Ulm Station: Informal Presentation

Busby wanders into the lab wearing wrap-around pink shades and a plaid bathrobe over shorts, flip-flops, and a T-shirt that reads “MA HUMPS.” He finds a chair at one of the holotables and settles into it with a happy sigh.

Tilsworth is meanwhile standing near the holotable, a large sheaf of papers on a clipboard beside him, the last few pages of which he is scanning into the table’s interface.

Maxwell comes strolling in, with a friendly nod to Busby and the good doc. “Evening. Scanner’s free of gremlins today, I hope?”

“Got a memo from Omar, man,” Busby says, lacing his fingers together as he kicks a leg over an arm of his chair. “You’ve got good news, right? Lay it on me, man.”

Tilsworth chuckles to Maxwell. “I haven’t seen any cute furry animals or scaly green monsters, so I believe we are gremlin free.” he says, the last page scanned in as he starts up the holo-presentation. “I do hope it is good news in your eyes, Mr. Busby. Although we do not have a physical product yet, the theoretical components are well tested and proven at this point.”

Maxwell stretches a bit. “Good, good. Be a lousy time for normally reliable tech to go pear shaped.”

Busby smiles lazily. “Cool, man, cool. Okay, so explain the theory, man. But, y’know, pretend you’re explaining it to a dude who may or may not be tripping on a tasty batch of Lunar City hydro-chronic.”

Tilsworth adjusts his glasses a bit. “I’ll do my best, young man, but do please stop me if I start to ramble.” he says with a smile, and brings up the first page of the presentation. “The basic theory is that the energy field the unit generates serves the purpose of ‘detaching’ the ship and the space contained within the field from the rest of the universe. It is best envisioned as a ‘frictionless barrier’ that becomes a self-contained entity. Once this ‘bubble’ is floating free of the universe, the standard propulsion units of the ship can push this bubble as fast as the available power to the engines and the field permits. The more power to the field, the greater the ‘detachment’, and thus the less ‘friction’ encountered.”

Maxwell nods. “Some of the more religious folks are going to think we’re playing god by creating tiny universes at will.”

“Okay, okay,” the Spark CEO replies. “I don’t mind pissing off the zealots, man. I’ll eat that free advertising for breakfast. And a snack. Although what I really want is a fluffy meringue pie. Anyway. How can we fuck it up? Where does it go wrong? What’s the downside, man?”

“There is a potential, rather slim, that the newly created universe begins to exponentially increase in size to potentially replace this one. However as my young friend here has pointed out, at least we would be in charge of the new one.” Tilsworth says with a chuckle. “However, I must stress this is a very remote theoretical possibility and with sufficient auxillary systems and redundacies, it could likely be eliminated completely from the prototype unit.”

Maxwell nods. “It’s not an in charge situation I particularly want, really. Just an outside chance that we need to keep an eye on while figuring out the hardware.”

Busby nods. “So what do you need for testing?”

Tilsworth switches to the next page of the presentation. “Here are the basic components of the system. Power for the system is generated from a pair of fusion reactors. My current parameters utilize a pair of GE HydroGen Mark II fusion reactors with an output of 25 gigawatts each. The resulting high energy plasma generated by the reaction is fed into a Siemens CP-135 power conversion relay. The resulting focused plasma stream is fed through a pair of GE Magnafeed magnetic wave guides that feed two arrays each consisting of 25 Siemens RD-250 Radial Generator coils. With these physical components in the simulation, the drive can achieve 10 times the speed of light. I propose to construct the prototype unit we acquire these components as soon as possible for assembly into a test vehicle.”

Maxwell nods. “Should be a fun start, certainly.”

“All right, man,” Busby says. “Won’t be cheap, but, shit, nothin’ worth it ever is.”

Tilsworth nods. “In addition we would need four Honeywell MX-427 fusion rocket engines for the standard propulsion system of the vehicle. In addition to the standard construction materials to build the frame in which these components will be installed.” the old scientist says. “Once the vehicle is complete, we can transport it to a spot near Mercury’s orbit to be as far away from prying eyes as possible to the initial live tests. I have already met our test pilot and he appears quite capable, perhaps even eager.”

Busby headtilts. “Oh, yeah, well, man, we’re gonna need more than one test pilot, don’t ya think, man? I mean, seriously. Shit’s gonna go sideways.”

Maxwell nods. “Interesting fellow. Definitely eager for his part to come.”

“It is my sincere hope that we do not encounter serious adversity during the initial tests.” Tilsworth says. “However, planning for such an occurrence is a necessity, and I have some ideas for safety factors.”

“Okay, man,” Busby says, getting to his feet. He runs a hand through his hair, rubs the other on his stomach, and then says, “Good work. Let’s do this again when you’re ready to fling the monkey. I want pie, man.” He smacks his lips and wanders out of the lab. Apparently, the meeting is over.

Maxwell stretches a bit more. “Alright. Let’s get back upstairs soon as we can. Getting tired of all this pesky gravity.”

Tilsworth gathers up his papers. “Pie does sound rather good.” he observes. “YEs… I find I am leaning a bit too much on this cane now…”

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Wes Platt

Lead storyteller. Game designer and journalist. Recovering Floridian.

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