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A brief excerpt from "THE TROUBLE WITH COUGHING"
by P.A. BURN.
TALES FROM THE PERSEUS ARM Vol 2
ISBN-10: 0992541530 ISBN-13: 978-0992541538
The first ships that went out were all research vessels.
Three ships went out in the first wave: the Pegasus, the Ondine and the Meltemi. They could have sent one ship but they were playing safe - hedging their bets - because the Interstellar Laser Drive was new and deemed, at best, ‘experimental’ over the very long distances it’d need to go for this trip. I reckon they weren’t actually sure that all of them were gonna be able to make it, if the truth be told, so sending three was the best way to make sure at least two got there and at least one came home again. Me, I’d have sent four, to be on the safe side.
Time was the main problem 'back then' of course, as even at one-tenth the speed of light the journey was going to take more than forty years out and forty years back.
Cryogenics was a farce; ice burns were a bitch and most people came out with the IQ of a cabbage, or stark staring mad. And bald; freezing did a number on hair follicles every time.
Generation ships had been considered but then, who really wants to set out on a journey knowing they’ve got to procreate along the way, teach their offspring all they know, and die before they get home? Not me.
Think about it, what if your kid didn’t want to be a scientist or was just too plain dumb to do the math to get you home again? Not my idea of fun.
A few people were up for it, of course, but the powers that be decided there had to be a better way.
The better way involved playing God. (Doesn’t it always?)
Pretty neat idea though. Create a mini-universe in the cargo hold where time goes slower, move all but two of your crew into it for the duration of the journey, and bring them out again when you get to your destination. It also meant that you didn’t have to carry as much food and other provisions for the journey. So, all in all, pretty practical really.
The elapsed time for the people in the bubble universe would be about five days.
All they had to do was take a couple of sandwiches in there, a couple of flasks of tea, a few deckchairs, a pile of books to read, and before you knew it, you’re there.
Of course the journey was a lot slower – forty-something years slower – for those left outside.
The psych evaluations for the two left outside were more important than their piloting and engineering skills, to be honest.
Although, they did get to ride in the cargo hold on the way back as it was figured the ship could make its way back on its own.
After all, it had the Earth Beacon to latch onto and heading home is apparently a heck of a lot easier than setting out, for reasons to do with interstellar space travel that I know absolutely nothing about....
Read 'The Trouble With Coughing' by Patricia Burn in entirety in Tales FromThe Perseus Arm, Volume 2. Read the synopsis of the other stories in this volume HERE.
PATRICIA BURN ARTIST & AUTHOR
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