In Verse Proportion; Chapter 134, Brown 240

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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 134:  Brown 240
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 218

Having stayed up late working on options and projections, Derek and Vashti arrived on the bridge a bit tired but ready with their report.  Derek started.

“Captain, we see three options.  The first is in essence to do nothing--stop the settlement process and wait to see what the asteroid does.  After all, it is possible that the moon will deflect it back into space, or that a collision there will reduce anything here to a brilliant meteor shower, and that we’re overreacting.  Of course, there’s at least a thirty-five percent chance that we’re wrong, that this will be a catastrophic collision.”

The captain nodded.  “Second?”

Vashti continued.

“We could stop the process, recall as much of the settlement and the equipment as possible, and attempt to take Wanderer back into space.  We would lose some of what we’ve already done, but it does not appear that we have reached the point at which the system is dismantling the ship for parts and materials.”

“There are problems with this option?” the captain asked.

“Yes, sir,” Derek answered.  “First, it’s never been done, and I find no projections as to whether it is possible to return a colony spaceship to space once it has landed.  It might be that an attempted liftoff would result in a crash.”


“Even if we reach orbit, there are still a lot of uncertainties.  We would have to aim for a window some distance from both the asteroid and the moon, and given that I can get no projections on reaching escape velocity in this monster we might wind up perilously close to the point of the collision, and take a great deal of damage from whatever happens.  It’s a very risky option that might not work at all, and might leave us worse off than we are.”

Again the captain nodded, and seemed to be processing for a moment before saying, “Third?”

Vashti looked at Derek, then back to the captain.

“Sir, Commander Derek and I could take one of the auxiliary ships and attempt to push the object into a different trajectory.”

“Push it?”

“Yes, sir,” Derek said.  “As far as I can ascertain, we have no explosive weapons or anything that could be used to break up the asteroid, but just as the main ship the auxiliaries are equipped with repulsor beams, and we might be able to shift the orbit enough that it would miss the planet, at least this time.”


“The mass of the object exceeds that of the ship significantly.  It’s not as large as a moon, but it will take a great deal of force to shift it.”

“And you are not certain whether the auxiliary ship can do this.”

“Correct, sir.  But we have a contingency plan.”

“We do?” Vashti said, but a look from Derek silenced her.  The captain picked up the point.

“Which is?”

Derek shifted uncomfortably.

“With full repulsor beams and full drive, and a carefully calculated point of impact, we have an eighty-four percent chance of shattering the object, reducing it to harmless debris much of which would be swept up by the moons or caught in orbit and the rest forming meteor showers and burning up in the atmosphere.  Commander Vashti and I would have a seventeen percent chance of surviving this impact.  However, there are two points that suggest we attempt this.”

The room was silent for several seconds before the captain said, “Continue.”

“First, it has the highest probability of success of any of the options.”

It nodded.  “And?”

“And it works best if implemented immediately, and if it fails there would still be time to attempt one of the other options.”

Again there was a pause.

“I see.”  The captain processed for a moment.  “I believe your assessment is correct.  I will miss you.  You have been very valuable officers.  Make it so.”

Next chapter:  Chapter 135:  Slade 210
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #456:  Versers Prepare.  Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.  It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.

As to the old stories that have long been here:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Versers Versus Versers

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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