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The Rhapsody

The Rhapsody

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private rp between myself and Lyysa

334 readers have visited The Rhapsody since phosphene created it.

Lyysa are listed as curators, giving them final say over any conflict & the ability to clean up mistakes.

Introduction

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Since time began, we've been looking to the stars. Now we're among them


The Rhapsody is the only cruiser of it's kind: the first ship built for long-term interplanetary transport. All tests of interplanetary travel have gone smoothly: it takes ages, but with the proper technology it goes off without a hitch. The Rhapsody is utilizing this technology with the intention to study, and if all goes well develop a permanent settlement on Phides X0. The ship is currently completely populated by scientists, soldiers, engineers, and- of course- the crew. Everyone has their own reasons for coming: the glory of making a new discovery, getting away from family, escaping the pollution of planet earth. For some, this was the only job they could fine. They'll just have to endure a few decades on ice, and the knowledge that everyone they ever loved is likely dead and gone upon their waking.

Rhapsody is piloted and maintained mostly by a rookie crew. This is not cause for concern, however; they are all knowledgeable in their fields and passed all training classes with flying colors. Long term space travel is incredibly new, so it is impossible to hire anyone who's taken longer voyages. Rest assured, the ship practically pilots itself; there's very little room for error. Space travel is very peaceful, and the chance of a real emergency is little to none. For peace of mind and optimal maintenance, however, two crew members will be awake and alert at all times- on alternating cryosleep schedules- to ensure the ship stays on course and in perfect working condition. All the passengers have to do is sleep, and the crew will wake them shortly before they arrive.

These things rarely go as planned, though. Our story will begin with some serious technical issues, a hard decision, and a headache from coming out of cryosleep too quickly. We hope you enjoy the vast expanse of space: you'll be seeing plenty of it.

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Setting

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Character Portrait: Piper Lafleur Character Portrait: Orson Shephard
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Every work cycle onboard the Rhapsody was largely the same: you wake up, head over to the cafeteria, drink beverage with a blend of vitamins that’s supposed to help with the cryosleep headache- it doesn’t, and it tastes terrible, but it’s mandatory- then you have to wait until the personnel you’re relieving comes by to give you a rundown of what’s been going on across the ship. It’s terribly uneventful, and that’s the way you want it.

Orson had done this a handful of times. There were enough personnel that he’d met someone new for every two month cycle he’d been in. The first week or so was always the busiest- it could take some people a few days to fully come out of the “fog” cryosleep could cause, and then you had to create a routine, re-acquaint oneself with the various tasks aboard the ship (even if you’d done them before, every new pairing was a new dynamic, and negotiating what tasks you’re best suited for typically has to be done anew every cycle), and sometimes you had to earn your “sea legs” all over again.

After that first week, sometimes you started to strike up a friendship with your partner. Sometimes you didn’t. It all depended on how friendly everyone was feeling. Either way, it’s difficult being aboard a big ship with only one other person to keep you company. It’s easy to get on one another’s last nerve, and- in cases when you just don’t get along with your work partner- it can be very lonely.

Shepherd hadn’t gotten to the friendship stage with Lafleur yet (it had only been a week and a half), and he wasn’t sure yet if they would get there, but there was still a comfort there, as they sat- if not always at the same table, in the same room- together at their pre-arranged meal times every day. While you technically could take your meals any time you desired, it was drilled into them that the meal times were there to create a schedule more closely resembling life on Earth, and that schedule was in place to hopefully stave off the depression and other forms of madness that the constant and unchanging void of space could create.

One such meal, Orson sat, pushing food around his plate. He’d found during his first work rotation that it took a little time for his appetite to return. He always took his meals, though, even when he didn’t particularly feel like it. Partly because he knew it was good for him to eat anyway, and partly so that he could sit around for an hour and log it as a meal in his daily schedule. He wasn’t sure if someone was keeping track of the things they did, or if the logs would be checked when they arrived, or if they were just there as a way to scare the crew into schedule compliance. He wasn’t about to be the one to break the rules and find out, though.

“How’s your food?” Orson asked, kind of absently, and just to make some sort of conversation with Piper Lafleur. They were eating the same thing, as their diets were rigidly planned for optimum nutritional balance, so it was kind of a silly question. The food they got wasn’t particularly good, and even if it was, nothing quite tasted the same in space anyway. So he added, “Haven’t encountered anything unusual, have you?” The likelihood of anything out of the ordinary happening were low, but he asked, nonetheless.

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Character Portrait: Piper Lafleur Character Portrait: Orson Shephard
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#, as written by Lyysa
Piper Lafleur #009fff


Silence.

