July 21st, 2840 AD 12:30 PM CST, Cafeteria
One week after launch, the Noah 3 and its two sister ships were close to finally finishing their tour of the solar system. The Earth Grand Council gave the ships a very specific and rigid course to travel. First, it involved looking at the Mars Colony, which still had a dome due to the failure of terraforming it. Afterwards, they had looked at the other colonies on the moons on the outer gas planets which were equally as boring to look at for the same reasons. All of that pain was just to make sure the civilians on the ship get a chance to put each of them into their memories if they wanted to. Susan Ray was assigned the exhausting role of providing commentary on each of them to the civilians which felt like an exercise in futility.
Something that did provide entertainment for the crew during the overly defined trip was preparing for the Line Crossing Ceremony. Not all for the right reasons though. The logistics behind the party kept getting more ridiculous over time. Crew members had to find a place large enough on the ship to house the full crew for a party, so that meant clearing out a hanger bay. Doing that meant other logistical issues centered on where to place the spacecraft from that hangar. There was some enjoyment from party planning and decorations, but it’s also a spaceship that has dedicated space for things and this event disturbed the balance of storage on the Noah 3.
Taking a small break from the chaos during lunch, Charlotte sat in the cafeteria with her navigation and science officers while Susan watched over the bridge waiting for her own turn at lunch.
“With all respect captain, I wish we jumped already.” Navigator Lucas Bright complained while digging into his designated Saturday meal.
Charlotte looked at the clock while clicking her thoughts together after setting in her captain’s chair for a few hours. “Guys, you don’t have to be so formal when we are off duty. Just like when we play cards at night, you can call me Charlotte for now. .”
“Ok capt....Charlotte. What do you think about the past week.” Science Officer Jinto Barr followed through. “Don’t you think it’s a bit too much?”
“Y...yeah. I’m tired of signing off on paperwork, Jinto. I’ve been up late the past few nights reading to make sure I got the finest details for the proposals of what is going on tomorrow and it's been driving me nuts.” Charlotte looked disappointed at her own meal and stabbed her fork into it.
“So the EGC forced this upon us?” Jinto asked innocently.
“Unfortunately, yes. I’ve heard a few complaints from Susan about how her attempts to convince the council to do something else failed before we left dock.” Charlotte dug whatever the food was in her mouth disappointingly.
“Well dang, that explains everything.” Lucas commented.
“Usually you would think that our system, which is good at logistics, would think about this a little better.” Jinto agreed.
“So another question, Charlotte. You and Susan seem pretty close. How long have you known each other.” There was an inquisitive look on Lucas’ face.
“I...I. Hmmmm. I guess it’s been six and a half years now. It’s hard to tell sometimes because I am not the best at keeping track of time. We met at the academy because she was my first roommate.” Charlotte was shocked by the current turn of conversation.
“You two do seem inseparable.” Jinto thought out. “Are you dating at all?”
“I don’t want to answer questions about this, ok.” Immediately embarrassed by the question, Charlotte felt on the defensive. “Jinto and Lucas, How long have you guys known each other?”
“Only a year or so.” Lucas commented thinking about what Charlotte said.
“Yeah. Lucas and I were on the same ship crew before joining the Noah 3 in a passing sort of way, but only started to become friends since we joined the Noah 3 crew.”
“Interesting, considering how you two get along so well.” Charlotte smiled.
“Ok ummm, new topic. Do you plan on playing cards with us again tonight, Capt...Charlotte. We have our day off tomorrow and the ceremony doesn’t take place until the evening.” Jinto nodded while Bright pushed his head closer.
“Yes, but only a couple hours at most. I get tired of losing and you both are too good at taking my spare credits.” Charlotte looked like she was admitting defeat. “In my small bits of free time, I tried looking up some tips on how to play better but I don’t think they are helping.”
“If you ever wanted me to teach you after the jump, I am available.” Lucas smiled.
“Me too, Cap...Charlotte.”
“Thanks, I may take you both up on that offer.”
July 22nd, 2840 AD 7:30 PM CST, Hanger Number 1
Charlotte, dressed in a red dress with her unbuttoned uniform top over the top of it, looked at the ensuing party from the curtains behind the stage. Her entire crew was present, taking some of the snacks from the tables here and there, and genuinely enjoying themselves. The hangar this event took place in was decorated with soft and slow changing colored lights that formed different colored nebulas hanging on the ceiling with a large variety of decorations that looked like solar systems around the different tables. With the Star lights the dark walls, the effect to create the look of a micro version of the universe.
