A walk around ES Siren with Micah Stone
I’m Micah Stone, I’m the head of agriculture and I’ll be in charge of the farms once we reach Solitaire. We’ve been on Earth Ship Siren for close to a year so everyone is getting a little edgy. However we have a few more weeks to go until we reach our new home world.
Siren and her sister ships were built to take 5000 people each to get the new colony going. However Sprite was heavily damaged in a micro meteoroid shower and we lost people and supplies. Since all three ships are very similar I’ll take you through Siren—or at least the bits that aren’t still unsafe. You can tell which areas are off limits by the red light above the door—they have been locked so you won’t accidentally enter a depressurized area.
Down the bottom we have the animals mostly goats and guinea pigs. Few people have access as fresh meat is a bit of a temptation. Everyone is very sick of soyroom stew and the recent reduction in rations is really trying people’s patience. I hope they aren’t expecting a resort when we land as we have to build the colony.
Down here we also have the shuttle bay. These are used to transport everyone and everything off Siren. As you can see most of the inside of the ship is made of interlocking modules. These will form the first housing on Solitaire. As we expand we’ll build using local materials.
There’s been a scientific research base there for ten years but this is the first large scale settlement. We’ll be on our own for at least two years. Maybe forever if Earth doesn’t send more ships…things were getting pretty bad when I left, both environmentally and socially.
So, while there are levels in Siren, the most important divisions are actually vertical or the zones. Not everybody can move freely between the zones on the ship, it depends on your clearance and that is programmed into your chip in your wrist. You have to scan the chip to pass through the bulk heads.
We have the prison or D zone—mostly men to do the hard labor, and some women. A heavy military component in C zone, mostly to guard the prisoners but also medical and engineering corps. Then there is the civilians some us are here because of our qualification, others because they had the right name and connections and the biggest donation. They are going to find out old Earth money doesn’t mean much in what will be a fairly basic society, at least at first.
I can’t take you into the prison because you don’t have clearance, after the riots they have really gotten strict about who enters. Needless to say there are plenty of people unhappy with that arrangement of both sides of the divide. There were quite a few cons earning privilege tokens the old way. Not that there is much to spend the token on anymore. We took on refugees from the damaged Sprite but not quite enough food, thus all the restrictions and the grumbling.
The military zone separates the prison from the civilians. Some cons have been seconded to the military for extra training. You can tell from the corps patch on their prisons yellows. None of them would risk losing that patch as it means greater freedom and rights. For some a reduced sentence. People need hope and incentive to pull together to make this work. We can’t recreate what happened on Earth with the elite sitting in their towers in luxury while the poor struggled.
And that brings us to the civilian area. We have the same modules as everyone else. Some are for couples, some are for families. No children under eighteen were allowed to come, but there are a few families with older children making the trip. My daughter is here, probably working in the hospital. Everyone was supposed to spend the trip studying so they could be a useful member of society, some did more than others. There were plenty of classes to keep people occupied as well as to give them much needed skills, like sock knitting. There will be no department stores on Solitaire. I think on a trip like this boredom can become a real problem so the classes were a really good way to fill time and also meet other people.
The last zone is outer hull of Siren where the aircrew have their living quarters. Some of them get to do this trip all the way home. I do not envy them at all. Two years in space? One was plenty for me. One guy has done this trip twice before taking supplies and people to Research Base Unity.
On the ship we also have labs and a seed bank and all the things we’ll need to get started and hopefully thrive on our new planet. That zone, like the animal area, is highly restricted. So this is where our tour ends.
Siren has been home for the best part of a year, but I can’t say I’m going to miss it too much. I prefer dirt beneath my feet and the sun overhead. Even if that sun isn’t the one I grew up under.
About Ours to Save
Some secrets are worth killing to protect...
Micah Stone sees Solitaire as a fresh start. With twenty years' experience in the agriculture industry, he hopes the colony won't make the same mistakes that were made on Earth.
To most people, Micah looks like a member of the well educated elite, but he's really a Gaia activist. Not only did he lie about his daughter's age to get her on board, but his partner is one of the most dangerous women on Siren.
Felicity Valez was once an Army explosives expert, and she was also a member of the radical Gaia Movement. After being sentenced to life for sedition, she wound up on Siren. To protect her partner and daughter while they're on board, she needs to make sure that no one links the family together.
But her liaisons with Micah have been noted. And when her daughter's life is threatened Felicity will do the one thing she promised Micah she'd never do again: rig an explosive that will kill.
No one on Siren is safe.
About the Author:
SHONA HUSK is the author of the Shadowlands, Court of Annwyn and the Face the Music Series. You can find out more information about Shona and her edgy romances at www.shonahusk.com or follow her on Twitter @ShonaHusk, Facebook www.facebook.com/shonahusk or join her newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/119074/join