101: dr carla broker (hyperspace lessons pt 3)

the frame-of-reference drive system, which you likely know as the “fardrive,” works by utilizing the third aspect of hyperspace to create a “touchpoint” between two objects with significant mass–basically planets or planetoid objects. the fardrive does this by taking the two objects in realspace and “compresses” them into two-dimensional mathematical equations. this is basically what i and many of my colleagues back at MIT worked on for roughly five years, with the help of the bethzoans, who we were actually helping by utilizing math in a way they hadn’t thought of before.

the fardrive effectively “thinks” in hyperspace terms. the bethzoans had done numerous studies on hyperspace physics over the three centuries since they discovered it, leading to some strange equations they used to create technology to harness hyperspace “hubs,” controlled by gates. rudimentary fardrive technology has been unearthed and discovered by countless beings in the galaxy, but so far nothing that could fit on, say, a ship the size of a starfighter.

in order for you to understand how the fardrive works, let’s imagine a routine trip from tersus to second earth, in the sixth arm. these two planets are about 26 thousand light years away from each other, and obviously there are countless things in the way: planets, stars, nebula, et cetera. in realspace, these things are spaced far enough apart that we would likely be able to navigate a straight line from planet A to planet B without running into anything that would cause us trouble. problem is, it would take us thousands of years to get there, even if we managed to hit the speed of light. which we wouldn’t, thanks to albert einstein.

now, in hyperspace, it was the opposite problem: objects were incredibly close, but were all in the way of each other, making a straight line impossible. it’s like trying to get to neptune from earth but having mars, jupiter, and uranus in the way. many races circumvented this by plotting curved paths, basically flying from planet to planet, but this could only be done safely for a few planets before hyperspace physics began eating through neutral shields and breaking down the ship itself. this made colonization of planets slightly easier, but kept colonies confined to a few core systems.

so my colleagues and i, way back when i was a grad student at MIT, we came up with a solution. going back to earth to neptune–the problem there is that, from our perspective, three other planets are directly in the way. but … and i remember my dear friend jitendra coming up with this in the wee hours of the morning–we were talking about this very thing, going from earth to neptune and having planets in the way–and he said, “what if we could find a point in space where it would appear like earth and neptune were touching?” and it worked. it worked! so brilliant! the solution was to shift our viewpoint–the frame of reference, in other worse–until nothing was in the way, creating an artificial touchpoint between two planets. then, using hyperspace’s third aspect, we could “flatten” the third dimension into a two-dimensional picture, creating a “touchpoint” between two faraway objects in realspace. this touchpoint 95% of the time exists as a reality in hyperspace. voila, now we could jump from point A to point B with ease!

i … can see you’re not as thrilled about this breakthrough as we were. it’s okay. it wasn’t foolproof anyway: the amount of energy needed to both  find an artificial point in space and then flatten it in a photo-realistic model on a quantum supercomputer is a lot more than we realized at the time. you basically need a detailed map of the universe, which is why you see a lot of sensor trucks scanning basically everything everywhere. fortunately, the bethzoans are masters at creating and harnessing tremendous amounts of energy.

so anyway, once we had this info the bethzoans and we began R&D, we had ships built within two years that had traversed parts of the galaxy no one had ever seen before, and we were getting money left and right to help hone our research. that was 27 years ago, and today, the terran galactic alliance has colonized ten worlds, alleviating centuries of overcrowding and pollution on earth. and you, congratulations, you’re among the first generation offworlders! you’re the future our ancestors thought we’d never have. you owe the courage infused in your bones to help push your generation farther out into the galaxy. there’s a lot even the bethzoans haven’t discovered yet. it’s a brand new world out there to explore.

and if that bores you, then maybe you deserve to be flipping burgers. i’m kidding. thank you for listening to me babble on. does anyone have any questions?

[the kids all raise their hands.]

oh, good!

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