Trying to create FTL was a tricky problem. How do you deal with humans and their concept of linear time? How do you deal with the pesky laws of physics? Well, like most of the things I do: I cheat. I’ve created two types of FTL for Tyche’s Journey — one using the the Alcubierre drive, the other using wormholes (because, reasons — the Guild owns wormhole tech, which is safer, but those on free traders still like to chart their own course…). The Tyche has an Alcubierre drive — in the future, they call them Endless Drives. Here’s what happens when a ship jumps.
“Clear for jump,” he said. He felt the thrill. He’d jumped a hundred, a thousand times before, but it never got old. He’d been on a rollercoaster on some frontier world, an attraction with mag sleds and high G. It couldn’t touch the feeling of a jump, and he’d wondered for a hot second whether he should get in the business of taking people on pleasure trips for the rush. Then discarded the idea, because that meant passengers, and passengers meant people, and hell was other people.
El clicked the comm controls on the dash. “Helm to Tyche. Jump in thirty seconds.” She checked the display, then said, “Hope, get your ass in a crash couch.”
The comm clicked back. “They’re gone?” Hope’s voice sounded hollow, because she was currently hiding under the cowling for one of the fusion drives.
“They’re gone, kid,” said El. “Get out of that damn engine.”
Nate caught her smile, felt it on his own face. He pressed his own comm controls. “You best say a nice thank-you to Grace,” he said. “Also, talk to her about why the reactor’s warm.”
“Will do, Cap,” said Hope, and then a click as she signed off. No doubt scrambling for her acceleration couch.
“Captain to Tyche. Captain to Tyche. Helm is clear for jump. Confirm readiness.” He drummed his fingers on the console.
Grace’s voice came first. “Ready, Tyche.”
Hope: “Good to go, Cap.”
Kohl’s voice came last. “Fuck’s sake. Fly, already.”
Nate smiled, clicked the comm off. Looked at El. “Helm, you have control.”
“Aye, Captain,” said El. Nate watched her hands reach for the sticks, felt the grumble of the Tyche’s engines through his chair. The soft hand of acceleration pressed against his back, became a firm hand as the holo display shifted again, delta-v from Enia Alpha sidling next to absolute velocity. The hand turned into a strong arm, his head pressing against the back of his couch. “Burn is good, 3Gs, locked in.” El’s voice was strained now, because 3Gs wasn’t like a walk in the park. It was a lot more than the flimsy 0.9G of Enia Alpha, and Nate felt his joints complain. God damn. We should have stayed for two weeks.
“Negative space bow wave forming,” said El. “All hands, bow wave is stable. Route is green. In three.” Accompanying her words, the big number 3 lit the air between them. “Two.” The number shifted to a big 2, this time flashing.
Kohl’s voice, from the comm, half a holler, half a cheer. All whoop, all adrenaline. Because this was a jump, and jumps were … jumps.
“One,” said El. “Jumping.”
Space in front of the window stretched, pulled, and Nate felt—
His hair, every fibre of it. The skin of his body, a soft glove for all his essence. His arm and leg, whole again, no longer metal. No pain. The pure thrill of acceleration, impossible, unbelievable acceleration. He couldn’t feel it. He was it. He was everything. He was the universe.
Stars stretched, made points of light that streaked past the Tyche’s cockpit.