Now both Johann and Hildi spent a couple of weeks just looking and and thinking about the initial data.
To keep Jown busy they sent back to the alien base to trade artifacts, with a stop on the way back to buy some specialized test equipment Johann knew he would need. It wasn’t long after that when Hildi first and the Johann sketched out further testing. In Hildi’s case it was done by running specialized programs on the data she had scanned in, programs she spent several weeks writing herself. In Johann’s case it was more scans with the new equipment, not just of the pieces sitting statically on the bench, but recording interactions between the power blocks and the other blocks. Some of these Jown helped with, but several times Johann sent him out for more equipment.
This phase went on for several months, at the end of which Johann announced that he needed more equipment that he didn’t have the money to pay for. Jown certainly didn’t have the needed credits, but he knew where he could get them. While Johann helped Hildi, Jown went back to Value Materials. Gramps was very glad to see him. Seems a couple of the pilots who had taken Jown’s place when he left hadn’t been careful enough and they had been caught selling munitions illegally to pirates. There had been a large fine and they were on probation, being dropped in on unexpectedly fairly often. Jown didn’t like the risk of getting caught, but when Gramps told him how much more they were being offered by the pirates (and how much more he would make), the pay off was worth it. He went back to smuggling guns.
Jown kept in touch with Johann and Hildi, dropping in on them whenever he could for a home cooked meal and a bed, but then back to work. He only had one close call. He had loaded up and made several jumps into the system where the transfer was to take place. While he was doing his passive scans he picked up a very low intensity directional signal. It had to be aimed at him or he would never have heard it. When he tried to analyze the recording of it he concluded that it was meant to be device-to-device communications, but it seemed to not use any normal data transfer protocols. That made him very suspicious. There wasn’t anything on his ship that used that type of data communication, or was there? He ran some own ship scans and discovered a new device attached to his outer hull. So he knew he had been bugged and they were watching him, but what to do? If he turned around they would know. So instead he found a legitimate weapons merchant in a location where this path wouldn’t be too unusual. Without changing his routines he made his way to the merchant. But just after jumping out of the danger system he sent a coded message back to Gramps. By the time he arrived the merchant on Pentagon Prime was expecting the delivery he was carrying. He left without touching the device and was stopped just before jumping out.
“Hold your position, federal inspectors.”
“Yes sir, killing my engines.”
“We know of your record. We could blast you right now and collect the bounty. You weren’t delivering here or else you would have taken a direct route.”
Jown new they were bluffing. Bounty hunting wasn’t allowed for them or the police, but they could make a police arrest. “You mean to say that old bounty is still active? Over a few cargo pods that they had left unattended? Did you bother to read the whole report of the incident? The cargo had been abandoned. It was legal salvage. I think you’d better check with the corporation before you start blasting away. I would really be surprised if they were still willing to pay for a hit that might get them in hot water. As for the direct route, I keep alive being careful, that includes indirect routes.” No it was his turn to bluff. And best to stay away from the subject of his police warrant.
“We aren’t interested in collecting your bounty, active or not. We’re interested in some cooperation. Value Materials has been selling munitions to pirates. We caught them and now you’ve taken over the deliveries. Don’t deny it.”
“You guys are barking up the wrong tree. When I worked here before I heard they were going to start that, so I left. I’m in enough hot water with the police without adding to it. I’m just trying to make an honest living. When you caught them they decided it wasn’t profitable to continue, but since they needed a new pilot, and the reason I left had ended, they sent me a gram and asked me to come back. I needed the steady work so I came back. Simple as that. They aren’t selling to pirates anymore. If they were I’d be gone. By the way for the record the police warrant on me is all wrong. They guy I killed accidentally was a bounty hunter. He jumped me and didn’t give me any chance to do anything but fight back. You know as well as I do that killing a bounty hunter while defending yourself isn’t chargeable. He must have been a police favorite or something (might as well give them that to chew over and get their mind off of the pirates).”
“Hold while we discuss this.” There was a long wait, probably communicating with headquarters. At last they got back. “Ok we verified your story about he cargo pods and the bounty hunter. Seems he was the nephew of a local police station. We submitted a report and your bounty and police warrant are being cleared. We still think Value Materials is involved in smuggling, but not using you. If you stay on and get wind of any smuggling, give us a call before you leave. We will have an offer that you might be interested in. You’re free to go.”
