FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Dissertations, online materials

Pages:   || 2 | 3 | 4 |

«Abel knew. Three months earlier, just after his sixteenth birthday, he had guessed, but had been too unsure of himself, too overwhelmed by the logic ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --


Abel knew.

Three months earlier, just after his sixteenth birthday, he had guessed,

but had been too unsure of himself, too overwhelmed by the logic of his

discovery, to mention it to his parents. At times, lying back half asleep

in his bunk while his mother crooned one of the old lays to herself,

he would deliberately repress the knowledge, but always it came back,

nagging at him insistently, forcing him to jettison most of what he had long regarded as the real world.

None of the other children at the Station could, help. They were immersed in their games in Playroom, or chewing pencils over their tests and homework.

'Abel, what's the matter?' Zenna Peters called after him as he: wan- dered off to the empty store-room on D-Deck. 'You're looking sad again.' _ Abel hesitated,, watching Zenria's warm, puzzled smile, then slipped his hands into his pockets and made off, springing down the metal stairway to make sure she didn't follow him. Once she sneaked into the store-room uninvited and he had pulled the light-bulb out of the ^socket, shattered about three weeks of conditioning. Dr Francis had been furious.

; As he hurried along the D-Deck corridor he listened carefully for the doctor, who had recently been keeping an eye on Abel, watching him shrewdly from behind the plastic models in Playroom. Perhaps Abel's mother had told him about the nightmare, when he would wake from a vice of sweating terror, an image of a dull burning disc fixed before his eyes.

If only Dr Francis could cure him of that, dream.

Every six yards down the corridor he stepped through a bulkhead, and idly touched the heavy control boxes on either side of the doorway.

Deliberately unfocusing his mind, Abel identified some of the letters above the switches M-T—RSC—N but they scrambled into a blur as soon as he tried to read the entire phrase.

Conditioning was too strong. After he trapped her in the store-room Zenna had been able to read a few of the notices, but Dr Francis whisked 321 322' THE COMPLETE S H 0 R T. S T O R I E S her away before she could repeat them. Hours later, when she came back, she remembered nothing.

As usual when he entered the store-room, he waited a few seconds before switching on the light, seeing in front of him the small disc of burning light that in his dreams expanded until it filled his brain like a thousand arc lights. It seemed endlessly distant, yet somehow mysteriously potent and magnetic, arousing dormant areas of his mind close to those which responded to his mother's presence.

As the disc began to expand he pressed the switch tab.

To his surprise, the room remained in darkness. He fumbled for., the switch, a short cry slipping involuntarily through his lips.

Abruptly, the light went on.

£Hello, Abel,', Dr Francis said easily, right hand pressing the bulb into its socket. 'Quite a shock, that one/ He leaned against a metal crate. 'I thought we'd have a talk together about your essay.' He took an exercise book out of his white plastic suit as Abel sat down stiffly. Despite his dry smile and warm eyes there was something about Dr Francis that always?

put Abel on his guard.

Perhaps Dr Francis knew too?

'The Closed Community,' Dr Francis read out. 'A strange subject for an essay, Abel.' Abel shrugged. 'It was a free choice. Aren't we really expected to choose something unusual?' Dr Francis grinned. £A good answer. But seriously, Abel, why pick a subject like that?'.

Abel fingered the seals on his suit. These served no useful purpose, but by blowing through them it was possible to inflate the suit. 'Well, it's a sort of study of life at the Station, how we all get on with each other. What else is there to write about? I don't see that it's so strange.' 'Perhaps not. No reason why you shouldn't write about the Station. All four of the others did too. But you called yours "The Closed Community".

The Station isn't closed, Abel, is it?' • 'It's closed in the sense, that we can't go outside,' Abel explained slowly.

'That's all I meant.' 'Outside,' Dr Francis repeated. 'It's an interesting concept. You must have given the whole subject a lot of thought. When did you first start thinking along these lines?' 'After the dream,' Abel said. Dr Francis had- deliberately sidestepped his use of the word 'outside' and he searched for some means of getting to the point. In his pocket he felt the small plumbline he carried around.

'Dr Francis, perhaps you can explain something to me. Why is the Station revolving?' 'Is it?' Dr Francis looked up with interest. 'How do you know?' Abel reached up and fastened the plumbline to the ceiling stanchion.


'The interval between the ball and the wall is about an eighth of an inch greater at the bottom than at the top. Centrifugal forces are driving it outwards. I calculated that the Station is revolving at about two feet per, second;' Dr Francis nodded thoughtfully. 'That's just about right,' he said matter-of-factly. He stood up. 'Let's take a trip to my office. It looks as if it's time you and I had a serious talk.' The Station was on four levels. The lower two contained the crew's quarters, two circular decks of cabins which housed the 14 people on board the Station. The senior clan was the Peters, led by Captain Theodore, a big stern man of taciturn disposition who rarely strayed from Control. Abel had never been allowed there, but the Captain's son, Matthew, often described the hushed dome-like cabin filled with luminous dials and flickering lights, the strange humming music.

