Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Microstory 1642: Infinity Drive

I think it’s about time I talk about the universe where bulkverse travel originated. Right now, I won’t say a whole lot about how they first ventured out into the bulk, but I’ll give an overview of the universe itself, and why they felt the impulse to explore beyond their borders. The humans of this universe originated on multiple planets simultaneously, and destroyed them all. Every global civilization did so much damage to the environment that they had to leave, and settle on new worlds, except for one of them, which didn’t survive their apocalypse. This was how the survivors found each other. They all had faster-than-light travel, but two of them independently invented something they would later call an infinity drive. It allowed them to jump anywhere in the universe instantaneously. It wasn’t technically instantaneous, but with a little bit of time travel, it felt that way, and it resulted in that. In order to travel from one universe to another, one must be able to pierce the membranes that hold them together. These membranes are semipermeable, like cellular membranes, so microscopic tears open up all the time, which is what allows bulk energy to leak through. That’s not the hard part, though. The hard part is navigation, which is why bulk travel is so rare. The precursor to this technology is the infinity drive, which pierces the universe’s membrane about halfway, allowing a vessel to slip in between the layers of that membrane, and slide wherever the crew wants to go. Even here, time operates as a spatial dimension, rather than a temporal dimension, which is what makes it feel instantaneous. Travelers can go wherever they want to, and arrive whenever they want to, even in the past—though both cultures decided long before the technology was viable that time travel was irrational, and dangerous. They only used it to explore, map, and seek out others in present-day.

In order to find the best new world to call home, those with the infinity drives dispatched probe factory ships all over their galaxy, and a little beyond. They dropped their probes in key locations, which automatically went around, and started generating a map of the universe. These probes detected the other wanderers and settlers, which served to bring everyone together under one umbrella, as a megacivilization. They pooled their knowledge, and unanimously agreed to do things better than their ancestors did. They found more efficient ways to live, which protected planets, and the wildlife upon them. They focused heavily on gathering as much information about the universe as they could, while making little impact on it. They sent more probes, now even further out in the universe, but encountered no other lifeforms. Everyone was here, and everyone was either human, or descended from humans. They were disappointed and bored because of this. How could they be so alone? Why were humans the only intelligent species, and how was it even possible that they evolved separately on multiple planets? This is what drove them to expand the scope of the infinity drive, and explore other universes. They sent one more batch of probes, this time completely through the membrane, and into the outer bulk. Powered by bulk energy, and designed to last forever, they were essentially aimless; just floating through the bulk, collecting whatever data they could find, and sending it back home. It took millennia to synthesize this data, so a real and usable map could be drawn from it. Once they were ready, the crew of a ship with an upgraded infinity drive called The Besananta took off. They didn’t get far.

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