Friday, August 17, 2007

March 15, 655 a.t. Interstellar space

Finally I have mustered up the courage to start a new entry in this journal. The truth is, I cannot remember writing the early entries – or the start of our journey at all. My memory of the ten years before this ship left the Solar System is a complete blank. It is difficult to explain how disorienting it is to find that I am on an interstellar ship more than a light year from Earth, when the last thing I remember is the first trickle of refugees from that world arriving at our habitat, ragged and in despair.
I still feel cold, chilled to the bone, and my body aches, while the least said about my constitution the better - I can barely stagger to the tiny lavatory. Waking up from freezing is probably the worst thing that I have ever experienced, but as I have lost more than ten years of memory I can’t really be sure.
Gone are the memories of the bad times on Tyr habitat. I can read about them in my journal, the billions of people expelled from Earth spreading out through the Solar system and the thousands that poured into our tiny orbiting worldlet. And the crime, riots, looting and murder that resulted. But it must have been bad, if I chose to lose everything and risk death or worse on this starship.
Strange- I was frozen for ten years - actually, the word is apparently `vitrified’, because the ice achieved a glass-like state inside my cells, supposedly minimising damage.
A despicable lie, of course.
It was well known before I left Tyr that this process was dangerous- many of the frozen ones die, or suffer various degrees of brain damage. Well, that seems to be what I have got now- mild memory loss (doesn’t feel so mild to me) and trauma to my internal organs. This nice guy, Harlan, who is the only living soul I have seen so far since waking up, says that I am lucky. He hasn’t told me how many others have woken up in a worse state, or haven’t woken up at all.
As I was saying, I was frozen for ten years, and I have lost ten years of my memories. Twenty years have passed- a little more, perhaps because of the time thing. What was it again? Dispersal - differential- ah, yes. Dilation. Time dilation. Einstein and all that.
Mild aphasia, Harlan calls it. A slight word-blindness. Could have been worse. He tells me that the AI wakes a small number of people up every month to test how the vitrification process is working; over time everybody will be thawed and refrozen at least once. The ship we are on- my Journal calls it the Starlark- is travelling at a tenth of the speed of light toward a star I know almost nothing about.

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