In the vids, the stars all raced by, like comets. Or like meteors burning brilliantly in the atmosphere. In the hundreds of years since humans had first achieved space travel, still not enough people had seen space while they were actually out in it to know it didn’t look anything like that. Even with faster-than-light travel with dark matter drives, there was only a slight blurring. Stars were so far apart that you didn’t see much change as you went.
Charlie put up his feet and stared at the unchanging space. It was his watch, this was his job. Music from 21st century earth played. It was much more racous and energetic back then — 26th century music favored slow tones, alternating subtlely, very little repetition. In the 21st century, they hadn’t been into subtlety. Or slow. He believed the band playing was called Linkin’ Park, but it could be anyof a hundred bands. He didn’t know the difference between them that well. He had a couple favorites, but mostly it just stayed on as noise. He liked it, but he couldn’t sleep with it playing. Not at this volume.
Charlie born at the end of the 23rd century. He was passenger on a ship to HD 10307 — the first star system with a planet that wouldn’t even need terraforming to colonize. They’d even renamed it Gaia — the Greek word for earth, to show how much faith they had. Charlie had fought and pulled in favors and spent money — a lot of money — to get on that ship.
He’d spent two and a half centuries in cryosleep, and woken to find the ship to find that two centuries earlier FTL had been created and that there had been not just colonies but full blown cities and a thriving populas lived on Gaia. There was a great party and a parade and galas and events and interviews. No one in the 26th century had ever met someone from the 23rd before, and the passengers on the Starry Hope were oddities and celebrities. Through all of it though, Charlie had been in a depression. He’d wanted to be the first. Or at least among the first. And where had he been while human life was first established on a distant planet? Sleeping somewhere in the middle of space.
It was, at best, frustrating. Which is probably why he’d turned to piracy. That and the fact that even with his celebrity status he had no money whatsoever. They’d paid for rooms, food, travel. All until no one wanted to hear from him. He’d been ready to make his way as a modest mechanic/technician/electrician on the first colonies of Gaia. He’d been completely unprepared to make a life in the bustling metropoli that spanned the western spiral arm of hte Milky Way Galaxy when he’d been revived. He snorted at the memories. He was still angry about it all.
His break had come when he’d first taken a tour of a modern space ship. He’d been a futurist and a space buff for his whole life. So, of course, he’d played all the video games before he had boarded the Starry Hope. Turned out that the man who’d designed the most popular simulation game for space ships had been much more educated than your typical video game designer. He’d gone on to work for multiple space programs and even now the primary designs for small space craft were remarkably similar to the controls on the game Charlie had played.