I’ve just discovered I don’t know much about WordPress—who knew? There’s will come a day when I’m smarter than a webpage. On with the show.
Prologue: Not many short stories have a prologue but I felt this one needed a bit of information. I wrote this silly story trying to help reason out a new way of space travel for a manuscript I’m ¾ through writing. My space flight theory is based on an actual scientific theory (not dealing with space flight). You may laugh later at my style of hashing things out—but it works for me, sometimes.
All of the Sci-fi I’ve read lately has only one theory about how ships will move about in the future: manufactured star-gates (Wormholes). The reality is wormholes are actual proven space phenomenon. And some scientists even believe they may be gates to another time plane. I must correct myself here: As I said, wormhole are manufactured gates. Their theory is based on blackholes. The theory is by using an exotic substance—anti-matter—these gates can be stabilized. Sounds great but science fiction has always been experimental and leading edge—until wormholes came along. I don’t believe wormholes will ever be factual or actual. I also believe that light speed travel is something that is possible. Many disagree. I think it’s just a shame that sci-fi writers have fallen into ‘the norm’.
If blackholes are a rip in the fabric of time, nothing living or inanimate could survive as we know it when traveling into it. Blackholes suck light from the universe, crush planets… anything that comes near is reduced to a tiny speck of mass that cannot escape. This is the phenomenon wormholes are based on.
Also, there are some who believe that an object cannot go faster than the speed of light (Bad stuff would happen). It was also said we couldn’t go faster than the speed of sound a few years ago. “WARP factor 3, Mr. Scott!”
And so we come to a real honest scientific theory about capturing Solar light (protons) in the form of light bars. Solid objects that have an unknown amount of power within them. Here’s my idea of how we could use these rod of light(protons).
**** Also. I hope I don’t offend anyone with my southern male humor. I figured this would be a kind of dry subject so I throwed a little Redneck at it.**** This short story is about 3000 words, so sit back, relax and enjoy.
INTO THE WILD BLACK YONDER
Major Vickers stormed, yes stormed, down the lighted corridor. Light sensors barely keeping pace as they turned lights on just beyond and off just behind the Major’s rapid pace.
“Damn that Barns. He’s going to have my head put on a platter when the Academy sees these expenditures. Well, he’ll be going down with me.”
Vickers was headed for the most remote lab in Canada. The electro-pulse Glide Tube had only been installed the week before to the remote site and Major Vickers was demanding 100% out of it.
Glide Tubes were a recent invention of the team Dr. Barlow Barns headed. They could propel an individual or a compartmented passenger and supply craft at up to .72 mach (450 knots per hour). There were no acceleration or deceleration issues. They used a minimum output power and actually produced more power than expended. The produced power came from the efforts of individuals walking. It wasn’t much but it still produced more power than was required to operate the system. Dr. Barns was a hero with the physical fitness people as well as the government and private business committees.
He was one hero that was about to get his ass chewed out! Major Vickers pushed the lab door open before it could react electronically— he loved the surprise it caused when he slammed into a door and caught individuals with their pants down. Well, that only actually happened once and the President was none too happy. Another reason the Major was still a major.
Major Vickers stepped in, opened his mouth and was blown back through the doors by an explosive blast of air and light.
Two hours later Vickers slowly opened his eyes. Dr. Barlow Barns held a medicated cool patch against Vickers forehead.
“Thank goodness you’re coming around. Your vital signs are all good. These kinds of events aren’t powerful but if you’re not holding on to something it can be quite a surprise!”
Major Vickers sat up, removed the cool patch from his forehead and looked around. The room was austere and every item looked to be secured to a surface. “Barns. What the hell are you doing up here? You not authorized to work in weapon development.”
“My dear Major. I am about to turn the world on its head. I am working on space travel, not weapons.”
“Do you have any idea how much money you’ve spent in the past six months—let alone the past five years?”
“Money is no object, dear Henry.”
“No object to you but I’m the one that has to answer for these expenditures! I’ve just come from a world-class ass chewing…”
“Come, Henry. You’re ass still looks delicious,” Barlow said with a knowing smile. “Come over here and sit next to Barney and let me tell you how you are going to be famous—and rich!”
