3 weeks ago
When Madelyn Rose arrived in 2112, Base Seven had been pristine, virgin territory, half constructed by machines that now stood silent, waiting. Upon remote activation from Earth, the Base started spinning, but – who knew if it was a mistake or malice – at a pseudo-gravity of 5g instead of 1g. The Laborers were thrown into a panic as their bodies strained to obey them. Bodies fell; bones broke at whim. Fear, anger, and despair raged. Within a week, half the Laborers were dead. The data was sent to Earth. In the chaos, Rose had been one of five Laborers who had made the excruciating journey up to the central axis of the base, a weightless column, where they had jammed the engines so that the Base stopped spinning. Below them, bodies that had been bent double now swam in the air like babies, wide-eyed, frightened and excited. As backup power kicked in, robotic construction crews whirred into life, deploying themselves to 3D-printing habitats in the first suitable site encountered. The Laborers clumsily hauled supplies in their new weightless world, watching in awe as a robotically-constructed jungle grew up around them. Foundations were anchored to all surfaces and houses sprouted, layer by layer, from them. A new universe was born. Rose herself rose in power and prestige, falling in love – or was it an alliance? – with Terry Samuels, the leader of neighboring Base Two. On her first day of free Galactic citizenship, she married Samuels and bought over the sky – the perfectly reflective central column of Base Seven, where she had once sabotaged the engines. It was the only private space in the panopticon Base, with one-way mirrored walls that showed the entire city surrounding her. She had built her empire, and here it revolved around her.
———————————————————————— Part 4 of 5 of “The Monument to the Labors” by Charisse Foo @charissefoo - First Prize in the 2019 Outer Space Competition