The Ship of the Unforgotten - Dann Chambers, Full

Camp NaNoWriMo

Dann is generally an affable sort of guy. He grew up in a wealthy family and lived a care-free life where everything was handed to him. This was totally fine by him as a child, but it started to grate as he got older; his driven and independent personality type couldn’t tolerate having nothing to drive for and no independence.

He began to rebel as a teenager, as most teenagers do. He was still a decent sort though; instead of doing the stereotypical rich teenage jerk thing, he stayed away from home as much as he could. He’d stay at friends’ homes, he’d annoy his parents by working part time despite their insistence that he was taking valuable time away from his studies, and he was stubborn almost to the point of hostility over rejecting their wishes that he choose a career that “suited his station in life,” which in his father’s eyes meant law school, or maybe medical school.

He knew through and through that he could never be happy living his father’s dream, but he had no idea what his own dreams were. All he knew for sure was that he was solely responsible for whatever he ended up becoming, and as his teen years passed, he grew more and more convinced that the wealth and power his family possessed were a hindrance to him, not an asset.

Several months after his 18th birthday, Dann left home with absolutely nothing but the clothes on his back. At first he got by couch-surfing at friends’ places. He took many odd jobs to earn money to pay back his friends for their patience, and eventually took a series of minimum wage jobs, saving up enough to move into a tiny apartment in a seedy section of town.

He learned a great deal from this period in his life. It was a shock to him to learn just how insulated his privileged status had left him. He had maintained contact with his family, but refused their continued urgings to just ‘grow up and come home.’

The turning point came when he realized that he was truly no better off than he had been at home. For all that he was working for a living, he really wasn’t living so much as he was existing, with no more purpose to his life than avoiding the path his parents had set up for him.

He signed on with the armed forces shortly afterward. He was having trouble coming up with a clear goal for himself, and figured that the military would supply him with one, at least for a little while. That much would at least give him time to work coming up with a purpose of his own.

His family objected, of course. While there was a certain prestige in a military career, they assumed he’d apply for officer training and couldn’t understand why he was content with enlisted life. This was a question he could actually agree with them on, in fact, if only in private. He’d been afraid that his sheltered life would lead to problems for him, and he was just beginning to recognize one of those problems; a life free of responsibilities had left him unsure of how to deal with real responsibility, and so he found himself avoiding, and even dreading, any position that would hand him too much responsibility.

By the time he turned 21, he’d been in the service for a year and a half, and had caught wind of a project in development to colonize another world. It was to be the biggest single mission ever undertaken by humanity in the history of … well, of history. It fired his imagination in a way nothing else ever had. This was something truly new, truly important, and truly meaningful.

It was the most difficult thing he’d ever even considered doing before in his life, but he put his name into the virtual hat and spent the next two years working harder than he’d worked at anything in his life to get onto the project’s ship list. He worked every bit as hard convincing his family he was serious and that they weren’t going to talk him about of it.

Upon making it in, he was both thrilled and filled with the same old dread. He would be one of only a scant few thousand making the trip to a whole new world, responsible for the next chapter of humanity’s future. They would be ensuring that the species existed in more than just one place in the universe, that one cosmic accident couldn’t wipe out all trace that we’d ever lived. He felt a sort of paralysis at the realization, one that he hasn’t yet fully overcome.

Learning to deal with responsibility will be a challenge for him after a lifetime of not having to deal with it. Learning to accept responsibility will be more difficult still. Being thrust into a position of authority that he can’t abandon would be one swift, brutal instructor for him.