Chapter 1-4

Chapter 1 ***

Such a tranquil sound. A light crackling, reminiscent of hail on a tin roof. Which in this case means almost certain death. Whoever did this is clearly sadistic, judging by the absence of a rushing water sound.

Plasma against the hull, melted through the armour plating and compromised the pressure hull. That pretty crackling sound is the formation of microfractures due to rapid heating and cooling. The liquid slag of the armor will be recrystallizing in the frigid emptiness of space, amid a cloud of ionized particles that will tear those crystals back apart as fast as they form. Think of a plasma stream like the strongest acid there is, superheated to 2 billion degrees, mixed with a Taser with enough charge to evaporate a building.

What is more sadistic than using a weapon like this? Turning it off before you fully breach the pressure hull.

Had they kept going, the temperature in here would have reached the million degree mark in less than a second, and we would all be incinerated before our brains even knew what was happening. Instead we have to sit here listening to that damned crackling, knowing that any minute the wall will give way and we will be sucked out into space.

By then the molten armor will have cooled into brittle shards of metallic glass, and the cloud of charged particles will have dispersed, leaving us to the tender mercies of explosive decompression. In all the old science fiction movies, they threaten or joke about tossing people out an airlock. On a real spaceship, you would never dream of even mentioning such a thing.

Decompression is such a cruel way to die. First the internal pressure that keeps you alive inside an atmosphere turns against you. If you haven’t covered your eyes with your hands, they explode, if you Held your breath, your lungs pop and your sinuses rupture. Then the skin over your entire body starts to stretch, then rip while the blood is being drawn through it turning you into one large bruise. Then you begin to freeze, that blood turns to ice, and your skin starts to shatter instead. Before long you are a bloated and cracked meatsicle that nobody will be able to identify even if they were miraculously able to recover your body for burial.

Only the most sick and twisted of individuals would ever even consider pretending to subject another living creature to a fate like that. Clearly such an individual is manning the guns on the enemy ship.

There are twelve of us in this room, and if I don’t do something about this right now, we are all going to face that exact fate. Wish me luck.

Chapter 2 ***

In space warfare, you can’t just rely on combat troops. It isn’t just a slogging match between gun batteries. There is just too much at stake.

There is no such thing as a military ship, and you don’t embark on a journey into the darkness of space alone. Every ship is an enormous and complex set of systems made for the primary purpose of supporting life. The ships of Sol are more complex than most, and deceivingly larger than those built by anyone else, even though they have the smallest profile.

Every species that ever embarked on the daunting task of traveling the stars did so after a major advancement in some branch of technology. Those who survived their first foray into the darkness that surrounds their cradle, learned to advance that field of research very quickly in order to compete in a very dangerous new world.

The major advance we made to break from the Solar system, was control of gravity. Which in this situation may be both our saving grace and our most difficult obstacle.

One wrong move and this entire ship could unravel itself from the inside out, killing all our families. I would rather die in space than let that happen.

Chapter 3 ***

Me: “We need to get a deck plate up, now!”

                                                                                        “You can’t be serious!?” :Sam

Me: “Dead serious, I need all of you on your A game here. If we don’t adjust all the plates around it to compensate, we will loose dimensional containment. That isn’t going to happen on my watch, understood?.”

          Everyone exchanges confused glances, then straight to work, with                   
                                                     precious moments lost.

Me: “Julie; we need an estimate on how long that wall is going to last.”

                     Julie flies over to the wall and let’s out an ultrasonic chirp

                                                 “We have 15 second to a minute at most!” :Julie

Me: “Let’s make good use of it!”

                                                            The plate comes free

                                                                                                 “What’s the plan?” :Sam

Me: “I am going to create a Graviplexion to save us all. Everyone over to the wall”

                                           “That isn’t a thing!! you just made that up!?!” :Julie

Me: “Yes I did, because it is new. You can hear the plan and die or see the plan and live. Now get over to the wall and let me work.”

   Everyone moves toward the wall with a look of confused terror on their faces.

            “You mean this wall, that is about to explode and kill us all!?" :Sam

  A low pitched humming sound can be heard rumbling through the hull of the                                             ship. As a look of relief comes over my face.

Me: “Yep, that’s the one. I don’t care what they told you, hold your breath and keep holding it until I tell you to let it out, and keep your eyes shut. That is the sound of survival. Three! Two! One!”

  I run across the hall and kick the wall as hard as I can, it shatters, and we are                                             all pulled out into the vacuum of space.

Chapter 4 ***

So, clearly I need to explain a few things. Where to start is the real question. By my understanding, you are from before the cultural revolution, so you probably don’t realise that many of the people involved here aren’t human. For example, Julie is a bat, and our structural engineer.

Right around the time we realised we weren’t the only sentient life in the universe, we also started to realise we aren’t the only sentient life on earth. We didn’t need to genetically alter other species to be smarter, we only had to get out of our own heads and teach them on their own terms. Language was one of the first hurdles, and it’s resolution is responsible for the format of the exchange you just saw.

