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The Juggernaut (Tales from the Juggernaut: Act 1) by Peter A Dixon

The Juggernaut (Tales from the Juggernaut: Act 1) by Peter A Dixon

Author:Peter A Dixon [Dixon, Peter A]
Language: eng
Format: epub, azw3
Published: 2017-04-10T06:00:00+00:00


Seven

The Juggernaut grew like a tumour. In fact, a tumour was the best metaphor anyone had come up with to describe the Juggernaut. It grew slowly, without thought or design, and was big, ugly, dangerous and unwanted.

The original kernel at the heart of the city had long ago been lost to tons of metal which had accumulated around it.

Like an oyster layering nacre around an alien particle, the Juggernaut too had grown, skin by skin, blister by blister, into the titanic beast it had now become. It shared the same process without producing the same beauty.

The Juggernaut attracted wrecks and husks of old ships like refuse did to flies. As more and more people from nearby systems found themselves among the low ranks of the dispossessed the demand for living space grew rapidly.

The increasing population brought with it a commensurate increase in the need for power, light, food, raw materials and the hundred other things on which a city feeds.

But the city never stopped feeding. Never stopped growing. Its impossible hunger could never be sated. The only option was to add more ships.

In time this mantra became 'add more anything', and residents soon welcomed a diverse array of hulls and structures which quickly became part of the city.

This growth happened slowly, and, without any central government or oversight, it took place haphazardly.

In the long years since the first two ships were fused together the city had grown in bumps and bulges, fits and starts.

The fastest growth occurred near docks and ports as new parts were layered around the most convenient places for ships to land. In time these areas became entirely rimmed with habitation and the ports began to resemble metal craters on an artificial moon.

The next logical step was to enclose these craters entirely. Once sealed and pressurised, they became bubbles of life and beacons of hope. Beacons which attracted the hopeless.

Eventually, inevitably, the new growth would cover the old, further burying the past in the artificial stratum of cable and steel.

And so the city grew.

Some unconscious instinct of design had meant the city had grown longer than wider, and wider than taller.

From a distance the Juggernaut appeared like a giant flattened and misshapen potato, aligned along its vector.

But despite the hope and home it offered to hundreds of thousands there could be no happy ending in store for the city. It lived in a decaying orbit and tumbled slowly through space with nothing able to stop its growth, or its eventual impact with the sun.

No one could stop it, so they called it the Juggernaut.



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