The Ship of the Unforgotten - Jenny Pixton, Full

Camp NaNoWriMo

Jenny grew up largely ensconced within the comforting embrace of ebooks and the Internet. Of course there was a family and friends and a physical location and all of that, but when she thinks of her past, she thinks of digital vistas that transported her to worlds beyond imagining, to lands of make believe and adventure and wonder and terror far more than she thinks of school and homework and parks and vacations.

She was never more than an average student, at best. The most common complaint her teachers had about her was her lack of focus, which was never entirely accurate; she had focus in spades. She simply spent it on parts of her life outside of school, except when school interested her. Mostly that meant that she did really well in any class that had anything to do with computers. She sometimes took some interest in math and programming, though that was later in her school career.

Truth be told, most of her education had nothing to do with her teachers. She often barely noticed them. She learned most of what she needed online, and school provided little more than a place for her to sit, a power source for her tab, and direction for what to dig into. She took those directions mostly as suggestions rather than as requirements.

For all her various teachers’ hand-wringing about it, she turned that experience into a healthy career in computer security by the time she hit her late teens. She was good enough that she had her pick of several offers; she went with a military posting as a civilian contractor because the pay was good, it seemed less likely that she’d have to bother with a lot of meetings, and most importantly, it seemed like the most challenging by far. So she was wrong about the meetings; two out of three ain’t bad.

Challenge became a serious driving force for her, and was the reason she volunteered to leave Earth behind. Her younger self could hardly have conceived of such a notion; cut herself off from the Internet and the vast riches of knowledge and entertainment it possessed? ON PURPOSE? But by the time the opportunity arose, she was fed up with the mismanagement that was rampant on the Internet, and realized that if she did go to a new world, she could be responsible for the creation of an Internet that, by its very architecture, could not be politically mismanaged. One that was truly open and accessible, the way every geek and nerd raged that the Earth-bound internet should have always been.

By the time she was done working through those possibilities, she couldn’t imagine NOT going. She began to feel like, if she didn’t go, someone else would set up another internet, and of course they’d get it wrong. It’d be just like the one here on Earth, and suffer the same problems and the same failures. She couldn’t let that happen.

Of course she knew she wasn’t the one that was actually in charge, but she still felt that by being there, she could have a positive impact, could really contribute in some major way to help the new network avoid the problems of the past. And so in the end, there really was no choice for her. She couldn’t conceive of not going.

The Ship of the Unforgotten - Lydia Jackson, Full

Camp NaNoWriMo

Lydia Jackson was an army brat, her parents both in the military. The moved around a lot from base to base while she and her siblings were growing up.

She was rough-and-tumble, kind of a tomboy her whole life, and she never had any trouble handling guys that got too hands-on with her when she blossomed into a beauty. With two older brothers she’d been fighting with her whole life, boyfriends and wanna-be boyfriends were no problem at all.

That didn’t mean her judgement was always the greatest when it came to guys, though. She dated her fair share, and maybe one or two more, and always they ended up being jerks somehow. Maybe it was her attraction to the bad boy type, or just poor luck of the draw, but whether she left them or they left her, it never ended well.

She never let it worry her too bad. She’d find the one eventually, she figured, or she wouldn’t. Either way she had things to do besides stress over what she couldn’t change.

One time she’d been sure she’d found the one. He was kind and considerate, but still bad-ass enough to kick ass when the time came. They were together almost a year when she found she was pregnant. He didn’t take the news well. He showed his true colors by vanishing the next morning without a word. She tried to track him down, but never did find him, the bastard.

She named her little girl Lila, and Lila became her world. A world with a heavy financial burden for a young single mom, but still her world.

She made her parents proud when she enlisted, following their examples, and her brothers’ too. She adjusted very well to military life. She could follow orders to the letter, even when she didn’t like it, and impressed every commander she had.

