Pre-Launch

100 Days of flash fiction: Day 1

Asher Stenson climbed aboard the Dawson Trawler. It was the biggest ship he’d ever worked on, and quite likely the last. The Dawson Trawler, Earth’s most ambitious colony ship, was meant to carry about three thousand people from the dock on Luna to the world beyond the Yggdrasil portal. The world was to be called New Helvetica, because the science team on board the ship was primarily made up of Swiss citizens.

New Helvetica was, from what they knew, the most Earth-like planet on the other side of the Yggdrasil portal. It was two large continents that took up nearly a third of the planet’s area, and a ring of islands that connected the two. The continent they planned to land on they was to be named Novus Vaud. Novus Vaud was filled with vast green forests, wide open plains, mountains ranges, lakes, and a polar region towards the north. The other major continent on the other side of the planet, which was being called Avium, was mostly desert, with what seemed to be a rain forest near its southern ridge.

Asher found his bunk, a small ten-by-ten near the machine shop. He was the only occupant, unlike his team who had to double up on their rooms. After he was finished unpacking, he decided to head to the ship’s bar. The pre-flight giddiness always put him in a social mood and he figured he’d get to meet the other occupants of the ship there; engineers, scientists, security, and plain civilians.

The bar was empty. The bartender wasn’t even there. Asher felt his cheeks heat up as a wave of embarrassment washed over him. The ship hadn’t eve finished loading and he was already looking for a drink, how silly. He looked around and saw no one. He walked back out. In the one-sixth g of Luna, he could float for a meter or so between steps. He prance-walked back to his cabin, maybe a kilometer from the common area he was in before, and went past it. Down the hall, he saw an open door. He pulled out his com-terminal and pulled up the ship’s resident list. The section of the ship he was in was all booked to science and engineering. He went towards it. Inside, he found a muscular man with a shaved head and massive beard, and a thin Indian man with his shining dark hair tied behind his head in man-bun. Asher poked his head in.

“Hey,” he said with a grin.
“Fuck off. Room’s taken,” said the bald man, not even looking towards the door.
“Yes, sorry. I’m Asher Stenson, head of mechanical engineering.” The bald man’s shoulders tightened for a moment as he turned his head to look at Asher.
“Well in that case, I’m Darius King, and this is Gurpram Singh,” Darius said, smiling broadly and jerking a thumb in Gurpram’s direction.
“You can call me Pram,” Pram said.
“Nice to meet you both,” Asher smiled, “King and Singh.”
“I’m in mechanical, Pram’s in electrical,” Darius said.
“It says that there’s supposed to be ten in the engineering division,” Asher said, pulling out his terminal and flipping through the lists. “Five in mechanical including me, and five in electrical. You guys seen anyone else in engineering yet?”
“Nope, just you boss,” Darius said.
“I saw a bunch of civvies get on with us, but we aren’t leaving for three more days, so there’s more to come” Pram said.
“Three more days?” Asher said, surprised.
“Boss, have you see the size of this ship? It’s a two k rocket with it’s own area for high-speed-agriculture. This isn’t even the first day. I’ve already been here since yesterday. Pram came in today, and I guess you did too,” Darius said, leaning back into his bunk, and Pram nodded.
“Big ship,” Pram said.

“Big ship,” Asher said, raising his eyebrows in agreement. The room grew silent as Asher looked between the two, hoping they would carry on the conversation. When neither said anything, Asher pressed his lips together and nodded. “Well it was nice to meet you both. I’ll see you later. I’m over in 202A if you need anything, or want someone to shoot the shit with. See you ‘round,” he waved and went back to his cabin.