Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Microstory 1487: Top of the Morning

Sixteen-point-six light years from Earth is a binary star system known as 70 Ophiuchi. These two stars orbit each other in a highly elliptical path, and the chances of there being a stable planetary system around either, or both, of them is highly unlikely. It just so happened that the rogue world of Durus was sent flying towards this system after its close call with the planets of Sol. It would have taken decades for them to reach their destination at their speed at the time, but the people didn’t want to wait that long, so they conscripted a number of key paramounts to make the planet move faster, so that it would take less than twenty years. Now it was 2204, and their dreams of orbiting their own stars were finally being realized. The experts knew that this was going to be a tricky process. There was a reason why circumbinary planets were probably rare, and why their orbits were generally unstable. That was okay, though, because the Durune weren’t looking for a traditional orbiting pattern. They obviously had the ability to manipulate their own movements, which was a power they could use to enter whatever orbit they pleased. They chose a sort of figure eight. They would orbit one of the stars, and then head towards the barycenter, which they would orbit once before flying off to orbit the other star. They would continue this pattern ad infinitum, or until they decided to do something else. There was nothing stopping them from altering this pattern later, or from leaving the system to find a new home. Again, it wasn’t going to be easy, but with their access to time powers, and time technology, it certainly wasn’t impossible. The problem was that they had to be precise and careful, because they wouldn’t get a second chance.

Accelerating and decelerating was one thing, but changing directions was a whole different ball game. Experts spent half their careers practicing for this one goal. They ran computer simulations, and came up with disaster scenarios, and figured out how to abort the mission. The last time someone tried to steer the whole planet, she just needed to avoid colliding with another planet, but this was much more complicated. There was a little bit of wiggle room when it came to finding their orbit, but if they missed their window, that could be it for 70 Ophiuchi. They would probably have to wait until they were picked up by some other system in whichever direction they ended up going. They also had to take down the sunlight they had been borrowing from Earth up until this point, or they would end up with too much heat. So it was really important that these people knew what they were doing, and that they accounted for every little thing that could possibly go wrong. Many things did go wrong, and their extensive preparation was invaluable in their efforts to correct them. Once the initial maneuvers were over, it wasn’t like they were finished. This orbital pattern was impossible in nature, and though automated systems could keep it humming, they had to maintain constant watch over the machines, because even the slightest deviation—especially in the transitional spots—could mean the end. They were ultimately successful. The husband of one of the engineers even came up with a new symbol to represent their finally independent world. It was a vaguely figure eight with a circle in the middle, and though it wasn’t completely accurate, it did look cool, and honestly embodied the people’s perseverance, fortitude, and most of all, their durability. Now they knew that they could do anything.

No comments :

Post a Comment