She dreamed as mostly all long voyage sleepers dream, the dreams long and complex and intertwined with her past and her future. She felt like she needed to scratch an ankle, but the knowledge that she was in a cryogenics tank, submersed in the freezing solution so that she couldn’t even reach all the way down to her ankle was there.
She knew that she was sleeping her way to the RIM, but that didn’t make the dreams any less real to her.
She was floating, like a bird or a dirigible, over the landscape below, it’s darkened colors almost too monotone to even make them out. The frozen side of Branton lay behind her, she’d floated for thousands of miles already in the sub-darkness, with stars only above and after hours of that kind of dream, the light ahead was getting closer.
Branton was a tidal locked planet; it kept one face towards it’s sun all the time. She knew that this effect is known as synchronous rotation. A tidally locked body takes just as long to rotate around its own axis as it does to revolve around its partner and Branton had rotated around it’s own star for billions of years.
One side that was hot, very hot and very sere and very much tough to live on. The other side, then one she’d just flown over was dark, almost no light got to it at all. It was cold. It was uninhabited for the most part unless one went to the tropical areas on the equator.
Still no light, but there was some bleed-over of heat there, and in this twilight kind of living, many millions lived. The band around the planet, was about three hundred miles wide, where the hot scorching sun lay on one side and the cold arctic climate ruled the other.
Three hundred miles wide, this band of civilization held the citizens of Branton. They lived therein, they worked therein and yes they spent as much time as they could in the habitable zone.
But the planet of course, lay before it, both hot and cold. Sometimes they needed to go out into the hot areas and others into the freezing cold. To mine for ores, or to get access to more water or even just for scientific observations.
She flew over the last few miles of the darkness and ahead the light was growing brighter and brighter. Soon, she squinted as the sunlight caught her at this height and she couldn’t slow or turn…she was propelled on wards into the light…and the heat.
After not more than a few more miles, she realized that she was heating up—her brow dripped sweat in rivulets right off her forehead. Her underarms, were pocketed with dripping sweat as well and yet she flew on, towards the brighter and brighter lights that lay ahead…
Branton…called her…and she had no choice but to fly towards the light…