Hamstronaut

O.S.F. #2 – Hamstronaut

Scruffy had never been on a big assignment before.
He thought of himself as a brave hamster, doing his hamster things, gather supplies and working his shift at the wheels of the Digital Bunker’s power generator. Nothing extraordinary ever happened to him. He was just 8 months old, grew up in a normal but crowded hamster family. All was well for Scruffy until that one day, that day he glimpsed at a propaganda poster encouraging hamsters to join the T.S.O.S.D. for Hamstronaut training.

Scruffy had never felt like an adventurer, however he often climbed up one of the bunker’s little entryways to admire the night sky. He could name his fair share of constellations. His favourite spot was quite a climb, but what a view! All the way up on the roof, a safe caged air-vent no worries about predators, and a perfect 360º vision, barely obstructed.  Sometimes an arguing married couple seems to climb up there. Scruffy had seen it happen once. A guy that was illuminating what seemed like the whole roof with his uniform got thrown off. Down to the ground. “Humans are weird.” Scruffy thought.

Hamstronaut training sounded appealing, even if Scruffy didn’t become one to test the T.S.O.S.D. Up-Goers, the education it provided could put him in a position within the Directorate and land himself a nice salary. Scruffy signed up and passed most the subjects with flying colours. He had a little trouble with applied mathematics, but cleared the course with acceptable grades. Scruffy graduated with high praise and was signed up to the Hamstronaut program.

Scruffy is now in the waiting room, right before his first training mission starts. The nerves are starting to get to him. “What if my body can’t take the stress?” Scruffy wondered, “What if one day I’m drifting out in space helplessly?” He shrugged away the bad thoughts and focussed on his training. The T.S.O.S.D. Hamstronaut training was quite thorough on helping him get though the hamster-stress, which is potentially deadly.

The T.S.O.S.D. has set up a new way to train hamsters for microgravity environments by taping a drone to a large hamster ball, of course fitted on the inside with soft materials, so no hamsters will be hurt. Scruffy will be the first hamster to experience simulated microgravity.

Scruffy enters the hamster ball and last preparations are made to launch him safely with the drone. A simulated microgravity is created by making a series of parabolic manoeuvres on the vertical axis makes the hamster experience how it would feel to be in a potential future Utopian Space Station.
After launch Scruffy got used to the feeling quite quickly and he loved to just hang there. After the training Scruffy couldn’t wait to do it more often, maybe space is the right choice for him after all…

Orbital Sciences Files #1

“T.S.O.S.D. Administration office, this is Gonzo speaking.” I put away the research paper I was reading, one of many on a pile that seemed to become larger every second…

“Sir, there has been an -uhmm- minor inconvenience at the hangar,” a nervous voice said on the other side of the line. “What happened?” I inquired. “It’s the hamsters, sir. They…, it… *beeep*” with that the connection terminated. I got up and made my way to the converted missile silo now functioning as a hangar for the Rocketship 1 among other research projects like giant catapults, models of a space elevator, high altitude balloons and preliminary designs for orbital platforms.

I got to the hangar and found myself in front of a locked door, the wires of the access terminal had been chewed through. A bunch of hamsters ran past my feet into an air vent. I decided to follow them to get into the hangar.

After crawling through the tight space of the air vent I arrived to a weird scene of hamsters preparing the Rocketship 1 for launch, with most of the human crew incapacitated, a few Robots seemed to take orders from the hamsters now… Let me be clear on this; Rocketship 1 is just a mock up so if the hamsters want to go to space, they’ll have more luck with the catapults or balloons…

I heard some squeaks over the intercom and saw a bunch of hamsters sitting in the control room, apparently giving orders to the rest. I decided to sneak to the control room, and stop whatever they were trying to do.

I made it to the control room without any incident. The hamsters seemed to busy with their work, I must admit I was impressed of their effort, how futile it might be.

Inside the control room there was a hamster sitting with a weird small helmet on, with wires going into the machinery.
“I am George, King of the hamsters,” appeared on the console screen. “Give us access to space,” was the next message.

I was confused, first of all: Who in the name of Steel would create a hamster-thought translation helmet, without considering the dangers. Second: Why?
“Do you understand me?” I asked.
“Yes.”

“Okay then, what is your purpose with this whole operation? You should know that Rocketship 1 doesn’t even have a rocket engine yet, it’s just a mock-up so the hangar doesn’t look empty.”

“Really?”
“Yes.”
“Oh…”

The hamster looked disappointed, I petted King George of the hamsters to console him a bit.
“Could we come to a compromise?” appeared on the screen after a long pause.
“Maybe, what would you like to suggest?”
“Access to space, once a rocket is built.”
“Just once a rocket is built? You could take part in the testing process before that…”

The hamster seemed excited with my last remark, maybe he shouldn’t be because testing can mean a lot of things…

After some nose twitching and me offering him a treat, the hamster agreed. Hamster king George squeaked a few times in the intercom microphone, and the hamsters began retreating back to wherever they hide. “Bye” said George. And he took off the helmet and scurried after the rest.

I ordered the bots to clear up the mess the hamsters left, and after repairing the main entrance console I went back to the pile of paperwork waiting at my desk.