The Omicron Matter – The Practice Voyage – A Stop at the Doorstep of Olympus 2

Jupiter with a Drone

A new entry in the Omicron Matter – The Practice Voyage. The ships are orbiting Jupiter and Michael is awed by the strange vista. It is hard to fathom a more foreign environment. Millicent spends some time with him describing gas giants and how they are useful.

For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.

Author’s Note

My apologies for the late day entry (pesky work issues).  Michael is an interesting but difficult character to write for. I haven’t quite got the artistic soul I picture him having and I’ve given him a skepticism even I would find challenging. But every voyage needs an artist and a person who can be awed.  I am hoping to have a drawing or two of his to illustrate the rest of the voyage.

Thanks for your support. Look for more on Monday.

Charles’ Bridge – Michael

The foreignness was stark and even a bit scary. The images from Jupiter showed a huge storm that would cover the entirety of Earth (Charles showed a black dot representing Earth for a helpful comparison).  Jupiter was not a peaceful planet. It was stripes of pink and blue and brown with huge storms that rushed by with wind speeds that were faster than bullets.  They were inside the rings of the planets – those vast bands of ice and rock that glowed eerily on the sunlit side.

Michael asked Charles, “Is this normal? I mean common.”

Charles responded, “Quite. Your planet is the exception.  Most planets are gas giants such as you see now.”

Michael gestured to the chaotic atmosphere and asked, “What lives there?”

Millicent said, “Some people say nothing could. I have no such hubris. However, no one has been able to detect life as we understand it.  We probably just don’t understand life as it exists in these environments.”

Michael pulled out his notebook and started to sketch the storms and the rings.

A drone from each ship had been deployed. Millicent said, “We need to practice refueling here. These gas giants are the fuel depots of the galaxy.” Michael added a drone flying across the rings.

Millicent looked at the view and said, “The winds there are fierce. In other locations, there are ships built to race on the winds.

Michael’s eyes widened and he said, “That fiber you showed me…it would be used for rigging.”

Millicent said, “And the fabric Eleanor used to make her test airship make up the sails. I think the sailors are crazy, but it is quite thrilling. The winds could tear a person apart, but the ships skim the eddies and travel hundreds of kilometers in minutes.” She stared at the scene as it passed under the ship.  Michael closed his book and took some more readings of the atmosphere and wind speeds. Winds were as high as 360 kilometers per hour. The atmosphere was ammonium hydrosulfide and ammonia.  Further below, it was so cold and so dense there was a layer of liquid hydrogen (a concept he hadn’t know was possible before).   There was a tremendous magnetic field that was caused by the core of the planet that was solid hydrogen which was highly conductive. Simone must be enjoying the data coming in at this point, he thought.

It would hard to imagine a more inhospitable place. Yet he found the story of the sail races oddly reminiscent. Others were conquering the winds and currents of a harsh sea with boat, rope and sail…it was all so very English. Millicent straightened up and said,  “When the drones return, we will coordinate our next stop…circling Triton.”


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