Authors: Andrew Beery
The Catherine Kimbridge Chronicles #1, Inception
Copyright 2012 by Andrew Beery
I’d like to thank my wife Lori and my two daughters CJ and Jackie for putting up with me while I wrote the first book in the Kimbridge series. Any similarities between people in this book and my immediate family and friends is purely intentional. I’d also like to thank my twin brother Peter for putting in months of proofreading and concept tweaks.
Most recently the Kimbridge series has enjoyed the services of a series of volunteer editors… the document still has some tweaking needed but because of their help, as well as,numerous people posting corrections o
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it is in far better shape for new readers.
, I wouldn’t be much of a pastor if I didn’t acknowledge God – to Him be all the glory!
2067 was the year I died for the first time… It was painful. Had I known how often I’d be expected to die over the next several millennia, I might have made a stronger effort to stay dead.
The year actually started off rather nicely. I finished my PhD in high energy physics and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in the United States Air Force. My first posting after the promotion was to the Lunar One Air Base where I worked with my father, Dr. Robert Kimbridge on “The Project.”
“The Project” was our name for a VASIMR Ion Drive interplanetary space craft that used Thorium LFTR reactors for both shielding and power. Capable of a sustained point one G of acceleration, our prototype was expected to make the Mars run in less than a week. By the end of November, the ESX Arizona was ready for her first trial runs, and I was her pilot. History has an odd way of repeating itself.
* * *
The newly promoted Lt. Commander Catherine Kimbridge sat at the controls of her highly modified light cruiser. The Air Force, along with most of the world’s militaries, had recently adopted uniform rank designations. Officers O1 and above utilized naval rank designations while enlisted personnel and warrant officers W4 and below utilized Army ranks. It still seemed strange to her to be in the Air Force and hold, what until a few years ago, had been a naval rank. Of course, the newness of her rank was in its own way strange.
The craft had originally been designed to transport a crew of fifteen between Lagrange Point Two (L-Point2) behind the Earth and the various lunar bases dotting the moon’s surface. Before the ESX Arizona had been thoroughly modified by herself and her father, the craft had been expected to make such a trip in roughly a week. Now the much larger VASIMR engines could heat the Arizona’s fuel to a plasma state in microseconds and provide enough thrust to make the trip to the inner planets in a comparable time frame.
The addition of several Liquid Fluorine Thorium Reactors (LFTR), as well as, the fuel pods for the VASIMR drive; limited the available space to three people. This was of little concern to the petite redhead because for this first trip she would be the only occupant. Her goal was to achieve insertion into a Mars orbit in 6.4 days. Considering the best time to date, for a manned spacecraft, was on the order of 90 days this would be quite an achievement.
“Lunar One… this is the Arizona. My board is green
, and I show go for Mars burn.”
“Arizona, we confirm your board is green. You are go for umbilical disconnect and Mars burn. See you in two weeks and God speed!”
“Roger that Lunar One. Arizona out.”
Cat, as her friends called her leaned forward in her auto-molded acceleration couch and flicked on her AI unit.
At the same time, she peered out the nanite infused Gorilla glass window of the cockpit. Lunar One was about a kilometer below her present position. At the moment, the Arizona was tethered to the terminus station anchoring the upper side of a lunar space elevator platform. 1000 meters of ultra-strong, incredibly flexible diamond fiber weave connected the base station that was Lunar One with the terminus station that was Lunar One Beta. Technically the base station was Lunar One Alpha, but Cat had never heard anyone actually add the Alpha. Most people called the facility L1 and let it go at that.
“Ben, disconnect umbilical and execute sequence Mars-1A when we are clear.” Ben was Cat’s name for her AI. Computers had finally surpassed human's raw intellect
, but they stilled lacked that spark of imagination that defined humanity. Never the less, since most experts now acknowledged that, for all practical purposes, computers were self-aware; it had become common practice to allow them to choose their own names. When the AI that was Ben came online some four years ago it elected to pull a name from Cat’s personnel file… the name of her first dog.
“Umbilical disconnect confirmed. Drifting
two meters per second. The Arizona will clear all moorings in 12 seconds.”
Cat waited while the seconds counted off. The last of Lunar One and
it's tethered twin slipped away.
LFTRs one two and three scaling up to 68 percent capacity. VASIMR thrusters powering up. Plasma drive is online. Commencing point one G burn in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… we are go for VASIMR drive at point one G. Estimated arrival at Mars insertion point in six point two days.”
“Thank you Ben. I’m heading down to the engineering deck. Let me know if anything unusual happens.”
“You are welcome… please define unusual within the current context.”
“Ben, you’re a smart machine. Use your imagination.”
Yarin watched the small craft with eyes four and six. History was in the making.
In point of fact, that was why the Heshe was there.
This young bipedal race was in many ways a younger version of its own. They had an
amazing capacity for logic coupled with compassion. Yet, neither logic nor their vibrant emotions were their masters. They existed and built their society by establishing a middle ground between the two.
Heshe cast out with it’s sensor-enhanced consciousness for others of it’s race. They were few in number now... And growing fewer with each passing millennia. These humans, as they called themselves, would likely never meet the Heshian Expanse. The Heshe were leaving this section of the galaxy. Regrettably, the very thing that made humans so fascinating doomed the Heshe... And very likely humanity as well.
For all their knowledge and love of learning, the Heshe had never lost their ability to believe in the unprovable. They, like their kindred spirits in these humans, had an innate ability to transcend their logic in regard to a faith in an uncreated creator. In many ways humanity mirrored the Heshe's own understanding of the divine.
Their love of the creator prevented them from taking life for any reason other than nourishment. When faced with the advances of an aggressive species they were defenseless. It was ironic that despite their vastly inferior technology, these humans were perhaps far better able to defend themselves. Yarin hoped this was the case. It would be sad to see such potential lost when the D'lralu came to claim their fertile solar system.