Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Log 7

"We'll land in two hours," Blaue said to me. I nodded, adjusting the color on my jacket to blue. Carlee always thought I looked best in blue.

"Is this an appropriate outfit for the androids?" I asked. "I couldn't find much resources on their culture or rules about dress and modesty." The information on the planet was scarce, mainly because organics were convinced that androids could have no real culture. Without a real culture, what could be interesting to write about? Only engineers would care about a bunch of machines.

"Most of your skin is covered," Blaue commented, giving me an analyzing look. I knew the look was just a part of her hologram programming. She really saw me through the cameras that were dispersed throughout the ship. "If that's not modest, what is?"

"Clearly, you haven't spent a lot of time studying human fashion and propriety," I responded. "You can be both completely covered and immodest." Blaue seemed perplexed by that. How could I explain that a skin tight outfit on a girl was just as alluring as a girl wearing next to nothing? Then again, I was an android. Could I really find girls attractive? Or was it just my programming simulating the behavior of a teenage boy?

Questions like this kept popping in my mind. I loved pizza, but was that because I really enjoyed pizza or my programming recognized that teenage boys are supposed to love pizza? I had loved playing football. There had been a rush in catching a snap, in knowing that my powerful throw would be caught and my team would win. But did I feel all that because a teenage boy should love football and wish he was quarterback of the team?

That caused me to briefly wonder how my team had done without me. The second string quarterback had been a junior and fairly good, but he had lacked my accuracy and android strength. I wondered if my team made it to finals, or if they had struggled without me. I found a part of myself wishing they would miss me and struggle without me, but I quickly tuned that out. I had no place for such petty feelings.

"What are you thinking about?" Blaue sounded curious. "Your face got all sad and then stern." Blaue found human expressions fascinating, since she was always trying to act more human.

"Football," I answered. "It's a game we play back on earth." The caused Blaue to be confused. Undoubtedly she thought I had been thinking about Carlee.

But I didn't want to think about Carlee. I could not afford to think about Carlee. Yes, I was doing this whole thing for her, but I had to make her believe that I would be really happy on the android planet. Thinking about Carlee would make me realize how much I was going to miss her.

Without Carlee I had no purpose and what was an android without his purpose?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Entry 69

The next morning at breakfast I felt numb. Not like my body was numb. I could feel the muffin in my hands, and I could definitely taste it as I took a bite. It was my mind that was numb. I had cried the entire night before and now I had no tears left. Now I did not want to feel anything. So I mechanically ate my breakfast, alone at the table.

"Carlee." Blaue suddenly appeared in the room with me. "Ven wants you in the cockpit. He wants you to see the necessary protocols for landing." I nodded and took my half eaten muffin with me, knowing that Blaue would report it to Ven if she didn't think I was eating properly.

In the cockpit, Ven was standing in front of the main viewscreen. Dominating the screen was a multi-colored planet. People generally describe Earth as green and blue - green for the land and blue for the ocean. This planet could not be described in any two colors. The poles were purple, the oceans were blue, one continent was red, and another was green. I really was not sure what would make the ice at the poles purple - if it was ice - or what made the land red. It was very much not like Earth, though pretty in its own strange way.

"Contact has been made with the planet," Blaue said from where she was standing beside Ven. Ven nodded absentmindedly and then glanced back to me.

"Ah, Carlee, come here." He motioned to his other side, opposite of Blaue. I obediently came forward. A frown touched Ven's face as he looked down at me, but it quickly cleared.

"Landing on a planet is far more complicated than it might seem," Ven lectured. "You can't just pull up and land. A ship must park at a certain orbit - like we are - and then contact the planet's Space Traffic Agency. Every civilized planet has one. They have to according to the Space Travel Acts.

"It sometimes takes a while, but once the Space Traffic Agency is contacted, a landing spot, trajectory, and time slot are given to the waiting ship - like us. The ship must obey everything the STA tells them - within the law - and stay in constant contact as they land. All this communication is generally done by Artificial Cognizant, so Blaue is currently handling it for me."

