Ascension Prologue
14
April, 2012
Ascension Prologue

Janks, you’re jogging around the track that runs the perimeter of the ship’s gymnasium.  In the last few months you’ve taken to showing up during the period set aside for Agamemnon’s guests, and like most mornings since, you’ve matched a pace with Rance and Lev Arris.

“You have to remember,” continues Rance, “upwards of twenty billion people died in the First Succession War, that’s what, five, ten percent of the human race?  And those weren’t just soldiers, they were people who knew things, built things.”

“Yeah,” you argue, “but how can you lose that much?”

“Think of it this way,” says Lev, pointing to a control node on the ceiling, “take that distributer, for example;  it’s got something like fifteen Marakesh Series 9 microprocessors in it – most common chip of the era – there were hundreds of millions of them manufactured.  But even in your time, the automated factories that produced them were two generations old – they just required care and feeding.  Economies collapsed, data was lost, skills were lost, tribal knowledge.  Fifty years ago the last operational Marakesh autofactory broke down – there was a failure in a catalyst chamber – a miracle of technology that allowed the factory to grow these processors at the atomic level – the technology for which was supplied by a single provider during your era and was lost at the beginning of the war.  And now, the Marakesh Series 9 is added to the ever-expanding list of losttech.  It’ll be generations before they’re gone, but…”

He’s interrupted by the general quarters klaxon.  You all stop, panting.

“I guess we’ll wait here…”  You give them a nod and race out of the gym and down to the ready-room to throw on your gear and wait for orders.  You’re sitting on the bench with the rest of your team for a few minutes, and then everything goes dark and there’s a stomach-churning lurch as the centrifuge comes to a stop, pitching all of you (and every loose item in the room) into free-fall.  A battery-powered emergency light kicks on, bathing the room in harsh light and deep shadows.

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