit were real. Even if there were people risking their own lives to attack us, escape pods would surely not save anyone. I entered the cockpit and the proximity sensors noticed me. A robotic voice said, “I apologize sir, an error likely occurred causing me to wake you and not the crew. I will wake them and diagnose the problem now.” This kind of thing was not outlandish, I had downloaded open source for financial reasons and there were bound to be bugs. The developer sent it through a test simulation, but he didn’t expect an open source software to be used in trips with cryogenic pods, and testing is expensive, so he neglected to test in that area. He wrote so in a disclaimer in the download description.

A nurse named Artemis came out of with a hypodermic needle. She explained that it contained a basic neural interface that allowed me to use APEX. She injected it into my temple and I woke up in a bed. It was an odd sensation, as one second I was standing there, fully conscious, and the next I am just waking up. I found myself in a bed with a teal colored comforter. “I wish they had this in the cryopod” I tried to say, but it came out in a quiet, wheeze-like sound. I was confused, until I realized I had not spoken, eaten or drank anything for however long I was in the cryopod. I think I remembered it being something like 3 days, but only with high warp speeds and constant starting and stopping that would make a conscious trip with so many people both impractical and uncomfortable. Instead, they used cryopods, but that also limited acceleration (due to the lack of seats in the pods), so I didn’t know how long I was in mine. Before I got the chance to look around more, a small, two-dimensional, beveled black box with a yellow “APEX” logo on it popped up in my vision. It was at the far left of my view, like my smartwatch toolbar. The APEX window soon followed, fading in and showing a login page. I entered my account and set up some other preferences that APEX asked for using optical/mental gestures. It sent me a few “Transmissions,” or glorified tutorials, and I watched all of them. By the time I was done, much time had passed, at least according to my circadian rhythm. Where did they put my smartwatch? The neural interface showed an arrow pointing to a nightstand I had not noticed before. On it, there was a “Flavored Insta-Meal,” also known as an edible brick, a kombucha, and my smartwatch. At the time it was navy blue, but you could customize the colors as you wished.

I devoured the Insta-Meal almost as fast as I had noticed it. A crew member who I assumed was the mess-man came in to pick up my food. “What did you think of our luxury meal?” I forced a smile. “Don’t worry, it’s the equivalent of a DiGiorno pizza for colonists, I was just messing with you” this time the smile wasn’t forced. I painfully cleared my throat and asked roughly, “where is the captain?” He explained that the starship was refueling and getting repairs at Moria Station so, as he was not busy, he was helping get everyone ready for landing. At the time Vallis was roughly 1/8 of an orbit away from the station, which was actually relatively close. Apex explained that the travel time would be approximately 24 hours for fuel efficiency. In addition to the transmissions, I also memorized every entry in the handbook and even found time to read “Ender’s Game” in eBook form as we were in transit. The minor vibrations from collisions with dust were annoying, but I could live. After we reached orbit, we made some repairs to the ship and a well-dressed man entered. “Hello sir, I am the pilot of this ship. We must request that you choose some land for us to start on.” he said.

I tried to chose a plot, but the planet, likely due to being perfect, was mainly occupied and I could not chose anything. Instead, APEX chose for me. The pilot brought me to the cockpit for reentry to the site I still could not find on the map. The cockpit was not as complicated as science fiction usually depicted it as, and merely had two navigational joysticks and a 3d holographic map. Perhaps if fighters were used, they might also have slightly more inputs, like dedicated roll pedals, but it was rather simple none the less. The seats were clearly overengineered, but you can’t go wrong with that. I had a seat near the front, and the view was amazing. It had one continent and a large dark blue sea, due to there being 56% more water compared to the atmosphere than earth. The planet’s atmosphere was comprised approximately one quarter with natural brown’s gas, the rest nitrogen and other gases. This however, still made the atmosphere quite flammable. It was also a super earth, massive enough to hold hydrogen. The orbit was bigger, leading to a slightly colder climate in relation to earth (the universal standard for planetary ratings), and longer years. We waited until my plot of land came into view, and then the thrusters fired. There was some weight on me pulling me into my seat despite me facing the ground, likely due to the acceleration. An orange glow surrounded the ship and then became more plasma-like. It was hotter than normal due to the thicker atmosphere from the gravity. It also made the room temperature increase slightly, but it actually felt very nice as it was cold before. The ship arced up to fly to our destination, and I felt weight pulling me down. Probably due to a combination of centrifugal force and gravity. Despite the ships large size, we were still flying in the Mach 5 range. I saw factories and cities fly by underneath me, and eventually they started being less congested. This means that we were approaching the plot border. It was not my plot border though, and we flew over about 3 more plots until we started slowing down. I was pulled forward as we decelerated, and we landed vertically in a pre-made landing pad on top of the core module.

