Point of no return.Posted: 2010-08-17
Ask any industrial capsueleer about the cargohold optimization modification, and you’ll recieve praise to its low cost, limited drawbacks and amazing benefits to cargo capacity.
Ask any industrial capsueleer’s crew about the modification, and you’ll recieve almost exactly the opposite reaction.
John cursed as he almost tripped over another canister as he ran through the hallways. While the capsuleer brochure for the modification mentioned the only drawback as less armor plating, the rig went further than that. Lebius II, the Orca he was currently stationed on, didn’t have much in the way of armor, so the rig’s cargo drones utilised whatever spare space on the ship there was.
This resulted in the normally spacious hallways being reduced to half their width, filled with crates. Large, meter square crates that make the hallways hard to navigate in times of emergency. Like, say, as the ship in question was about to enter a wormhole.
When a ship enters a wormhole and a ship exits a wormhole, the velocity and acceleration relative to the surrounding space is nil. During travel through a wormhole, however, each particle varied in velocity while maintaining zero acceleration, however that worked. John didn’t know, he was part of the high-power module station three team. As glorified as the position sounded during his college years, once in the world he discovered that he was highly qualified enough to push an “online” button when the capsueleer requested the module to online, etcetera. Sure, it was a much more difficult job than that but pushing aside getting the module in place and ready to work, but it was mostly just various helpfully named buttons, unless the capsueleer decided to overheat the module in question, wherein the job took on an entire new level of difficulty.
John was never any good at managing the constant onslaught of various parts of a thousand different modules melting before his eyes, and couldn’t remember exactly how to fix each outbreak, so he made sure to always take the jobs on industrial ships and mining barges, which would have less luck overheating a high slot than he would with the cute mechanic down in propulsion.
Said mechanic was the source of his full on sprint, as after she sort of half-giggled at one of his jokes, she pointed to a screen behind him which contained the worrying statement “all hands, wormhole jump in thirty seconds, please report to your designated seats”. Or she may have giggled at his half-stumble towards the module areas. For the sake of his self-esteem he decided he’d go with giggling at the joke and upgraded it to a full on laugh.
Unfortunately his fantasies of a genuine relationship were interrupted by an oxygen canister just below his right knee painfully reminding him of its exact position. However optimal the position was for the best cargo space, it was extremely inconvenient for John’s tibia. The ten foot skid on the meticulously polished hallway floor documented the end of the sprint and the cold steel wall finalized it.
As John lay on the floor trying to remember which nerve controlled which limb, the screen across from him announced that the ship was about to enter the first wormhole in the series. It did this in a very comforting way, with a nice, large font on a cool green background, gently pulsing the words at about the same time as a calm heartbeat. If you were to listen closely, you may be able to make out soft, calming music behind the female voice on the speakers soflty counting down the seconds in a nonthreatening way. Unfortunately due to the subject matter this had about the same effect as a physician playing calming music while he explains how exactly he intends to lobotomize you.
The aforementioned physics conundrums wreak havoc on one’s sense of being, as any particle going two speeds at once can tell you. This makes for one HELL of a headache, and then there was their destination.
Currently, they were a few jumps from a major trade hub, ergo no capsueleer wanting the large tower stored partially in the cargobay and partially in the utility closets could shoot at them to claim it, assuming they had a few friends proficient enough to distinguish a coolant line from a bit of pipe.
Once they made the first jump ASSUMING they made the first jump (John made it a policy not to trust anything he find explained on the web, and wormholes topped the list of ‘things we haven’t understood yet’ currently”), they could still probably make it back to highsec in the first wormhole system without being refurbished as a pile of biomass and metal in some capsueleer’s self-claimed system. Unfortunately, their current route would put them FIVE wormholes deep. This would put them somewhere between “completely” and “utterly” on the screwed meter if any ship with a warp disruptor happened to cough in their direction, since any pretense at defense had been scrapped, again, for more cargo space. Once in the wormhole, the Orca would have to put up the tower, again alone and undefended, and then live in it long enough for the capsueleer’s in charge turn a profit assuming the resident sleepers didn’t kill them and sell their component parts to sleeper tourists from the next wormhole over.
(While most of wormholes aren’t completely understood, it was a fairly agreed-on point that sleepers didn’t have a consciousness and therefore didn’t have tourists boards, tourist attractions or tourists themselves; despite what capsueleers from some of the deeper wormhole systems maintained. This still didn’t explain why said capsueleer’s buy thousands of child’s dolls and the like during all of their seldom visits to civilized space, but as long as they keep buying them no-one sees reason to question it.)
Usually, you saw an Orca in high-security space, surrounded by top of the line mining barges and probably some support cruisers. Sometimes, he’d hear stories from friends about Orcas working outside the bounds of Concord space, which was actually fairly safe, from what he’d heard. Apparently every capsueleer was tied into a database that broadcasted their position, so safety was always nearby. It seemed ironic to use the words “safety” and “Immortal capsueleer who cares naught for your petty life”, but you had to keep in mind that an Orca was a very expensive ship. While a capsueleer cared little for the innocent lives aboard his ship, his pocketbook was a new thing altogether.
On that little morbid thought, he was heading into a wormhole, which lacked any transponders altogether and was full of people with intense headaches who apparently didn’t like their position being broadcasted every second so much they moved somewhere they could be sneaky about their murder of thousands of lives.
Any more of John’s pessimism was blanked out as his brain and simultaneously the rest of him suddenly experienced a width of zero and an infinite length. This was accompanied by each of his particles accelerating and decelerating in two opposite directions at once, which was the only way aforementioned zero acceleration situations could occur. If the particles had any inclination to inform the physicists who cried themselves to sleep over the question they gave no sign of it.
Very soon after they returned to their correct dimensions, John regained the ability to see and noticed that the oxygen canister had moved a few meters to the left. This left its ending position uncomfortably close to his head, causing him to reminisce briefly on the irony of death by oxygen canister and why most physicists hated wormhole physics and wormholes in general.