Our Dried Voices
By Greg Hickey
Genre: Sci-FiIn 2153, cancer was cured. In 2189, AIDS. And in 2235, the last members of the human race traveled to a far distant planet called Pearl to begin the next chapter of humanity.
Several hundred years after their arrival, the remainder of humans live in a utopian colony in which every need is satisfied automatically, and there is no need for human labor, struggle or thought. But when the machines that regulate the colony begin to malfunction, the colonists are faced with a test for the first time in their existence.
With the lives of the colonists at stake, it is left to a young man named Samuel to repair these breakdowns and save the colony. Aided by his friend Penny, Samuel rises to meet each challenge. But he soon discovers a mysterious group of people behind each of these problems, and he must somehow find and defeat these saboteurs in order to rescue his colony.
From the Chronology:
2213: World War IV begins in central Africa. The alpha states (United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Germany, France, Russia, Mexico and Brazil) declare war on the beta states (Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India, Malaysia and the Philippines), though all battles take place in Africa.
2224: Both the alpha and beta states declare victory and withdraw from Africa, ending World War IV. 289 million lives are lost in the war: 53 million alpha soldiers, 44 million beta soldiers and 192 million civilians, almost all of them African.
2225: Astronauts aboard Pearl Voyager III become the first humans to orbit Pearl. Fifty-six manned Voyager ships are sent to Pearl over the next two years to erect a colony.
2234: The first genetically enhanced, disease-resistant human child is born.
2235: Seashell completes construction of the Pearl Colonizer, a ramjet-powered generation ship capable of transporting thousands of people to Pearl, and launches it on December 31.
2252: An estimated one-fifth the total distance to Pearl, the Colonizer loses contact with Seashell headquarters on Earth.
2325: The Colonizer lands on Pearl.
From Chapter IV:
They eyed each other across the meadow, glancing back and forth from the copper-eyed woman to one another, until they gradually shifted their attention away from their target. Though there was some coarse polish to her movements, this new female was but a child learning to walk in the shadow of its mother in comparison to the grace of the copper-eyed woman. Soon they lost sight of her in the veils of silver mist. They followed a rough estimate of her course for a few minutes more until their paths drew closer and closer and finally intersected. They stopped and faced each other. The rain pitter-pattered on the leaves of the tree next to them. This new woman seemed to be about Samuel’s age, perhaps a year or two older. Her eyes were large and black, rather empty and without any spark. But though they emitted no light, they appeared to draw the world into them, collecting all the rays of light reflected by the objects caught in her gaze.
Samuel spoke first. “Hello.”
The woman’s big eyes grew even wider and she seemed to fade away from him, although in actuality she did not step back one centimeter.
She frowned furiously. “Hellohoweryou?”
“Goodtha—” Samuel began to reply and then stopped. That was not right. He tried to speak again, but his tongue and lips felt heavy and sluggish. “How... how are... you?” he managed.
Her face drained of emotion. “Goodthankshoweryou?” she said.
Samuel inspected the other bridges in the colony and found that all five had indeed been broken in much the same manner. But on the fourth bridge he visited, he discovered a small scrap of paper caught between two of the broken planks. There was a picture drawn on it by some rough black implement, and it was torn on one side.From Chapter XI:
Samuel picked up the scrap of paper, studied it for a moment, then folded it and placed it in the pocket of his tunic. He did not see how it could help him solve the problem at hand, but he resolved to examine it more closely later. He went to bed that night looking forward to the next morning when he would find a way to repair the bridges.
About the Author
Greg Hickey was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1985. After graduating from Pomona College in 2008, he played and coached baseball in Sweden and South Africa. He is now a forensic scientist, endurance athlete and award-winning writer. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.
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