Friday, July 18, 2008

July 15, 764 AT, Atagonia Regio, Terra del Fuego

Today we are cowering underground to escape the comet-rain. We’ve deflated the greenhouses until they are nearly flat, just barely clearing the crops inside, and tied them down tightly so they won’t blow away in the storms that are coming. Elsewhere we’ve been digging drainage ditches and channels to control and retain the expected floods. For all the time we have been here, a large icy object has been silently falling toward the planet from the outer system, and today it will hit. Behind that object is another, and another, and another, each one months or years away. These objects will impact in the undeveloped Eastern hemisphere of Fuego, with the power of a hundred thousand hydrogen bombs, and cause rainstorms all over the planet. And worse than rainstorms; secondary impacts might occur anywhere on the surface, so we are in deep shelters for our own safety.

The time for impact came.

“Damn,” said Ania; “Did you feel that?”
“No,” I said. She paused, talking to her mysterious, imaginary confidante perhaps.
“Isn’t it? I would have thought-“
She looked at me. “Apparently the impact wasn’t really big enough to be felt on this side of the planet. In any case, it would take several minutes for the shock wave to move through the core. Or so I’m told.”
Interesting; her imaginary friend seems to have more common sense than she does. Is that unusual? I wish I knew more about this sort of thing. The Stevens database is not as comprehensive as the library on the Starlark, and much of it is denied to me. I’m used to just thinking about a query in a certain way, and that action would open a search engine in my neural interface, allowing me to draw on hundreds of years of electronic data. Here all I get is the unfriendly House Stevens library, which blocks half of my enquiries. Ania’s imaginary friend seems to be a more reliable source, in any case.

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