Because the story is no longer limited on length, I can now explore some of the remarkable--and sometimes dangerous--work that hero Taro Shall engages in, in a little more depth.
Here's a fresh-off-the-press segment in the POV of Taro, navigator of the starship Calypso, as the ship and crew are about to undertake a daring research mission near a volatile nebula.
15,000 Light Years from Carduwa
“Wouldja just look at that,” Pareen muttered from his Com console.
Taro took in the massive planetary nebula. A giant gas cloud--tinted to hydrogen blues, oxygen greens and scattered points of nitrogen reds by Calypso’s filters--stretched out across the cosmos framed by a great shining oval of brilliant dots that gave the nebula its class-name: necklace nebula.
Those points of color merged and blended in a spectacular aquamarine ellipsoid, the hues reminding Taro oh-so-poignantly of a certain female vendor’s unforgettable eyes.
“Heard it said that glowy ring is caused by one star eaten t’other,” Pareen drawled, “and then spittin’ out pieces from its belly.”
|Photo credits NASA.gov, ESA, |
Hubble Heritage Team
Calypso was now parked at a relatively safe distance from the ballooning nebula to capture real-time images. The dangerous part came next, when they’d execute four sensor drops around the outer fringes of the gas cloud to collect the data Dr. Emboratyr required for his research. The good astrophysicist wasn’t aboard, of course. He preferred to play it safe back in his lab while his instruments weathered the chaos of the distant nebula’s maelstrom.
Getting the equipment deployed was only half the equation, however. They’d already placed the skip buoys at strategic locations on the flight out—or actually the series of hops across the cosmos—that would transmit their client’s data signals across the void in virtual real-time.
Taro set to work running the second of a set of three independent cross-verifications of his navigation calcs. The quad of jump-drops had to be absolutely precise and timed to the millisecond to ensure optimum placement and reduce exposure to ultraviolet radiation and charged particles.
His mouth quirked into a crooked smile. Feats of daring nebula-hopping. All in a day’s work.
In my story, necklace nebulae is the class name given to a certain type of nebulae as described in the story. The inspiration was provided by NASA via Hubble Space Telescope images of the Necklace Nebula. You can read more on the NASA Mission Pages. And here's an article on Space.com about the discovery of the Necklace Nebula in 2011.
Thanks for tuning in. I'll be back with another excerpt and/or more commentary about StarDog next Monday.
Have a great week!