All the anger that had been building up in Major Vickers blew away in one breath. “Rich…? Did you say rich, Barney?”
Barlow knew it was all over for Henry. His one dream in life was to become rich and now it was about to happen if Vickers kept his trap shut.
As Vickers sat down on the hard bench seat Barlow said, “Henry this is the discovery of the… millennium. But it will require remaining extremely clandestine.”
“But, Barney. What…”
“Are you in or out, Henry?”
“I’m in, of course, but what about these expenditures?”
“You must make the problem go away, Henry. Now,” Barlow held up his hand for quiet. “Let me explain what it is I’ve found and what we’re going to do with it! Come over here and relax. Oh, Sasha. Please join us and bring some cherries and vodka. I’d like a cup of coffee, too.” Barlow led Vickers to a comfortable cushioned seat at a metal conference table and then sat beside him while they both waited for Dr. Sasha Vedonavich to bring refreshments.
Dr. Barlow Barns has insisted that Sasha have her own small lab to work in alone and Major Vickers had a fit until he got a look at her. As Vickers later finally found word to describe Dr. Vednoavich, he labeled her, “Instant Erection”.
Sasha was blonde haired, blue eyed, crisp, clear, sunny complexion and had charisma like the Piped Piper of men. Barney liked to tease her by saying, “Sasha, you have a perfect body except for the allergic reaction you get when wearing a bra.”
Sasha walked in carrying a tray filled with refreshments. Before she could close the door to the service area both Barney and Henry hit the bottom of the metal table with their fists, making a metallic thunk. Sasha turned around with a slight blush and smiled. “Must you two boys do that every time I come in the room?”
Major Vickers said with a big grin, “Do what, Sasha?”
She placed the tray on the table and served both men coffee, vodka and a plate of cherries. She felt their eyes on her and it didn’t bother her. She knew these two also respected her intelligence. She came around the table, kissing each man on the lips and then walked towards her lab. “I’ll be listening from my lab and add whatever you like Dr. Barns. And boys. You can close your mouths now.”
“So you’re telling me you’ve invented a totally new space propulsion system? And the propulsion is… light?”
“Henry. We’ve been tell you this for the past three hours.”
“Until you or Sasha can explain it in ENGLISH- simple English, we’re not leaving this place and I won’t help you with the appropriations needed to continue.”
Barlow rubbed his hand down his face. “Damn, Henry. Aren’t the words It-will-make-you-rich enough?”
“I can’t go to the Academy babbling like an idiot about faster than light speed using a light rod and then not have any idea how it works.”
“Sasha. I can’t make it any simpler. You’re turn to try.”
“I’ll be right out.”
Sasha sat and told Henry to finish his vodka. He gulped it down. Sasha sat behind Henry and began to massage his neck. “I’m going to explain this process and then we are going to show you how it works. This is the quick, simple version of solar light propulsion theory. Are you ready, Henry?”
“Yes. That feels really good. Simple, I need simple.”
“Pay attention, darling.
“Many years ago at the beginning of the 21st century Australian scientists came up with a theory about capturing light- protons. They believed that if you could make two mirrors one molecule thick and space them one solar light proton apart then it would be possible to stack light protons on top of one another and they would bond into a stick of light.”
Major Vickers asked, “Did it work?” He tried to turn to look at Sasha but she laughed and held his head so he couldn’t turn to look at her.
“Years later one group actually did get a string of protons to adhere, but it was too unstable to use for research. The energy this tiny string gave off was incredible, but everyone soon gave up on it because it was so unstable and dangerous.”
“That is until our Sasha started looking into this theory three years ago,” said Barlow.
“Thank you, Barney but it was the entire team that found the key.” She rubbed Henry’s neck and said, “Henry, you contributed the most.”
“How could I help when I still don’t have a clue what’s going on.”
Sasha laughed and said, “It was your simulated erection that did it.”
He turned his head and Sasha kissed his cheek and turned his head back around. “I discovered a way to layer diamonds at the molecular level and then layer them onto a compound we invented a few years ago called Ceramatium. The Ceramatium can withstand almost any amount of heat and pressure and whatever it’s bonded with will take on these properties.”