She was offered the chance to join the Dawn Rose project. She explained that she couldn’t possibly accept it, she had a daughter to raise. She’d thought the matter was settled for several weeks when her superiors came back to her and explained that she was made of the right stuff they were looking for, and that if getting her on board meant taking her daughter too, well, her daughter would just have to go.

Lydia accepted the offer after talking it over with her family. They weren’t excited to lose her, of course, nor their granddaughter, but their family would live on two worlds. That was nothing to scoff at.

Lydia accepted, determined to build the best new world possible for Lila, her world.

The Ship of the Unforgotten - Frederick Cobb, Full

Camp NaNoWriMo

Fred Cobb was barely married—he and his blushing bride were just back from their honeymoon—when tragedy struck.

They were fairly well-to-do; not rich, but not hurting, at least. They lived in a two storey split-level house in a suburban neighborhood. Maybe not the high-class neighborhood with the best school, but still the sort of place you could feel good about, a nice neighborhood. Friendly neighbors, visible police patrols now and then, no graffiti or vandalism to speak of. Sure, maybe the neighborhood kids would get rowdy now and then, and the older ones might drink some times, but nothing unusual.

Not until the night Fred went on a late-night walk to the corner store to get his wife some ice cream.

He’d left the security system disabled, the door unlocked. He figured he’d only be gone a few minutes. Maybe 10, tops. He was back in 5.

Within those 5 minutes, someone slipped in. Someone found his wife, waiting in the bedroom, reading one of her murder mysteries. Someone shot her down.

He came back before the guy got away. He was riffling through the room, collecting her jewelry and loose cash when Fred, alerted by the open door, charged into the room. He shot Fred twice, both shots striking his arm, and fled on foot.

Fred blamed himself, even when nobody else held it against him. Even her family, horrified and devastated as they were, kept repeating that there was nothing he could’ve done, that it could have happened to anyone, anywhere. He couldn’t make himself believe it though.

His life shattered out from under him, Fred began drinking heavily. He was a black pit of depression who barely managed to hide it on the job; he’d been a construction foreman back then. It was inevitable though that something would slip eventually, and when it happened, one of the men under him paid the price.

A poorly-welded I-beam escaped his attention during an inspection, and it snapped under wind-stress on a build site. When it snapped free, it landed on one of his men, shattering the guy’s leg bad enough that it’d never fully heal. It left him crippled.

He lost his job after that, and the pit of his depression deepened. His sense of himself was lost. His confidence in his judgment was lost. His drinking got worse. He couldn’t find work, was at risk of ending up on the street. It was looking pretty bad until finally his family—his whole family, his own and his wife’s—came to him in an intervention.

Her father was retired, but had been in the military, a career officer his whole life. He offered to pull some strings, get him a posting that would ensure he wouldn’t lose the house, help him get set up again. If he gave up the bottle, and if he did well enough, he could even eventually see about getting him a recommendation for officer’s training.

Fred pulled himself up after that. He took the offer seriously, and he lived up to it. He started to gradually flourish again in the military, and never touched a bottle again, much as he still felt the need for it. His father-in-law came through, and he was recommended for officer training. He excelled. He could never forget the past, and never wanted to, but he started to learn that you could keep on living and that part of living was learning to be positive about things again.

He was starting to climb the ranks again, was gunning for lieutenant, when he learned of the Rose Dawn mission. He thought nothing of it at first, but the idea was planted in him. Slowly it began to take over his thoughts; the ultimate reboot of his life. The perfect way to start something new, to get it right, to put everything he’d learned to the test, to finally heal the massive break in his psyche that he’d suffered.

His family was surprisingly supportive of his decision. They weren’t happy, but they agreed with him; they thought it was the best thing for him, and a fitting way to honor his lost love’s memory by building a whole new world.

When he was accepted into the program, he was an optimistic man, looking toward a bright future.

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.

The Ship of the Unforgotten - Dann Chambers, Pt. 1

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 maintained contact with his family, but refused their continued urgings to just ‘grow up and come home.’