Jim Rivers, a navigator, now finds himself leading the crew of the Valiant Explorer. He has awakened everyone on board and held a conference with all the section leaders to detail the situation – their ship veered off course and has brought them into a strange solar system that is going supernova – in 3 days. They cannot outrun it. While everyone is shocked, a few voices of reason prevail – giving the team a possible plan to survive the explosion.
They have decided to salvage usable parts from the ship and forge enough trinite to seal the connection points between as many modules as possible, in effect creating one very long spacecraft. A memorial service was given for the captain and his first in command who died when a fire damaged their pods.
See the link at the top of the page for the full Supernova story.
Supernova Part 4
Twenty-two pairs of eyes solemnly watched as each coffin was jettisoned out into deep space. They immediately disappeared behind the ship, swirling away into the endless darkness. Ted gave the eulogy himself; and while he knew neither Captain Charles McAdams or his first mate Red Banks personally he did try to do them justice. Jim said nothing. Ever since Stella had explained the supernova process a small detail had nagged at him but he just couldn’t quite get a fix on it. She said there would be nothing left, but he had done some reading. Sometimes dying stars turned into pulsars. They didn’t always make black holes, and didn’t always just disintegrate. Jim pondered on this until Ted asked him to speak. Jim stood and quietly delivered a prayer on behalf of the lost men.
The star would have to be super massive, as the larger one clearly was. This supernova very likely could end up leaving a pulsar behind…what was it about the process? Jim couldn’t remember exactly. The supernova explosion would disintegrate everything in its path…or would it?
Ted finally wound down. So far he had accredited the miracle of life to chemical drops from outer space, the rise of mankind to extraterrestrial visitors and he’d compared the shortened lives of Charlie and Red to those of characters in a dramatic movie that he liked. The memorial was over and those polite enough to stay for the duration were now standing to leave. Jim thanked Ted, who shone with all the attention, the man of the hour. He didn’t seem to notice that most of the crowd were exiting the room as quickly as they could.
Jim and Vince headed back to the bridge together. Jim was using Vince to jog his memory. It was important, that nagging little thought, he just knew it.
“What do you know about pulsars, Vince?” He asked. Vince scratched his head.
“About as much as you could sweeten your coffee with I guess, why, some kind of star?”
“Some super massive stars become pulsars after they explode.”
“Yea but Stella said this one was going to disintegrate itself…and us.” Vince replied as he entered the bridge ahead of Jim.
“I know, I know, but there are two suns there,” Jim pointed at the binary stars. “One will go supernova, yes. But the other one still has a lot of mass. What is it going to do?”
“Oh I see what you’re getting at. Well, won’t it just, explode too?”
“Not necessarily.” Stella joined them. “I see what you are getting at Jim. Being as they are binary stars and gravitationally bound… the larger star would take a hit but it might not be destroyed.”
“And theoretically,” Jim pointed. “If we were at some point directly behind the larger sun, wouldn’t it shield us from the worst of the storm?”
“The ship would have to be very close to that sun Jim.” Stella warned. “Very close.”
“But the trinite should handle that easily.” Jim said. “Will the blast be that much more destructive closer up than if we are say, past this second planet here?” Jim pointed to the second planet in orbit around the suns.
“Exponentially yes, of course. But either blast zone will be fatal to the ship if it isn’t completely sealed with trinite.”
“Then it doesn’t matter which direction we take does it?”
Vince looked from Jim to Stella and back. “Are you saying we should fly back toward the stars? Toward the explosion?”
“Well…yes. I think that’s what I’m saying.” Jim nodded. Vince took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
“Fly into the star.” Vince shook his head, grinning. “Man, that’s radical.” He looked at Jim and Stella. “Do we have time to reach it?”
“We do.” Stella answered him simply.
The three of them looked out at the glowing suns.
“Fly into the star.” Vince repeated in awe. His knees felt a little shaky.