“Hey, what are you looking at?” Susan whispered right behind Charlotte, who was too distracted to hear her coming.
It took all of Charlotte’s will to stop herself from jumping on stage.
“Susan, you terrified me.” She said gasping to catch her breath.
“Sorry, I couldn’t pass up the chance.” She smiled at Charlotte with an evil grin. “Are you ready to give your speech?”
“I think you frightened most of my nerves away.”
“I knew it would work, let's get this party started.” Susan, dressed in a dark blue dress, started to drag Charlotte on stage.
“Hey, could I have five...never mind.”
After a futile resistance against Susan’s pull, Charlotte walked alongside her to the front of the stage in defeat. Imitating Susan, Charlotte forced herself to smile and put on a calm face.
“Hello everyone over here and in other parts of the ship, having a good party so far?” Susan smiles while the floating microphone moves up to her mouth.
Some cheer came from the hangar and some funneled from other places in the ship through the set up speakers.
“I’m glad. As all of you know already, I am Commander Susan Ray and I will be your host this evening. If everything goes to plan, this should be a fun and relaxing night. Tonight, we have few performances involving live bands and other surprises from across the ship appearing on this very stage.”
She pauses for the return in cheers.
“To start us off on the right foot, we have a speech from our leader of the Noah 3, Captain Charlotte Medina to put us in a more reflective mood.” Susan gives her a small applause and walks back to the staging area leaving Charlotte alone.
Charlotte stood there in silence for a few seconds watching her friend leave before taking a huge breath to focus her mind once again. The floating microphone left the space where Susan occupied and floated towards her.
“Greetings crew and citizens of Noah 3, along with anyone else listening. I just wanted to say a few words about why we are on this journey. This will be a little personal for me, so please bear with me as a I explain a bit about my own journey.” Charlotte’s nerves lessened a little bit.
The audience became quiet.
“I doubt many of you know this because people don't usually say things like this in casual conversation, but I am an orphan. I spent the better part of my childhood being watched over at an orphanage owned by the Earth Grand Council until I met my foster parents as a younger teenager. Yeah, I was a child who left the orphanage late for reasons I don’t want to get into. This inevitably led to me joining the EGC Space Academy when I hit 18 years old. I am still in contact with my foster parents and love them dearly, but I spent a better part of my life under the control of the EGC.”
At this moment, the audience became a little more engaged.
“As you can tell, I am not the most socially adjusted person. As I’ve been told many times, living with controlling robots probably isn’t the most positive thing for a child’s personal development. A lot of you probably have no idea how hard it is to say that or perhaps you do if you have gone through the same experience. I’m glad to have friends like Susan and some others that put up with me and I am also glad that most if not all of you have put up with me as your captain. I hope to continue serving you well.
My first bit of actual freedom came from when I first became a captain of a spaceship. Yes, I was assigned missions on a small land ship that traveled from here to there to pick up people and drop off people. Between all that was me making my own decisions for myself and those who followed me on how the ships flew from here to there and the vice versa.
I feel like our experience on the Noah 3 is a lot like my own and maybe why I was chosen as your captain. We’ve been granted an opportunity outside of AI control to make a fate for ourselves by solving this population problem ourselves. We are the first group of people to decide whether or not the human race has a future instead of collapsing from overpopulation and we have this opportunity to do it by ourselves to save it by human hands. How radical is that?
I know that there will be other fleets sent out eventually, because the Earth Grand Council has the resources to build them and there are lots of good crews out there that are at least as good as us read to travel the stars. Still, I want to bet on us for doing it first. We are out here now and we can find a planet for us to live in. Are you guys with me?” Charlotte finished taking in a deep breath.
The audience applauded with a seemingly new sense of motivation, though some were still unsure. Charlotte was still stuck in the moment and didn’t notice those individuals.
“Thanks for indulging me once again and enjoy the rest of the party. See you all of you on the ground floor.” Charlotte smiled with relief at finishing her speech.
“Everyone, Charlotte Medina. Your captain of the Noah 3.”
Charlotte was too distracted by the audience to notice when Susan appeared beside her again. The movement of the floating microphone didn’t help her to notice her friend’s appearance either. This time, Charlotte couldn’t stop herself from jumping.
With a huge grin on her face, Susan gave Charlotte a soft push as a light dismissal. “For our first event tonight, please welcome the Utani band.”
Charlotte left the stage with a small bit of non serious laughter to join the floor. She enjoyed the performances for a little bit with some of her officers before leaving a couple hours later to get rest before the jump next morning.
July 23rd, 2840 AD 6:30 AM CST, Noah 3 Bridge