Well how do you like that! Some days it pays to go to work. Gater’s engines powered up and Jown was on his way. Back at the base he had a long, private talk with Gramps. It seemed they were being monitored much more closely than they had thought. Deliveries to the pirates would have to wait until things cooled off. But after a couple of days Jown checked and he was clean. That meant he could start making some runs to legal merchants on the prime worlds. The pay wasn’t quite as good, but at the end of a year or so he had the credits for the new gear and said goodbye to Gramps once again.
After returning to Sage with the new gear there followed more testing. But Johann told him both he and Hildi were very close, so Jown took a hike, quite literally. He went upriver fishing as he went. As they had said when he first got there, nothing of value. He didn’t see any trace of precious metals or gems, just wonderful weather, scenery and fishing. One evening he got a call on the radio. It was time to go home. Took three days to get back.
Hildi had made the first breakthrough. And in fact if she hadn’t Johann probably wouldn’t have been able to finish at all. One morning she had started an analysis program and it didn’t finish when she expected, but it didn’t seem to be locked up, so she let it continue. It ran all day and finished sometime in the night. The next morning she discovered it had at last finished the job. She suddenly had a complete translation program, spoken and written. When he got back Johann was working with a fervor. It was hard to get him to stop and talk. Using the translation program he had been able to start reading the blocks and found some of them to be technical descriptions of the equipment and basically how they functioned. In additions there were communications like orders for supplies, reports on conditions and progress mapping systems. There were supply lists, work rosters and ship movement plans. There was news from back home. Out of context it didn’t mean much to them, but it was very similar to what they might hear any day here. Disasters, heroes, politics, financial, etc.
There were a few news articles theorizing about some other race that they had had contact with long ago. Would they ever return? Would they be ready if they did? At first they all thought they were talking about humankind, but then realized it didn’t fit, then it sounded very familiar. A sudden attack by a totally unknown alien race. Only difference was that they weren’t all depending primarily the single planet that was attacked first. They had been able to mount a counter attack the humans were powerless to do after Earth was gone. But the best part to Jown were assembly, repair and operating instructions. They did indeed have weapons oriented equipment, none of which had been scanned by the probes. But at least now they knew all about how to assemble and operate the engines. Jown was ecstatic. He had all he needed to start incorporating the alien equipment on Gater, or to design a whole new ship.
But Johann wasn’t at all satisfied. He was dealing with particle physics. How did this all work? How was gravity actually made and controlled? What were the underlying scientific principles? Principles that were unknown to us. We might be able to operate their engines, but could we make our own? Did we know how to make the blocks? Did we know how to program them? And even if we could, this kind of mimicking wouldn’t allow us to advance as far as he wanted. He had to get to the principles. He had learned from their texts that they generated a harmonic signal in the special fluid filling the spheres. This signal caused sub atomic processes that resulted in conversion of the energy into gravity on the sub-atomic level. But the harmonic nature of the reaction and the vast number of atoms in the fluid caused a very small input to rapidly grow to a useful level. The timing of the pulses among the forks determined the direction of the gravity field. The physical fork locations in the sphere and the programming caused there to be two fields formed if a single engine was used. One was a very narrow field aimed forward and the second was a wide field aimed aft. The forward field eliminated acceleration effects on the ship and inhabitants, but the much wider aft field caused forward acceleration. The much greater width of the aft field easily overcame the reverse thrust of the forward protecting field. Also the aft field could be turned somewhat to turn the ship, however without sideways compensation for the ship it had to be very limited. So they tended to accelerate in one direction and then when they wanted to turn, instead of a sweeping turn they dropped power to almost nothing, turned the ship, and then reapplied power. Anyway Johann had his clues and started some virtual experiments using sub atomic simulations. Running experiment after experiment with different materials, frequencies and power levels.
One morning they were sitting on the porch after finishing breakfast enjoying the exceptionally beauty after a rare storm had passed through during the night. As least Jown and Hildi were enjoying it. Johann was as usual lost in thought. Suddenly Johann turned to them as said:
Hildi and Jown didn’t say a word, waiting for the socially required explanation.
