I was recruited by the Centauri Company to work on Alpha Prime. They were planning to open a university in Ichizoku City for the college aged children of Alpha Prime colonists to attend. The position was for the head of the history department and the pay outmatched anything on Earth. Ever since my childhood, I dreamed of seeing other worlds. It didn't take long for me to accept.
I departed for the CMS Arclight from Smoke Mountain, Brazil where I had the opportunity of riding the famous Tower of Icarus. Omnidyne retrofitted Smoke Mountain's existing orbital tether into the largest lift in history. Named the Tower of Icarus for the Arclight's dare to reach Alpha Prime through Arcfolding, it acted as the backbone for transporting the ship's frame and components to orbit for assembly at an orbital shipyard.
Having a fear of heights, the ride quickly became unnerving as we rose high above Brazil. But as the ride continued and the ground began to blur into a great panorama of South America, my fears began to subside and my attention shifted to what was above me. The Arclight was a massive island of technology floating peacefully in space. It was an uncanny thought to believe that this leviathan was made by the hands of man in a span of only a few years.
The Arclight was larger than the CMS Aegis, Victoria and Wei-Ling combined. The dual crystite-powered reactors that fueled its enormous arcfolding engine required enormous amounts of space. It was said that the engine, known as the Schwarzschild 1 was designed to give a higher output of energy than the Sun during a five-second burst. Of course, this amount of energy required vast amounts of crystite which only added to the ship's gargantuan size.
When I reached the apex of the orbital tether, I was escorted, along with a group of fellow passengers, to a series of gondolas where we awaited our turns to be cleared to board the Arclight. Security seemed fairly tight, which is understandable due to the magnitude of the operation in both size and importance, but I managed to pass through fairly easily with a quick biometric scan.
As I boarded the Arclight I was shown my quarters, a cozy one room cabin that I am sharing with a geologist from India. After getting settled in, I decided to explore the ship a little.
I quickly discovered that the Arclight was nothing less than an orbital city with everything from small convenience stores to bars. It even contained a working tram system. I have heard that the Aegis and Wei-Ling were also equipped with such commodities, but I can't imagine that they could have been much more accommodating than what was on the Arclight.
During my time, I stopped by a coffee shop with a large window that overlooked Earth. There I had the pleasure of talking with a mechanic that had been working on the Arclight for over a year. He was polite enough to tell me about the building of the vessel. I was interested to learn that Omnidyne's claims were true about the ship requiring the cooperation of the entire planet. Nearly one hundred thousand workers from across the globe were hired and brought in to work on the project, helping build both the actual ship as well as its supplemental components.
He went on to tell me about the captain of the ship, a joint-nation appointed Texan named Thomas Knox. Knox is an experienced naval captain from the Republic of Texas. I look forward to the opportunity of perhaps meeting him during my time on the Arclight. He is reputed to be very polite and cordial, it would be interesting to get his account of the Crystite Wars.
After this conversation with the mechanic, I decided to take a self guided tour of the rest of the ship. I however didn't get very far. Most of the Arclight is dedicated to military purposes and is restricted to civilian access. The muscle behind the military is made up of an entire division of the 'Centauri Accord': a joint-nation military force that is intended to protect the interests of the colony's investors. After some small talk with an MP, I became well informed that there are no 'green-soldiers' in the Centauri Accord. The entire unit consists of veterans who were hired directly by the Centauri Company after their service in their respective militaries had ended.
On my way back to my cabin, I laughed at the thought that at least we would be safe from a surprise Martian attack. Of course, I think this show of military power is a little much for the colonists of Alpha Prime.
Returning to my cabin I decided to flip through a pamphlet that was set out on the desk. Acting in concession with Captain Knox as the Centauri Company appointed military overseer was an even more capable man; Admiral Orestes Nostromo. I remember hearing stories about the admiral during my research on the Crystite Wars. It is an understatement to say that he is anything but a national hero amongst the European Union.
I was also delighted to see that once in deep orbit a formal tribute to the ship would be held. Attendees would include Doctor Mitra Batsheba, an acquaintance whom I had met a few times during my time at Cambridge, Omnidyne executives and representatives of Centauri Company investors. I don't see a mention of Hadrian Ashworth being present at the ceremony, but still I think it would be an interesting event to attend. At the very least it will be interesting to meet with a very multinational assembly.
The ship departs from orbital dock to reposition itself in deeper orbit tomorrow. From there we will begin our journey through multiple jaunts to reach Alpha Prime. We are scheduled to reach our destination in about eight days.
I can't help but feel as if the tensions and hatreds created since the Firefall are finally being forgiven.
For once the world below us seems overcome with hope.
Aris Holden - Historian.
|Twelve Days of Firefall|