We got far enough in the field of cybernetics to create a neural communications interface. It turns out that while differing physiology changes the sounds different creatures are able to produce, which makes oral language a difficult prospect, our thoughts are produced in much the same way. By using a direct neural interface, we are able to speak a common language regardless of our common abilities regarding the ability to produce sound, or recognise symbols.

As soon as we broke that barrier we realised that most creatures are quite intelligent, and that humans were actually behind in many areas. Cats and dogs for instance had learned to understand their local human languages centuries before, while humans seemed entirely ignorant of the fact that cats and dogs even had language.

I digress though, there is a lot to explain and I can return to the great social lessons later. Now I need to bring you upto date on physics, particularly gravity.

In the late 20th century, the fundamental understanding of gravity changed drastically from what it was believed to be before that. We realised that it is not a force attracting two objects together, but instead a warpage of spacetime. The true meaning of this revelation didn’t become part of public knowledge until the mid 21st century when the Large Hadron Collider experiment managed to successfully isolate and produce Higgs Bosons separate from matter. This was the beginning of gravity based technology, which gave us control over the very fabric of the universe in which all matter and energy resides.

We gained the ability to change the nature of distance and travel. We were able to create wormholes which are an alternate route between stars and cross light years in the time it takes to walk down a hallway.

That fundamental property of collapsing spacetime is what I am planning to use right now in my Graviplexion maneuver.

The humming we heard was the gravity beam emitter powering up. It uses two high intensity gravity fields that shift the vector of motion, which we originally mistook for force, in opposite directions over a very short gradient. This is known as a tidal force, and creates a gravity shear, which tends to rip things apart.

The enemy ship belongs to the Syralins, which are silicon based life forms who excel in biotechnology. Their ship itself is a living creature the size of a small moon which houses their colony in a liquid hydrogen sulfide atmosphere. It is relatively rare for one colony ship to attack another, because of the risk it poses to your own colony should you take damage in the exchange.

In this case, they are clearly running dangerously low on resources, because their ship is trying to eat ours. For those of you who haven’t made the connections yet, we are in fact fighting off a giant space beetle using a gravity chainsaw.

That chainsaw however, also works like an antenna of sorts, emitting high intensity gravity waves, or ripples in spacetime, off its length. Now, no emitter is perfect, so it doesn’t get all the gravity into the beam. Gravity waves are also emitted spherically from the emitter source at a lower intensity. The point it is hitting on the enemy ship contains matter, where the space in between doesn’t. Matter emits its own gravity, so stretches the fabric of spacetime, making it more resistant to change. This creates a partially reflective surface for the gravity beam.

These reflected gravity waves also reflect spherically back toward the original emitter, and creates a lot of instability in spacetime on either side of the gravity beam.

What does this matter you ask? Well, we just pulled up a deck plate, which happens to have a gravity emitter attached to it. If I can create a strong enough pulse, I should be able to collapse the entire unstable region.

When spacetime collapses, the entire region becomes a single point in the uncollapsed spacetime. In this case, the triangle formed by the beam emitter, where it is hitting the enemy ship, and the emitter I am holding. Once it collapses, anything inside it, being us, technically occupies the entire space, and the emitters will overload, which will cause spacetime to unfold again. This is the really cool part, when it unfolds, we go from occupying the entire space back to occupying only part of it, but we can choose which part. If I did my calculations right for the pulse, we should end up on board the enemy ship, where the gravity beam was hitting.

Since gravity stretches and compresses time, you can think of it like a rubber band. If you stretch a rubber band, then pinch it between your fingers before releasing it, it will snap to the place you pinched. I am doing the same thing here in the opposite direction. Once space compresses, I change where we are holding onto it before letting it spring back to normal size. By doing this we cross the space between the ships instantly, disappearing from where we were and appearing on the other side.

Still wondering why I chose the enemy ship instead of my own, and why I broke the wall first? Well, second answer first. Every deck plate on a Solarin ship is a gravity emitter. This creates artificial gravity through the entire ship. It also maintains the structure of the ship. Our ships are what is referred to as hyperdimensional, meaning that their internal volume is greater than their external volume. This is possible because gravity has been used to compress spacetime inside the ship so there is literally more space packed into a smaller area. If I were to activate the pulse inside the ship, I would have to calculate in each deck plate as a separate emitter. Also, it would burn out any emitters inside the triangle, which would remove the field compressing that section so it fits inside the hull. That would mean the inside of the ship would rip through the outside, and the cascade would destroy the entire ship.

This is why we had to be so careful with removing this plate, adjusting the other ones to compensate. It is also why I chose to get us outside the hull before using the pulse. As long as I do it while the air is still rushing past us, we won’t decompress.

This leads to the answer to your first question, why the enemy ship? Well, the places I can select to emerge from the collapsed space is only the volume contained within the triangle. Since I’m taking the deck plate outside the hull, and the beam emitter is mounted on the outside of the ship, the spot where we’re cutting into the enemy hull is the only place inside the triangle that isn’t out in space.

This is a lot of guesswork on my part, doing something that has never been attempted before. The theory is sound, but a lot could go wrong. It is our only chance, and if it works I get to name it, if not I won’t be around to care. Here it goes.

Continued ****