Deep Space – Chapter Nine



“What is burst mode?”

The computer was still just a computer, not programmed for emotion. Still, what emanated from the speakers sounded like a sigh.

“Burst mode is a program designed to elude pursuers. First it entails rapid course changes, so rapid they will overcome inertial dampers. This could result in major structural damage. Second the courses laid in take the ship very close to solid objects such as planets, stars, comets, etc. This could result in collision with said solid objects. Third is velocity. It is possible to exceed the rated light speed limits for short bursts. This could result in catastrophic failure of the reactor core.”

Sam said, “Which would result in total destruction of the ship.”

“Vaporize would be the most accurate term.”

“But if it came to that we could just abort the program before we….” Amy sounded confused.

“The program takes total control of the ship and keeps control till the computer considers it a ninety percent probability that the pursuer has been lost.”
“Or until the ship is vaporized.” Sam was staring at the view screen as if there was a real person in there.

Amy said, “Why does the program have to have complete control?”

“In the process of coming close to those objects it becomes necessary to many fine course adjustments to avoid collisions.”

Sam started pacing back and forth and waving his finger at the screen. “Now there’s where I’ve got you. It is not possible to change course when you’re at light speed.”

“It is possible. It involves quantum level physics and it requires all computer resources to be available to the program.”

Amy said, “So what will we have?”

“The forward looking view screen will be active and the reactor monitoring scales will be operational.”

Sam said, “So we can see collisions approaching and we can watch vaporization approaching.”
“That is correct.”

Sam and Amy looked at each other. Sam looked back at the screen. “Well this is going to be a lot of fun.” His tone said otherwise.

Some minutes passed as Sam paced and Amy stared into space. Finally Amy spoke.

“You could modify the software. Make it so we could abort if necessary.”

“I don’t think…”

“You did it to the financial software back home.”

“I was given access codes that allowed me into the programs. I wouldn’t even know how to start here. Even if I did it could take months, even years, to unravel the code. Quantum physics is not the same as dollars and cents. Our shadow back there won’t wait forever. They could come after us. Try to beat answers out of us.”

“So you’re saying we should do this?”

“I’m saying it could be our best chance. Maybe our only chance.” Sam looked at the screen. “Eddie what do you think?”

“I don’t have an opinion.”

“Come on Eddie. We need some confidence here. Has this program been used before?”

“Simulations have been run.”

“And the success rate?”

“Fifty percent.”

Sam rubbed his eyes and sighed. “Not good Eddie. Not good.”

“The latest version has done better. Closer to seventy-five percent.”

“That’s a little better. I like those odds.”

Amy looked up from her chair. “So we go for it?”

Sam sat down next to her and took her hand. “We didn’t come out here to spend the rest of our lives being chased around the galaxy. From day one it’s been all or nothing. So far it’s been all. We’ve gotten a lot farther than we had a right to expect. Maybe somebody’s looking out for us. I’m ready to go for it but if you don’t think we should…”

“I’m with you. We need to lose these guys and get on with our lives. Let’s do it.”

Sam turned back to the screen. “Okay Eddie. How do we kick this thing off?”

“The program will have to pick some targets and lay in a succession of courses. We will have to come to full stop to do that.”

Amy said, “All right full stop. What’s next”

Go to a command line and type ‘Burst Mode Prep’.

“That kicks it off?”

“No, that’s just the targets and courses. You still have control. A message will come up when that is done. It will say ‘Run Burst Mode?’ If you answer yes the program will take control.”



“They are stopping.”

Captain Rice said, “Good. We can make up a little ground. Bring our speed down but allow us to close a little with them.”

“Wonder what other tricks they have.”

“No telling. Just stay alert and be sure and drop a sentinel again.”



“Eddie, keep us posted. How long till the party starts?”

“It should be coming up momentarily.”

Amy said, “There it is. ‘Run Burst Mode?’ Are we ready?”

Sam said, “We should have a count down.”

“Okay. You do the honors.”

“Here goes. Five.”

“Wait. Let me get ready.” Amy typed ‘Yes’ on her console. “Okay. Ready.”

“Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Zero.”


About Angus Lewis

My wife and I lived our whole lives in Arkansas until ten years ago. We moved to the Kansas City area in 2011 (a job change). That was the reason for the 'From a Far Country' title. Our children and grandchildren were in Arkansas. Six months ago we sold our house and bought one in Sherwood, Arkansas and my wife moved back down here. Two weeks ago I retired and moved back too. (I'm probably going to try to find something part time to keep me out of trouble.) So maybe the 'From a Far Country' title is not so much of a fit anymore. But I think I'll stick with it. I'm still not home. Not yet. The Bible says we are all strangers and pilgrims here. Our real home is with God and some day we'll be there. We'll be home.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Books, Christianity, Short Story, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s