Sunday, February 17, 2013

Flying with the Devil Runners

Humanity, my sweet humanity, spends so much of its time trying to escape.  I believe  that is one of our chief virtues.  Certainly it's a good survival trait.  How many races have died from a comet impact simply because they looked up into the sky and just said the equivalent of "meh."

Of course not every strategy of escape is equally successful.  The Devil Runners are a good example.  The ships are technically known as D drive class FTL vehicles.  The trouble was they were only barely FTL.  The best D drive managed in 2099 to hit a speed of 8.9 LS.  That means to even reach the nearest system would take months and that's on a D drive ship which isn't a very comfortable experience.

The D drive works because the hulls are lined with the meta materials of Lokium and Fenris 6.  The overlapping plates are then charged with alpha particles.  This causes  the metamaterials to manifest an anti Doppler field.  This means that to the human eye light coming towards the ship shifts down to the red spectrum and as the light leaves it shifts up to the blue spectrum.  This doesn't seem like much of a change but it wracks hell on the universe.  The point where the anti Doppler field and normal reality meets fractures into a flawed space that leaves the field floating in something like a bubble.  This is how the ship can then attain speeds beyond light speed using a combination of ion drives TAADs (Tactical Acceleration Atomic Drives)  basically dropping a nuke into a drive chamber and hanging on for dear life!

The real trouble with D drives is that it wracks hell with the human mind.  Even if one isn't observing the odd effect of an anti Doppler field it seems to have an effect upon the human mind.  People under a D drive become anxioius and prone to emotional outbursts.  Sleep cycles are affected.  Prolong travel tends to make people either emotional basket cases or barely controlled berserkers.  Neither are good prospects for colonization.  Luckily, about 10% of humanity can handle a D drive and the rest can be shoved into a cold sleep for the journey.  Still, even that 10% can become very moody and unpredictable so morale officers onboard a D drive are a must.

It's a shame about those in the cold sleep.  They miss quite a view.  The front of a D drive ship tends  to gather photons creating a bright red sphere of light.  That's how the ships first got their name of "Devil Runners."  It's a beautiful sight, specially as little bolts of red light carress along the hulls. 

In the end the D drives were put out of business by better drives, but that isn't the end of their story.  While they weren't that good as colony ships they had very interesting battle field application.  Most of the D drive successors at that time went into some hyperspace or the other, whereas the D drives as weird as they were kept in our space.  The TAADs also made the D drives insanely manueverable.  This combination made them ships of the line for many of the navies of new empires.  Even after that old D drives were favorites of privateers everywhere. 

Oh the songs they'd sing about the old Devil Runners. 

1 comment:

  1. Like the 'wolf' component of the Fenris 6 there Lazarus! Also liked the whole story, even though I'd love it to go on longer....