I had no idea how much time had passed, of course. When the ship revived me 200 million kilometers out, I was disoriented and puzzled. Later, when we swept in over the South Atlantic on our first orbit, I grew alarmed.
This was certainly not the world I left, although the general geography was familiar. There was the hooked circle of Antarctica, the western hemisphere, the broad bulge of Siberia and the Arctic ice cap, but where were the cities? Where was the constant communications chatter? Where were the signs of traffic and human life? The planet I was orbiting was empty.
Yet the system was the same. The LP-5 colonies still hovered at their Legrange points, but they too were silent. The moon circled overhead, but no voices came out of the Lunar bases. The geosyncs and relay satellites had certainly multiplied since I'd been gone, but nothing but unmodulated carrier waves moved between them.
It seems yesterday I was laid into the complex hum of the first cryofield aboard the Gyges and put to sleep. For me, it was yesterday, yet years have passed. I should have revived in orbit off 61 Cygni and spent a year observing the double star.
This did not happen.
Gyges held me, my cryofield, and the most advanced artificial intelligence computer the Intercorp scientists could produce in the early 21st. She spoke and understood standard natural-language English. She contained the intuitive and deductive skills of countless experts in celestial navigation, the physical and biological sciences, life support, entertainment and psychological adaptation. I anticipated no problems.
But I awoke (it seemed) moments after I had gone into the cryofield 200 million kilometers from earth, inward bound, and everything has changed.
Keywords: cryofield, where, gyges, yesterday, gone, life, certainly, orbit, kilometers, million, revived, passed
All text © 1986 Rob Swiggart. "Portal : A Dataspace Retrieval" is available courtesy of the Author's Guild Backprint Programme. ISBN: 0595197841All programming and software © 2002 Salim Fadhley. Released under the GPL. Code available on request.
Updated: Sun Apr 14 2002
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