Saturday, December 19, 2015

Course Correction

“Course correction filed. Target centered. Time to transition, five minutes thirty-four seconds.” The light synthetic voice droned, obviously bored with simple things, but it took an edge that Jordan didn’t like, “Captain,” A word without much of the tonality it should have, “The problem with subspace disk four seems to increasing. I would suggest that we don’t use it as it may interfere with the more stable bubbles generated by the other three.”
Jordan couldn’t decide if it was good or bad to have an AI that was worried about their welfare. Mostly good, but they really needed to make this run as quickly as possible. “What alternatives do we have?”
“The first, and only real alternative is to leave the disk out of the jumps, of course we will have to course correct again and make a slightly shorter hop for Proxima Centauri in order not to risk a long burn on the other side.” Of course, the disks were what kept them together in subspace, protecting them from the different physics existent in the parallel universe. The disks also kept them from floating up out of subspace in some unknown part of their own universe, like anchors or down planes.
“Any other options? How bad could the interference be? You know they have an inverse payscale, the longer it takes, the less money we get and the less likely it is that I can get that repaired.” Hauling zettabytes of data was the high-tech way between systems paid well. With exclusionary pricing on data via quantum entanglement an industry of a sneakernet spaceships making jumps several times a day between systems.
“Based on rough models,” That phrase sent chills through his spine, all too often those models were spot on, it must have been a colloquialism that the ship’s computer acquired from the previous owners, a cantankerous elderly couple that had been wandering the stars for nearly eighty years. “The interference would certainly take out the number two disk and possibly the number one disk which would roughly halve or quarter our distance.”
“Oh.” If you were going five light years you really wanted to arrive in a spot that wasn’t too far away. The three standard hours it would take to get to the Sol system would turn into years of relying on the standard ion-spike drives and hoping none of the recyclers brokedown. And there was that whole time dilation thing too. All in all, not something you really wanted to risk hopping between stars. “Turn it off. Correct our course again.”
“Course correction filed.” The stars swept from left to right. “Target centered. acceleration time: twenty seconds. Time to transition: two minutes eight seconds.”
“Carry on, Jean.” Jordan put his feet up and reached for the first edition Asimov, quite a rare find, maybe he should replace the disk next time.

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