This topic contains 1 reply, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  cyberjnkee 5 years, 9 months ago.

short story on how humans got FTL engines.

  • Well, the problem with FTL is it’s not physically viable….see theory of relativity. But, there are theories that can achieve the same effect. Quick interstellar travel.

    The POD
    by Cyberjnkee

    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, Constance
    was encouraged to develop her intelligence and creative thought processes.
    Seeking new ways of looking at old issues that man could never find the way to
    or around. To her, the long calculations that bind the universe were how she
    played with blocks, deep spectrum analysis her coloring books. As she aged her
    mind expanded and before she was sixteen, she was, without question, the finest
    mind man had ever created. Constance also was driven
    quite mad.

    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

    “”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.”
    Constance needs delicate handling or she will be of zero
    use to you or anyone else.. Do you understand, MISTER Kirk?”

    “OK, Doc, whatever,”
    Kirk responded noncommittally. “And for the record, ten points better than

    Jason stood,
    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. Constance’s
    clock seemed to be frozen, completely unmoving. It flashed “03:32”He wondered briefly why as he asked the
    nurse where he could find Constance’s room but not
    nearly enough to inquire about it. “Oh, her room is down the hall, third door
    on the right. But, she’s on a walk right now. You can wait there if you like.”
    Young and impatient, the annoyed boy walked to Constance’s
    room, opened the door and let himself in. Looking much as he expected a seventy
    year-old’s room to look, he was unimpressed. The outdated pictures on the wall
    of friends and family looked faded and so two-dimensional. Not at all the life
    you get with today’s holos. The clothes he saw hanging in the closet, at least
    fifty years out of style. Of course, if she kept them a few more years, they
    may come back, he mused. He settled at the desk and pulled out the file he had
    on her. The paper was old and yellow, a telltale sign of the age of the
    missives. Shuffling through the file, he found her picture. Faded a bit, the
    photo looked a bit familiar, he had seen her before? Shaking his head, he started
    and looked up at a sound. The door was opening.

    When she was fifteen, Constance was
    introduced to advanced physics theory including some unknown treatises of
    Albert Einstein. In these writings, he theorized that faster than light travel
    was possible, but at such cost that it became impractical. He offered
    alternative theories that he had no real basis for, but intuition made him
    certain they were possible. She was intrigued. Reading
    over his involved calculations, she mulled over the “folding” of space, theory
    of subspace particles and was eventually drawn to something he called “punch”
    space. In this theory a person would be able to punch a hole in regular space,
    travel through an alternate dimension and end up at a completely different
    point in regular space. Instantly. No time loss due to the relativity of travel
    speeds. All points relative to each other. She dived in with her analytical
    mind. Her other mind, however, had a different plan. Tired of the possibility
    of being alone, it wanted a constant companion. The animal side, as her upper
    brain called her “other” side screamed it’s constant silent cry for someone to
    be there with her. A call she could barely stand at times.

    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. Constance
    smiled. She had told them it would be ready in a week or so. The truth was, it
    was ready now. She stepped in, closed the lid and palmed the control. It hummed
    to life, the small LCD glowing with a constant readout. Being alone had been
    worth all the agony she felt. She would never be alone again. She hit the
    engage control and smiled.

    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?”
    Constance quipped.

    “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?” Constance
    settled stiffly into an easy chair as if she were brittle and ready to break,
    her nurse taking some of her weight to help. Jason bristled at this little girl
    making a fool of him but some instinct told him to tread lightly. He smiled and
    asked “Constance Farrell?” Her eyes twinkled from her young face and belied a
    mind that under no circumstances could reside there. “Of course, young man, but
    you already know that, I see you have my file. Well, the condensed version

    rearranged herself in the chair, settling a blanket over her legs in a
    remarkably “old lady” pose, blew out a sigh and closed her eyes. “They really
    should have prepared you better for this meeting. What overpriced project did
    they send you here to pick my brain about?” Jason noticed a small keypad by her
    left hand that she busied herself depressing buttons on. The nurse murmured
    something in her ear, to which she nodded curtly, then bowed out of the room
    leaving the two to talk. Almost as soon as the door had shut the soft sound of
    clicking and whirring was heard and a fairly large computer screen came to life
    on the wall the metal covering over it, separating and disappeared into a
    hidden recess. With a shock, Jason saw his own file flash into being on the
    screen. Constance perused it with lidded eyes, the tip
    of her tongue protruding slightly. “Ok, good grades, impressive scores, very
    creative. Oh no, Faster than Light? Really?” She turned to look him in the eye,
    “You do know that’s impossible, right?”

    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. Constance
    smiled her crooked smile. “Is this possible even? Create a whole new dimension
    to travel in?”

    The shell of the
    pod glowed softly. Constance settled back into the
    single chair that furnished the small space. Her terror was growing as she
    spent these few moments alone, so she closed her eyes to steady herself.
    Depressing some keys inlaid to the arm of her seat, a panel slid silently open
    and she gazed out of the viewer. The world “shuddered” for a moment. A brief
    shimmer and she felt like she was in two places at once. This was an accurate
    assessment she discovered. She saw the gold streak combining her and, yes, her
    across the open warehouse. Her heart pounded with glee. It worked. She could
    travel instantly through the odd dimension she created with exotic matter and
    harnessed mini black holes. She could aim the dimensional folding by entering
    the unique resonance of the physical space. It seemed she, a young woman of
    just fifteen, had just solved the Earth’s greatest travel hurdle. Keeping the
    field open, she also could be in two places at one time. She wasn’t alone. A
    frantic giggle escaped her as she powered the pod down and tried to settle
    herself from the adrenaline pumping freely into her.

    “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.

    smile soured a bit. “Should” is such a fickle word.

    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 Constance made her way to the pod. It
    rolled out of the alcove silently with minimal effort. She plugged a power
    coupler into the side port and a data cable to her worktable computer. She had
    decided on a destination, a point approximately forty billion light years away.
    According to her calculations, this was where a major radio disturbance was
    located. Besides, if she was wrong, she could always just turn around and be
    back immediately. Constance smiled at that, she was
    never wrong. She remembered how her handlers had to fight with the scientists
    of CERN to test her hypotheses. Their
    accelerator was a tool for serious science, not a toy for children had been the
    hard stance they took. So the institute gave her a new persona. A dossier that
    detailed her as a woman scientist, brilliant, but also child-LIKE. The irony
    was delicious as they consented and confirmed theory after theory.

    Ending her reverie
    and attending to the matters at hand, Constance laid in
    the details through her large workstation computer, feeding it into the onboard
    model that would control her voyage. Pre-launch tests were good, hull integrity
    at maximum. Radiation shielding was at two hundred percent estimated needs, her
    oxygen scrubbers on-line and reserve power at full. Calming herself as she felt
    the rising panic, she dry swallowed another anti-anxiety pill that had been set
    aside for tonight. She nestled into the large padded chair, flipped the control
    bridge over her lap and went over her readings one last time. Satisfied, she
    let the engines wind up. The throbbing was felt as a deep pressure in her ear
    more than heard. Closing her eyes, Constance hit the
    “go” button.

    “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.

    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.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.