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Aboard a Generation Ship, Men Are OptionalY The Last Man meets Battlestar Galactica in this generation spanning space story.When Ash returns from his scouting mission, he finds the generation fleet 60 years older and run over by women. But will he manage to deliver his precious data to the ship's computer, when his only friends are a teenage girl and a chauvinist drone, when every woman aboard wants to kill him on sight and when the bloodthirsty leader Una wants to stop things from changing?Do you want to see what's next for the Ash the Last Scout and Dot the only orphan? Do you want to meet AI Luna? Then read this multifaceted space story that challenges the very foundations of humanity.
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Liczba stron: 139
Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:
Chapter 1: Generation 6
Chapter 2: Gen 4
Chapter 3: Gen 6
Chapter 4 : Gen 7
Chapter 5: Gen 7
Chapter 6: Gen 4
Chapter 7: Gen 4
Chapter 8: Gen 4
Chapter 9: Gen 4
Chapter 10: Gen 4
Chapter 11: Gen 4
Chapter 12 : Gen 6
Chapter 13 : Gen 7
Chapter 14: Gen 6
Chapter 15: Gen 4
Chapter 16: Gen 4
Chapter 17: Gen 4
Chapter 18: Gen 7
Chapter 19: Gen 7
Chapter 20: Gen 4
Chapter 21: Gen 6
Chapter 22: Gen 7
Chapter 23: Gen 7
Chapter 24: Gen 7
Chapter 25: Gen 7
Chapter 26 : Gen 7
Chapter 27: Gen 7
Chapter 28: Gen 7
Chapter 29: Gen 6
Chapter 30: Gen 7
Chapter 31 : Gen 7
Chapter 32: Gen 7
Chapter 33: Gen 7
Chapter 34: Gen 7
Chapter 35: Gen 8
Chapter 1: Generation 6
“The females are trying to break in!” the drone said as it barricaded the lab door.
The old scientist sat on his desk and exhaled slowly. He took out his comm with shaky fingers and propped it up on a book. A real book, just like they used to have back on Earth. He had expended his matter allowance on the 3D printer and had asked for ‘The four voyages of Christopher Columbus.’ The ancient explorer’s words didn’t apply on a generation fleet of course. He hadn’t had to survive and die on his ship, so that his grandchildren could reach the promised land.
Everyone thought the book was a waste of matter. Now there it was, propping up his comm just nicely.
Yells came muffled through the door.
“Have you gone senile Ben? I’m trying to save your life here and you are making a video?” asked the drone in his high-pitched male voice.
“Remi, leave me alone. I just want to get this off my chest,” he said with a sigh.
“Sure, sure. I’ll just leave you here, in your lab, under siege. The most brilliant mind of the fourth generation, left to barbarian house-ladies,” the drone mocked. He welded a piece of metal on the door.
“Quiet.” Ben corrected his glasses, pressed the record button and breathed in. “This is for my friend Ash. I don’t know why in these apocalyptic times, my thoughts keep coming back to our childhood together. I haven’t seen you in fifty years, ever since you left for that scouting mission. I don’t know if you are dead or alive, or if due to time dilation you’ve been currently dying a slow death for my relative fifty years. I know, your mind hurts when you think of science. Trust me, it makes sense.”
The old man’s voice broke. “You’ve been there for me Ash. You were like my brother. Fuck that, you are my brother. Maybe that’s it, maybe that’s why I miss you so much. Maybe, if you hadn’t gone on that mission, you’d be here to tell me how stupid I was. How hopelessly optimistic I was to believe we could come up with a fair solution and survive.”
Voices cursed outside. There was loud banging, some sort of battering ram, hitting the metal door and making it ring like a bell with a cough.
Ben looked at the door and teared up. He looked young now, fragile, scared. “There are bullies coming for me Ash. Coming to beat me up and break my fragile bones. Coming to smash my glasses and steal my comm.”
“Vagina-humans! Cease this riot immediately!” Remi said amplifying his voice. The door rent halfway and yells erupted into the room. Pipes and knives and makeshift weapons came in through the gap, flailing wildly. Remi was struck on his plastic body and separated in two pieces. “You mad-women! Are you all menstruating simultaneously?”
Ben sniffled and looked back at the camera. “Where are you Ash? I need you to save me from the bullies,” he said bitterly.
The women broke in the lab and stabbed Ben.
Seventeen stabs, one from each woman. They were yelling, cursing him, spitting on him. He couldn’t feel pain, just some wetness in his belly while he lay on the floor. His glasses were kicked away but he couldn’t find them amongst all those boots.
An angry woman brought her face close to his. He could recognize her, her name was Una? Something like that. She had shaved the side of her head and was wearing armor, made of excess paneling and insulation material.
Una brought her makeshift spear down on Ben and cut through his earlobe. “Thank you Ben for all your help,” she said with contempt. “But now it’s our turn.” She stood up and yelled, “We don’t need men no longer!” and the rioting women cheered and hollered.
