S1E16 - Hipatia - So I Hid
There is, unfortunately, no escaping physics. Bound by the speed of light, even information must take its time to get birth going. And as we move farther into the void, that time grows until the distance becomes unspeakable.Speaker B:
Sergeant west. Same hat. I'm so glad that my message got through. I certainly never thought you'd respond to it as well. As you said, getting to hear and interact with a new voice is an unqualified joy, especially in our circumstances. Any novelty is welcome when you're confronted with seeing the same faces for years at a time or the same view out the window. For me, it's the unfathomable vastness of interstellar space. For you, planet with an atmosphere the color and viscosity of a bad sinus infection. Apparently. Yeah, I definitely get off more lightly than you on that front. Sorry, I don't mean to laugh at your circumstances, but I do want to say I did laugh when you were advising me to go and shoot myself in a locker because way ahead of you. This one might take a bit of explaining, so strap in. So the Hypatia, like other vessels in its class, is big. Like stupidly big huge. Mainly because hauling everything you need for a ten year mission takes up a lot of room. And because of the size, it takes a while to put them together. You're looking at twelve years from drawing board to launch, at least. And that's if everything goes smoothly. It's all top of the line stuff when designed, but after a decade or so of construction, you often find that technology has moved on. In the intervening time case, in .1 of the labs that we're carrying was intended to have this big plant room attached to it, house all these bulky and noisy components that actually enable lab to do its job about eight years into build, apparently. Along comes a deep voiced entrepreneur toting a device the size of a mini fridge that she claims will do everything our huge machine does for a fraction of the price. So what does the initiative do? Buys two of the new ones and seals up the mostly finished plant room despite it having power and life support already installed. It might seem weird, but the mass saving alone is worth it when you work out the numbers. And it's too late in the construction process to shift the layout in any way to allow access or use or anything else. And guess what, handsome? Livability and sanitation chief came across it while he was in the crawl spaces. One day oh, I swear, the day I managed to drag the mattress I'd stolen from the stores through that infernal pipe riddle tube is one of the proudest of my life. Yeah, I made a bed platform out of some storage crates. I used some printing noodles to fill up a beanbag chair. I got some soft bedding, an end system, even managed to fabricate some string lights for a space that is four times the size of my official quarters, I think I did a pretty good job of making it cozy AF. Now that I've said it out loud, I guess I can see how unprofessional that sounds, especially since you were very keen on the whole everyone is going through the same thing, why not try group therapy angle? The only thing I can say in my defense is that everyone kind of hated me. It's not without reason. I mean, I was a late replacement onto the team, and the guy I replaced had been through, like, two years of mission training and bonding with them before he was informed that the role had changed. And he was. Now, instead of a senior equipment technician to essentially space janitor and general dog's body unsurprisingly, he noped out and opened the door for this chump to join up with his lowly master's degree and a vastly inflated paycheck because they were panicking about filling the role. With only six months left to launch, So yeah, I had to skip everything, of course. I mean, pretty much all of the physical and psych training, all of the advanced mission simulations, I just got the basic stuff, I'm doing it on my own and then bam, two days from launch and here are the people you'd be spending the next decade with. Though, considering I replaced their better qualified buddy or getting more pay than I think anyone other than the captain, they were understandably a bit frosty. So I hid. One of the great things about my little hide hole is that the system, the ship system, still logs me as being in a crawl space. So therefore I am on task and all of my messages and job requests are put in a queue or assigned to the mates in my absence, which meant I got in some pretty epic naps, even if I do say so myself. I could have slept for terror if competitive dozing was a recognized sport, which is something I'm secretly working on. The downside I discovered was that the shipyard had yet to install an alarm system in the room before it was closed off. Which meant there was one day I emerged from the crawl space to find just all sorts of lights and noises going off. I mean, obviously what little training I had kicked in and I made straight from my muster point, which is the cafeteria, which is empty, it definitely seemed like something big had gone down, like there was food left out, things scattered everywhere, but there wasn't a soul around. So in breach of protocol, I headed to the bridge and found myself alone again. Eventually I managed to get the ship to cancel the alarm and ask for the logs, just try and figure out what was going on, where everyone was, and there wasn't much detail. About 4 hours previously, the alarm had been manually triggered, but the who, where and why was absent. What it could tell me was that within five minutes of the alarm, both of the shuttles had been launched. Three minutes after that, all the rescue boys on the port side were jessened. Two minutes after that, starboard. All attempts to locate any of the command crew were met with what I can only describe as digital shrug. So I asked the ship to show me the locations of all life signs on the vessel, apart from our hydroponics bay, which has a lovely specimen of Japanese blood grass. In case you ever fancy a change of conversation, the only thing on board that was putting out CO2 and heat was me. I'll admit it took a while to find my footing after that. The reference details are barely registered at the time the NAV comp was locked out and upon inspection, is seemingly on the fastest and straightest line away from civilized systems that you could plot, which isn't ideal. The engine deck is sealed and locked with bulkheads, but the sensors don't show any breaches or leaks. I can't bypass either. Thankfully, the telemetry to mission control is still running, so I was able to get in contact with them via text, and they seem really lovely. I mean, very quick to reassure. They're doing everything they can to try and fix things remotely. The rescue ship is apparently just a few weeks away from where the pods were launched, so hopefully they'll be able to recover the crew and find out what happened and somehow pull off a text new turn in space. It'll be a while before I hear about it and probably longer to fix, but I'm hopeful. Until then, Acting Captain Yay. I guess what really rankles is that between the shuttles and the boys, there's enough room for the crew to escape twice over. I chaired my message log afterwards, and there was nothing like no attempt to warn me or find me. Fucking leave a note. Congratulations on your promotion. Bye. It's fine. I'm sure there was a good reason, or at least a reason I've gone on for too long and I still have another question to answer. Fuck. I'll try and make the next one at least end on less of a bummer note. I'll try and start now. I've been doing these, like, daily gratitude exercises, so okay, here it goes. As fucking terrible as things might be, I can now have ice cream with dinner every single night. Boom. Childhood dreams achieved. I mean, what more could you ask for? So, yeah, gentle Sergeant Talk to.Speaker C:
Unspeakable Distance is an actual play podcast of communication delay by Audio Quinn a link to the game's. Itch IO page and credits for our play layers are available in the show notes linked to this episode. This podcast has been a production of the Library of Cursed Knowledge podcast Network.