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Theobald Dumont

"Binary Complications"

"Binary Complications"

    Theo was 14 years old when the accident happened. He was to accompany four beryllium miners and one pilot to the surface of Beta Agni VII for a school science project. Ursula had arranged the trip through her contacts with the operation. Four of them did not survive. 

    Beta Agni was a rather interesting binary star system, consisting of a red giant with an accretion disk white dwarf. Therefore, the gravity could be unpredictable in certain circumstances. On the way, the pilot of the personnel shuttle made a fatal mistake. He increased power to the aft thrusters at the wrong coordinates. 

    It was customary for all sub-light spacecraft to slingshot past Beta Agni IV using the gravity well of the ice giant Beta Agni III. The fourth planet emitted large amounts of radiation due to its highly concentrated liquid thorium mantle. To orbit the planet would be suicide. Beta Agni IV was normally and carefully avoided when traveling in the star system. But this time the pilot became distracted and it was too late. 

    The engines and inertial dampeners failed as soon as they entered this "Bermuda Triangle". The shuttle spun out into the radiation field with extreme velocity. Two of the miners who were just putting on their space suits were killed instantly, flung into the bulkhead. One more was electrocuted as the console he sat near exploded. The bow of the transport vessel shook violently and structural integrity was pushed beyond safety limits. The pilot sent out an urgent mayday signal just before he was blown out of the front window. 

    Thankfully the emergency force field generators came online and partially shielded the aft cabin. Theo had completely fractured his left arm and his body was slowly succumbing to radiation burns. The one miner left alive was in worse condition, but clung to life. The sickness and pain Theo felt was unbearable. 

    Theo was starting to suffocate, his lungs failing, when help arrived. Fortunately, the USS Nova was in orbit of the colony. Ambassador Martin was headed for his appointment to the Federation Council. The Nova quickly reached the shuttle, tractorred it out of the radiation field and beamed the survivors aboard. 

    Recovery however, was a long and arduous process for Theo. Radiation sickness had wracked his body. Psychologically he was a mess as well. His arm was fully mended, but he still felt pain where there was none. The trauma he had experienced cultivated the seeds of a life-long skepticism.

Edited by Theobald Dumont

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