A vast spaceship stands out against the infinity of the interstellar void. It has the distinctive design of an Enzmann starship, the huge front globe holding the deuterium propellant that powers its nuclear fusion drive, with living quarters extending behind. Many lighted windows show that it is crewed, and several generations may live and die on board before it reaches its destination. Its name stands out proudly – Demesne – and it might indeed be the sole domain of these travellers for many years, possibly even centuries.
The engines of this spectacular craft achieve speeds to a significant percentage of the speed of light, but they are now silent. We think that it might have already achieved its cruising velocity, except for the existence of a smaller spacecraft which is approaching under power – such a hazardous transfer is unlikely during the voyage. No, this starship is stationary, probably before the start of its journey.
We question the purpose of the coming rendez-vous between these vessels. A portal is opening in the side of the starship, so the smaller craft is welcome. Perhaps the final members of the crew are arriving before their epic voyage begins, anticipating the challenge of what awaits them – and their descendants.
Text: Richard Hayes