This story is in my book "The Honeycomb Comet" which is now available at Author House -- Amazon -- Barnes and Noble and other fine book sellers, search for "Roger Bourke White Jr."

Interlude 2324

The three HX fragments found in the Solar System added enormously to humanity’s civilization and space traveling skills. As Kai Tremolo had hoped, they provided ideas and inspiration that let humans perfect constant-acceleration starships that could and did make the nearly 25-year round trip to Alpha Centauri and back. With HX-inspired medtech letting people regularly live into their hundreds, investing a quarter-century just in travel looked reasonable to some.

All that from broken fragments that were millions of years old!

Then came a new Lucky Jonas, following the examples of his father and great-grandfather before him. A new space mystery had been found, the Altair Mystery. Captaining the Lucky Jonas V, Aniston Jonas visited it and returned with incredible loot and a tale of heroism that, he allowed the journaloggers to explain, he was too honest to disavow.

As every schoolchild soon learned—especially if he or she went to an elementary school, an advanced crèche, or pre-college-preparatory institution named after Jonas or the Altair Sphere—he had dodged through a swarm of hostile ships, piloted by aliens already looting the Sphere, then scouted its interior and found an extraordinary HX electrical power source, now nicknamed the HX battery, before battling away from it and returning to Earth.

That single battery provided so much eco-friendly cheap electricity that 25 million people could settle under the Greenland ice sheet without causing any additional global warming or disturbing the retiree communities on the surface. But by 2324, human-built batteries based on its technology had stubbornly remained “a decade away” for several decades.

Book Three
Osmore Was Right!

An Interview with Albert Musso

It wasn’t a rest home, it was the Carrefour Hotel, the finest in Titan City 2.

Albert Musso didn’t seem ancient, either, as he walked vigorously to the table in the garden, his eyes sharp and his voice clear as he greeted me. When he’d started on the mission he wanted to talk about he’d been only 52, which meant that adjusting for near-lightspeed travel he’d lived barely over 110 years. But I’d been warned that he fatigued very easily and when he left me he’d have to be plugged into a roomful of life support systems.

For that matter, it wasn’t an interview; it was a monologue. I waved my ring-computer into its Record mode and Captain Musso talked.

I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Mr. Thompson. I assume you know I was captain of the ninth ship to get out to the Altair HX Sphere, not the first. But I think I still have an interesting story to tell you.

It’s a burden I’ve carried too long. Telling the true story of the first Altair Sphere voyage may partly right a terrible wrong from long ago. When I saw what they said in Jonas’s obituaries—comparing his bravery in climbing that mountain on Mars to his courage at the Sphere, going on about the benefits he brought to all humans—I’d had enough. Grrr… such bilge! I can respect the dead, but I need to respect the living more. This is what I saw happen there, and I do hope your readers will actually listen.

Yes, Jonas was the lucky one on that voyage; he got the battery. But he wasn’t the one who figured out how to get us humans immensely more, and even more valuable, material. My God, how much more valuable! That honor belongs to Henry Osmore.

Yes, that Henry Osmore, “Coward Osmore”, the one that Jonas and Czernak badmouthed as a wimp who wouldn’t take a chance on anything from the day they got back from that first voyage.

But that’s flat-ass wrong! I was there, and I’m testifying that it was Osmore’s decisions, not Jonas’s, that laid the foundation for modern HX exploitation.

It’s time he got his just desserts, his own honor, and I’m now determined to make it happen. After you get done talking with me, Mr. Thompson, you should go talk to him, Henry Osmore, the real hero of the Altair Sphere and HX exploitation.

I asked Captain Musso to call me Jerzy—it’s always better if the interviewee feels you’re a friend—and he went on.