I would like a small short story on how FTL engines were made, in connection with all the books. Knowing The Dark Overlord's style, im sure something terrible happened. I would like to see people being sucked into holes in space, only to return and be totally crackers.
Constance Farrell was brilliant. The kind of spooky smart that makes the average of the world wonder where the bell curve went. Early in her life she knew she was different than other children. While they played with blocks, she played with the theory that quark anomalies could be harnessed as exotic matter and fuel engines. She was not well liked by many of her peers, or anyone else for that matter. Her I.Q. was literally off the charts and this frightened some, just plain weirded others out. Growing up in a sheltered environment, she had been exposed to little human interaction. What little she did get was cold and sometimes resentful. This lead to her constant need for someone, anyone, to be in a given room with her at all times. If left in an open space by herself, she became uncontrollably terrified. She would scream with abandon until answered by another person. She also had an odd fear of doorways making it hard to move from place to place. She would skirt the edge of any opening leaving the center unoccupied as if there were something else there she did not want to come in contact with.
Living her formative
years sheltered in what amounted to a think tank test tube,
The officer that pulled Jason Kirk over was unclear what to do. He knew the grav-cycle had to be moving at twice the speed limit. He knew that. His instruments, however, said the kid was traveling just under the speed limit. Perplexed, he knew he had no choice.
“”OK, kid. I’m going to give you a break. Take that deathtrap off my road……slowly.” The charming smile the boy flashed did nothing to reassure the officer, so he shrugged , mounted his own bike, and drove away. Jason shook his head, threw his middle finger at the quickly disappearing back and got back on his bike. Driving the forty odd miles to the installation where he was to begin work, purposely ignoring the speed limit, he pulled into the parking lot just before dusk.
Pulling off his helmet and enjoying the dismayed look he received at the reception desk, Jason entered the government facility. A squat one story building it sprawled over several acres. It’s halls a maze inside hiding the denizens. Some where there by choice, their fragile minds close to but not quite ready to, breaking. Some where there by necessity. They had lost all grip on what passed for the reality we lived in. Jason was here to talk to one of those that were here by necessity. He was here to talk to Constance Farrell.
“Mr. Kirk,” the
doctor was advising him, “make sure you use soft tones. Treat her gently, she
is quite fragile.” The sour look on the young man’s face spoke volumes. “If you
push her, she will not talk to you at all. Will shut down and your questioning
will be fruitless.” No change. With a heavy sigh, the doctor continued, “Look,
I don’t care if you have the I.Q. of Einstein and are here to “save the world.”
“OK, Doc, whatever,” Kirk responded noncommittally. “And for the record, ten points better than Einstein.”
shouldered his pack and made for the door. He ignored the doctor’s advice and
decided, at that moment, to make sure he DID push this so-called savant to
prove his intellect was superior. He would think circles around this crazy old
lady and have fun embarrassing her. What a joke that the government should pull
him off his research to go and babysit some woman who couldn’t handle the
basics of taking a bath and brushing her teeth without help. He’d show them.
First he’d make this mental gimp crack, them make them beg on their knees to
get him back on the FTL project. This was going to cost them big. As he rounded
the corner, he bumped into a girl, about seventeen maybe, very pretty, being
guided down the hall by a nurse. “Sorry.” He mumbled, making his way to the
nurse’s desk at the center of the complex. Behind the desk flashed vitals of
various patients on moderately sized flat screens the time in one corner, a
mini-map of the complex with a green dot showing location in the other. Various
essential telemetry was displayed across the panel, mostly uninteresting, so
Jason ignored it. He did, however, notice that while all the times on all the
panels were the same, there was one out of sync.
When she was fifteen,
The institution she
worked in gave her everything she needed. She experimented and changed
parameters, let her equations evelve and, eventually, had a working prototype. She
created a tube, man-sized, sleek with a black sheen to it. The casing modeled
after an old movies idea of a photon torpedo. Depressing a hidden button opened
the shell revealing a white padded interior.
Jason Kirk’s eyes almost popped from his head. The young woman who came through the door, lead by a nurse, was striking. She was also the same woman he was looking at in the photo. EXACTLY the same woman. She had not aged a day that he could see. She was also the young girl he had bumped into in the hall.
“Didn’t run me down in the hall and come to finish the job?”
“uhhhhhh, no?” Came his slow reply. “Ooooo, we have a quick
one here, Mabel.” She said to her nurse, “maybe he’s here to amuse us?”
Anger colored Jason’s neck and he made to bark a sharp retort. Who was this girl trying to give a physics lesson to? His calculations and prototypes were on the vegre of breaking that barrier and he was going to rub her nose in it! “Oh, and you know this because the secrets of the universe whisper to you in the night? Is that why they put you in here?”
