White Noise (James W.)

Several days after 'The Core'

Victor trudged absent-mindedly through Toroid 1. The ACTP may have been winding down, but that hadn't decreased his workload. Ever since the incident many now referred to as just 'The Core' 1), many of the high-up members of each Department had been having regular meetings in the Forum to work out how to get things fixed. Progress was being made, but there was still a lot of uncertainty about the integrity of some Ship systems, leading to a renewed push by Ellis and Varian to persuade the many opposed parties about the advantages of landing on the nearby planet that would soon be out of range.

After this most recent meeting, the various Department heads had stayed behind in the Forum to discuss… something or other… so Victor had snuck out to head back home to Blue. It was something that he often found himself having to explain to people: whenever he used 'home' to refer to where he lived, most who didn't know him had (understandably) assumed he meant White sector, not knowing how Victor had left his place of birth at the first opportunity to immerse himself in a world that valued high technology over cloying family bonding. He wasn't estranged from his family, he had to be quick to point out when explaining this, but he didn't see them much.

Thinking about this as he made his way back to the newly refurbished ITTS, Victor realised that, with all the ACTP work he'd been doing over the last year, he'd barely contacted his family at all. In fact, thinking about it, he probably hadn't spoken to them since telling them about his mysterious promotion to the Programme, and they certainly hadn't tried to contact him since then, which seemed a little odd. So, taking a detour past the entrance to the ITTS dock, Victor headed back towards the place he once called home: White.

The meeting had been going on for some time before he left, and it was quite late into the Ship's simulated night hours as Victor stepped over the threshold into the bland corridors of White sector. Most had retired to bed at this point, leaving the usually restless, teaming corridors fairly empty. Victor wandered the corridors, occasionally recognising various secluded corners he had sat in by himself in his youth pondering how to get out of this bustling chaos. Still, enough had changed since he was last here that he couldn't quite remember where his family actually lived; or at least, he found what he thought he remembered as their door, but the occupancy list outside wasn't of his parents and siblings - rather, of a completely different family. So finding a terminal, Victor queried: “Computer, where is the current residence of Seth and Ryn White and family?”

There was a pause. Victor, jaded from trying to get information out of Computer in the ACTP, half expected the response “This information is restricted” to come back, but instead got something slightly less unhelpful, but not what he was after: “Information Request Priority Ranking: Minimal. Due to processing requirements relating to recent events, processing time is unable to be allocated to your request at this moment. Please try again later.”

“What? Still?”, Victor muttered to himself - surely they must have fixed enough of the immediate damage from The Core by now that Computer had at least some free cycles to track down one measly family? At any rate, he knew better than to argue with Computer, and set about returning to the ITTS car. Maybe this could wait until another day.

On his way out of the sector, Victor passed a small plaque set into one of the walls. He stopped to read it.

In memory of the nearly 200 people who tragically lost their lives in the sabotage of a ventilation fan in this hallway, 26th July 2649. Their atoms live on.

This plaque was unveiled on 3rd August 2649 by Sector Head Mira White.

Victor remembered Xanto for a moment, executed after his apparently accidental mis-fitting of a ventilation fan in this sector, but quickly moved on; he had an ITTS carriage to catch, and rather wanted to get back to his quarters to sleep. It wasn't a major deal, Victor thought to himself on his journey back, that he hadn't found his family - he could always try to contact them some other day. Besides, in many ways, Engineering was his family now - the bonds he had formed with many in the Department through the ACTP would last him a lifetime, and they were certainly more interesting people than many in his family.

Still, it was a bit unlike them not to have contacted him for so long. Victor dwelled on this for a moment, but put it out of mind as his carriage pulled into Blue sector - Victor's true home.

1) Victor, somewhat exaggerating his involvement, and still slightly high on Blue Water at the time, had suggested it be known as 'The Mechs-ican Stand-off', but this was quickly shot down
fic/victor2.txt · Last modified: 2013/03/05 13:11 by gm_jonathan
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