"We have a time slot and a trajectory," Blaue said, and as she spoke a trajectory appeared on the screen. We would be landing on one of the green continents.

"How long?" Ven asked and then frowned when he saw the times scroll on the screen. "They're going to make us wait two hours? I don't see any other ships in orbit."

"There are two others ships currently in orbit, but neither is headed for the continent we are," Blaue said. "This planet does not receive a lot of traffic, therefore, they spread out all of their landings." Ven was still frowning, but he nodded.

"That's not unheard of," he explained to me. "The human colony for example has very little space traffic. I land there and a few other cargo ships, but they rarely see more than a ship a week. It sometimes takes less trafficked planets longer to prepare for an arrival." I nodded, that I was only half listening.

Two hours. In two hours John would be leaving. I wondered if I could muster up enough feeling to be upset, or if I would just be relieved that the anticipation was over.


I did so well and then last week I didn't blog at all. I really need to get better at this. John would say consistency is one of my weaknesses. However, he would also say that this blog is helping me to be more consistent.

So I apologize for not posting all of last week and I admit to having no excuse.

Friday, March 19, 2010

And Carlee comes through!

I promised you three posts this week and you got three posts this week! Granted I posted one on Tuesday and two on Friday, but still, be happy.

Warning, I may not post on Monday. But I will make it up to you by posting on Tuesday. Really. Honest to goodness.

Have a good weekend!

Log 6

I sat at my desk, scrolling through yet another article on the android planet. The planet had several names, because androids were not a species like humans were. As far as I could find, I would be the only human android to ever reside on the planet. Therefore, no one name could be pronounceable in any one language. Androids are not artificial cognizant. We cannot just change our speech patterns. I am designed to communicate like a human. Short of plugging me directly into a computer (which only the Society of Anthropologists could do since only they had my base code), I could only communicate in languages I had learned the old fashioned way. They only name for the planet I found that I could pronounce was Halshia.

Ven was certain that among my "own kind" I would fit in, but the more research I did the less I was sure. Humans were my kind. At least, they were the kind I was programmed to be like. Some of the species that androids were programmed to be like were as different from humans as you could possibly get. I would not even be able to communicate with half of the species on the planet. I generally considered myself adaptable, but I could not predict how well I would adapt to a situation where I was the only human on the planet.

You are not a human, I reminded myself. That is why we have to do this. Carlee is human. It is for the best.

Suddenly Blaue materialized in my room, watching me speculatively.

"Can I help you?" I asked, turning from my desk to face her, though I did not get out of my seat.

"Tomorrow we land on the android planet," Blaue said, "and your sister just realized that. She's crying at the dinner table." I was halfway across the room before I realized it. My instinct was to go to Carlee and protect her. Perhaps programming is a better word than instinct.

I stopped when I reached the wall that Blaue had opened for me, clenching my fists at my side. "I can't go to her, can I?" I asked. "Ven doesn't want me to. This needs to be a clean cut."

"That is the preference," Blaue admitted. "He would probably prefer that I not even tell you she is crying."

"Than why did you?" I demanded, turning to face her. "It would be easier if I did not know."

"I am told that life is never easy," Blaue answered. "You are not an artificial cognizant, John. Neither is Ven your master. You don't have to obey him on everything." I frowned. Ven was Blaue's master. She should not be here trying to convince me to do something against him.

"I agree that it is in Carlee's best interest for her to go to the human colony, and that you clearly can not go there," Blaue continued. "But I disagree that leaving things in this state of tension between you and Carlee is for the best. In her mind you are her brother. She will be devastated by your departure, but I believe it would be better for her if that departure was in love and not anger.

"Think about it, John," Blaue said. "You only have twelve hours left until we land, and Ven and Carlee can not spend a long time on the surface. Would you not prefer Carlee's last memories of you to be good?" Then she disappeared, leaving me seemingly alone.

