Sunday 28 June 2020

THE WARP - a bar in space (we're there now)

Vesper is a complex character with wavering self-confidence and a weak and confused conviction of faith. He just wants God to like him, if He even exists. And succeed in his calling, if he has one. His father is a bishop and his mother a politician. Vesper’s two older brothers and one older sister are all more successful than he, or so he feels.
The young Vesper opted for a commission to this part of the galaxy just to be far away, Ultimately Shifted, from the rest of the family. Making it impossible to take part in the family gatherings where his momentum in life was sure to be the topic of choice.

Unbeknownst to Vesper at the time, his commission to this distant quadrant was the very recommendation made by his father to the Galactic Church Council, in hopes that the challenge would make his son grow in confidence and become a better man.

The situation that brought him to The Warp this afternoon in a hurry to lift his glass in a hurry, was a minor case of a funeral gone wrong. Funerals just don’t go wrong. Simply because everyone present is calm and somber and at least one should be solidly dead. So Vesper kept repeating to himself. What could possibly go wrong under such orderly conditions? That pattern fell apart this morning. The object of the funeral, the one deceased, decided to wake up from the dead.

Thursday 25 June 2020

THE WARP - a bar in space

   The other incredible thing is that it takes all of the energy produced by all the superpowers combined to make this feat of galactic flexing work. So for a half an hour or so every six months the entire world comes to a standstill as the electrical output from every single power station on planet Earth is channeled by laser beam and a system of huge orbiting mirrors to corresponding receivers at the embarkation point to activate the Ultimate Paradigm Shift.

   Going takes place in the fall and you return in the spring, with Earth designated the center of the universe to prevent confusion when ordering your ticket, as a mistake would unalterably shift your plans by six months. Making you miss the World Series, birthdays, weddings and funerals, job opportunities and whatnot.

   And so Man in all his glory is spreading out all over the known galaxy. Bringing with him all the fruits of his fallen state. His rebellious ambitions and assorted fanciful notions about himself and Truth. Passing them on as skillfully as ever to the succeeding generations of settlers.

   One member of this fortunate multitude is a man of thirty Earth years called Vesper Septuagint. He’s of average height, slim and quite agreeable to behold on a good day. On top of that he’s a newly ordained priest of the Galactic Church. A massive organization with a sobering presence in every outpost Man has successfully colonized and to whom Vesper is a humble servant, serving with zeal a parish located in a quadrant on the opposite end of the galaxy.

   At the moment he’s sitting on a bar stool in The Warp, not looking so good, working on deluging his tormented mind with intoxicating beverage, being physically and mentally on the run from a quite extraordinary situation.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

THE WARP - a bar in space (still leading up to it)

   The cost of leaping from one side of the galaxy to the other using the shortcut of shortcuts is so huge it’s only carried out twice a year and only then under the jurisdiction of a controlling body formed by representatives from each of Earth’s superpowers, which share in footing the bill. Of these there were about two hundred at the last count.

   Whether or not it was all worth it is still being debated. Close to fifty million people lost their lives in the development and testing of Ultimate Shift technology. In fairness to the program and its operators we don’t know for certain that all of them did lose their lives. Some of them may well by alive and perfectly happy at that, we just don’t know where. The constructive route of trial and error prevailed and precision gradually improved. Nowadays the process is as safe as a ride on the subway with a return ticket.

   Every six months a colossal mobilization of assets and manpower takes place on a location some ways out from the geo-stationary orbit height, about forty thousand kilometres into space. A skip of an atom compared to the light years that are traversed by the mere pull of a lever. The incredible thing is, the thousands of private residential space ships, cargo freighters, long haul cruise ships and correctional facility transports that gather together for the ride, don’t actually move more than about half a mile. The act of bending space adds the rest.

Monday 15 June 2020

THE WARP - about a bar in space (we'll get to the bar soon)

    Civil engineering reached its definite peak a couple of generations back.  They finally cracked the challenge of space bending, making the dream of cross-galactic travel a reality.  This changed everything.  The idea first took shape many years earlier.  As pivotal, revolutionary ideas often do, on a coffee house napkin.  Once formulated on paper, its very simplicity struck the handful of young 21st Century scientists with embarrassment at not having thought of it before.
    The principle is exemplified by the folding over of a piece of paper so the opposite ends touch, enabling an ant to cross from one end to the other in a mere few steps, saving it the laborious exercise of walking across the whole sheet to reach the same destination.
    As with all of Man’s advancements, the simplest theories frequently lead to the most challenging practical projects.  Two centuries after the napkin was happily shoved into the breast pocket of a university blazer, space bending, or the Ultimate Paradigm Shift (UPS for short) became available to all.  There’s really only one problem.  It’s expensive.  Phenomenally expensive.

Thursday 11 June 2020

THE WARP - a bar in space. A sci-fi comedy novel-ish thing.

Let's open with a bang, shall we?

The grenade hit the top of the stone wall.  The force knocked Exodus Tonn to the ground, knocking him out for a quick bit.  When his head stopped spinning he felt his arm.  It was missing.  Five inches of upper arm was all that remained.  Blood flowed.
   Oddly, it didn’t hurt.  Every nerve ending, every cell on his body was on adrenaline overdrive.  A voice called out his name.  His wingman lay in pieces in the mud twenty feet away.  It was the commander shouting, checking he was okay.  He couldn’t see where she was.
   The whine of another incoming round had him clawing and kicking to get away.  The wall took a full hit and exploded, lifting the ground under him, throwing him across the muddy ground.  Into merciful blackness.

Now, a setting-up look back.

The year is 2263.  Space is as big as ever, if not bigger.  It’s also as dark and inhospitable as ever.  Every now and then a celestial body goes up in a puff of smoke, seemingly at will.  As if taking upon itself to bring a change to galactic monotony and forms something else in the same spot.  Generally not improving things. 
   The occurrences never fail to give the global Earth community of astronomers a new lease of life and a fresh reminder that drawing a salary for being exceptionally patient doesn’t go without its occasional reward. 

Stay tuned...