Xiro Hour II

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Part II of opening chapter in Zero, One, Infinity series.

Submitted: March 17, 2020

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Submitted: March 17, 2020

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“At least it would be quick,” Xiro joked to herself at the idea of dying in space. She left her room and made her way to the large rear facing window in the shared kitchen just down the hall. She loved to watch the light beam they were riding dissipate into nothing after their craft had passed, sailing aloft, sapping the beam of its energy. In the other direction was a solid white line driving out from the front of the ship, fresh track for the beam riding deep space voyagers. A seemingly endless rod of light blazing a trail towards an infinite horizon.

Their ship, Swan V, was indeed racing towards infinity. It carried a full crew of eight, including the ship’s resident nanobiologist, Xiro Sun. Xiro was of average height and weight for a Taikonaut with years of deep space experience. She stood just under seven feet tall and rail thin. Her body had undergone the expected enhancement procedures after she had been born. Under Xiro’s flawless skin were countless flickering viralbots. She rarely ate in the traditional sense and when she did what she consumed didn’t look like any food an Earther would recognize. Xiro’s body was capable of repairing itself as long as her brain, or more specifically her neural core, was operational - whatever that meant. Her enhanced musculature and reinforced skeletal system were capable of lifting weights many times her own bodyweight. Her mind had access to an infinite amount of storage and information via Taikonet and she could interface directly with most spacecraft built within the last century. 

Xiro was pouring herself an obligatory cup of tea when a familiar voice interrupted her train of thought. “Are you going to join us Xi or should we just try again tomorrow?” asked the voice over Swan V’s comms. Xiro grabbed her steaming cup of fresh tea and headed for the door at a hurried pace. The doors slid open at the end of a long windowless hall and Xiro entered a cramped room surrounded by the seven other passengers. The ship’s captain, Zhang, was delivering a regularly scheduled update. He conspicuously arched his eyebrow and continued talking. He had very stern eyebrows. Xiro rolled her eyes. There was no need for her to be there. She was a science officer and had better things to do. “Something to add?” asked the captain as the others turned in their chairs to see who he was talking to.

“No. Sorry sir. Please continue,” apologized Xiro.

“Glad to have your blessing Colonel Sun,” joked the captain before continuing.

“By this stage in the game you all know the deal. Don’t eat or drink anything twenty-four hours before we go back under, including tea,” Zhang again flexed his eyebrow while Xiro did her best to hide her cup behind her back. 

“Stop flirting will you, and get on with it,” chirped the gray haired Medical Officer. Most of the crew failed to hold back their laughter. Zhang blushed. Xiro smiled. 

Xiro woke suddenly as her pod door swung open. Before her eyes could focus the alarm in her cabin began shrieking. She gathered her wits and stumbled toward the hallway. She could hear the Swan V being torn apart but this far into space Xiro couldn’t do much except focus on the moment and breath. Xiro ducked back in her room and made her way to the nearest window. She spotted the shallow curve and blue horizon of a nearby planet.

“Impossible,” Xiro muttered to herself.

“Believe it Xi, now get up here and help me land this thing,” Zhang shouted into the comms. Xiro’s mind raced as she made her way down the long hallway that still held most of Swan V together. 

She knew it was difficult to rush the complex final staging processes, but what choice did they have? Xiro paused to cough up some of the bright red jelly that coated her lungs. It had felt like she had only just closed her eyes but Xiro knew better. Since the Zero Event a lone faint signal originating from an outdated satellite had been the only proof that Earth still existed but there it was - so much blue. A vanguard probe had been sent a decade prior in an attempt to learn about the eventual changes to Earth Ultima’s atmosphere but it had gone offline well before reaching the planet. With enough time the engineers could have thickened the Swan V’s burn layer or adjusted the pitch, but running through her own groggy approximations they should still be several sleep cycles away from where they were now. Lucky for Xiro, and the rest of the crew, Zhang was a seasoned veteran and an excellent pilot. If anyone could get them to the surface it was him. Just as Xiro felt momentarily reassured Zhang screamed over the comms.

“Xi, did you get lost? Get here. Now!”

 


© Copyright 2020 Shannon Moone. All rights reserved.

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