The Wolf and the Hare (Part Three)

A tale of The Light Years War.

(c) 2015 Thomas F. Brown, All Rights Reserved.

This material may not be reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the author.

Habitat Vessel 2183941, constructed from a kilometers-long hollowed-out asteroid, approached the star system 360 Lupi following a wave of compressed spacetime. Riding in the “warp bubble” of flat space trailing that wave enabled 2183941 to travel faster than the speed of light. Back in the twentieth century, an Earth scientist by the name of Miguel Alcubierre proposed just such an FTL drive, but Franklin’s work on Tachyon Inversion (the T-Drive) guaranteed that Alcubierre’s work would eventually fall into obscurity. In Habitat Space, history took a different course and the result was the Compression Drive. It’s interesting to note that, from a technical perspective, the Compression Drive and the T-Drive are fundamentally similar as both involve the conversion of normal baryonic matter (electrons, protons and neutrons) into differentiated tachyons. However, the application of that conversion couldn’t be more different.

Vessel 2183941 collapsed the Compression wave running before it and came to a stop in the star system’s outer regions. Although “came to a stop” may be a little misleading, as the ship had remained motionless the entire journey. It was the bubble of flat space around the ship that moved, not the ship itself. Indeed, even moderate acceleration and deceleration would have proven troublesome, if not outright dangerous for a crew accustomed to a weightless environment.

Ahead of the ship, debris caught in the Compression wave continued onward, devastating everything in its path. That debris would soon dissipate, but not before turning a portion of the Ort cloud into icy dust.

“The Grounders are sure to notice that!” Calm-Assurance-From-Careful-Planning’s second-in-command commented.

“It’s of no consequence,” the Captain replied. “Their weapons will either be useless against us, or so overpowered as to threaten the very ground beneath their feet. Their own dependence on a planetary surface with breathable atmosphere puts them all at a disadvantage. The sooner they recognize that and abandon their foolish worlds the better off they’ll be.”

“But I understand they’re biologically ill-equipped for space,” the subordinate said. Because his platen was only 41, and far lower on the social/professional scale as Calm-Assurance-From-Careful-Planning, he added a pair of icons to his statement: curiosity and humility. Given a higher platen, he might have opted for a single curiosity icon or even none at all. But a certain etiquette had to be followed, even here on the bridge of a starship.

“Which is why they’ll lose this war,” the Captain stated, adding a certainty icon on the side channel. He waited several minutes, watching the instruments for signs that the debris cloud had dissipated enough to allow safe passage for the ship’s fleet of fighters.

“Launch,” he commanded at last. Several decks distant from the Bridge, the ship’s cadre of fighter pilots prepared for battle, each “suspended” in a web-work of sensors designed to detect the slightest body movement. Once the Captain’s radio “voice” arrived at the pilots’ receivers, they acted as one with customary skill and precision. Across the length and breadth of the ship, metal spheres, each ten meters in diameter, emerged and took up position several kilometers away from 2183941. Those spheres carried no pilots. Rather, they were operated by remote control using the instantaneous communication of quantum entanglement. As a result, the pilots were free to utilize the most aggressive of strategies without concern for their own safety. Once all the spheres had emerged from the ship, they formed a pyramid shape, and together headed in-system for the planet Shijian using a gravity-drive similar to what the inhabitants of that world now used for their own ships. As those inhabitants had discovered, gravity control not only made for efficient space-travel, it was also a devastating weapon.

The battle would soon be joined.

To be continued…

Go to Part Four

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