All the male members of the Peters clan worked in Control - grandfather Peters, a white-haired old man with humorous eyes, had been Captain before Abel was born— and with the Captain's wife and Zenna they constituted the elite of the Station.

However, the Grangers, the clan to which Abel belonged, was in many respects more important, as he had begun to realize. The day-to-day running of the Station, the; detailed programming of emergency drills, duty rosters and commissary menus, was the responsibility of AbeFs father, '.Matthias, and without his firm but flexible hand the Bakers, who cleaned the cabins and ran the commissary, would never have known what to do.

And it was only the deliberate intermingling in Recreation which his father devised that brought the Peters and Bakers together, or each family would ^have stayed indefinitely in its own cabins.

Lastly, there was Dr Francis. He didn't belong to any of the three clans.

Sometimes Abel asked himself where Dr Francis had come from, but his mind always fogged at a question like thati as the conditioning blocks fell like bulkheads across his-thought trains (logic was a dangerous tool at the Station). Dr Francis' energy and vitality, his relaxed good humour - in a way, he was the only person in the Station who'ever made any jokes were out of character with everyone else. Much as he sometimes disliked Dr Francis for snooping around and being a know-all, Abel realized how dreary life in the Station would seem without him.

Dr Francis closed the door of his cabin and gestured Abel into a seat. All the furniture in the Station was bolted to the floor, but Abel noticed that Dr Francis had unscrewed his chair so that he could tilt it backwards. The huge vacuum-proof cylinder of the doctor's sleeping tank jutted from the wall, its massive metal body able to withstand any accident the Station might suffer. Abel hated the thought of sleeping in the cylinder - luckily the entire crew quarters were accident-secure - and wondered why Dr Francis chose to live alone up on A-Deck.

324' THE COMPLETE S H 0 R T. S T O R I E S 'Tell me, Abel,' Dr Francis began, 'has it ever occurred to you to ask why the Station is here?5 Abel shrugged. -Well, it's designed to keep us alive, it's our home.' 'Yes, that's true, but obviously it has some other object than just our own survival. Who do you think built the Station in the first place?' 'Our fathers, I suppose, or grandfathers. Or their grandfathers.' 'Fair enough. And where were they before they built it?' Abel struggled with the reductio ad absurdum. 'I don't know, they must have been floating around in mid-air!' Dr Francis joined in the laughter. 'Wonderful thought. Actually it's not that far from the truth. But we can't accept that as it stands.' The doctor's self-contained office gave Abel an idea. 'Perhaps they came from another Station? An even bigger one?' Dr Francis nodded encouragingly; 'Brilliant, Abel. A first-class piece of deduction. All right, then, let's assume that. Somewhere away from us, a huge Station exists, perhaps a hundred times bigger than this one, maybe even a thousand. Why not?' 'It's possible,' Abel admitted, accepting the idea with surprising ease.

'Right. Now you remember your course in advanced mechanics - the imaginary planetary system, with the orbiting bodies held together by mutual gravitational attraction? Let's assume further that such a system actually exists. Okay?' " 'Here?' Abel said quickly. 'In your cabin?' Then he added 'In your sleeping cylinder?' Dr Francis sat back. 'Abel, you do come up with some amazing things. An interesting association of ideas. No, it would be too big for that. Try to imagine a planetary system orbiting around a central body of absolutely enormous size, each of the planets a million times larger than the Station.' When Abel nodded, he went on. 'And suppose that the big Station, the one a thousand times larger than this, were attached to one.of the planets, and that the people in it decided to go to another planet. So they build a smaller Station, about the size of this one, and send it off through the air. Make sense?' 'In a way.' Strangely, the completely


concepts were less remote than he would have expected. Deep in his mind dim memories stirred, interlocking with what he had already guessed about the Station. He gazed steadily at Dr Francis. 'You're saying that's what the Station is doing? That the planetary system exists?' Dr Francis nodded. 'You'd more or less guessed before I told you.

Unconsciously, you've known all about it for several years. A few minutes from now I'm going to remove some of the conditioning blocks, and when you wake up in a couple of hours you'll understand everything;

You'll know then that in fact the Station is a space ship, flying from our home planet, Earth, where our grandfathers were born, to another planet millions of miles away, in a distant orbiting system. Our grandfathers T H I R T E E N TO CENTAURUS 325.

always lived on Earth, and we are the first people ever to undertake such a journey. You can be proud that you're here. Your grandfather, who volunteered to come, was a great man, and we've got to do everything to make sure that the Station keeps running.' Abel nodded quickly. 'When do we get there - the planet we're flying to?' Dr Francis looked down at his hands, his face growing sombre.

