Sunny Moraine writes a fair amount of erotica for Circlet Press’s themed anthologies, as well as the occasional queer paranormal romance. This story, however, owes more to the “Golden Age” of science fiction. It does so, however, in a way that tells you what so many of those stories were missing.
All at once I learn a number of things, data nestled at the point where I and CERA intersect, waiting for me to retrieve it. I flip through it like a printed report; it helps to imagine these things in physical terms. This is how I was trained and in moments of partial consciousness it’s best to fall back on what you know at the most basic level. And here are the new things I know: as far as CERA can determine, re-emergence into normal space has occurred. There are a number of equipment malfunctions. Most of the sensor array appears to be offline. The primary Q-drives are offline. The differential sail is online and can be deployed if needed. Life support is online.
I am alive. I already knew this, but it’s nice to have it confirmed.
Chronometrics are offline.
Extensive systems failure was a distinct possibility; we knew this as well, and I was told it repeatedly in the weeks leading up to the launch, as if it might make a difference. It makes no difference now in the most complete possible sense, but I punch a weak fist into the padding of the cocoon.
CERA’s plucked string voice in the center of my head—she’s waiting on my command. She’s a smart AI but even so she operates at about the intelligence of the average Labrador. She can think. But in situations featuring high degrees of uncertainty she needs instructions.
Do we have visual?
She shivers an affirmative into me. I feel something approaching relief; I’m flying blind in every meaningful way but one, then. My craft can’t tell me exactly where or when I am, the composition of the space around me, the relative location of any neighboring bodies, or whether I’ve gone anywhere else at all. But I can see.
At my command CERA engages my optical feed. But my body jerks in protest, though the cocoon swallows the movement. This isn’t right. I can feel myself blinking, lifting my hands to my eyes again—the frantic movements of the abruptly blind. Because all of my vision is blackness.