The nights. That’s what everyone says is their first memory. The sky never gets dark, at least not in the way one thinks of ‘dark’. It’s more like the atmosphere vanishes into the depths of space and the stars, the moons, everything, become not only crystal clear but magnified to the point of being unreal. The brightness can be overwhelming for those not used to it.
On a clear night it’s like being on the inside of a crystal ball looking out, it’s a view that never gets boring and certainly not something you ever quite get used to. Of course, no one quite ever gets used to the multi coloured clouds, or the sky dome that colour shifts during the day, or the rain, or….
’Scamander’ is just not the sort of place one gets used to.
The nights are one thing but Scamander is also one of the only known places where you can watch ships exit the Rift with the naked eye. The scientists thought they had everything worked out, that the Universe behaved according to rules but then came the Rift and after that, Scamander. Like everything here, no one knows exactly how or why things do what they do but the thought is the night sky has something to do the atmosphere and the position of the planet in relation to the Rift. At least that’s the current thinking, when people actually stop to think.
At the start ships free-fell through the Rift, their Vector Thrust Drives more or less useless as the magnetic and energy field distortions played havoc with the fragile plasma containers; it was long speculated that the DSS Nagano met it’s end because they tried to power their way through. Eventually, after decades of trying and failing, Coil Drives delivered the solution. Finally able to provide thrust within the Rift, Coil Drives cut travel from one week to one day; coming to Scamander seemed no different than a quick trip to Luna from Earth; only it wasn’t and you needed to get to Pluto first.
A radical departure from the long established VTD, which had been pushing humanity around space for close to a hundred years, Coil Drives manage to harness the energy fields within the Rift itself to provide thrust; some liken it to the reverse of a rail gun. Coil driven ships are also easy to identify, surrounded by a Plasma halo as bright as a small star while they are under power…
A pinhole of light, that’s the best way to describe it.
From the surface it appears as a bright pop, almost as if someone poked a hole in the fabric of space. It lasts for only a few seconds but the ‘flash’ one sees coming from the direction of the Rift signifies a ship having exited; that point where the Coil Drive is active and then it’s not.
And just as pin holes in your suit can be the start of bigger problems, it could be said that these pin holes are much the same…
© 2018 G.Thomas/Play Forest
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It took five tries but Colonel Spires was finally on the bridge of the TS5 Hammersmith, the first successful Transverse System ship to negotiate the Magellan Rift.
But still, strapping a rail gun to a Replicator? That was madness, surely?
For months Jones had been messing with trying to get a small Fusion plant to work. Not as a commercial idea mind you but as a one up on his racing competition.
On a clear night it’s like being on the inside of a crystal ball looking out, it’s a view that never gets boring and certainly not something you ever quite get used to.
‘Scamander.’ That’s the name they gave this desolate rock. Was that a piss take? ’Scamander’, the river god that wove his way outside the walls of Troy. Geezus, did anyone have a look around before they named it?
The drone had spent 6 months making deep level scans of the three most obvious candidates. Every metric collected, extensive feature graphing made, and every byte of information relayed back to the base ships that had been in rift orbit for the past 9 months.
At first they seemed random, anomalies, background noise lost to the throb of the mechanics of business. A mishap here, a crew vanishing there. Not enough to warrant investigation but more than enough for rumours to thrive.