Friday, June 29, 2012

Blog Tour - Particle Horizon: Guest Post

Welcome to Angelhaven.

As your ship emerges from the particle displacement portal, the first thing you will undoubtedly notice is the overwhelming presence of our host planet and great benefactor: Hades. This gas giant monster is almost twice the size of Jupiter and provides us with all the raw materials for our survival and industry. Within its upper cloud decks, a great AI-controlled cloud scoop ship ploughs a furrow day and night.  It farms water, oxygen, carbon, ammonia, silicon and hydrocarbons amongst many other elements which are sent up to Angelhaven through a 3,000 mile-long umbilical. Do not be alarmed by the aurora-like firework display you see through that observation-deck window; the waves of light you are witnessing are created by Hades' vicious radiation battering against the ships' protective magnetic shield. You are quite safe.

As you round the horizon-spanning curve of Hades, the ice-moon of Clara will come into view. A lifeless, insignificant moon with few resources of any use. Uncharitable gossip amongst Havenites suggest these qualities inspired the discover of this star system to name the moon after his late wife. Yohannes Phillips' wife was indeed called Clara, but the board of AngelCorp can assure you that all founding members were fine, upstanding members of the Union of Free Worlds and her contribution to early colonisation efforts will be long remembered.

Within a few moments, Angelhaven itself will come into view. From the outside, it looks like a fairly unassuming asteroid. 15 miles-long and a shade over 4 wide, you will notice the various exterior domes and projections that give a glimpse of the class-leading industry within. From the north end cap you will see the umbilical connection to the cloud scoop thousands of miles below. At the southern end which you are now approaching, you will see the docks that lead to Angelhaven's interior.

After passing biometric and DNA security profiling, you will attend a day-long AngelCorp security briefing. As you are by now undoubtedly aware, we go to great lengths to keep Angelhaven's industry and location a secret. The captain of the ship that brought you here did not even know the displacement coordinates; these are kept on highly-encrypted keys managed by the ship AI. As you begin your new life on Angelhaven and start your illustrious new career working for AngelCorp manufacturing, you will begin to learn the importance of these measures and why your particular skills in nano-engineering and magnetic forge programming caught our recruiter's attention.

As you board your complimentary AngelCorp taxi, prepare for a somewhat disorienting spectacle! People from conventional terrestrial worlds often experience an unusual form of acute claustrophobia. The 'horizon' of Angelhaven curves upwards until both 'ends' meet, 4 miles above your head. If you feel any kind of nausea, please ask the onboard AI and you will be given an appropriate retch-suppressant to inhale.

You will be flying along the central axis of Angelhaven where a bottled sun runs the full 15-mile length of the world. Around it is a sleeve of cloud which casts shadows and rain (strictly on tightly-managed agricultural schedules) on cities and farmland 2 miles below. Angelhaven rotates to create centrifugal force sufficient to approximate one Earth gravity. You will notice that the 'gravity' is strongest on the ground and decreases to nothing the closer you get to the axis.

As you cruise within the cloud tunnel, the AI controlling your taxi will rotate your cabin to shield you from the glare of the light tube and give you the best view possible of our beautiful world overhead. Through the gaps in the cloud the first thing you will surely notice is the apparently solid band of green taking up almost a 5th of our available landmass. This seemingly solid green ring is made up of a new Union-designed wonder-crop you may have read about; Longwheat is a genetically modified alien plant making life possible on dozens of distant worlds whose hostile native biology doesn't want us there. Each long, fibrous stalk is a factory of proteins, carbohydrates and oils and almost every part of it can be synthesised into various foods or plastics.

Your taxi is now approaching the great city of New Chaldea. Perched on the northern shore of Lake Clara, it is dominated by the central, winding spiral which houses Angelhaven's most prestigious hotel for visiting VIPs and the main offices of AngelCorp. As part of your induction you will have the opportunity to sit in the low gravity board room on the 312th floor and take in the breathtaking vista whilst meeting the current board.

As you approach the northern end of Angelhaven, you will see the loading docks and a cluster of unusual-looking modules attached to the light-tube itself. This is the high-security zero G lab complex and is strictly out of bounds to all employees and citizens below alpha-level clearance.

You may also have noticed one of Angelhaven's best-kept secrets as you travel through the cloud tunnel; the teenagers flying past your window like birds are 'gliding the tube' an extreme sport pioneered by the industrious youth of our world. Using custom-designed flight harnesses, they use the peculiar centrifugal rotation and low gravity within the cloud-tunnel to perform regular acrobatic displays. These surfers of the skies are most active during the low-trade seasons when axis-traffic is lowest - wait a moment…

Wait a moment... Please forgive this interruption to your tour but an emergency announcement has been relayed across Angelhaven's network. A pair of Alliance-registered heavy freighters docked this morning have broken security protocols.

Wait a moment… You are being taken immediately to a secure location.

Wait a moment… We are being invaded...


Come back tomorrow as we interview author, Selso Xisto, and give you a chance to win an autographed copy of his novel.


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