:Captain’s Log, Year 36, Day 116, 0400 Hours: Captain Jean Birneau:
Today we saw the end of a trying year or so. We’ve had three deaths, two by suicide, and one, our first, really, of one of our youngsters, Sima Janu. He was only ten ship-years of age, and held in great esteem for his show of early promise in mathematics. A freak accident, incomprehensible, that he should choke on a piece of food, and there be no adult near enough to help him in time. The entire colony has been mourning his loss for the past three months. There has been an on-going debate as to whether we must be more watchful of the children, or allow them to have the opportunity to make their own mistakes. I have been on the later side of the question, I will admit. We need to be strong enough to survive the remainder of our voyage. If we protect them overly much, they will not have the toughness and strength of discipline to deal with what we face.
Today, we settled the debate, with only a few hold-outs. Those few will adjust, I am certain of that. For now, we need to keep up morale, and to that end, I announced today the first Argos Olympic Games. They are to be held early next ship-year, to allow time for people to train, and to construct a facility in one of the community domes. I was pleased to hear some of the ideas for events, consisting as they did of a mix of physical and mental challenges. I am especially looking forward to the zero-G soccer, and the zero-G synchronized acrobatics. Both should be quite popular. And the field sports, though of course highly modified for the realities of shipboard limitations, are certain to attract some of the newer members of our small world.
We have had a few maintenance issues, but these have been fully resolved. The repairs on the damage to the outer hull from the asteroid will be completed within the week. That our forward sensors missed this particular object was puzzling, until our science staff finished analyzing the small shard embedded in the inner module. It is rather curious material, unlike anything we’ve encountered, and no match could be found within our archives. It seems to have the density of iron, but is lighter than titanium. When we heat the shard, it becomes pliable, but fails to retain the heat. Both chemical and laser testing procedures suggest the material is an exotic substance, an alloy for example, that in all likelihood was made by another species. We can discern little more than that – the rest is speculation. But I am certain they will keep at it until they learn more – it’s the most interesting thing to come along in many years for the team to chew on.
We are coming up fairly soon on another burst. We cruise currently at just below half-light, and this coming burst should be the last we need until we begin braking in two years. Captain Essen will be Awakened by then, and will preside over that long-anticipated moment. I suspect the colony will want to plan some celebrations to mark the occasion. I myself hope to offer a musical performance, though my playing is a bit rusty right now. But I feel I will have enough time to practice, and perhaps find a few others to play with. Perhaps James Towhey will grace us with his fine drumming.
Coming: Chapter 11. From Blue to Pink