Lyapunov’s Children | On The Wind From The Sun

The ship raised its sails, gossamer expanses of fabric, molecule thin, stretching outward from the tiny hull for kilometers in every direction as the masts deployed. The sun shone bright behind it in the sea of stars as its crew prepared for the maiden flight of the newly christened vessel. Countless motes of light, electrons, protons, and atomic nuclei in the void struck the vast web, once the sails, now hundreds of kilometers wide, stretched outward like the petals of a lotus. Slowly, the ship gained speed from the subtle but relentless pressure, on its journey to the outer system. The crew within finished launch protocols, then went to the view ports to see their home one last time before departure. Ever further away, the planet receded in the distance as the ship made its journey,

…As it travelled on the wind from the sun*.

*paraphrase from Carl Sagan

Lyapunov’s Children | The Impactor

It happened in a newly colonized, barely surveyed system near the rim of the galactic habitable zone.

I saw everything when then end came, screaming out of the sky to those below like the shriek of a banshee having her arms ripped off by a murderous giant. What happened next was the worst, when the impactor hit, causing massive seismic disruption and tsunamis across the face of the tiny planet.

Billions of tonnes of dust were kicked up into the atmosphere as a shockwave rippled across the world. Where it touched, outposts fell, forests burned, and the oceans boiled from the spread of the accompanying fireball of superheated dust, air, and steam.

Where was I in all this?

I was in an orbital station, monitoring satellite traffic and planetary weather patterns when the strike happened, watching it all with horror as ninety-percent of everything on the planet died, unable to even so much as warn those below…

Lyapunov’s Children | Solitude

   He stood, in silence, taking in the solitude, and without a hint of loneliness. Yet that is what he felt, alone, however he failed to show it. Such displays of emotion were beneath one of his posthuman status.
   He grinned slightly as he saw the lights above in the sky; not just stars, of course, but also the ship above which kept him under surveillance, kept him from trying to escape this dead world. It alone, without crew, kept him company. Far above, its sensors watched his every move.
   Perhaps he could go back below the surface, to his subterranean living chambers, with all the accommodations of home, but no company to give solace in his punishment, for the crime of regicide.
   It would be a long, long time before his sentence would come under review by the Judges of the Hierate of Five Suns.
   He held the thought in mind just long enough to dismiss it. He looked,  this time downward, toward the toxic forests marking the horizon, sighed, and returned to the chambers below, away from the sight of his sole companion in orbit.