Then they left him there to bleed out.
The broken drone managed to crawl across the lab floor and bring Ben’s glasses to him. “Oh, what have those child-factories done to you man?”
“I’ve always wanted to tell you...” he coughed. His eyes were unfocused, as if seeing through the ship’s hull straight into heaven.
“It’s OK Ben. You’ll be fine, you still got a decade or so in that crumbling meatbag of yours.”
“I wanted to...” he wheezed.
The drone leaned closer to his mouth. “Yes friend?” he said with respect.
“Remi... is a girl’s name,” Ben said and died.
Chapter 2: Gen 4
“You wanna do what?” the boy laughed and then punched Ash again on the face.
He wasn’t really expecting an answer, but Ash gave it anyway. “I wanna become a Scout,” he repeated, lying on the floor and covering his head.
The gang laughed at that, pointing and spitting and mocking their hearts out. There wasn’t much to do aboard the fleet, so they took their entertainment where they could. Dug, their leader, stomped on Ash’s leg.
It snapped. Ash wailed.
“There, you little shit. I just did you a favor. You can spend two months in the simulator, sitting on your ass, avoiding all chores,” Gus sniffed and turned his back to him. “As if you could ever make it to Scout.”
The gang laughed and followed Gus back to the mess hall.
A little boy appeared from his hiding place, short and wearing glasses. “I’m sorry, they were all so tall, I couldn’t do anything.” He knelt next to his friend and touched the broken leg.
Ash sat up, wincing from pain. “It’s OK Ben, you couldn’t do anything anyway. It was right of you to hide.”
“I’m going to call a drone to pick you up to the infirmary,” Ben said and whipped up his comm, his deft fingers typing quickly.
Ash leaned on his back. The metal floor was uncomfortable, but it was much better than moving that leg around. A screen was up the wall on his left, it showed the outside. It was a seemingly still image of stars, on a black canvas.
“Okay, it’s on its way,” Ben said. “Does it hurt much?”
“Have you ever seen anything else out there Ben? Anything other than stars and the dark, I mean.”
“Well no you silly. We’re only seven years old, it will be at least seven more before we get close to any star system. My dad says he saw a planet once when he was little, like me. But I don’t think he is right, I checked the logs and didn’t find anything in his lifetime.”
“There must be something out there to see, isn’t that right? Are we meant to spend our lives trapped in this spaceship? And then that’s it, move over and die, next generation takes over? Just imagine, Ben. Going out there, seeing stuff, scouting planets and moons,” Ash said in a hushed voice.
“You can take a pod and go to another ship,” Ben said, trying to comfort his friend.
“Bah! It’s not the same. Or, it’s precisely the same. You just see hard vacuum for a couple of minutes and then dock in the same exact ship as this one. It’s boring.”
“But there are different people. Maybe the kids there are nicer than Dug,” Ben said hopefully.
Ash looked at his friend. He didn’t want to crush his buddy’s feelings. The boy was small, and next in line to be bullied as soon as Ash grew a little taller. “Yeah Ben, I hear the kids are nicer on Frostip 3.”
The small boy’s worried frown turned into a big hopeful smile.
A drone appeared on their corridor and scanned Ash. “Oh dear. Human, how did you injure yourself like this?”
“I bumped my head on that protruding pipe and fell on the railing. Broke my leg,” Ash said while eyeing Ben not to speak. “This place is falling apart”
The drone unfolded a programmable piece of tarp and carried Ash to Medical. “God damn, human! Don’t you know your bones are brittle due to low g? Are you taking your calcium pills? Be careful next time. I bet you were running around the deck, trampling each other like little maniacs.”
Ash shrugged. “You got me drone. I was playing chase with the kids,” he lied.
The drone bleeped. “Unbelievable. Why can’t you just be a good kid like the rest and play videogames all day?”
Chapter 3: Gen 6
Ben carried his tray and tried to find an empty table. It was impossible. Frostip 4 was packed, as always. The mess hall was abuzz with people, everyone was bumping onto him and stepping on his toes.
Ben had no friends anymore. Just Remi.
The drone made way for him and located an empty seat on one of the tables. As Ben carried himself slowly towards the seat, a woman with no tray tried to sit down and have a chat with the people around.
“Shoo woman! Can’t you see I’ve reserved this seat for a respected male? This is no time for your idle gossip,” Remi said in his high pitched male voice.
“Gossip this,” the woman said and smacked the drone on its head. Then she left.
Ben sat down with a sigh as his aching joints protested. “Every time I sit down, it’s like a godsend. I’m getting old Remi.”
“Nonsense. I’ve checked your sperm count on your last physical, you are perfectly virile still,” Remi said, hovering around.
Ben shook his head. “Why on earth would you have a concern about my sperm count?”
“Hey! We’re eating here,” a man protested across the table.
“Because you are duty-bound to spread those genes! Do you think the settlers can survive whatever trials they might face without your intelligence?” Remi said dumbfounded.
