[After the murder of two persons “fronteiring”—exploring beyond the extensive reach of cloud consciousness driven capabilities—a call was put out for narrative fictionalizations of the event. The following, written by Oiujhnu Klijhh, has been alternatively called “a look into the derangement of machismo beyond the reach of civilizing modifications” (Ti-Poce Lok, The Old Bearer) and “a dull, obvious, and reactionary account of a complex interpersonal and mecho-psychological malfunction”(Youlik Koi, Tau Ceti Shepard).]
A flying creature rides upward on a thermal coming from the hot springs, and the chances of crashing on a planet with wildlife I can eat and air I can breathe occurs again, because there shouldn’t be any chance, this is like the miracles of old myth, and maybe with my hobbyist’s obsession of the ancient art of survivalism I’m an element of this miracle: I know what it means to hunt, farm, and look for resources.
We crashed while exploring frontier, and we did so because frontiering means having reduced power, no cloud consciousness, no speeding mental process, everything slowed, and only basic biomodifications maintained. What happened to us almost never happens, the risk is always tiny, a pinprick, but regardless people still hate being made slow; this is why most don’t frontier, and why me and the crew wanted to, just for the value of being different and seeing different things and having stories others couldn’t. But something in the ship went wrong—some switching chip in those arcane computers—and outside the range of any satellite repair, in a place lightspeed help would be able to get to us in time except there’d be no way to find us, we hit a planetary gravity field when we shouldn’t have, and, most of the ship being unsuited to atmosphere, spun toward the planet and burned up. We were all pretty stunned, just spinning around safely in the emergency quarters till we hit dirt, and when we figured we could breathe we were happy except that ended pretty quick when we realized we were stuck. Still, there shouldn’t have been much of a chance to make it longer than a few weeks. But here we are, and again, it’s a miracle.
The flying creature riding thermals has a lot of wings, maybe four that I can see from this distance, and it’s a few meters big. It’s graceful, a good product of this world, and I enjoy watching it against the blue-green cloudless sky until boredom sets in and I decide to head back to camp for the sake of doing something. I don’t really look forward to getting back, though. Camp means an array of bitter looks from Leeland, who I like less and less. Leeland blames me for the crash in general because he expected me to know when something went wrong with the ship on account of being its captain. Niore, the other crew member, understands the difficulties, knows that no captain could ever make something out of a malfunction in deep space without cloud consciousness. Niore doesn’t hold much blame for me, and that I appreciate. She maybe even understands that I’m the reason we’re all alive; though the basic biomodifications still work, important ones like the ability to eat most things and optimized energy usage, we still need food, shelter, and plans and I’m the only one who knows how to get them, the knowledge coming secondhand through my hobby.