It was not like this time was her first time awake, she was not even sure how many times it had been by now. It felt linear in the beginning, she could keep count of the time and could distinguish the different memories from each other. But for each new cycle, everything seemed to get blended. She could easily check the logs to find out, but that wasn't the point. Everything was so generic all the time. The same schedule, the same procedures, with different people. But the worst thing must be the silence. Not that she had expected anything else. But at times it felt deafening.

The cutlery hitting the plate as her current partner was playing around with his food seemed to echo in the empty cafeteria. She stared at his hand move the food around, listening to the echo from the plate. As she adjusted her position her chair seemed to sound like an earthquake. She knew that it surely was her own imagination but it seemed so natural. Shouldn't she have been adjusted to the silence inside space by now? Or was she missing the constant buzzing of planet earth now? Impossible.

“How’s your food?” Piper flinched at first, thinking what was that? She had been so caught up in her own head that she had forgotten the source of the echo's. She looked over at Orson with a baffled expression before composing herself as she cleared her throat, "Oh? The food?" She looked down at her own plate that she hasn't even touched yet. The cutlery was still placed neatly at the side just as the drink which had been left untouched as well. What could you say about the food? She wasn't going to express her true feelings about it, "It's bland, like always. Or would you describe it differently?"

“Haven’t encountered anything unusual, have you?” Piper's first instinct was to shook her head, she only did it as a reflex and once she stopped, she actually took the time to ponder upon the question. No, this past week had been just as uneventful as before. The same menial tasks that she had done so many times before. Had anything piqued her interest because it seemed different? No, there are always some variables that change daily. But nothing had seemed that drastic.

Once more she had drifted away inside her own head, she returned to reality and focused her attention on Orson once more while shrugging. "No, my days have been following the usual routine. Nothing has been standing out. How about you?"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Piper Lafleur Character Portrait: Orson Shephard
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Orson shook his head when Piper asked if he would describe the food differently, “No.” A short pause, to collect his thoughts, “No, bland feels like an apt description.” He set his fork aside, he’d spend fifteen minutes trying to pretend he found the meal appetizing and he was tired of the charade. “Do you suppose the food will be any better when we reach Phides X0?” He was sure nothing would taste quite the same as it did back on earth, but maybe in a place without infinitely recycled air and artificial gravity they would be able to enjoy life a bit more.

The scientists really were lucky- they got to sleep through most of the trip. They wouldn’t have to go through the effects of entering and exiting cryosleep multiple times, they didn’t have to sit in rooms so quiet and so cold that even the hum of the heating systems hardly cut through it all.

As Piper shook her head in response to his question, Orson tilted his head ever-so-slightly to the side. He watched the way she drifted away in thought, couldn’t help but notice the look in her eyes as she quickly recounted the events of the week. Nothing stood out, of course. Nothing ever did, and likely never would. “No, it’s been…” He shrugged, “You know how it is. Ellis-” The crew member Orson was relieving this work cycle, “She put some equipment in slightly different places than I would have expected.” Orson gave a casual, noncommittal gesture there, “Closest thing to excitement I’ve experienced so far has been finding a tool in the wrong drawer.”

He rested his elbows on the table, laced his fingers together, and rested his chin atop his hands. Part of the logic of working in pairs was so they could keep watch on one another’s mental state. The vast expanse of space had proven to be difficult, mentally, on some people, especially with such minute changes in daily routine. It was difficult to access someone else’s mental health, however, when you weren’t entirely sure of their baseline. Orson liked to try to be subtle about it, there was something insulting about bluntly asking someone if they think they’re losing it.

“Well, you’ll let me know if anything unusual happens? Or if you need any help, or another set of eyes?” In theory, they were a team. In practice, the teams were most often two people on opposite sides of a big ship that occasionally communicated throughout the day. “As is the mandate, I am always available to assist.” He smiled, hoping his attempt at a joke wouldn’t fall flat.

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Character Portrait: Piper Lafleur
Character Portrait: Orson Shephard

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Character Portrait: Orson Shephard
Orson Shephard

We're making history, here. It's exciting.

Character Portrait: Piper Lafleur
Piper Lafleur

"Isn't it funny that I feel less alone secluded amongst the stars than I ever did back on Earth where I was surrounded by people?"

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Character Portrait: Orson Shephard
Orson Shephard

We're making history, here. It's exciting.

Character Portrait: Piper Lafleur
Piper Lafleur

"Isn't it funny that I feel less alone secluded amongst the stars than I ever did back on Earth where I was surrounded by people?"

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Character Portrait: Orson Shephard
Orson Shephard

We're making history, here. It's exciting.

Character Portrait: Piper Lafleur
Piper Lafleur

"Isn't it funny that I feel less alone secluded amongst the stars than I ever did back on Earth where I was surrounded by people?"


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