While the atmosphere was breathable and actually beneficial to our lungs, a jetway still extended vertically. It had a self-contained atmosphere, as some planets require that, and every core module is identical to help with bulk production. There were dynamic stairs in the jetway for you to walk to the port, which also had an elevator for descending into the module. It was rather small, like an office building. There were no glass windows for radiation protection, so they used cameras and screens for fake windows. The days here were slightly longer, about 6 or 7 extra hours. They could be changed with large engines resembling an aeolipile, but that was unnecessary here. In fact, Promitor was very fertile but spun very slowly, so the Insitor Cooperative had to accelerate its spin for their crops. The core module was made of a small market for the inhabitants, a glass observatory with a digital telescope, and my office, which was removable for HQ change. I was directed to my office by the captain, where inside there was a desk and a drone charging station. It was not a real desk, merely a piece of wood levitating with superconducting magnets that looked better with my neural interface. The drone flew over and explained that it was going to update me on everything because of my cryogenic dementia. He mainly explained things that I already knew, but he did answer my question about why I left Talosia.

He replied “You are here because you found no favor in your existing abode, and your family was no longer, so you used your inheritance in addition to the money you earned to relocate.” I did not like or dislike my father, and I had a relationship with him, but when he did die as a test pilot for a new warp drive, I was not as disappointed as most would typically be. He taught me not to feel sad if he never came back once he started the test pilot business, and he was usually on business trips for his company even before that. The drone asked in its robotic voice if I wanted to arrange a funeral, as I did not have time for one at home, but I simply said no. No reason to make additional tears fall while the new pioneers adjusted to their new home. Construction had already commenced with building the habitation modules while we were entering the building, and the construction drones were going to finish before the end of the day. I told my drone to arrange a welcome party instead of the funeral, to increase mood and give everyone something to do. The party was arranged outside. Normally it would be held in the large party room, but we had the opportunity to do otherwise, and the fresh air would be wonderful and rejuvenating, especially because of the Brown’s gas.

There were large fields in the location that we chose, as most of the trees were cleared out when the Exodus Council started selling land on starting planets. The party was void of children, but after about 3 months that would not be the case. Development went about 9 times faster due to genetic modification in the colonists. Colonists were like soldiers, dedicating their family line to the Exodus Council and were thus treated as such. However, the Exodus Council did still use unethical methods like using prisoners as Colonists. It is similar to slavery, there is no lighter way to put it. The captain walked up to me, and started conversing. He asked if I wanted some EIG, but I declined and asked for a Kombucha instead.

“Oh, so you’re taking the healthy route, huh,” he joked, forcing me to smile.

“Yup, it’s the least addictive beverage on the menu” I said.

“So, what do you think of this planet?”

“It’s pretty good, if you could name a planet in your native language, this would definitely be called paradise.”

“I guess valley is similar to paradise… I still wonder what other worlds there are out there, that’s why I signed up for this.”

“Me too, I kind of want to explore planets, but there are also the financial issues with that”

“Y’know, you do have a point.”

“Where are you from?” I asked.

“Promitor, but it’s mainly the stink of fertilizer and sweat. What about you?”

“I come from Talosia,” I responded.

“I’ve never heard of that place…”

“It’s in the non faction space,” I told him.

“Well that should explain it, what is it like there?”

“It’s the average planet, but lots of oxygen and water. I’m not really from there, I came from another planet but we moved when I was born”

“Do you mind me asking if you know what that planet was?”

“No, I just don’t know. My parents never told me, even when I asked”

The conversation died for a bit, but eventually he asked me what were my plans for the company. “I want to start by making plastic and food production automatic, and eventually I want to do everything”

“I’ll be helping you the whole way,” he said, reassuring me. “What should the ships be called?” he asked.

“I’m thinking something like Adam’s Ship and Eve’s Ship. Seeing as they will, hopefully, give rise to a successful company”

“Great idea, just don’t jinx it, I don’t want to be the one caught in the middle if they get kicked out of the garden,” he joked.

I looked up at the sky, and realized how late it was. The construction was finished, so the pioneers started going to their rooms. I ordered the drones to start building 2 factories somewhere in the large plot, and ended the conversation with the pilot. I went into my office, and sat on the recently installed murphy bed in the corner. I kept planning my new company’s future until I went to sleep. I enjoyed the sensation of a real bed with a real mattress that I could actually appreciate. I had much to do the next day, and as long as I lived that would be true.

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The programming language is supposed to be a mix of Java and Python, and is named in that way. I will let you figure out how they relate though :)