The More Things Change…

From: Adari Lyranthar, Directorate Coordinator
To: Future Directions Team
Date: 17 Yrnaes 8001, Midmorn falling 5
Subject: All Fittled Up

Well, gentlesophs, courtesy of the our new friends, the Starleaper Initiative, and the chaps from Metric Engineering, we now have a fittler making a test run.

It’s going to take a little while before my aunt finishes fully evaluating the consequences and implications, not to mention singing the full-length lament to not thinking of that herself, but so we can get started thinking about specific applications, I have some preliminaries to give out.

First, the frameslip drive – to give it it’s proper name – is never going to be a general tool. It’s big, clunky, energy-hungry, and temperamental. To ward off the first response, yes, this a prototype, but no, these are not qualities attached to it being a prototype: most of them aren’t even in the engineering, they’re down in the physics of the thing.

Big and clunky: the core’s not so bad, even if it is bigger than a vector-control core for the same ship and we might even manage some integration there.

The problem is that you can’t fittle without at least one – and possibly more, depending upon configuration – frameslip ring surrounding the ship at a healthy distance, such that you can warp space without turning anyone aboard into rad-seared spaghetti. Essentially, they’re going to dominate the design of anything we put a frameslip into.

Also, they have to go outside everything, including the radiators – at least when they’re retracted, but if you do that, that’s going to up your required heatsink mass.

Energy-hungry: Numbers are attached. Suffice it to say that Extropa are going to sell a lot of antimatter.

Temperamental: You will be delighted to know that causality still holds and the Fifth Directorate will not be coming to wipe our brains before we accidentally an exadeathcrime.

On the other hand, this means that all the fun of universe-enforced causality protection is also the case with the frameslip, although we believe the software should shut it down safely on warning.

It also, which has been extensively tested with pre-prototype models, interacts badly with itself and with stargates. The use of a stargate in the same system as, or whose wormhole track passes near, a frameslip drive tends to cause a bubble collapse, although fortunately not a catastrophic one for the wormhole.

The conclusion I draw from this is that our main business is not obsolete: it appears to be impractical to operate frameslip drives within an extensive, well-trafficked stargate plexus, or indeed in large volume along similar routes. Even more importantly, it appears that the use of frameslip drive is, and in the absence of another high-level breakthrough should continue to be, more expensive in capital, energy, necessary training, and starship design constraints than the use of stargates even at our current rates.

What then of the frameslip? Well, I see two obvious markets. One is the Exploratory Service, who can obviously make use of the frameslip for both far horizon probes, and for new classes of scoutship intended to precede stargate deployment rather than follow it. (Marwyn, can you throw together some scratch designs?) The other is relativist trading vessels working both in the Inner Periphery and the Outback, since the frameslip should be more cost-effective per light-orbit, even without journey time differential taken into effect, than current-generation lighthugger drives.

I’m sure we can come up with more applications if we put our heads together, so see what you can come up with. We’ll have a brainstorming meeting tomorrow at Courtly rising 12.


From: Adari Lyranthar, Directorate Coordinator
To: Future Directions Team
Date: 17 Yrnaes 8001, Waterclock rising 12
Subject: REDIRECT EVERYTHING (was Re: All Fittled Up)

New, direct from the test team:

The optimists were right. Since the frameslip just warps space, and thus creates no discontinuities in its operation, unlike gating, it can transport entangled half-objects and it can transport stargate half-pairs.

We’ll have to replace the linelayer fleet to take advantage of it, but the entire Expansion Timetable just got squished. We’ll still have the meeting with whatever you’ve got so far at a later date, but as of right now, our main priority is drawing up projections on what this does to our plexus growth scenarios given different investment options and other presentations to take to the investors. Attached simulation space in six.

Anyone who can stick around tonight to help, please do. We’ve just been handed the opportunity to become the galaxy’s common carrier in a golden chalice, and if we pull this off, in under a century we’ll all have maharargyr, glory, and nice shiny exponents on our net worths!