Less than one month until Eden’s Eye comes out! Read the first few chapters of the novel here.
The asteroid struck Dandelion 14 off center. Of course, it was very near the center, which is why the ship split into two parts. The very weakest spot of the ship was hit, the bridge itself, the connector between the two sides and the nose capsule at the front.
As soon as the asteroid made contact, all transport between the halves was halted. No longer was there the air pressure necessary to travel across the bridge, which means anyone who attempted would die. And at the time, Necti was the head engineer of the ship – it was his duty to keep the engines running, and the lights on, and the systems under control. And when the ship split, Necti was on our side of the ship.
In the confusion of the ship, Neti had two priorities. The first was to the ship itself, and he ran to the power room to keep the reactor from damaging itself as they systems fell off line. Much of the work that is done today was automatic back then, governed by the ship itself, though these were destroyed by the asteroid. So it was up to Necti to preserve the ship, because the ship could no longer care for itself.
But, you see, the asteroid striking the ship was the second most important thing that had happened to Necti that day. The first had occurred that very morning- Necti had married his wife, Beatrice, who was said to be even more beautiful than the stars. They had been lovers since childhood, and the ceremony had all but finished- there was but one part left. You see, when the ship used to be whole, the ceremony dictated that married couple would each depart to opposite ends of the ship, then meet in the center, signifying that nothing could ever separate them. That they would overcome all obstacles to be together.
And when the asteroid struck, Beatrice was on the other end of the ship. Which was Necti’s other priority.
Because when he looked outside, at the other half, their lights were out. This meant that the power room on their side of the ship had been lost- likely because the asteroid hit their side harder, and caused their reactor to malfunction.
Originally, Necti had saved the reactor on our side because he knew that both he and Beatrice would die without it. But now, he knew that he would not be able to live without his wife, separated far away from him on the other end of the ship. He knew that she would not be able to live without power, and that soon those on the other side would fight for food, and then starve.
He petitioned for the ship to be repaired immediately, but there was a problem. With only one power room, there was not enough fuel to reach the new planet if the ship was fixed. You see, fixing the ship is no small task- the power is requires is enormous. And once the ship was restored, one power room would have to support the entire ship as mandatory energy hungry systems came back online, which was not in the original design. As you will learn in your studies, the more power that the reactor must provide, the more that it wastes. And under that great stress the energy would run out far before Dandylion 14 reached her destination.
But Necti refused to be defeated. That morning, he had vowed to meet Beatrice at the center of the ship. He had vowed no distance could keep them apart. That no obstacle could stand in their way.
So he devised a plan.
First, he turned off every system still online that was not absolutely crucial, and he turned those off those that he could that even once the ship was repaired would draw excess power. And he knew of a room on the other end of the ship, a room where he could tell the ship to repair itself one day by giving it extremely specific instructions when to awake, and how to fix itself, as he knew we would forget.
You have seen the suits that are kept in the back of the power room, by the engines. In extreme circumstances, these were designed to allow us to move outside the ship. With his knowledge of the ship schematics, Necti determined which power cables he would need to connect to the other side of the ship to share our electricity. They wouldn’t be enough to completely restore power, but they would be enough for sustenance.
And Necti did something that no one has done since, and likely no one had done before.
With the cables streaming behind him, he soared across the gap between the two halves, just barely making it to the other side of the ship. And he restored power to where it was most necessary, plugging our electricity into their systems.
Then Necti reentered the ship through their engines, and their power room, to find his beloved Beatrice. Like us, he knew how to sign with his hands, an emergence precaution used by engineers for situations where communication might be difficult. And as the lights flickered back on from their end, he signed to us what had happened through the windows.
He had found Beatrice still in her bridal gown waiting for him at the bridge, and their marriage had been complete. He had found the control room, and set it such that in the generations to come the ship would awaken, and restore itself just before reaching its destination.
And he signed something else, something as his hands shook and his tears fell upon the window. Something that he kept secret from Beatrice herself.
That when he had entered the other power room, the photonic shielding around the reactor had been cracked open, exposing him with no protection to the radiation. On leaving the room, he welded the door shut, such that no one else would ever enter there again, and warned the other side to never to enter the long room leading to their power room, as that would be contaminated as well but with lesser levels of radiation.
He never told Beatrice – hiding it as long as he could as his hair fell out, and sores formed on his skin. Enjoying his final month with her, with his wife, his love, whom he had let no obstacle short of death part them. And for whom he had saved that entire side of the ship.
We still know the last message he signed to us, one so weak we could barely decipher it, but caused the rest of the engineering team to burst into tears. And which immortalized his name forever among us.
“For her, for you, and for them, I would do it again.”
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