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Spacehound Director

SPACEHOUNDS Chapter 1

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Engineering

 

The two women scientists poured over the readouts supplied to them by the mystery ship, not surprised by what they found but mystified by what they didn't.

 

They found detailed instructions and procedures for the equipment they knew yet nothing for those bits of technology that were new and unknown. It was like a puzzle and it was up to them to fit the pieces together.

 

Bridge

 

Ayato had returned to the bridge and his own set of mysteries. He had come to the same conclusion Rachel and Yseult had, and a step further. He opened his channel.

 

“It is a test. It shows us what we know already gives us access and instructions to do what we already can do with our own technology and knowledge but it teases more. It shows us things beyond us and asks us, 'do you understand?'. This ship is a test.”

 

He changes channel to call the Polaris. “Arjun, we need to see if we can secure the Polaris to this vessel I need you and Mr Todd over here.”

 

“Aye aye,” was the reply from the Polaris.

 

Excursion Bay

 

“I think I can help with that”. The Chief's voice clear and sounding as if she were standing behind the captain, came over the radio.

 

In the immense room full of Armored suits, Karen had removed her own armor when suddenly three beams of light came from the open torso and touched her, wrapping her in and envelope of light. She felt her weight vanish as she rotated and was drawn into the machine which in turn began to fit itself to her and close up, sealing her inside.

 

A moment of claustrophobic panic which passed as the solid wall in front of her became a transparent veiwport and an elaborate holographic HUD appeared in the her vision. With a series of experiments she found she could access the HUD simply by looking at the various 'buttons', she found she could move and with a little practice found that it was as easy as walking without her normal armor.

 

Sensors, Communications, Armor and something that in her world was still the province of fiction, Energy Shields. Weapons both Kinetic and Energy, were built into the suit and also larger more powerful versions of both could be attached to hard points or held and carried like guns in the armors 'hands'. The Armor showed her where these tools of destruction were stored in the bay and when she plodded over to the armory aside from the cannon, rockets, missiles and unknown ray projectors she found large Axes, Pikes and swords. Another bay held tools of all manners.

 

Aside from walking and she assumed running the Armor was also equipped with its own flight systems and life support form a good long time. It seemed that for all intents and purposes this Suit was a mini space ship.

 

It was then that she had heard the captains instruction to the first officer and remember some of the tools she had seen realized that she could solve the problem.

 

“I think I can help with that”, Karen smiled in her new suit of Armor as she started grabbing what she would need.

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Beneath all the wonder of these wonderful toys, it worried Karen that they were being granted so many advantages. In her experience with the Corps, you were only issued what the higher-ups thoughts you needed to do a job and, more often than not, that estimate tended to be below the mark actual required to solve the problem at hand. And since she got involved in spaceflight? That went double with every pound on it's way to orbit costing money from the precious bottom line. 

 

Bigger gifts meant bigger problems, and Karen could only pray, and hope that someone was actively listening, at the back of her mind that they were up to the task this wonder ship promised was coming.

 

The fact they'd need to jury-rig an airlock was an anchor of familiarity, a sign the, what to call them, what to call them..? Ah, the Makers still had some restrictions in information and materials helped a lot. Soothed her nerves into problem solving mode. "Anyone over there not have experience wearing a spacesuit? Before I get lost seeing how deep this bag of tricks goes, rather go with the basic safety line soon as you position the airlock next to the entrance. Work on something more permanent next," she commented over the coms, grabbing a few units of good sturdy-looking cable and a wielder to do the job of spiderwebbing them together. 

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"It is being like the vessel, it can be showing us anything we can possibly be knowing at our current level of scientific development,"  Yseult agreed with Rachel in a hushed tone, her footsteps soft as she approached the globe at the heart of the structure, constrained by emerald... energy? Plasma? "But anything being beyond that, it is still locked to us."

 

The sable-haired scientist tapped her lips with a forefinger as she got closer to the globe, scrutinizing it with her bare eyes, squinting slightly against the verdigris light, trying to see what it was composed of. "Considering the singularity that is bringing us here, perhaps this is another, constrained specifically to provide power? Or something akin to a manufactured sun encased in the equivalent of a Dyson sphere to be producing energy by means of stellar nucleosynthesis?"

 

There was wonder and awe in the French woman's accented voice. One of the biggest constraints in spacecraft engine design was power consumption and the limits on how much fuel you could reasonably carry or collect. If one had access to what was practically unlimited power...

 

Yseult looked back towards the various tools and devices littering the engineering bay and began nodding. "The vessel, it is not telling us what we can not be knowing, but the tools, they are here for us to be learning ourselves, no? Allons-y."

 

Yseult glanced towards Rachel and shared a smile with the other woman, a smile of scientific exploration and discovery, and with sweeping gesture urged the woman to accompany her back towards the engineering and diagnostic equipment. They weren't the same as to what they were used to, being much more advanced and efficient, but their function was similar. Spectrometers, spectrophotometers, and mass spectrometers. Electron microscopes, electrometers, and magnetometers and more.

 

Yseult took the lead at first, setting up an analysis protocol as though they were in a lab - with all they had at hand, it wasn't far off - but though new to each other, she and Rachel were soon working in smooth conjunction as they tried to decipher the secrets of the vessels.

 

And slowly, but surely, they started teasing out those secrets. The emerald beams were some manner of force field - Yseult was reluctant to use the term, but she couldn't find a more precise one at the moment - that appeared to function across multiple dimensions, their exact properties able to shift in response to differing circumstances.

