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Back in the bridge, my idle mind goes back to logs only this time with a more historical angle in mind. What the fuck happened?
Pouring over the data over the course of an hour, pointed to one culprit. A few lines of code and a brief power surge from Reactor 2 just 48 years into our mission.
Each reactor is responsible for its own fusion engine and has its own computer core, but they still provide power to the rest of The Dreamer via an umbilical. One reactor is plenty to power the rest of the ship just with its excess. Redundancy is a good thing.
There were safety measures in place, perhaps too many put in too haphazardly. If, for example, there’s a power surge or drop on Reactor 1 The Dreamer cuts the power connection between Reactor 1 and the ship, then after a preset amount of time with steady power from Reactor 2, The Dreamer it will begin running diagnostics to see if it can re-establish power Reactor 1 again.
This all happened until it didn’t. Reactor 1 had a power surge. The Dreamer cut power. Immediately after, Reactor 2 had a power drop. In all likelihood, Reactor 2 didn’t even notice, but some system detected a drop in amps and voltage none the less. It was probably temporary. The result of The Dreamer suddenly running entirely solely on Reactor 2, but still according to The Dreamer’s sensors, Reactor 2 fell below thresholds and power was cut there too. With no reactors providing power, the program simply didn’t have a protocol to re-establish a connection with either reactor. It needed one reactor providing steady power before it would even run diagnostics. If someone had been awake, we could have fixed it. If someone had been awake.
From there, everything just sort of drifted into disrepair. RTGs had problems, mostly in the power management systems, since they were always being tapped to their fullest potential. Solar panels were no help either. They were way too far away from a source of energy to produce anything other than noise in the power grid.
By the time things got bad enough for the computer to wake people up, running a cryo pod through the wakeup procedure took more energy than The Dreamer had to spare. Still, it tried.
It tried, and people died. If someone had been awake.
By the time we hit the system, and solar became a source of power, it wasn’t enough. Too many RTGs had gone under, the computer had inadvertently killed 73 people and now it had barely enough power to run anything other than mission-critical systems. Even those were run poorly.
Apparently, we orbited the planet for a full year, just like the mission plan. The reactors separated after a year of observations, turning themselves into satellites, just like the plan. It was only then that the computer had built up enough electrical courage to try to awake someone else, traveler number 326420. That had to be Mr. Military.
According to logs, Traveler 326420 proceeded to wake the crew shortly thereafter.
He attempted to awake 127 people. All at once. People deemed necessary. I can see it now. He expected to turn loose a hive of people on this problem that only he could see. There wasn’t enough power for that. Had barely been enough for Mr. Military to awaken. All of them, every one of the 127 was now listed as deceased.
If only someone had been awake. Someone else…
Many hours before he would try again. This time with one person. I was lucky 128. His last-ditch effort. One more attempt to find help. The system had strain now. Another 128 pods, including his own, were no longer sucking power. He had his help. He had me.