Ascension: 1984

“This tour won’t take long, Lieutenant,” Captain Ninel Davidovitch apologized. “The ‘84 is just big enough that you can’t see it all from one spot.”

Reckall’s ears burned at the sound of his new rank. “I’m sure it’s big enough for the job, sir,” he ventured. Immediately he regretted the obsequious remark.

“The yellow lamps indicate low-level alert,” Davidovitch went on, “Because we’re crossing Synod space. We’ve detected no ships, but it’s good to be on our guard. This is the helm. Lewison, how’s it going?”

“That gunk is building up worse than ever,” Lewison grumbled, pointing at screens clouded by synapse-like strands. “I can’t seem to avoid it; it doesn’t reflect lidar. Here’s a sample Williams brought in,” he indicated a small cup. Reckall reached toward it curiously. “Best not touch it; it’s terribly adhesive.”

Davidovitch rubbed his chin. “It must be some kind of industrial trash. Turn the ship 180 degrees. If we can’t get through it, we’ll use the main engine to back out.”

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