CARRIAGES OUT OF PHASE
I get that it cuts down on maintenance and administrative overhead. The thing that makes me nervous about these new London/suburb commuter trains is how they phase through each-other. You don't want the front car - because it's never pleasant to see a cargo train hurtling towards you. Yes, sitting inside, you still get flickers of boxes, sheep and big orange steel doors hurtling through your frame of vision (and you). And I'm not clear on what keeps the tracks solid to all phase-frames. And in retrospect, I wonder about the combined weight. But the thing that scares me is what happens if the phase cuts out?And as much as I want to believe that this is a stop-gap just to sort things out in congested bottlenecks due to track failures and the like (and once, it was), I can't help but notice that, in it's third year, until you get far away from London Central, you still have five or seven trains stacked on top of each-other's position, often for minutes at a time. It's unnerving. What exactly can go wrong here?
(Waking life - Thinking about the practical applications of different kinds of dark matter, taking transit)
It's spacious, I'll give it that. Large and blue, like the whale of the same name as it rests in docks downtown on the Thames. We conduct a training exercise, and I hope that my loader won't prep all the tubes with nukes. Perhaps an independent Scotland doesn't want them anymore, but still, what are we supposed to do with them? Escalation and nuclear winter much?
Well, it turns out those extraterrestrials were kind of hostile. The flames are high as we pile a refugee crew across the deck and down the ladder. I'm second to last in, telling the last one through - he's a green one - that he needs to dog the hatch from the inside. Y'know, so we don't drown. The rest are automated, as is much of the craft. And I see that he does it.
In the main hall (so much better than those cramped WWII models) I survey the 30 or so folk who will be our sea-family for the next who knows how long. It's a good thing this ship is automated. Half of them have never been on a boat before. I really hope the Invaders don't have the kind of radar that can spot us down here. Anyone know if they do or not? Anyone? Well, I guess if we don't we'll not live long enough to regret it.
And those two, with their child. They seem... off, indifferent to their offspring. Maybe it's that greenish cast? ... Oh crap, the parents are dopplegangers. Well, even if they are infiltration devices of hostile alien overlords, they're part of our crew now. Holding their (human) infant though, they realyl don't give a damn about that tiny squalling human-larva. We can't trust 'em with her. And we don't exactly have formula down here, and she doesn't understand why she should give a shit enough to breastfeed. The infant seems to like my nipple enough. Let's dope me up with that bio-remediation gel we purloined from the hostiles. That can reprogram a cat into a garbage-truck-sized war machine, and the interface is intuitive (as in, it actually responds to thought - which makes it dangerous to an untrained user, like said cat, now roving the suburbs of Lancaster, obliterating houses whenever it spots something small and moving, like humans). I can lactate. And commanders don't get to sleep anyways.
Anyways. Let's give this thing the once over before we get out into sea. Leaking a little water, I see. That's normal if unnerving. I hope it's condensation... but I think it's salty. Down towards engineering then. We're orienting the newbies, the basic tasks aren't that hard, and the rest we can leave to the existing specialists? I hope. That crewperson looks a lot like a certain actress. In a TV uniform. Oh hell, the swagger. Did someone try to be a useful crew and hack their cells (and mind) to mimic Kara "Starbuck" fucking Thrace? And she's giving lip to her commander. Or trying to. She thinks that my assistant Robert here is her commander - he doesn't look like Edward James Olmos, but I guess he does more than me. That's why you shouldn't play with the gel.
Who did this? You two! No, over here, I'm the C.O. Yes I'm a woman. Hence the infant earlier sucking at my tit in front of you lot. What's that glare for? You doped her up with gel knowing it would skew her into insubordination. Hah! Cute! We need strong teamwork here or we all drown, starve, suffocate, or get blasted from the sky. Thirty for you and sixty days in the brig for you. We should probably fix the lights in there, but it's not a priority. We can let them out in half time if they're well behaved.
Moving on! We have a life undersea to get used to and not enough time to do it.
(Waking life: playing X-Com, reading about induced lactation for adoptive parents - I have no idea where the Britain theme come from)