'We'll never get there, Abel. The journey takes too long. This is a multi-generation space vehicle, only our children will land and they'll be old by the time they do. But don't worry, you'll go on thinking of the Station as your only home, and that's deliberate, so that you and your children will be happy here.' He went over to the TV monitor screen by which he kept in touch with Captain Peters, his fingers playing across the control tabs. Suddenly the screen lit up, a blaze of fierce points of light flared into the cabin, throwing a brilliant phosphorescent glitter across the walls, dappling Abel's hands and suit. He gaped at the huge balls of fire, apparently frozen in the middle of a giant explosion, hanging in vast patterns.

'This is the celestial sphere,' Dr Francis explained. 'The starfield into which the Station is moving.' He touched a bright speck of light in the lower half of the screen. 'Alpha Gentauri, the star around which revolves the planet the Station will one day land upon.' He turned to Abel. 'You remember all these terms I'm using, don't you, Abel? None of them seems strange.' Abel nodded, the wells of his unconscious memory flooding into his mind as Dr Francis spoke. The TV screen blanked and then revealed a new picture. They appeared to be looking down at an enormous top-like. structure, the flanks of a metal pylonsloping towards its centre. In ; the / background the starfield rotated slowly in a clockwise direction. 'This is the Station,' Dr Francis explained, 'seen from a camera mounted in the nose boom. All visual checks have to be made indirectly, as the stellar radiation^ would blind us. Just below the ship you can see a single star, the Sun, from which we set out 50 years ago. It's now almost too distant to be visible, but a deep inherited memory of it is the burning disc you see in your dreams. We've done what we can to erase it, but unconsciously all of us see it too.' He switched off the set and the brilliant pattern of light swayed and fell back. 'The social engineering built into the ship is far more intricate than the mechanical, Abel. It's three generations since the Station set off, and birth, marriage and birth again have followed exactly as they were designed to. As your father's heir great demands are going to be made on your patience and understanding. Any disunity here would bring disaster.

The conditioning programmes are not equipped to give you more than a general outline of the course to follow. Most of it will be left to you.' 'Will you always be here?' Dr Francis stood up. 'No, Abel, I won't. No one here lives forever. Your


326' father will die, and Captain Peters and myself. ' He moved to the door.

'We'll go now to Conditioning. In three hours' time, when you wake up, you'll find yourself a new man.' Letting himself back into his cabin, Francis leaned wearily against the bulkhead, feeling the heavy rivets with his fingers, here and there flaking away as the metal slowly rusted. When he switched on the TV set. he looked tired and dispirited, and gazed absently at the last scene he had shown Abel, the boom camera's view of the ship. He was just about to • select another frame when he noticed a dark shadow swing across the surface of the hull.

Pages:   || 2 | 3 | 4 |

Similar works:

«Nebula2.3, September 2005 His Masterpiece, Our Haunting: Banjo Paterson’s NationMaking Artefact. By Christopher Kelen This paper considers the late Victorian story of a late Victorian artefact, one with great resonance in contemporary Australia: the song which – though not the national anthem – happens to be that with which Australians most closely identify. As with the official anthem, ‘Advance Australia Fair’ (with which I dealt in a paper in AJVS Vol. 9) much of what interests the...»

«Ultimate Adventure Camp Registration Form Campers Last Name: First Name: M.I.: _ Street: Apt#: _City:_ State: Zip code: _ Home Phone #: Age: _ Birth Date: M/F:_ Shirt size: _ (June 22June 26) (June 29July 2) (July 7 – July 11) (Aug 3Aug 6) Parent Guardian Name: Parent Guardian Name: Relationship to Child: Relationship to Child: Home Phone: _ Home Phone: Cell Number: _ Cell Number: Work Number: Work Number: _ Parent Guardian Email (for confirmation and updates only): _ Emergency...»

«Editorial Manager(tm) for IWA Conferences Manuscript Draft Manuscript Number: IWA-4855 Title: Water Demand Management and Losses in Garankuwa and Mabopane, Odi areas in South Africa Article Type: Full Paper Keywords: Distribution systems; Losses; Tools; Water demand Corresponding Author: Miss Ntombie Thandazile Mhlongo, Masters in Civil Engineering Corresponding Author's Institution: Tshwane University of Technology First Author: Ntombie Thandazile Mhlongo, Masters in Civil Engineering Order of...»

«Gramayre Weimaraners 1 Your New Weimaraner Puppy Pointers for Puppy's People Choosing a Vet What Is A Dog Crate? Why Use a Crate? Crating the Puppy -How to Use It What Kind of Crate is Best? Where Should I Put It? Crating the Adult Dog -How to Use It How to Housebreak Your Puppy Your Weimaraner's Care Grooming Watch Those Toenails Dental Care Ear Cleaning Veterinary Examination Obedience Training What is Dog Obedience? Basic Obedience Choosing a Dog Training Group Training Advice Remember The...»

