Another Look at My Past HTML version

Chapter 6
“Captain Samuels, we are at 10 light years from the star. You said to wake you the minute we got to that
point. Sir.”
“I'll be right there, Navigator.”
Navigator Hubert switched off the intercom. Captain Samuels was always crisp and businesslike no matter
what time of ship's day or night it was.
First Mate Hutchings casually strolled over to the Navigator's station. “That man will come in here at
practically a run, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Never mind that it's the middle of ship's night. I don't think
he ever sleeps.”
The disgraced Navigator was not inclined to reply. He was saved from having to say anything when in
hustled Captain Samuels, all business.
“Navigator, commence mid-range scanning. Helm, come about and turn our beam to the yellow star. Ahead,
dead slow.”
A starship is a little like a submarine in that to examine its surroundings most effectively, it needs to slow
down or stop. A submarine makes noise as it travels through the water, and any extra noise hinders the sonar
operator. In the same way, a starship creases the structure of the space-time continuum as it folds space in its
dimensional translator. You can imagine how that messes up the scanners!
The Navigator obediently switched on the mid-range scanners. Navigator, Captain and First Mate watched
as the mid-range scanners plotted out their findings.
“Yellow star, stable.”
Captain Samuels was in no mood for small talk. “We knew that from the long range scanners. What else do
you see?”
That was a very rhetorical question since all three men were standing there looking at the mid-range scanner
display. Nonetheless, the Navigator decided to reply.
“Extensive asteroid belt at the edge of the system.”
“Asteroid belt. I feel better already. We don't need no stinkn' class M planets when we have an asteroid
belt.” The First Mate was a little on edge.
“Multiple gas giants, a few comets.” The Navigator thought it best to summarize a bit.
“Request more power for the mid-range scanners.”
Captain Samuels did not deign to reply, but he reached past the Navigator and turned the Power knob all the
way to the right.
“Scan is at one AU from the star”. An AU is the distance of the Earth from the sun. An Earth none of them
would ever see again. A sun whose warmth they would never again feel on their faces. Yes, the Navigator
was being careful not to say everything that came to mind.
“Showing ...” The Navigator suddenly fell silent. There on the display were cold hard facts:
Planet Class : M
Distance from star: .998472 AU