#SciFiPrompt 48: Space Station
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The change in the gravity was almost imperceptible (unless you’d been paying attention to the minute details of it for a decade, as he had) – but, as he’d had drilled into him back down on Earth before coming up here, by an elderly blue-collar who had no hope of escaping, ‘even a 0.01g shift in the Theseus’s artificial gravity network, if left unchecked and uncorrected, could have a cascade response as the automated systems attempt to maintain gyroscopic integrity and could kill everybody on board.’ Thus, Johnny took his responsibility seriously.
“We’ve got a 0.0067g shift, Al.”
“Not another one! Johnny, can’t you keep it stable for even a day? Carl, how are you with gravnet code?”
Johnny scowled. “Look, Al – you try taking turn-of-the-century tech and make it work up here perpetually. I’ve rewritten this programme fourteen times now; I don’t actually know where the disconnect is between the code and the circuitry.”
“Do you want me to have a go, though, J? You can play with my solar in-feed instead, give you a break from another rewrite?”
“No thanks, Carl; I have to win this one now, or Al won’t let me live it down. How’s the in-feed shaping up, though?”
“I’ll be honest, we’re down 5% efficiency and I am struggling to find out where from. I suspect that it’s just the age of the system – these panels would have been replaced about five years ago, in normal times.”
“Yeah. With launch out of action, we’re stuck with what we’ve got. Need a hand?”
“Nah, I’ll crack it. If I can refine the code and get 1 or 2% back, that’ll give the system another year’s breathing room.”
“You think it’ll only be another year to get them back?”
“Well, it can’t be much longer than that, surely? It’s already been ten! Did your great-grandparents ever tell you about the pandemic in the early 21st? They only bothered with that for a few years.”
“Suppose so. In the meantime, let’s make sure we keep the Best and the Brightest warm and well-fed, eh?”
“Don’t let Al hear you talking about the passengers like that, J – you know he’s a Believer.”
“Amazing what propaganda can do to a person’s brain.”
Al rolled his eyes and marched out of the control room; Carl nodded sagely, his eyes reflecting the lights of the booth, and returned to his work.
Johnny copied the programme into a sandbox and lost himself in the code.
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#SciFiPrompt 48: Space Station by Dav Kelly is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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