*The Decision

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OOC Date: April 11, 2011
IC Date: January 15, 2128

Captain Ramesh has made his decision regarding which direction the Genesis will head. He discusses it here with Commander Eisley.

The EAV Genesis; XO's Office

Every good office is dominated by a desk and this one is no exception. The XO's desk is almost eight feet across, half that in width, a sheet of black glass that shimmers through with motes of color. Bits of it light up as needed, becoming brilliant controls that respond to a touch and then fade into nothing when not. Behind it sits a high-backed chair, sleek and black. Behind that is a plasma screen that occupies almost the entire wall, pretending to be a window that looks out into space when not otherwise in use. In front of the desk are two smaller chairs, also black though not as imposing. Black is a theme here; there is also a sleek black sofa set against one wall, ruining the perfect linear symmetry of the room. It matches the charcoal color of the carpet, and imposes in hard lines against the ivory walls.

It's late. Or maybe it's early. It's difficult to tell because the ship is always filled with afternoon light, while outside it is always dark and full of stars. Tracking down the Commander is as simple as asking Eve where she is located; in this case - as is so often the case - she can be found in her office, where the lighting has dimmed slightly in recognition of the hour, counted forward from the zero moment, reset -by- her when the alien transmission began. Her personal plasma screen has become a window onto the universe, revealing the far-distant stars that would actually be visible if one could see through the hull there. As for Eisley, she sits at her desk, back to that view, reviewing the contents of a data pad. It is the only thing on her desk, the only obstruction on that field of black smoked glass which otherwise reflects back the lights and so seems to trap at least some of those stars, holding them to float within it.

The door slides open with a gentle whisk, the Captain quietly walking in, currently dressed in civilian clothing done in black and gray. "I hope I'm not interrupting, given the hour," he offers politely. "I see that I'm not the only one struggling with their sleep schedule." He comes to a stop next to a chair, a hand resting atop the chair's back as he waits indication from his XO as to whether now is a good time or not.

As the door opens she looks up by degrees, chin lifting first, eyes following. For a second there is almost a reflexive shift into action: Eisley visibly tenses, preparing to get to her feet, but the Captain out of uniform does not seem to require such diligence and so she relents in a moment. "Sir," she greets instead with formality that is weary around the edges. The chair he chooses is verified with a wave of one hand, gracious for all that technically it is his ship. "I've been meaning to see Dr. St-Sirois about my insomnia, but I just have not found the time. What can I do for you?"

"I've given it a lot of deliberation," Ramesh begins as he eases into the seat and sinks back, looking as tired and weary as she is. He's mostly been bunkered down in the conference room the entire time they've been out of stasis, taking his meals there far more often than not and slipping away for a few hours of sleep here and there. Countless hours have been spent reviewing as much information on all of the options and the current situation in general as is humanly possible. He hasn't been necessarily as busy as the Commander, but he's most certainly been occupied. "Ideally, the planet around Alpha Centauri would be our best option under the circumstances, the safest option. But it's simply too close to Sol for my liking. It would be the equivalent of moving because your house has been robbed, but only moving into the house next door. The Givers used FTL and cloaking technology to run as fast and as far as possible, and still they were tracked down. I'd rather not make it easy for them to find us."

More than a little bit of that work has been Eisley's fault, too, given how many reports she has compiled, written, polished, and filed for his perusal. It is a strange way of passing the buck, as it requires being as objective and unbiased about the presentation of information as is humanly possible. She does have an opinion, but aside from obvious statements thereof her bias has been limited. Now comes this and she settles back in her chair, inhaling slowly. "I agree, sir. The best thing we could possibly hope for is that these Devourers have no more interest in us, but given past precedence that seems to be too much to hope for. Alpha Centauri is… simply not viable."

"The other planet has a much better location, but the storms are much worse than anything we had on Earth, and those were enough to wipe out a third of our population. Living in caves doesn't offer enough in the way of agricultural opportunities, even if we were to bring in UV lighting. We wouldn't have the acreage necessary to sustainably Farm. I've done the math. We would be reduced to a hunter-gatherer society, little more than highly advanced cavemen." Ramesh sighs and rubs at his eyes with one hand, the sheer stress and pressure clearly weighing upon him. It's one thing to be the Captain of a ship, but it's another thing entirely to essentially be the leader of humanity, responsible for its long-term survival as a species. "We have other options in far flung corners of the galaxy, based on the star maps we've been provided and the information they contain, but they would take a great deal of effort to reach and would bring us closer to the Cygnus arm of the Milky Way, where the Devourers originally came from. Based on the records I've been reading, the Givers had been traveling via FTL for decades and never managed to escape them. What other races they encountered were either hostile, disinterested in helping, or far less advanced than even we are. We aren't going to find help out here, and we have to assume that we will do no better at outrunning them." He looks up across the desk at her, his expression resigned but resolute. "We're going through the wormhole. If the bastards want to chase us, we'll make it interesting for them and put this entire galaxy behind us."

