The follow-up to The Unearthing
An ancient Ship completing a millions-year old mission has taken Human passengers and crew on an historic voyage to the heart of an ancient cosmic dynasty.
But despite their extensive training, no one aboard the Shipflight is prepared for what they find as they search for the Great Races of the lost League of Worlds.
When catastrophe forces Shipflight onward unable to return to Earth, they set out to discover what happened to those who passed through the cosmos before them.
What awaits them beyond the world that Mankind has always called home is a growing madness aboard the Ship.
The sun was shining through the large bay window in Colonel Margaret Bloom’s office. The sunlight came not from any real star but from the titanic imaging system that surrounded the sphere that was the Ship’s Habitat. Bloom’s offices, like many offices, restaurants and recreation areas, overlooked Habitat from an approximate distance of thirteen hundred meters. Other than a few family photographs and a piece of fuselage from an F-579 Silver Dragon orbital fighter, Bloom’s offices were devoid of anything not strictly functional. she turned away from her desk to look out the window and down at the gently rotating miniature world below.
t was a spectacular sight. Habitat was a little more than five kilometres in diameter, a perfect sphere with its own gravity and and atmosphere regulated by lush, verdant preserves surrounding the homes that ringed the equator of the globe. It filled the horizon, reminding her of Earth when seen from orbit. Except at this distance Bloom could discern people on Habitat’s surface. With a good pair of binoculars she’d have been able to read over their shoulders. And although she’d been looking at the view from her office at least once a day for more than a year and a half, Bloom was still nowhere near used to it.
She turned back to her desk and sipped gratefully from the coffee to her left. She glanced at the reports displayed across the three different console screens on her desk. On her left were the latest report summaries from Earth, including Shipflight mission data, news and current events, the latest additions to the Ship’s cultural archives and correspondence for the crew and passengers.
Everything was automatically routed by the Ship Control Entity. Handling the flow of data from Earth was inconsequential to the vast, alien intelligence that governed the Ship. It was capable of solving the equations necessary faster-than-light travel and time warp in a matter of minutes. Conversely, the greatest Human mind would need hundreds of thousands of years to work out even the basics.
The screen to Bloom’s right displayed a menu of daily and weekly reports marked for her attention. Almost every aspect of the day-to-day running of the Ship was represented on this screen. It would take up most of her day to read through all of it; she was thankful that her Executive Officer, Major Jack Benedict was there to bear the brunt of it. She would only read what he flagged, and he’d have those requiring her attention to her by the time she finished dealing with the information on the screen directly in front of her. She liked to start her duty shift reading a little news from home. As long as they were in contact with Earth they were able to receive all the Gridcasts. Her morning vice, consumed with her coffee as her parents and grandparents might have consumed a sweet breakfast, Bloom linked to the Interactive News Network every morning.