Entry 68

The next two weeks passed in a whirlwind of lessons. Ven brought me to Blaue's cockpit everyday and taught me something new. He let me plot simulated trajectories. He showed me which buttons did what. And he taught me some basic equations I would need to know if Blaue was out of commission. Let me tell you, that last part was a bit tricky. I could only learn some of the equations since I don't know calculus. Ven was rather shocked that I didn't know calculus. What normal sixteen-year-old girl knows calculus? I was only in the 10th grade for goodness sake, and I hadn't even finished Algebra II before I was abducted.

Basically, Ven did not give me a lot of time to think about that we were rapidly approaching our destination. In fact, he was unusually tact. He rarely mentioned our destination at all, so as to not remind me of my brother's impending departure.

But he was also keeping me separate from John. I would be lying if I said I didn't notice. My days were busy learning everything Ven could teach me (which was only a fraction of all I needed to know to captain my own ship), but in the evenings when I came to the table for dinner and didn't see John there the truth would hit me. John was leaving, and he was avoiding me during the time we had left.

I pushed my dinner around on my plate one night, across the table from Ven. Once again John had not waited for me to eat (or maybe he was going to eat after I left). I mashed the pink peas on my plate, wondering why John didn't have the decency to at least socialize with me some.

Ven was watching me with his dark eyes, his own food forgotten. If I had noticed his gaze, I would have noticed the sympathy on his face. It wasn't a feeling I usually attributed to Ven, but there it was.

"Carlee," he said softly. I looked up and was startled by the sympathy on his face. "You really should eat."

"It's just odd tasting," I responded. "I'm trying to get used to whatever this alien food you feed me is."

"Put some salt on it," Blaue said cheerily, appearing in one of the chairs. "Ven says salt makes even the most alien food tolerable."

"I already salted it," I sighed. To appease their watching eyes, I took a bite. However, Ven was still watching me.

"Tomorrow I'll make sure we get permission to eat at a real restaurant," Ven said. "Then you can eat some organically grown food."

"Are we docking with a space station tomorrow?" I asked.

"No, we're landing on the planet," Ven answered.

My fork fell to my plate with a clank. Tomorrow? We were landing on the android planet tomorrow? John was leaving me forever tomorrow?

"Carlee, are you alright?" Ven asked. I shook my head and burst into tears.


Yes, yes, I didn't post yesterday. I failed. I am sorry.

I WILL post today. I promise. I'm going to make sure that Blaue harasses me once an hour until I do so.

So you will get a post. Patience is a virtue.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Another Note

I will not be posting today. I will post tomorrow. If you have a problem with that....well, oh well, that's just the way things are going to be this week. I promise to post on Friday as well, so you'll get your normal three posts this week, it just so happens that I posted them on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday instead of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

I blame Ven, but then again, if I can find a way to make things his fault, I usually do.

He would probably blame it on Rome. But that's the funny thing about blame. Nobody ever points fingers at themselves.

Well, except John, but that's only because he's too self righteous by half.

(John would like to note that he is not self righteous, he just recognizes that putting the blame on someone else is useless and futile. He recognizes what is his fault and what isn't. I say...self righteous.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Entry 67

Ven finished explaining the last console, which is basically used if everything else in the ship breaks down and asked, "Do you have any questions?"

"I don't think so," I answered. "Either that, or I have so many questions I don't know where to begin. But right now it seems pretty straightforward. Or at least, your explanation does."

"Would you like to see how I set a course?" Ven asked. I nodded, and Ven stepped up to the large view screen. Blaue materialized beside him with a smile.

"I already have the course we are currently taking set," Ven explained, motioning to the view screen. "You can see here the trajectory plotted to get us to our destination and the fuel use associated with that." He paused. "Usually when talking about space travel and trajectories you'll here about delta V's. Delta V's are basically the fuel cost associated with going anywhere. Fuel is generally the limiting factor in space travel because you can only take so much of it with you. So you try to minimize your delta V when going anywhere so that you use less fuel. Do you understand?"

"Delta v relates to fuel," I said, and that was about all I understood from his explanation.

