Diversity:

Chapter 32

Quiet filled the hangar as Treyhan and Conmer stared each other down, lethal smiles painted across their faces. As cliche as it was, it truly felt like time had frozen – thawing back into its normal flow only after Treyhan broke the silence. “I understand the location of my informant is… less than ideal, but I need the information I need.” She glanced over toward the Long Con. “Besides, I was under the impression you’re fairly comfortable taking risks.”
Treyhan’s retort was careless and unnecessarily added aggression to the room’s atmosphere, she’d quite clearly stopped taking Conmer seriously. He’d been waiting for that. “It’s safer than death row.” Conmer straightened out his tie and hair as he spoke, letting his natural aura of guile return to him. “Still, far be it from me to back out on a deal. You’ll have your information soon enough.”
“Of course.” Treyhan retained her composure, but it was clear that Conmer’s sudden change in composure surprised her. Perfect. He had now established a calm, calculated, and professional atmosphere, as well as a strong ability to hide his true nature. This wasn’t particularly useful in regard to any of his short term plans, but it never hurt to garner a reputation. “Well, now that everything is nice and ‘official,’ you can go wander around town. Personally, I’d recommend Ponzi’s if you’re looking for food or drink. Their salads are incredible.”
Treyhan was clearly trying to regain the advantage by changing the topic to one where her position was dominant. It was time for Conmer to play his trump card. “I’ll keep that in mind.” He walked back through the entrance to the Long Con.“Tenra!” No response, odd. It was clear that Tenra’s curiosity outweighed her sense of self preservation – otherwise she wouldn’t have followed Conmer and his crew onto the Happy Mango in the first place. It wasn’t like she didn’t know her name. After all, there are only so many times you can point at someone and say “Tenra” before they get the hint. Her curiosity should have brought her near the door while he was speaking to Treyhan, and her name should have made it clear that-
Tenra dropped down from the roof of the Long Con’s main hallway, right behind Conmer. He wasn’t exactly clear on how she’d been hanging onto a featureless metal ceiling, but that seemed like a question for later.
“Oh. There you are.” Conmer made a beckoning gesture. “Come on, there’s some people I want to meet you.”

 

A note from the author ninja:

So, I figured I’d talk about space travel today. Why today, you ask? Simple, I couldn’t think of anywhere else to put it, and I want to show off (what I think is) a really cool idea.

See, you don’t have to know much about sci-fi and real world science to know two facts: Every galaxy spanning sci-fi show needs a warp drive. (Though a more original name may be used. Such as starslip from the webcomic Starslip, which just sounds really damn cool.) This is born from the second fact (which is really more of two facts spliced together), the fact that it is physically impossible to travel faster than light, and the fact that in the grand scheme of things light is actually pretty slow. It takes four years for light from the closest star (not counting the sun) to reach Earth. Thus, FTL (Faster Than Light) travel is needed to get between star systems at a reasonable speed.

This is where the first of three FTL methods used in the Diversity universe comes in, known as warp gates. These are large ring shaped structures put in orbit around planets for civilian use, that fold distant points in space together using the 5th spacial dimension. (Since slip drive took up the 4th.) The process is difficult, since the amount of resources required are not practical to send over by ship, and therefore can only be built by established colonies. It doesn’t help that the process is relatively unstable, and can create gravitational disasters on a planetary scale if done wrong. It’s all worth it though (assuming you screen your engineering crew very carefully), because warp gates are literally instantaneous travel across a potentially infinite amount of space. (And although construction is perilous, maintenance is fairly cheap, easy, and safe.)

Of course, you have to found a colony somewhere before you can add it to the network of warp gates, which is where slip drive comes in. Slip drive uses the 4th spacial dimension to create a network of “tunnels” across space. Although these tunnels are basically the same as normal space, they do not connect to the usual physical plane at a 1:1 ratio. As such, even though slip drive technically doesn’t make your ship go any faster, you’ll still get to your destination in far less time. One can enter or exit an existing tunnel from any point in the tunnel, but you have to follow the specific paths laid out by the tunnels and cannot use them to go anyplace tunnels have not already been carved. The process is very precise, and the exact movements ships take in the tunnels must be calculated by onboard computers (which takes 8-45 seconds), but human pilots still choose the general path taken. This is the slowest form of FTL (but still stupidly fast).

In case you’re wondering where the tunnels came from, they were/are carved by more advanced variants of the slip drive – exclusive to high ranking Alliance ships. Although the path calculations are several dozen times slower, and the actual flight speed is anywhere from three to five times slower, these more advanced slip drives share none of normal slip drive’s limitations. (They even leave new tunnels for other pilots to follow!)

Finally, there’s displacement drive. This FTL method is mostly reserved for emergencies, and can get you stranded lightyears away from the nearest tunnel if you aren’t careful. It works by means of loophole, moving the space upon which the ship rests rather than the ship itself. Thus, the ship isn’t technically moving at all, and can go at any speed it wishes. The downside is that computers have trouble tracking this sort of non-motion, so flight must be set to full manual. Just pray that your pilot doesn’t blink, or they might miss your stop by a few star systems.

 

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