The New Equations

September 25, 2015 § 4 Comments

Because everyone deserves a happy ending.

(Continued from The Old Equations, by Jake Kerr)

March 1, 2194—LC-E transmission

Kate, your final message inspired me, but it is so hard to sit here and just wait. And wait. And wait. I’ve kept the QE link from Earth open, even though nothing ever comes through. Still, I hope. And wait.

And wait.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

December 1, 2195- LC-E transmission

Sail calibration is normal. Propulsion subsystems are working. Thermal systems are in place. I’m still searching for Genesis 751, but I’ve only advanced a little on the mission trajectory.

I’ve kept the quantum link open, but I really don’t have any hope of my messages of ever reaching Houston.

Kate…..

October 10, 2199-LC-E transmission

I’m still not quite there yet. Even though time is moving faster for me, it still feels like an eternity on this goddamn spaceship. Why the hell did I agree to spend 10 years or rather 41 years away from Kate? We had a future together, and I’ve swindled it away.

June 30, 2205-LC-E transmission

James is still alive! Happy birthday to me.

I’m about 10 hours away from Genesis 751. My mission was to find this Earth like planet because we humans have exploited our planet for our avaricious needs. For what? But don’t you worry, Captain James is here to find a panacea! A whole new planet for us to destroy again!

The hypocrisy of my mission, which made me feel so noble once, now makes me sick.

I wish Kate were here.

February 17, 2206-LC-E transmission

MY GOD! Genesis 751 has trees and water!? And an atmospheric cover similar to Earth’s! I can finally breathe fresh air…

The planet is much more similar to Earth than our estimates could ever hope for. Could we begin a new life here? Could we start afresh? I’m going out to explore its landscape now, and make detailed reports about its biodiversity.

September 23, 2213-LC-E transmission

I have explored Genesis 751, and I can safely say that with a few technological and biological modifications and adjustments, it is a planet fit for human survival. Its star, Centaurus 809, is smaller than the sun, but taking orbital distance and speed of revolution into account, it doesn’t affect planetary features in a detrimental way. Genesis 751 is our potential home.

May 11, 2220-LC-E transmission

My food supplies from Earth have been running low, but Genesis 751’s biodiversity makes it easy to find fruits. The flowers and trees are not quite the same as those on Earth, but there aren’t any fundamental differences in taste or appearance. There aren’t any sentient animals here though. A planet full of trees and flowers, but no birds or bees…

December 1, 2229-LC-E transmission

I have begun my journey back to Earth, after spending 5 weeks on Genesis 751. (I don’t know how long it’s been in Kate’s years). God, I miss Kate. General Marsden should look after her well. Tony will also take care of her, I hope.

The radioisotope thermoelectric generator gave me a few issues, but nothing my MIT and NASA training couldn’t help me fix.

It’s such a relief to finally set the coordinates to Earth, to Kate.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

On June 26, 2235, 41 years since his takeoff, astronaut James returned safely to Cape Canaveral, Earth, receiving a hero’s welcome. Fortunately for him, the Earth he saw now didn’t look very different from the one he left 10/41 years ago. General Marsden had died of heart problems a few years after James’s departure from Earth. James however, was just 35 years old.

After preliminary biological and decontamination procedures and tests, James was taken to home to Nashville. He was told that Kate was at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

She’s old now, and we don’t have enough time together, thought James, regret and sorrow stabbing at his heart.

Apparently, Kate was the Bioinformatics and Genetics Department. Why? As James waited for the elevator, the curiosity was killing him. I hope she’s ok.

As he entered her room, he prepared himself to see a 70-year-old Kate. I don’t care, he assured himself.

When he walked into the room, he saw a sleeping Kate lying on the hospital bed, but she looked only 30 years old. HOW?!

Kate’s doctor rushed in. The doctor, prepared for debriefing the confused space-drifting James, said:

“I know how hard it must be for you to see Kate right now. Relativity has altered your perception of time, and even though you’ve only experienced 10 years, you were mentally prepared to encounter an Earth 41 years older. However, ever since you’ve left, we’ve made significant gains in the fields of gene modification, enabling us to live longer and look younger for many more years. With the help of newly discovered equations, we’ve successfully reversed the aging process using telomere lengthening.”

“The enzyme, telomerase, which replenishes telomeres after replication, allows a cell to live longer and combat aging. We give people periodic injections of the telomerase enzyme to reverse aging, and this form of genetic engineering is now used worldwide. I use it on myself too. The Kate you left is nearly the same Kate you see now, in terms of health and apparent age at least.”

As the doctor finished his explanation, Kate woke up. James rushed to take her in his arms. It wasn’t too late. They had a future, a long and loving future ahead.

“I told you I would see you again, didn’t I?”

-dreamer2205/Aditi Thakur

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§ 4 Responses to The New Equations

  • sarahmjamison says:

    Something I thoroughly enjoyed in your story was the inclusion of a love story. It seems all too common in the Science Fiction genre that authors seem to either gloss over romance or fail to include it at all. In the instances when a love interest is included, there always seems to be a reliance on stereotypical gender roles in which the woman is often subjugated to being simply a thing to be coveted or controlled.

    In your case, you managed to included a love interest that was never forced into the stereotypical “woman’s” sphere or role. While she did stay behind, I never felt like she was being left behind in the sense that she had to stay in the home and take care of things. Instead, there was a clear distinction that the protagonist had a sense of duty that happened to take him on an adventure that required he be separated from Kate.

    One of the most striking sentences for me was May 11th transmission that ends with a reference to the birds and the bees. Not only can it be taken literally, but it is a fun little on our innocent phrase for sex and relationships. The other planet has all the appearances of being a suitable substitute for Earth, but it lacks Earth’s human element. Love is something that separates Earth from all other planets. And while Kate is kept young from improvements in genetics and medicine, I believe it is really love that keeps her young. I think of the love my grandparents shared and how they would say love kept them young at heart.

    Truly a delightful read. I hope they got married and had a wonderful life together!

    – S. Jamison

    Like

    • dreamer2205 says:

      Thanks Sarah! When I read The Old Equations, I was hoping for a happy ending, so I decided to write one myself. I fully agree with you that love can keep you young at heart, which is so much more profound than the physical manifestations of genetic engineering. Your story about your grandparents made me really happy to hear, and yes, in my mind, James and Kate got married, and had a wonderful life together 🙂

      Like

  • ldavia says:

    Your story keeps many of the best things about science fiction (e.g. suspense, intrigue, surprises and new discovery) while also adding the entertainment and satisfaction of a happy ending! I agree with Sarah in that it is a highly readable and enjoyable piece! Sometimes as academics, I think it’s really easy to get caught up in analyzing and picking apart a story, without stepping back to consider our general reader response to the work. Your alternate ending is a great reminder that literature and narrative exists, in one part, to draw people into new experiences and new realities.

    Like

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