She smiled a crooked smile before answering, “Something like that, yes.” Settling back and pursing her lips, she gathered her thoughts. “FTL travel is not possible. Einstein had one thing dead on, relativity. The closer you get to that speed, the further out of phase with everything you become. What is instant to you, was twenty years to the universe.” Jason rolled his eyes. He had been given this particular lesson before. A very long time ago, in fact. “Buffering the space in a warp bubble won’t work. Your prototype is perfect for inanimate objects that have no shelf life, but nothing that ages.” He was surprised by her knowledge of his prototype. As far as he knew only he knew it was ready. “The trick is to make time work for you, not against you.” She keyed some more buttons and a new display came up. “Tell me what you see here.”
The screen Jason
rose to was like nothing he had ever seen. The base calculation was a blend of
quantum physics and some alien formulae that defied his grasp. The graphic
representation showed and arc of sorts that folded into and out of itself. He
let his mind follow the curves and arcs, letting them resolve into an image of
sorts. When he had, some few minutes later, his eyes once again bugged out.
The shell of the
pod glowed softly.
“It is possible, my young friend. And it is also very practical, the energy limiting the event is fairly nominal. But there are limitations.” She seemed a bit deflated now, like her energy was slowly seeping away. “The biggest hurdle is not the creation of the dimension or folding it, but the accurate navigation to specific points.”
Jason perused the calculations again, seeking the strings that lead to navigation and resonance. “I’m not sure I follow. In these numbers, the range seems undefinable. You just need to enter relative points and extrapolate. If that’s true, the range should be indefinite. With the right calculations you should be able to reach…” His voice trailed off as he thought.
She had kept her
test a secret. No one would expect her to ever sneak off on her own, after all.
Moreover, they would not suspect her true intentions. She wanted to travel the
universe. Get away from this mudball of a world and find other beings. Her
studies had proven the existence of non-naturally formed radio waves. Certainly
signs of intelligence. Certainly signs that she was wanted by a vast universe.
Her preparations took months. In small steps she outfitted her pod with
supplies she knew she would need. She stashed small amounts of her medications
away, day by day, as a precaution. Unfortunately, this lead to an increase in
her episodes and forced bed rest. That hindered her efforts but she persevered.
Just four days after her sixteenth birthday, she was ready. Stealing away after
dark, the installation was quiet. She padded her way to the warehouse where her
workshop was located and slipped in. Using a penlight, to keep her presence
unseen, she made
Ending her reverie
and attending to the matters at hand,
“The problem” she informed him with a forced smile “is Heisenberg’s Theory seems to hold up.” She was noticeably pale now and a single bead of sweat rolled down her temple. “Uncertainty grows in inverse proportion to proximity.” Her arms tightened in a hard grip at the chair arms, her neck muscles strained. Jason became instantly worried that something was wrong. “Do you need help? Can I get the nurse?” His concerned voice carried to her as she lowered her chin to her chest. A low maniacal chuckle started then, deep in her throat “You can’t help me. They can’t help me. No one can help me. You see, I was wrong.” Constance Farrell had lowered her head, Jason did not know who had raised it. Not who had raised the head, but what. Her face was now the color of burnished metal. Shiny and reflective it held a quality of strength and age. The eyes that shone from the sockets were deep black seeming to draw all light into them. An odor of ozone wafted through the small room and the young physicist knew true terror as the woman he had come to visit stood. Her movements were no longer stiff. She practically flowed atop legs that were not in the least human. Bent back and ending in shiny hooves, they looked almost like the hind legs of a large, muscular bovine. Her forearms had twisted to masses of sinew ending in sharp talons rather than fingers. As she spoke, Jason’s stomach tried to revolt as his nostrils were assaulted by a carrion stench. “ I made the trek out there alright. The problem was in the details. I could not account for the exotic matter and fluctuating black holes that live and die so briefly in open space. My pod failed and I was dying. I was right about life out there, though. They found me and “fixed” me. Sent me back like some wayward child of their own.” Her laugh was terrible and Jason felt his bladder give way just a little. “Do you like what they’ve done with the place?” The creature leapt towards Jason, talons outstretched and eyes wild. His bladder let the rest of it’s fill out as Jason braced for the impact. The impact never came. Opening one eye cautiously, he saw that the monster was suspended mid-leap, the crackle of a stasis field surrounding it. It thrashed and squirmed against the barrier to no avail. After several minutes it settled into a resigned pose. Tilting it’s head back she released a high keening wail that threatened to burst Jason’s eardrums. The sound was horrible and sounded lost and forlorn.
In the weeks that followed, the FTL team assigned to work with Jason Kirk noticed a marked difference. His demeanor was no longer one of apathy and self-importance. He contributed, encouraged and even began to socialize with his team. By the end of the year, a bold new theory of instant travel had emerged. A “punch” drive was developed and practical. It had to be used in short legs of only a few light years, but with timing and reorientation, the jumps could be safely maneuvered throughout the local galaxy.
One note of interest: Jason Kirk, though credited with it’s development, NEVER rode on any ship containing a punch drive.
Who me? I do NOT know what you're talking about......grin