French Guyana happens to be one of the last peaceful places on Earth. Mainly because there are no staples depots to loot there. I mean, who in their right mind, would take the pain to attack an aerospace facility? Soldiers defend it everywhere, as well as boobytraps, cameras, sensors - hidden and open - at every corner, and they're all deadly serious. Until 2036, the French were rather leniant regarding their safety; but since the Chernobyl 50th anniversary attacks, they have implemented their equivalent of Defcon 2 as a daily basis on their whole territory. Kuru receives special attention, now, and security members have been instructed to shoot to kill.
Well, that's what I've heard through the grapevine, anyway. Which is the last way to get news, now that the Internet has gone heyway to hell (and back with a vengeance). I'm not too keen on taking the European Shuttle Endymion to go up there. It still has a 8% chance of botching its launching, and a 2,44% chance of exploding. But it is the most convenient way at the moment and the shortest delay I could find. I know myself: if I stay on Earth one more day, I'll change my mind. Again.
I really hope that the Haniwa managers (organisers or whatever) will not be too much militaristic in their methods. But it's bound to be, I'm afraid. How they will "treat" disobeying people is pretty much obvious: throw them into space, of course. This is odd, in a way: at the present moment, my most likely prospect in life is to become a frozen satellite of Earth. Could be worse, but not much.
Oh, stop fretting! Sleep and forget. That should be my motto from now on. If this whole thing has been well thought over and prepared, they should provide the right pills or diet to do just that: sleep and forget. Let's call this the Catnip's life package.
I don't even know whether they intend to freeze us for the time being. Must be easier to handle: no sedition, no discontent people, no supply management, etc. But that's not the point of a colony-spaceship, is it? Why are these people so secretive? Just because it cost billions of various moneys and it's not likely to yield any profit, doesn't mean you have to be fussy about everything. Or does it?
We know that the NASA is behind this, as well as the Agences spatiales européenne et canadienne, and the China National Space Administration and the India Space Research Organisation... That is obvious. I have my doubts about Russia Federal Space Agency, though. The loss of Baikonur facility to the boiling of Lake Baikal in 2039 was a terrible blow to their space program, whatever was left of it anyway. I don't know. Even the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency could have been doing something in the wings.
This flight is endless. I'm so bored as to waste memory volume on my thoughtlog. I know it's a petabyte deep but I can't erase any one of them. That's the deal with my sponsor. I'm supposed to record everything I'm thinking and perceiving until the memplant is full to the brim. Then what? How will they retrieve it? Does the Haniwa have enough surgery capacity to do that?
Yet another question to which I have not the slightest answer.
Oh, bugger off. Open your eyes, now. And take a look at it. The Haniwa. The big box where you will live for who-knows-how-long and more-than-probably die (the only alternative being to die outside of it, in deep frozen space).
Ah. It's a cylinder. What did I expect? A fractaloid nightmare? An Erector thingomabob, complete with screws and bolts protruding? An artist rendition of some frumious theory on spacetime travel? A H.R. Giger giant eggnog with rockets instead of eyes? Silly me.
The cylinder is obviously the simplest, most stable shape that a spaceship can have. Slow rotation on its length axis provides artificial gravity; internal walls provide soil and surface to hold mirrors to redirect sunlight; conveyor belts will spare us trafic jams, or so I hope.
This idea of building a settlement spaceshift is actually so old that even Isaac Asimov was not surprised when O'Neill produced his first model in 1976. The only question I'm asking now is: How many sectors will it have? Two halves? Three thirds? Four quarters? Multilayers? I don't wish to look picky here, but geographical boundaries are prone to breed further severances, which can lead to conflicts. Humans are human(s), aren't they?
Well, after a tour of the Haniwa, I can tell now, that it's not a simple cylinder, but two, linked together by one of their extremities. I had forgotten this detail: the reason for this is that they are counter-rotating in order to cancel out the gyroscopic effect which would make the whole apparatus hard to control. Imagine a giant double cigar, whose two halves rotate conversely. It means that passing from one cylinder to the other must be a nightmare, whether from inside or through space. Ergo, we already have two distinct worlds, so close so far away from each other. Food for future feuds?
The transfer took ages, as predictable; though it was not because searching procedures or redtape drudgery. Identifiaction was done as soon as boarding took place and therefore was no more necessary afterwards. They tested me as though I were an astronaut. That's why it took so long. The EuroShuttle is no citybus, comfortwise. It takes 2.4 g, sometime 3 g, which needs some training. I have it but they wanted to be sure. I did the right thing, I guess, since they didn't send me back to "Urth".
To be cont'd...