«DOCUMENT RESUME FL 025 426 ED 422 727 Nikula, Tarja; Marsh, David AUTHOR Terminological Considerations Regarding Content and Language TITLE Integrated Learning. 1998-04-00 PUB DATE 8p.; In: Vous avez dit immersion? (You Said Immersion?); NOTE see FL 025 425. Opinion Papers (120) Journal Articles (080) PUB TYPE Bulletin suisse de linguistique applique; n67 p13-18 Apr JOURNAL CIT 1998 MF01/PC01 Plus Postage. EDRS PRICE Educational Strategies; Elementary Secondary EducatiOn; DESCRIPTORS Foreign...»

«Moving Teenagers Out of High-Risk Neighborhoods: How Girls Fare Better than Boys1 Susan Clampet-Lundquist Kathryn Edin St. Joseph’s University Harvard University Jeffrey R. Kling Greg J. Duncan U.S. Congressional Budget Office University of California, Irvine Moving to Opportunity (MTO) offered public housing residents the opportunity to move to low-poverty neighborhoods. Several years later, boys in the experimental group fared no better on measures of risk behavior than their control group...»

«www.ccsenet.org/ass Asian Social Science Vol. 7, No. 12; December 2011 Characterizing Misbehaviour among Jordanian High School Students Ameen Mohammed Mousa Mahasneh PhD student, Faculty of Educational Studies, University Putra Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia E-mail: ameen1977@live.com Prof. Sharifah Md. Nor Department of Foundations of Education, Faculty of Educational Studies University Putra Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia E-mail: Sharifah@edu.upm.my Prof. Abdul Rahman bin Md. Aroff...»

«Materials Handling, 6907 TS-58 September 1990 Federal Wage System Job Grading Standard For Materials Handling, 6907 Table of Contents WORK COVERED WORK NOT COVERED TITLES GRADE LEVELS NOTE TO USERS MATERIALS HANDLER, GRADE 4 MATERIALS HANDLER, GRADE 5 MATERIALS HANDLER, GRADE 6 1 U.S. Office of Personnel Management Materials Handling, 6907 TS-58 September 1990 WORK COVERED This standard covers nonsupervisory work involved in receiving, storing, and assembling for issue, shipment, and...»

«Ling 6510: Readings & Research in Syntax Susi Wurmbrand Fall 2008, Mon 1:30 – 4:30 susanne.wurmbrand@uconn.edu Office hours: By appointment COURSE REQUIREMENTS  Readings & class participation  Participation in Abstract writing workshop (details to come later)  3 30-45 min presentations: one paper from each of Topics A, B, C; detailed handout required.  Term paper (your own work): come up with topic by Nov 10; final paper due December 9, 2008. A NOTE ON THE READINGS One aspect of...»

«Korean adoption/adoptees references 1957-2004 Books and brochures An, Ûi-jông, Auja! Sêsangên paboran ôbdanda [Alas! It is said there are no fools in this world], Seoul, 2002. Anthony, Joseph, The rascal and the pilgrim. The story of the boy from Korea, New York, 1960. Baker, Larry, The flamingo rising, New York, 1997. Bauman, Sông-dôk, Nae irûmûn Pûraiôn Sông-dôk Baumanibnida. Brian Sungduk Bauman´s life story [My name is Brian Sông-dôk Bauman], Seoul, 1997. Bishoff, Tony and...»

«VICAR ST ALBAN STOKE HEATH, COVENTRY PARISH PROFILE Page 1 of 21 BISHOP’S INTRODUCTION The congregation of St Alban’s has risen well to some challenges we set before them, and is now ready – indeed enthusiastic – for some exciting missional times ahead under a new incumbent as they build on their excellent progress over the last two years with an interim minister, Lynette Clarke. The Parish Profile will explain the situation more fully but I can say how really pleased we all are with...»

«REPORTED IN THE COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS OF MARYLAND No. 560 September Term, 2002 ARTHUR J. HOFFMAN, ET AL. v. TOYOME STAMPER, ET AL. Kenney, Eyler, Deborah S., Moylan, Charles E., Jr. (Ret'd, Specially Assigned), JJ. Opinion by Eyler, Deborah S., J. Filed: February 27, 2004 In a civil case in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, a jury found Robert Beeman (“Beeman”), Suzanne Beeman, and their company, A Home of Your Own, Inc. (“AHOYO”), liable for conspiracy to defraud, fraud, and...»

<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2016 www.dissertation.xlibx.info - Dissertations, online materials

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.