Sunday, June 6, 2010

[USS Charon] SD241006.06 || Duty Log, "Supernova" - Savant

Colin Pinnell <> wrote to


Four Hundred Thousand Kelvins. Hard to imagine, really, at least for a
biological being who baked or froze on either side of a small range
within the hundreds. Oh, certainly, they had conquered those domains a
long time ago. Bottled within Charons' fusion-powered impulse engines
were twin suns, each one with temperatures in the thousands of Kelvins.
However they had conquered those limits, however, their minds were
simply incapable of understanding those sorts of numbers in a meaningful
way. More than two dozen, more than two hundred - more than a village or
towns' population. They just weren't wired that way.

Savant was, and she was giddy - as giddy as a computer program could be,
at least. Four hundred thousand Kelvins, and rising dramatically. It
would reach one hundred billion Kelvin at the core before it finally
burst, with each spike in heat accelerating the epochal collapse. She
watched form the other side of the veil as the organics argued and
talked animatedly in Stellar Cartography. They were right to be excited
as well - they had common cause here, and common joy in watching the
universe unfold. She was glad to call them allies, and friends.

Savant busied herself with preparations in the meantime. Sensor
calibrations were relatively simple, but she fussed with them anyway,
compensating for every gravitational lens and subspace ripple as Charon
sped through warp space. High-speed storage and processing buffers were
cleared and dedicated to the task of recording the event, and Savant
prepared a series of probes to collect information from all angles. Two
she chose as sacrificial lambs, broadcasting their data from stationary
points until the intense heat and pressure finally overtook them. What
better deaths could they ask for, than to be consumed in the cosmic
conflagration of a supernova? To have their molecules fused, sundered,
and dispersed as seeds amongst the stars, to form some part of the next
generation? Had she a body, it would be how she would like her remains
to be properly interred. Who wouldn't want that?

She adjusted sensor focuses as Charon sped close to a main sequence
M-type star; the gravitational lensing was only slight, but she didn't
want to miss anything. The temperature was rising. Right now, within the
heart of that beast, a silicon-rich core was fusing into nickel-iron,
and the fusion process that kept this star burning for millions of years
was coming to an end. The pressure of that fusion process was already
weakening as the iron core could no longer support the process, and only
the degenerate pressure of its electrons were enough to keep the force
of gravity at bay - which was simply not enough. Silicon, oxygen, neon,
carbon; it would all come crashing in, and those onion-peel layers would
finally overcome the Chandrasekhar limit - the inner core would collapse
into a neutron star or black hole, and the outward layers would be flung
catastrophically wide. For a brief second, that star would burn brighter
than all the others within the galaxy.

Supernovae were the deaths of gods, and the births of them. They only
happened once every fifty standard years in the Galaxy, and it was
incredibly rare for a starship to be close enough to properly record
this event. What fortune! what luck! Savant adjusted the sensors again.
Who could fault her eagerness?