FTL Travel in A Silly Story I Wrote.
When writing the Jala Jones stories, I came up with two different ways to do faster-than-light travel in Jala's universe.
These both played a part in Chapter 4 until they were cut almost entirely. But they were fun to write and I didn't want to waste them. So here you go!
The first is the method Jala calls “Light transport”.
The process works like this. First you create a very small universe called a lacuna. The lacuna should only be large enough to hold a planet-hopper-sized ship at most, but preferably will only hold your cargo in the lightest packaging that can be used, based on where the cargo is being delivered.
The cargo is placed into the lacuna, and the lacuna is stripped from a four-dimensional universe with space and time, to a two-dimensional plane which stores all the information about that universe in accordance with the holographic principle of quantum physics. Since the lacuna now has no mass and is also not technically part of our universe, it can skate lightly across the reality interface of our universe to any three-dimensional coordinate inside our universe. Practically it has an upper speed of c9.5.
When the lacuna arrives at its destination all that is required is to capture it using a temporal assertion net, which collapses the lacuna's surface, allowing it to project its holographic reality into our universe, re-constituting anything inside the lacuna at its present location. Because this involves effectively creating matter out of information, it can only be done in the near-vacuum of space; reconstitution of a lacuna in an atmosphere often ends up removing that atmosphere catastrophically.
There are two problems with this method of transportation. The first, of course, is that it is fantastically expensive. The only way to generate the energy required is to harvest at least 80% of the total energy output of a medium sized star for several seconds while the lacuna is created and compressed. Fortunately, there are an infinite number of stars and most of them seem content to keep burning for several billion years, so the only real cost is building the lacunae-creation machinery.
The second is that Light transport is 100% fatal. Any living being put into a lacuna will be dead on arrival. Their structure is identical down to the spin of their quarks, but whatever it is that makes things alive doesn't work when compressed to two dimensions. In some cases the mega-wealthy use this to their advantage, transporting expensive foods from far away, having them delivered to their chefs in the freshest possible state, just outside their star yachts.
Translation Matrix Travel
The second way is slower but lets you stay alive. The Translation Engine simply convinces the universe that the matter inside the Translation Matrix hasn't moved from point a to point b, it's just always been at point b. The ship makes hundreds of jumps from location to location, all the while maintaining a very stationary outward appearance.
This is done by using the mind of a sentient being as part of the Translation Matrix. The universe seems to trust sentient life forms to know where they are in space. The Translation Engine subtly modifies the captain's understanding of where they are in space, which seems to be good enough for the universe to accept the captain's understanding as reality. Some people suggest that this is definitive proof of the anthropic principle, and other suggest that it's a sign of buggy code in our universe's operating system.
For whatever reason, this puts an effective cap on Translation Matrix travel at c6 or so. If the Translation Engine tries to go faster than that the captain's ability to suspend their disbelief, the Matrix is shattered and thus fails. Some very trusting captains have been able to maintain c7 travel for short periods, and research is being done into breeding more and more...suggestible...captains.
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