 

By what Yseult and Rachel could determine, the globe was a solid mass of ultra-dense matter, possibly Neutronium, or maybe Quark Matter or Strange Matter, or some combination of all three. Even now, study of the composition of Neutron Stars wasn't exactly vast. The energy field encompassing must be shielding the vessel from the... the Core's immense mass.

 

Studying the core and reflecting on what had affected the Polaris in bringing them here, a hypothesis began forming. "This, it is being the core of the vessel's drive, and it is being a zero-point energy source, I am thinking, considering the properties of field enfolding it, shunting the mass into neighbouring dimensions to produce energy."

 

"I concur, if for no other reason that I don't have another idea that comes close to fitting," Rachel said.

 

What Rachel noted first while Yseult was more involved in setting up the equipment was that as they arrived at correct assumption, the vessel's computer - it must be some manner of AI - confirmed it, unlocking the data in the database, as though turning over a puzzle piece, and letting them get another look at the complete picture. Thrills of excitement ran through both women, and they made more progress in determining what the vessel's drive did, if not precisely how.

 

It wasn't not a worm hole drive as had been theorized by scientists and science-fiction writers for decades. Rather than punching a hole between two points in space-time, it locks two points in space-time and compresses the space between the two. The vessel enters into place at one point, and travels between the two points until it is ejected. The amount of space compression determines how long it takes the ship to travel between the two points, and the amount of space compression is determined by how much power can be introduced into the system.

 

With a zero-point energy source, near infinite power meant near instantaneous travel. More importantly, if the compression drive functioned as she theorized, they weren't necessarily travelling speeds approaching or exceeding the speed of light, and thus had the worry of time dilation, but rather, were travelling a shorter distance to cross an exponentially longer one.

 

Yseult stared at Rachel wide-eyed. "C'est fantastique!"

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With the Polaris docked in a makeshift fashion to the alien, in the unknown sense, ship, the rest of the crew of the Polaris were able to come aboard and add their own expertise to the exploration of the vessel.

 

Arjun joined Ayato in the command center, if that’s what it was, while Mr. Todd moved back and forth between the scientist in the drive section and the Armor bay, where Carrie had gone to run a physical on the Chief. After most of an eight-hour working period the captain called everyone to the dining area for a meal and to discuss their findings.

 

Using the Kitchen, after Carrie had made as thorough an examination as she could and giving the food stuff she tested a clean bill, Ayato prepared one of his gourmet dinners which to all present was indistinguishable from the real thing. When asked Carrie explained as well as she could.

“The food I tested, about two dozen items I requested from the Kitchen, arrived fresh and as far as my medical gear can determine it is real. I asked Mr. Todd to check the kitchen machinery to see if we could get to the base ingredient.” She smiled at the engineer.

 

“Well she asked but I couldn’t solve anything. The interface would not allow us to get samples of what they use to make the food. And I double checked her readings and ran them through the computers I brought in my luggage as well as the Polaris’s, and the food is what it claims to be, right down to the molecular level. This is way beyond any sort of bio-replication printing we can do back home.” He chuckled, “ Really this is Star Trek level stuff, if any of you remember that old show.”

 

Arjun let out a little laugh after he swallowed the bite of food he had just taken. “I do I used to watch that as a kid.” He speared another vegetable but did not take the bite. “It really creeps me out the way this thing only lets us know some of what’s here. I mean on the bridge I have found what the Captain likes to call the Tactical station. I just call them guns,” he laughs again then gets a serious look, “ The thing is armed to the teeth. There are energy weapons, Kinetic weapons, Missiles, and while I can select them even play with targeting. They have a nice little program like a video game. But I can’t access the systems to even get it to tell me what the weapons are, what sorts of energy, what are the kinetic weapons. Hell, it wouldn’t even tell me where the weapons are located on the ship.’ He seems frustrated.

 

“We have been having better luck with the drive, or we were,” Said Rachel,” It let us know new things as we figured stuff out the as soon as Yseult seemed to really get the picture it stopped helping.”

 

Everyone looked at Yseult, she put her utensils down and dabbed her lips with a napkin. “It was giving us things regularly as we figured them out but as soon as I realized that we could make a drive that functioned pretty much as we think this one does with our technology. It stopped. I had some calculations I wanted to do I input them, and the computers stopped responding with anything beyond the most basic functions we originally received. I have the Polaris running those calculations, but it will take a few more hours, I think.

 

“What are the calculations,” asked Ayato?

 

“Whether or not our math is correct and that we can create the compression phenomena with our drive, modified of course.”

 

“Mainly software, “ interjected Rachel, “But there is some structural modifications we would need to do both inside and outside and unless we can figure out how to get this thing to make the parts …” she lets the sentence drop off.

 

There was a some more small talk but soon the meal was done and Ayato told everyone to head back to Polaris where they buttoned the ship up for the night and went to bed.

 

Sometime latter a soft alarm chimed and woke Yseult. She sat up and checked her computer the calculations were done. As she read over them, she saw that her and Rachel were right they could do it if only they could make the modifications.

 

As she ponder waking Rachel, a sensation of strange weight alteration occurred and she pushed off to the view port just in time to see the creation of a hole in space which the great ship fell into and carried the Polaris along with it.

 

Spoiler

this is the end of chapter one I will post the beginning of chapter 2 soon.

 

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