The Ship of the Unforgotten - Epilogue

Camp NaNoWriMo

Rowland VI

UTS Rose Dawn

Nov. 11, 3234 A.C.E.

The UTS Rose Dawn finished firing her engines, ending years of deceleration as she slipped into orbit around the world that was to finally serve as a home to her long-waiting passengers.

Some of those passengers had been aboard for over 700 years, awaiting in stillness and silence. Others were older still, having slept for more than 1,200 years, all the way from old Earth herself.

The android Rose waited quietly on the bridge while the main computer, Rose Dawn, finished the shutdown routines and began the scheduled powering up that would slowly bring the rest of the ship back to life. New schedules kicked in, sending maintenance bots working all over the ship to get things ready for the reawakening of 3,000 crew and colonists.

Rose was looking forward to the awakening. She’d gone more than a thousand years without a full crew around her, and more than 700 since Dann, Jenny and Lydia had kept her company. She didn’t need the company in the same way a human would, but she enjoyed it. It kept things more interesting.

In the meantime she worked with Rose Dawn on restoring the ship to full operational capacity, overseeing the maintenance bots, clearing overgrowth from the biomes, especially the rain forest, and restoring power to lesser-used sections of the ship in preparation for the human inspection that would follow.

That complete, Rose Dawn began sending signals out to the cryo-pods of the crew, awakening the medical staff so that they could prepare for the remainder of the crew’s awakening. Rose turned her attention back to the bridge, and the full-powered sensor suite they had available. She needed to be able to brief the crew on the world they were about to set foot on.

She smiled as she trained the sensors on the globe, a beautiful blue, white and green world that might have resembled Earth had the proportions been correct. Instead, this world was dominated by the green, not the blue; it had 70% land surface coverage, with most of the surface water filling deep trenches. As data spilled in from the surveys she was conducting, she made note of subterranean aquifers that showed that the world actually had more water than Earth did. The humans would find that reassuring, no doubt. The New Eden colony had shared the location of this world with them, but even given the technology they possessed that was slightly ahead of what Rose Dawn had brought from Earth, they hadn’t been 100% sure about what they’d find when they arrived here.

Details continued to flow in as the planet turned below, as well as from elsewhere in the ship. The crew were mostly awakened, and Captain Chambers would be on his way to the bridge in short order. It would be good to see him again, she thought, though to him it would seem like only a few hours since they’d seen each other. She doubted she’d have to tell him to drink enough water this time.

She frowned as a sensor gave an unexpected reading. A ... what? No, this can’t be right, she thought. She checked the sensor stations manually and confirmed.

Even with no humans present to see, she couldn’t help but lower her head in despairing exasperation. “Dann,” she said over her comm, “you’d better get up here on the double. We just received a transmission from the ground.” She frowned. “This world has been colonized.”