"Yes," Ven said. "So when picking a trajectory I basically tell Blaue the destination I have in mind. Let's do a sample scenario. Blaue, pull up a new screen with a practice trajectory calculation." The view screen changed from our current trajectory to a screen that simply showed the stars.

"First I tell Blaue where I would like to go," Ven said. "In this case, say the Human Colony." Suddenly the screen zoomed in on an area of stars. In the top right corner was a bright red dot and in the bottom left corner was the blue symbol that represented the ship.

"So we want to get to here," Ven pointed to the red dot. "But see all this empty space between us and there? There are no roads in space, no designated travel paths. We could go anyway we wanted. The choices are pretty much unlimited. But when I tell Blaue I want to go there the first thing she is going to do is find the trajectory that uses the least amount of delta V. However, minimizing delta V can mean that it will take us a really long time to get there. So generally she gives me three possible trajectories first, a minimum delta V trajectory, a minimum time trajectory, and a trajectory that minimizes both delta V and time to the best it can." As he spoke, three curves appeared on the screen between the ship and the destination.

"If none of these trajectories suit me then I need to give Blaue more parameters," Ven continued. "I might have a deadline. I may need to be at the human colony by a certain date. Blaue will then give me the trajectory that minimizes delta V while getting me to the destination on time."

"Or maybe I heard there is some sort of spacial anomaly in this sector," he motioned to an area of space that one of the current trajectory paths went straight through. "And I don't want to go there. So I'll tell Blaue to avoid that region, so she'll have to calculated new trajectories based on that. Is this making sense?"

"Yes," I said. "To get the answer you want you have to give Blaue the correct inputs."

"Exactly." Ven smiled, which lit up his face, making him even more handsome than normal. I'll admit, my heart fluttered a little bit.

Ven was being so nice to me, so companionable, teaching me about his ship. It was easy to forget that I didn't like him 100% because he disliked my brother. But then again, my brother was currently trying to break all ties with me.

Is this my future? I wondered. Ven instead of John? The thought was depressing, and my heart stopped fluttering.

Sure I liked Ven, 75% of the time, but he wasn't my brother. He could never be John.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I won't be posting until much later today, just to warn you, but I will post.

And I'm really sorry about Friday. I guess it just totally slipped my mind. I really have no excuse.

What can I say? I forgot. I really apologize.

Check back later tonight for another post.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Entry 66

"You have a little brother too, right?" I asked. It was not every day that Ven talked about himself. He had always been sort of aloof and standoffish. I really did not know much about him other than he hated androids and loved his ship.

"Yes," Ven answered. "Rome is eighteen."

"Wait! Rome? Your sister's name is Florence and your brother's name is Rome?" Ven had to be pulling my leg. He could not be serious.

"Yes." A frown touched Ven's face. Then he motioned to the other station and said, "This console is for when..."

"Hold it," I grabbed his arm, causing him to look down at me with his frown. Even frowning he was handsome. "Your sister's name is Florence, your brother's name is Rome, and your name is Ven? Is Ven perhaps short for Venice?"

"That is not what we are here to discuss," Ven said. "Now, this console is for when the Artificial Cognizant is completely incapacitated. From this console I can control the ship manually." I was listening to Ven, I promise I was. I was listening to him babble about having to calculate trajectories by hand if the Artificial Cognizant was down, which was why captain's had to have at least a passing familiarity with orbital mechanics. I really was listening. But thinking about Ven's name actually being Venice - the name of an Italian city, just struck me as extremely funny. Ven did not have some action hero name like Vin Diesel. His name was Venice Barker.

I burst out into laughter.

"There is nothing funny about a ship being so incapacitated that it must be controlled manually," Ven said crossly.

"I know," I laughed, tears coming from my eyes because I was laughing so hard. "But your name is Venice Barker."

"And your name is Carlee Earhart," Ven responded. "Stating the obvious is certainly not funny."

"I"m sorry." I still couldn't stop laughing. "It's just that you're this big tough guy and your named after an Italian city." I tried to get my laughter under control, after all it really isn't nice to laugh at people, but I couldn't help myself. For some reason I found it extremely funny.