“The settlers, yeah,” Ben sighed and ate some veggies for his intestines. It was so easy to forget about that, their destination. Not theirs of course, but their children’s children and so on. They, were fated to just survive, toiling around the remaining three ships and just... Die. Pass on the torch. Ash knew that fact about life when they were still young, that there was... More. He spoke to Remi without facing him, “My sperm was preserved in the very first stages of the program. I was younger, it will be sufficient.”
Remi hovered near the edge of the table. “But it’s not the same, Ben! There’s nothing more manly than putting a healthy bun in the oven. That’s the only thing those curvy meatbags are good for, anyway.”
“How would you know what’s manly, drone?” asked Ben.
“Why, I’m male of course! Anyway, what’s that assistant’s name you’ve been buggering me about all the time?”
“It’s Kim. My assistant is Kim. How can you not remember a three byte name?” said Ben.
“I chose to forget it. There she is, four tables down, one to the left. Go copulate while you still can,” said Remi.
Ben looked around the packed mess hall. He fixed his glasses on his nose, squinted some more, and finally located her. Kim, a brilliant, beautiful young scientist, sitting with her friends, laughing, filling that lab coat nicely. Blonde, serious, he was teaching her everything there was to learn about the genofixing Ben was doing to the generation fleet. It wasn’t like him to stare at a woman’s features like that, but sometimes, in the lab, when she was busy with something, he checked her out. He was still a man.
But she was too young, in her thirties. It’d never work. If she even liked him, that was. Foolish thoughts of an old man.
Ben turned around but Remi was nowhere to be found. He looked around the mess hall for him, but the small body of the drone was lost in the sea of humans.
Then he gulped as he heard his squeaky amplified voice, boom across the hall.
“Female Kim, my friend Ben over there wants to stick his glorious penis up your filthy birth canal, for some inexplicable reason. I assure you it is not for carnal pleasure, as he deeply respects you as an intellectual peer, for some inexplicable reason. Now, let’s be hasty about it, please strip down right here and prepare yourself to receive his magnificent seed,” Remi announced.
Ben stuck his face in his palms. “Put me in an airlock and float me now,” he whispered to himself.
People stopped talking and gasped, looking at Ben, Remi and Kim. Ben was turning red from shame.
Kim faced the drone squarely and smiled, biting her lip. “Is that the usual way your friend courts his women?”
“His women? Hah! I have no logs of him even seeing one naked apart from the lab subjects,” Remi said loudly.
Ben stooped even lower, and hit his forehead on the table, once for each word. “Float. Me. Now.”
“No, this is me reinforcing the Laws and preserving mankind,” Remi continued. “Come on now woman. Be hasty about it, we’ve got cell cultures to attend to back at the lab, as you most surely know. Strip and stimulate yourself.”
“Strip and stimulate myself?” Kim said amused. “Is there no chance of your friend performing either of those operations? It is called foreplay, you know.”
“Are you uneducated woman? Here, let me show you an instructional video,” Remi said and holoprojected a porno of a woman stripping down and stimulating herself. Kim’s friends giggled and whispered amongst themselves.
“Escape,” said Kim and the video vanished. “I know what you are talking about Remi. Please tell your friend Ben that this isn’t the best place to discuss such matters.”
“Very well. I guess you know your body best. Please post your fertile days online and we’ll arrange a rendezvous,” Remi said.
“I will not,” Kim grunted, folding her arms.
“Go away,” Ben said as he drank orange-juice from a straw.
Kim sounded muffled through the door. Ben had his own office next to lab, as he was leading scientist and project manager. “It’s okay Ben, don’t be ashamed.”
“I can’t face you ever again,” Ben said sipping.
A pause. Then some bleeps from the digital lock, and the door opened. Kim was standing there, worried. She had forced the door open, but didn’t step inside.
“How did you know my password?” Ben asked incredulous.
“Oh Ben. I’ve been your assistant for years, I know all your passwords. You never change them. You put too much faith in people, you know,” she said.
Ben couldn’t look her in the eye. His shame was coming back up, turning him flush and sweaty. “Fine. Is the security seminar over? Please leave me alone.”
“Ben, we can be professional and still work together. The project is more important that anything that might have happened. The gossip will blow over, it’s just the talk of the day. People will get bored of it.”
“I don’t care about them. I can’t stand to face you, Kim.”
Kim cleared her throat and her expression turned serious. “Project leader Ben, we have to show our progress to the fleet Admiral, tomorrow morning at 0800. I need to run a few things by you for the reports, and talk about some of the points we are about to make. Population is down to 7234 organic humans, spread over the three habitable Frostips and accompanied by the unhabitable Frostip 5. Luna’s simulations are grim. The future of the people aboard lies in your hands. Will you fucking man up and fix it?”
Ben stood up and sniffed. He was looking at the corner of the room. A pause. “Yes... Yes, I will.”
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