Henry said, “Okay. I’m kind of understanding this part but it sounds like we’re a long way from space travel.”
“Here we go, sweetie. Pay attention. I was able to construct large solar light rods that were completely stable until protons are shaved off—physically. We discovered this when we tried to attach connectors. Things got ugly fast and several members of the team were killed.”
“Killed…? I never saw a report of any bodies.”
Barlow said, “Henry. There were no bodies or anything else left. That’s why we moved to northern Canada. This was too important a discovery to create an incident. We all agreed not to tell you.”
“Okay, but let Sasha tell me—she makes it sound better.”
Sasha laughed; running her fingers through Henry’s thinning hair. He sighed.
“On with the quick tour,” said, Sasha. “I first discovered the light rod construction and when our team was brought in things went very quickly. We are now able to produce any size light rods we like. Length is only blocked by the length of the Ceramamond—our new compound. What we’ve found is that after approximately a meter the benefits do not grow. We are now experimenting with stacking and bundling these rods.”
Dr. Barns interjected, “Henry. These rods are the perfect power-propulsion source for space… They’re still a bit unstable for use on earth. Perhaps one day…”
“Barney’s right, Henry. Until then. What we’ve done is manufacture a triangular gyroscope similar to the Inertial Reference Systems used in very old aircraft for navigation. It’s a gyro that has no moving parts and uses a laser and mirrors—that’s the key.”
Barns said, “Before we get to the good stuff. I want you to know that this is Sasha’s work and idea. The team only help refine it.”
“You’re too sweet, Barney. Rather than produce power I found that this gyro produces movement—very fast movement. It took me over a year to find that it wasn’t just exploding or disappearing into thin air. I had to make them incredibly tiny. The first couple destroyed my lab.
“Then with the teams help we found by slightly changing the angle of the mirrors we could control the speed.”
“So how fast will this thing go?”
“We don’t know. At .999 WARP it disappears. But if we maintain the speed at around .910 WARP it just keeps going and going. Our last trial was our first return. We used old- very old, Navtech pieces we built from museum blueprints to guide it.
“One thing I am sure of is that it goes beyond the speed of light, but something happens to our equipment, I think.”
She wrapped her arms around Henry’s chest and kissed his neck. It surprised Henry so much he jumped and his left knee hit the bottom of the metal table with a thunk. Sasha laughed and said, “You’re so funny.”
Henry asked, “How was it I helped make this thing?”
Barney slapped him on the shoulder and said, “Hell, Henry, if it hadn’t been for you we would still be blowing stuff up and not understanding what we can do with the Light-Gyro.
“Here’s the deal. Sasha made this incredible device but couldn’t get it to start without causing it to go 100% and destroy everything around it, no matter how small she built it.”
Sasha said, “I found the way to start the rod to breakdown but not how to stop it. I used a blade valve made of Ceramamond to shave off a very thin slice of rod and the reaction started and even shutting the valve wouldn’t turn it off—until…”
“Let me tell this part, Sasha.”
“Okay, Henry, you know that Sasha is beautiful and smart and every man on this project would like to… well, you know. Anyhow, she had set the gyro up in the main arena—outside so the team could witness the problem she was having.
“Sasha was behind the curtain with the gyro and a table was set up on a platform to view her presentation. Sasha had set the Ceramamond blade against the light rod but not cutting in. She didn’t want everyone to wait while she worked with her back to us.” Barns gave Henry a knowing wink.
“So, when Sasha was ready I pulled the curtain. She had to wear a tight fitting outfit to keep anything from moving into the field of the gyro… Well, you can guess what the first reaction of the male scientists was… right?”
Henry was imagining Sasha in tight fitting clothes and instinct took over. His fist hit the bottom of the table with a thunk.
“That’s right! Every man there had the same reaction and the vibration setup by them hitting the bottom of the table was just enough to cause the blade to move a few microns into the light rod and started a weak flow of power. The blade continued to vibrate around the gyro light rod. The vibration also caused a minor shift in the mirror array and it released part of the light stream into a protective plate of Ceramatium. The entire gyro assembly lifted off the platform, breaking all the anchor bolts and just hovered, hooked to anchor chains. You did it, Henry!”