"Carlee, if you don't stop laughing right now I will rethink my decision to teach you how to fly and operate Blaue," Ven's tone was sharp and quickly sobered me. I knew he was serious, and I suppose I could not blame him. Undoubtedly laughter like mine was the reason why he told people his name was Ven and not Venice. I could just imagined a younger Ven getting teased by his peers.

"I'm sorry, Ven," I said. "I know its not nice to laugh at people. I didn't mean to."

"No one ever does," he said coldly. "Now, shall we continue our lesson?" I nodded.

"Yes, Ven, I would very much like to hear more about what happens when Blaue is inoperable," I answered.

"Good," he said. "This console has no view screen like the others. These little screens all display different facts but none of them have the display power of a view screen. This screen gives us an idea of our attitude - by attitude I mean orientation in space. This screen gives us an idea of our position, velocity, and acceleration with respect to our destination...." I listened quietly as Ven explained the several small screens at the station and made sure to keep down any laughter.

But Ven's real name is Venice Barker, and that is funny.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Entry 65

Ven moved towards the station that had a medium sized view screen and a few buttons. "This console is in case of main view screen break down or minor Artificial Cognizant problems," Ven said. "Here I can manually input trajectories. At this console I still assume that the ship's main computer is up and running and compute most parts of the trajectory. It's really not much more manual that the main console, but its excellent redundancy for when the main console fails."

"Does that happen often?" I asked, studying the varying buttons and interfaces.

"No," Ven admitted. "But occasionally Blaue needs maintenance and her more personable attributes have to be shut down. She can still compute in that mode, but she can't appear as a hologram. It's easier to handle the ship at this console that way."

"Huh, so you take her to like a ship's mechanics every once in a while?" I asked. I never realized that spaceships were like cars and would need tune ups but I guess it made sense. Spaceships probably needed their oil changed to.

"My sister, Florence, is Blaue's mechanic," Ven answered. "I would not trust anyone else with her."

"Your little sister is qualified to work on spaceships? How old is she? How did she get such a qualification?"

"She studied, that's how she got it," Ven answered. "And she's twenty, not exactly a child." I frowned, my mind whirling.

"I thought you were twenty," I said, looking up at him. He smiled in amusement.

"Thanks for the compliment," he answered. "But I'm twenty-two. My sister studied as an apprentice to another shipwright for a while, Blaue is her first real client. I would not have anyone else work on it." His smile turned fond. "Florence is the best. She's a real wizard with mechanics. And she's a good kid. She has potential to design ships one day, and if working on Blaue helps her achieve that dream I am more than willing to let her do it." I stared at Ven in surprise. In that moment Ven sounded like John talking about me. I guess I had never thought about Ven as the loving, caring older brother.

It was strange. John and Ven were very similar people. No wonder they did not get along.

Sorry about last week

Has there ever been a person in your life that when that person gets sick everyone around you, including yourself, stops what they're doing to take care of them?

On Earth, that person was me. If I get sick my foster parents would completely rearrange their schedules to look after me, and John could barely function because he was so concerned.

In space that person is Florence and she was quite sick last week. Don't worry if you don't know the name Florence in relation to me and my story. We haven't met her yet in the story. But last week Florence caught a bug when we were on a planet and she got sick. It was like time stopped moving on board Blaue. Ven was the closest to panic I've ever seen him (because we didn't know what she had) and John almost had a nervous breakdown. And since boys are completely useless when someone is sick (with the exception of my foster dad, Scott), I was the one who actually made sure that Florence got better. The boys just got in the way.

So that's why there were no blog posts last week. I couldn't post because I was taking care of Florence and John couldn't post because he was so worried about Florence.

I should be posting today, but it will probably be later in the day. Maybe in the evening of Eastern Standard Time. Florence is still recovering, but she's no longer feverish so I should be able to trust her in the care of Ven or John.

Anyway, sorry about not posting last week, I'll try to not let that happen this week.