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Rated: E · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2141489
I remember when we just complained about extra bright street lamps.
I had my entire heliostat array aimed at aimed a the latest Bubbleship to come out of the new yards of Ceres.
They had perfected the rail launch births and were able to work on the ships in a gravity field with atmosphere, then launch them without fuel costs.
The latest generation of ships coming out of the yards was what I wanted to see, nearly ninety five percent of the propulsion was to be solar sail.
Multi tiered solar sails were designed to inflate around the ship and provide continuous free delta v.
The inflation seemed to be magic.
It grew and grew until it seemed to nearly equal the nearby Ceres itself.
The acceleration was noticeable within the first half hour.
I had to change focus multiple times to keep it in frame since none of the normal tracking solutions was working.
The ship changed course and started working its way towards Saturn when the inevitable happened and the light from the sun was reflected back towards the earth for the first time.
There was no slow dawn where the light gradually increases, this night went from moonless darkness to brighter than noon within a second.
My eyes seemed to burn from the bright light and warmth that I felt coming from the clear ceiling I had over my room.
The smart sensors darkened quickly but were only designed to deal with standard sunlight and were still letting in too much light to be comfortable.
I had to retreat to the basement where I could ride out the light-storm.
It was over within a minute but the effects were going to take much longer to discover.
I had to do something about this before there were thousands of these things happening a month.
Two of my classmates were now in congress so I spent the next fifteen minutes putting together an email for Thad and Joshi.
I laid out the potential problems with earth crossing reflections from solar sail craft and how to ensure we didn't accidentally blind satellites.
I ordered replacements for my heliostat image receiver since mine was now burned out in over half of its sensors along with a fully blocking replacement for my transparent roof.
I wasn't sure which option they were going to go for in the end, but I leaned towards the Vanta black solar sails only within the system.
It ensured that no derelict craft would ever blind the earth in the far future at the same time as preventing the purposeful destructive use of them.
Software lockouts would also be viable, but those would only be used if the offensive potential was the primary reason for the craft in the first place.

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