“Sir? We’re registering a 3% drop in efficiency in the starboard photon condenser.”
The Captain scowled over the engineering lieutenant’s shoulder at the instruments. “Do we know why?”
Her hands danced over the lightboard. “Scanning…” She couldn’t keep doubt out of her voice, an unprofessional quaver. “Sir… I’m picking up a, er, life-form… no, it didn’t last long.”
“So it shouldn’t have. Nothing lives in my engines, nothing so much as a paramecium!”
“Starboard engine output has returned to normal.”
“I suggest you run instrument tests and recalibrate.” The Captain rubbed his chin, noting updated displays of mission duration. “Yes, we’re going to be a day late to the next waypoint, thanks to that. I want an explanation.”
However, no adequate explanation for that phenomenon was found. The mothership was a day late to her destination – but it was fortunate, for a galactic string tore through those co-ordinates exactly 24 hours earlier. Had they arrived on time, they would have been destroyed. Coincidence? Perhaps, and a fortunate one indeed.
“Coincidence” resumed her journey with an elated cry, boosted along by a surge of energy from the stardrive. Like a dolphin surfing a wave. Who wouldn’t visit forbidden places, like the innards of stellar drives, when so well equipped as she?
Not often I manage two in two days… this was the work I had in mind before detouring to something completely different.
Please note that this image looks significantly darker when printed.
Spacegirl rendered in Poser, background in Bryce. Image assembled with The GIMP. This time I actually kept a record of the largest working file used making this image, GIMPers might be interested:
Dimensions: 4496 × 3000 px
File size (GIMP .xcf): 102 meg, not the largest…
9 layers of varying modes, as follows:
Layer 1 background
Layer 2 energy beam, hard light
Layer 3 spiral fill, grain extract
Layer 4 particles, dissolve
Layer 5 figure halo/aura, divide
Layer 6 motion blur aura, hue
Layer 7 spacegirl, normal
Layer 8 light rays, normal, half transparency
Layer 9 particles, dissolve
By the time it got this big, making any small change on any layer, even just turning it off or on, took ages. Time to do some layer merges…