Jamie “Rocket” Haley had led a charmed life. Star athlete, high school valedictorian, and first in her graduating class at Barak Obama University with a degree in Astronautical Engineering. The fact that she was a nineteenth generation descendant of Kunta Kinte was also a source of great pride, whenever the subject came up. Upon graduation, she joined the United Terran Space Fleet and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. She had never been exposed to the racial prejudice experienced by her ancestors centuries before. Racism had suddenly and remarkably ended a century ago at the time of the Great Republican Migration of 2212. By then, space travel was commonplace and the Mitt Romney Space Exploration Corporation (MRSEC) had financed their own space program for select clients. The program was extremely successful and, before you knew it, Republicans were rocketing all over the place. Eventually, probably due to the fact that they had lost the last consecutive 50 presidential elections, Republicans decided that America was just too liberal a country to live in and the MRSEC offered a solution to the problem. It was decided that it would be better to find another planet suitable for colonization. Mars was already colonized by then so they knew they would have to look outside our solar system. The ships were built and prepared for launch and then one day they all just took off. There was not even a goodbye an no one even seems to know where they went. Some people say they just took off with no specific destination in mind and that they were hoping to find a suitable planet before running out of fuel. In any event, no one had heard from them since.
Jamie’s first deep space assignment was as a member of the engineering staff aboard a science vessel that was mapping a distant sector of the galaxy. The mission had been going well with no surprises. One afternoon, the second shift was on duty, and Jamie was relaxing in her quarters with a good book. All of a sudden there was a strong jolt to the ship. Jamie’s first instinct was to go find out what’s going on but then she decided against it. She thought to herself, “Why insult the second shift? They know what they’re doing. Let them handle it.” A second jolt, even stronger than the first, was followed by a loud voice on the intercom, “Alert, alert, all engineering personnel report to your duty stations.”Jamie leapt from her sofa, left her quarters, and ran down the corridor, feeling three more jolts to the ship before reaching engineering where she found the crewman all dead, either lying on the floor or at their consoles, all of which were electronically “fried” and were no longer functional. Two more engineers from the day shift showed up and Jamie showed them what had happened. She then tried to contact the bridge on the intercom but there was no answer. The other two engineers decided to stay in engineering to see what repairs could be made. Jamie headed toward the bridge to see what had happened. On the way there, there was another strong jolt to the ship, the result of which was the loss of artificial gravity. She remembered her Space Fleet weightlessness training was was able to maintain her orientation but soon her engineering instincts kicked in and she could sense something dreadful. The ship was being towed.