Thursday, May 14, 2009

From the archive, a proposal for a Space 1999 novel

Space 1999: Transit Of Fire or The Echo Of The Fall


The Moon is approaching a multiple star system: a great blue-white star orbited by two red dwarfs. Victor is concerned about the external radiation shielding which was designed to withstand Solar radiation at 1 AU, not the full force of such a system. Electromagnetic torus effects alone will begin to disrupt the base’s systems as they pass through, and most of the Eagle fleet will need to be grounded. The forcescreens will help, but they will be unable to dissipate as much energy into the hot solar winds as they would by radiating into intrasolar space and there is a danger that the screens will cook the base just as effectively as the suns (only over a longer period).
The background then is thematically tropical, as if the moon were passing through initially the south seas, then the dark heat of the congo. Tempers begin to fray. As Helena treats personnel for heat-stroke and injuries accrued in fist-fights. John and Tony (Season Two, but introduced here if you agree) take a heavily force shielded Eagle into close-sun space. Their mission to find an asteroid that can be nudged to lunar orbit to permanently eclipse Moon base Alpha while it makes its transit across the system. [This is a hard science, engineering solution portrayed as such].
Meanwhile emergency rationing of water(1) is deeply unpopular and a group of Alphans lead by Dorlan Stanmore believe that this is the end that they have come this far only to fry – and do not see why they should suffer unduly in the process. They seize control of medical section and demand drugs to enable them to “ease their passing”, “to commune with the Great Stars”. [(1) Alphan waste reclaimation is super-efficient but it was not designed to function at 80 degrees + and it is likely that at least some of it involves evaporation and recondensation of liquids that heat will hinder.] Helena tries to talk the group out of their nihilistic stance and manages to direct them not to the bases limited store of theraputic pyschotropic drugs (all carefully locked away) but to a batch of experimental tranquilisors. Under their influence the group fall into deep sleep and are captured: however their REM sleep is peculiar and disturbed possibly a side-effect of the drug at these high temperatures in near de-hydrated subjects.
We see one of the groups dreams in which the asteroid being moved by John and Tony escapes the Eagle’s specialised force-tractor control and, moving away at speed impacts on and destroys Moonbase. As this dream reaches its climax, some of the events needed for it to come true are seem to really happen onboard the Eagle after the prediction.
Helena discovers that the dreams of the drugged Alphans appear to have real effects (the first one brought out of the drugged sleep, recounts a dream of rain in a lily filled lagoon only for it to be discovered that a vital water tank has ruptured flooding part of hydroponics).
John and Tony return, seemingly triumphant. Discovering the odd predictive or manipulative effect, John orders the drugs flushed out of the groups bodies and them restrained. Too much depends on the fine tuning of the asteroid, and the daily restraint now of every Alphan to have a bunch of crackpots disrupting the base, nor is this the time for psychological experimentation.
Helena reluctantly agrees although see considers the results facinating perhaps an example of the “refutation of time” of “echoes of things yet to be” being interpreted by the open unconciousness of sleep. However when she visits the locked ward, she discovers that Dorlan has gone as has a supply of the tranquiliser. The culprit is a nurse who has become obsessed with Dorlan, and shares to an extent his thesis that the Moon is doomed, if not now at this time, then at some not far distant future day when the odds no longer fall in their favour. She intends to overdose Dorlan in the hope that his dream manipulated by her hypnotic voice as he falls deeper into a coma, can do what she does not trust the Commander to have accomplished, get them through this hell-star passage alive!
She does so. Talking to Dorlan of rebirth, of survival of them arising anew. But he imagines something odd, something strange – a phoenix arising from the asteroidal egg – a natural outgrowth of the strange stars themselves.
This creature shields Alpha with its great wings while it passes, but was it a hallucination of Dorlan’s dying brain – or was the asteroid so carefull nursed out of its orbit by John and Tony really part of the life-cycle of the stars themselves?
As the Moon moves on into cooler climes the issue is in doubt.
[The tranquilisor, precognition effect is set out as dangerous to liver and renal function – and not something the Alphans would use again willingly unless in vital danger, however we could add into the dream sequences precognitive glimpses of upcoming books later in the arc.]

Simon BJ [Post for 8th May, oops missed a notional day, and still behind.]

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