“They don’t understand the science they are employing. They must be just copying something from someone else. I have developed a series of equations that explains the physics of what is happening. Simply put if you excite certain nucleuses repeatedly with the right frequencies of magnetic and physical energy (of course physical on that scale is far different than what we think of as physical. It really translates to different sub atomic forces applied to the nucleus by it’s own electrons or by nearby atoms.) then the nucleus becomes unstable and must release built up energy. But in a percentage of the cases the energy is released in the form of gravity. In order to do this the nucleus reconfigures itself. It in essence looses one of its sub nuclear pieces. This matter is converted into energy, gravitational energy. That’s where the great multiplication in energy comes from. The excitation energy we supply is just a trigger. Well there are many different nuclei that will do this, each with its own needed trigger frequencies. These aliens only use one.”
“Well we know they like standardization. Why fool with more than one method? Just pick the most beneficial and use it.” Jown replied.
“Because the most beneficial depends on what you’re using it for. For propulsion this is a good choice, but for a weapon grade beam projector it’s a poor choice.”
“But we don’t have any of their weapons. How do you know they don’t use something different?”
“Because the books say so. But the real kicker is that there is another much more efficient and effective way to use this science. If my equations are correct, and I’ve already tested them as much as a can on a small scale, instead of producing gravity directly you can produce and build a potential gravity field that will instantly translate all matter within it’s envelope to a new velocity when it’s properly excited. In essence it instantaneously applies the gravity that would have been applied over the time it was building”.
Jown still didn’t get it’ “So what’s so much better about that?”
“The great benefit Jown is that there are no acceleration effects to worry about. It doesn’t accelerate, it just translates to the new velocity. You can change speed or turn instantaneously after the field is built up. And you won’t be limited by what our frail bodies can withstand. You can build an engine that will generate accelerations that would crush us flat, but by building a potential gravity field and translating to the new velocity vector you won’t even feel it. So I’ve been puzzling over why they don’t do it. It’s because they don’t understand the physics. They simply don’t know how. That makes them copycats. They couldn’t develop this on their own without understanding the equations. I wonder if when they encountered that other race if the other race was the source. They had a war, maybe got a hold of a ship and copied the engines. Of course that would make the other race copycats as well.”
“So they developed the jump gates to overcome the limitations of their ships?” Jown was just trying to keep up mentally.
Now it was Hildi’s turn, “So these are the aliens put the jump gates here?”
“No I don’t think so. We haven’t found any evidence of the aliens in the inner systems like Jown has. I’m presuming that this wasn’t found in an inhabited system …” Johann turned to Jown.
Jown shook his head, “No it was a totally uninhabited system near the edge. It has just two gates and nothing else of value.”
“Well”, Johann continued “this is more your field than mine dear, but I would say if they built the gates then there would be something left of them for archeologists to find. From the conditions of this equipment it’s clear our aliens haven’t been gone for an extremely long time. My guess is that a far more ancient race built the gates and our aliens just used them like we do. Time, or later races who didn’t settle here, have removed all trace of the gate builders.”
“Well if you’re done with your research, at least for the time being, we have a more pressing matter I think.” Hildi was looking intently at them both. “This station had the ability to communicate with their home worlds. It’s possible that Jown’s activities have been relayed to their home worlds. I think it’s important for us to try and find out if they know we’re here and what they might be doing about it.”
“What are you saying? … Oh, that could be very bad. Dear how do you think we can find out?”
“Well we could start by trying to get their latest news. It shouldn’t be blocked or encrypted.”
“But dear wouldn’t we be inviting discovery of us?”
“Johann dear if reading their news will give them discovery of us, then they already have discovered us. Jown already energized the consoles and if the “Comet’s” reports were blocked by the denergized station, then that was solved then and there. If they weren’t blocked then they knew about us when our probes first went in.”
A shiver went up Jown’s spine. She was right. If they were still out there they might be on their way back right now. “We need to know if a second alien invasion is on its way. I need to know if I’ve invited an invasion.”
“Agreed.” Johann replied “I thinks it’s time for you to take us to your station.”
Posted by strailon Wednesday, December 12, 2012 @ 00:00:00 UTC