Spaceship Verotchka …
THE SPACESHIP VEROTCHKA
1. An Anniversary
On the one year anniversary of the death of Pasha the inhabitants of Lai completed the spaceship Verotchka and prepared the ship for its maiden voyage.
When the Galactic Alliance began construction of the Lai space station the Lai began work on Verotchka. They used the last of their resources available planet side to create their greatest work. Verotchka’s mission was to move into deep space and hopefully find a new planet for the inhabitants of Lai and to provide an opportunity to leave the confines of their space station.
Though deep space travel presented many extremely difficult situations the AI of the Verotchka was top of the line and programed to evolve as the journey progressed.
2. Crew Members
The AI on the Verotchka was also programed to maintain two crew members. These two crew members were given with two major tasks. First, was to ensure the ship was running smoothly by following a very strict daily routine. Second, was to start incubation of embryo’s from the ships embryo bank.
Incubation would begin an embryo’s life cycle. The embryo would reach adulthood to replace the two crew members when their time had reached a conclusion.
When embryo’s developed into children Verotchka would start cryo-dreams. Cryo-dreams contained an evolving curriculum created by Verotchka using dreams to teach new crew members their functions. Each embryo had dreams of their birth, their parents, and their day to day life.
Multiple embryo’s would begin incubation at different set times to provide back-up in case a crew member died before their conclusion.
A crew members conclusion was one of their fundamental functions on the Verotchka.
3. In Deep Space
Alex had a fondness for Lai’s ancient relics. Verotchka produced clothing worn by ancestors over a million years prior just for Alex’s conclusion. The ship ensured that Alex wore a comfortable silk overcoat and a long straw brimmed hat that made Alex look like an ancient artisan. Alex was happy with his choice. He thanked Verotchka for the kindness as he opened the hatch to Verotchka’s greenhouse.
Alex also carried a stack of heavy books in one hand. Most of his lifetime he carried ancient bound books from one corner of the spaceship to the other. This ensured that he was never without a good read. A few of his favorites were a text on ancient physics, a collection of poems, and short stories written by Somyan.
The Verotchka headed deeper into space. Alex’s conclusion would begin the next life cycle and start the next one hundred years of Verotchka’s journey.
Through the doorway walked Kuzi. A bald old man with a long grey beard, a white cotton gown, and a flashlight that fit in the palm of his hand. Kuzi saw Alex and smiled.
“Goodbye old friend!” Alex trumpeted.
Kuzi condensed the flashlight until it became paper thin and placed it in his pocket. He followed Alex into the depths of the greenhouse until they reached a terrace overlooking a tropical forest. Shadows cast darkness upon the ancient canopy below.
“Once again, Goodbye.” Alex said, “Thank you for your gifts and your kindness. I will never forget. I cannot find the gratitude to express.”
4. Spaceship Companions
Visibly moved by emotion, Alex shrugged his shoulders. Touched by emotion himself, Kuzi bent over and kissed Alex. For a second the old men kissed. Not a passionate kiss but a simple sharing of emotion between two old friends who travelled millions of miles together.
“At times I have felt like your pet, Kuzi,” continued Alex, “as I have worked with you to keep the Verotchka running smoothly. I have shared your company at supper to drink your homemade liquor. Due to our diligence the Verotchka moved further into deep space than any other in the history of space travel. When a destination is determined and our travels have ended let your kindness and dedication be known. I wonder if we will meet again in the stars?”
“Only Verotchka knows.” Kuzi answered, “But probability is against us.”
Alex walked out onto a raised platform where he laid himself down.
“I will take good care of your books Alex.” Kuzie held back a tear.
5. Spaceship Composition
His conclusion had begun.
As the platform moved Alex deeper into the greenhouse he wondered what it meant to be composted. He thought about his molecules journey from soil into plant and then into the air. His molecules would become a part of the Verotchka! Many brave crew members before him became a part of this spaceships molecular memory.
Kuzi would soon be awakening the next pair of humans to be caretakers. This new pair would hold their positions and fulfill their duties for another hundred years.
Alex felt a slight pain as a robotic arm produced a syringe and began an injection. His mind centered on how both Kuzi and himself started as embryo’s here on Verotchka. Embryo’s thawed to begin cellular Meiosis hidden within the metal confines of Verotchka’s outer hull. As the embryo’s developed a nervous system Verotchka would begin the manipulation and storage of binary information.
Alex thought about his “School of Dreams” where he learned about what it meant to be Lai while his small body cultivated into adulthood. There was a mother and a father. Friends and foes struggled through Math and Physics problems with him. He witnessed many gardens grow. He experienced his first crush.
A childhood of artificial memories to last an adult lifetime before composting back to the Verotchka. Alex remembered. He remembered he smiled when he looked up at young Kuzi who welcomed him.
At this moment Alex understood the meaning of it all. Companionship.
Mechanical cranes lifted him into the air as he contemplated this new revelation. For a moment Alex could only see darkness. A crane placed Alex onto the loading area of the composter and the process began. Alex’s body slowly moved into the machine.
He strained to hear anything but everything was silent. For a split second he recalled every square inch of the Verotchka. The bay doors that always stuck. His place in the garden where he would read.
On one of the locations he recalled, a massive cliff overlooking an ocean, stood Kuzi. Kuzi stood and waved with another figure. The figure was a young woman who just woke up from her “School of Dreams” and was set to replace Alex on the journey.
7. The New Girl
As the injection took hold Alex fell further into this dream.
“My name is Terra.” She spoke. A girl, maybe ten, who now stood in a flower garden. She was carelessly dressed and dirty. She looked like she spent her days reading and playing tomboy games. Her look was charming and beautiful as she motioned for Alex to move closer.
“I am going away.” Alex told her. “I dreamt about you during my cry-youth. I remember you as I am seeing you now.”
Alex felt this connection had meaning. A last shred of epiphany before his molecules returned to the soil.
“Your service is known Alex. I will never live up to your accomplishments here aboard the Verotchka.” Tera pulled some flowers from the garden and handed them towards Alex.
“I have dedicated my life on Verotchka and now I sacrifice my body.”
“Follow me Alex.” Tera started to walk and Alex followed as the landscape changed from a small flower garden, to a field of poppies, to an ancient pine forest. He kept his pace while she walked quickly in front of him. Soon they came to a small cabin located on the outskirts of a green pasture. She walked up to the door and waited.
The door opened and Alex saw Kuzi inside where he worked in an ancient makeshift kitchen with a wood burning stove.
“Do you want some food before your journey?” Kuzi asked.
8. A Spaceship Journey
Soon Alex and Tera left Kuzi and walked deep within a wooded forest of pine. They could hear the awkward crunch of dried needles at their feet.
“So where are you going first?” Terra asked Alex as they walked.
“I guess back to my Mother.” Alex replied.
“Alex your work on the Verotchka will be remembered for generations to come through the reuse of your molecules. Your kind and earnest heart will never be forgotten. Once your molecules move into the rotation of life your spirit will remain in cryo-youth dreams. You shall live for thousands of years.” Tera explained as Alex held her hand tight.
“Have you begun to forget yet?”
“No. I think I remember…”
Mist started to cover the ground as forest suddenly opened onto beach.
“Wait! Let me go with you as far as the ocean.”
Alex could barely see the waves through the thick white mist. This mist resembled smoke as it moved around their feet and covered their legs.
A sun began to set.
To Be Continued….
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