Sasha spun Henry around and put a I-want-to-do-you kiss on him. She even gave his… crotch a rub. “Now, darling. Let’s go outside and see what you have done for us… and perhaps later I will do something for you.”
“What…? What…?” Henry said.
“What?” Said Sasha.
“What are you going to do for me?”
“Well, Henry, I do believe I’m going to screw you silly! But only after you see this.”
“Hey, I don’t need to see shit! I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll cover your… I’ll watch your back and keep the Academy away until it’s time to get rich!”
“No, honey. You’ve got to see this!”
“Crap. Okay, but make it quick.”
As they moved out to arena Dr. Barns moved over to Sasha and asked, “Are you really going to… you know…? Do Henry?”
“I need to celebrate and I do like Henry, so yes, I am.”
“What about me?”
“I’ll tell you what, Barney. Let me ask Sarah—your wife—and then I’ll get back to you.”
“On second thought—just forget I ever said that, please.”
Sasha pulled Henry forward taking his arm and then Dr. Barns arm and they walked together to the arena.
Henry sat a large table all alone while Barns and Sasha set up an odd looking lozenge shaped object about twenty yards away. It was polished to a high dark shine, about five feet in length and sat in a cradle made to fit its shape.
Dr. Barns took a seat beside Major Vickers and Vickers leaned over and whispered, “Is she going to put the tight suit on?”
“No… Yea, I know. I hate it too, but she doesn’t need it anymore. And by the way, Henry. If she’s telling the truth about what she’s going to do to you you’ll be a major hero around here.”
“Do you really think I would kiss and tell?” Barns stared straight at Henry until Henry said, “Hell, yes I will!” They both laughed.
Barns said, “One more thing. Put the sunglasses on and use the seatbelt.”
“When you two kids are through gossiping.” Sasha waited until they settle down and looked her in the eye. It took a few minutes but she was patient.
“Henry. If you’ll press the button on the remote in front of you. Once you do that just advance the lever to about half way through the travel. And watch carefully.”
Henry looked at the small device sitting on the table in front of him. He reached out pulled it to him and pressed the red button. He felt a slight vibration in his seat and watched the large capsule lifted off the cradle and hover.
Sasha had sat down beside him, put on a pair of sunglasses and strapped in to her seat. “Go ahead, Henry. And watch closely.”
Henry Vickers advanced the lever as he carefully watched the capsule. There was a great flash of light, a blast of wind and the capsule raced straight up until it was out of sight.
He looked at Dr. Barns and Barns said, “That thing weights 5 tons.”
“Holy shit! Where is it?”
Sasha took a remote from her lab pocket and pressed a button. A screen on stage popped up with a 3D map of the Solar System. She zoomed into the space between Earth and the Moon. A flashing light was about ¼ the way to the moon.
“That doesn’t seem so fast,” said Henry.
“Push the lever all the way.” He did and the blip picked speed and within thirty seconds it passed the moon and the screen adjusted to show Mars and Jupiter. Sasha said, “It traveling at .89 WARP. Now. Pull the lever back and flip the guarded switch and push the lever forward again.”
Henry followed the instructions and then pushed the lever up to full thrust. The blip reversed and followed the same course back towards earth.
Sasha rubbed the inside of Henry’s thigh as she took the control from him. Once again Henry jumped and his left knee thunked into the bottom of the table. Sasha laughed.
She manipulated the control and pointed up. Henry watched the capsule streak towards them. There was a bright flash of light and a blast of wind and the capsule was sitting a few inches above the cradle and then it settled down onto the stand.
Henry looked at Sasha and said, “I’m duly impressed. How big can this capsule be without endangering Earth?”
“Size doesn’t matter,” Sasha said with a smile. “Once we determine what we need to do to control it passed light speed then this is going to be exciting. It shouldn’t take more than a year or two.”
“You mean it’s going to be two years before I’m rich?”
Sasha said, “Well, we could make you moderately rich now or I could…” She leaned over and whispered into his ear. Both Henry’s knees hit the bottom of the table and he passed out.
To be continued…