For a moment there is no response at all. Eisley merely absorbs and studies, watching Ramesh with the terrible sobriety due in this moment, at this hour. The weight of it is not lost on her, nor is the effect that it is having on the Captain, both of which likely help to shape her response. "…agreed," she repeats, more quietly now in deference to the finality of this decision. With monumental choices like this, very often the best thing to find is support and the Commander now seems willing enough to give it. "It has been observed that there is no way to know that the wormhole will not move us closer to their homeworlds, but there is no reason to suspect that this will be the case other than…" She smiles, thinly. "The chances of encountering them again is slim. I maintain that our foremost goal is still to find a habitable world suitable for colonization, and I feel I would be doing humanity a disservice by not finding a Class M planet."

"I don't think that the wormhole leads to anywhere else in this galaxy. I also don't think that they've gone through it before - both species seemed to avoid it. Maybe they knew something we don't, or maybe they're just more comfortable sticking to what they know. Ours has always been an adventurous species." Ramesh shakes his head, clearing away the fog of everything that he's been studying for the past six days. "Wormholes are most commonly thought to go much farther few dozen light years, from one place to another in the same galaxy. There's no way of knowing, of course, until we try it, but it's far more likely that we would be traveling hundreds if not thousands or even millions of light years, to a completely different supercluster. At any rate, we'll definitely be going somewhere that they won't have an edge. Somewhere new to all of us. They know more about and have traveled farther within this galaxy than we have, giving them a sort of home field advantage. I want to take that away from them. If what lies on the other side is dangerous, it'll be dangerous for them as well."

"Whatever lies beyond is, ultimately, no more dangerous than what awaits here." When it is all distilled down to its basest parts, this is the skeleton of the decision, as Eisley has come to understand it. "We face extinction no matter where we go. It is now a threat far nearer to reality than it was even at the height of our self-destructive behaviors, but now I can only pray that we find unity through this one common goal. It seems strange to be leaving this all behind and going forth into stars whose light we have never seen, but all of us knew, when we set foot aboard the Genesis, that it was a one way trip." She inhales, then exhales, gaze lifting toward the ceiling. "I know this has not been an easy decision for you, but I cannot find fault in it."

"Have you ever heard of a white hole?" asks Ramesh, seemingly at random and completely changing the subject. "Wormholes have never truly been encountered by mankind, and it's possible that the translation Eve made from the message we got was slightly off. She translated what ever their word is as wormhole, but she may have been putting it into terms that we could understand. One theory of wormholes is that they aren't tunnels, but one way doors. A black hole on one side, and a white hole on the other. If things go into a black hole, then they come out of the white hole. Or so the theory goes. One you get sucked into and cannot escape, the other you get expelled from and cannot reenter. The Givers said that everything they sent into the wormhole never came back. They lost communications and have no idea what happened on the other side. What if that's what this is? What if the reason that they've been avoiding it - both of them - is because it, like this ship, is a one way trip?"

Again there is a beat of silence, a moment of thought, perhaps pause for reflection. That does not seem to change the subject so much as redirect it and Eisley follows along, though her reply is somewhat less theoretical and more metaphysical. "When you have come to the edge of all the light you have and step into the darkness of the unknown, believe that one of the two will happen to you: either you'll find something solid to stand on or you'll be taught how to fly." The words have a rote quality to them as if she were reciting them from some deep, distant memory. They seem appropriate just now, however. After a moment she blinks away the thought and focuses on Ramesh. "It may well be a one way trip, sir. The Genesis might be torn apart. It may reappear on the other side in the belly of a star. We might appear on the front door of another hostile alien race. We might simply cease to be, all at once. Or, like Columbus, we may forgo intelligence, mathematics and maps, follow the light of a distant sun, and leave the Old World behind."

"We very well may be sailing off the edge of the world, yes," Ramesh agrees, a faint, appreciative smile on his lips. "We stay here, and we spend the rest of our lives running, constantly looking over our shoulders. If we're going to run, we may as well do it all the way." He pushes to his feet, running a hand through his long, wavy black hair. "I'm going to try to get some sleep. Once she's off of her suspension, I'd like you to have Monoko and her assistant run through all of the variables and see what can be done to prepare and fortify the ship for entering the wormhole. It was designed to travel through space, not through holes in space and time. If being torn apart is a possibility, and it is, we need to do everything we can to prevent it."

Eisley also rises for the sole purpose of giving the Captain a salute, but this is less a formality and more a genuine show of respect. "Aye, sir," she murmurs. When lowered, her hand comes to rest on the surface of her desk where starlight still glimmers. "Do try and get some rest. The best estimate puts us seven days from the wormhole, and even if they can squeeze more speed out of the engines there is nothing for any of us to do now but to wait." A momentary pause comes as she shifts gears, easing from that topic into another in the same vein. "I believe, sir, that you ordered 48 hours of light duty for -all- members of the crew. Perhaps you would like a change of scenery, and would like to inspect the starboard civilian transport." This is a very casual suggestion, mind. She still has not ever directly referenced what of interest lies in some of those pods.

The Captain pauses on his way to the door, chuckling softly and nodding his head. "I hear Stasis Tank Three has a particularly pleasant view," he answers in agreement, understanding the reference and acknowledging it. "I might just go for a walk. Good night, Commander." With that, he presses the access pad and steps out the door.

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