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   Chapter 19 No.19

Bypass Gemini By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 6300

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

"Okay, so he'll curse and try to figure out what happened for fifteen, twenty seconds. Then another fifteen or twenty seconds of fiddling with the electronics before he figures out he has to reboot to get them to come up clean. Then, say, thirty seconds for the systems to reset. So that's a good minute and a half before he--"

His calculations were cut short by a flash of blue on the ship in his rear viewer as the engines kicked back on. Evidently Fisk had skipped the cursing and fiddling steps, and the DAR was just a tad heartier than he'd given it credit for.

"Congratulations, Mr. Alexander. No one has been able to rev me out in years. But you're not the only one with EMP, " the agent's voice muttered out of the cockpit speakers.

"Shut up, Fisk!" Lex growled.

"Missile lock detected, " chimed the soothing computer voice.

"Shut up, Betsy!"

The rear viewer painted a flashing yellow dot on its screen with a distance that was ticking down a bit too quickly for comfort. Ahead, the brown haze around the sun was beginning to look a bit more granular. It was one of at least seven different asteroid clusters that had earned the nickname "the Briar Patch" from local astronomers, evidently because local astronomers weren't the most creative lot. It was relatively new, astronomically speaking. A few hundred thousand years ago, it was probably a pair of planets that got too close, and a few hundred thousand years from now, it would probably be one larger planet and a couple of moons. Right now, it was a big, gooey ball of molten rock with a veritable playground of cooling asteroids around it. As asteroid clusters went, it was almost cartoonishly dense. It was exactly what he needed to shake this guy long enough to make his escape. It was also just a little too far away to reach before the missile hit.

Lex glanced at the controls. The engines were at

rty percent for a while until they cooled off. That could wait until the FTL stretch was over.

He always thought that if pushing engines too hard at conventional speeds was burning them up, moving faster than the speed of light would fry them in no time, but such was not the case. It was an aspect of space travel that Lex was never completely able to grasp. There was a field generator involved, he knew that much. It produced something called the Carpinelli Field, which partially shifted everything in the field's radius into an alternate dimension. There were different physical laws there, and the engines pushed along using those rather than the stricter native laws. He'd heard it described as similar to how an outboard motor dips into the water to push a boat along. Of course, he'd also heard that the outboard analogy was an insultingly inaccurate oversimplification that ignored the more complex issues the Carpinelli Field overcame, like time dilation and such. It was easy to remember, though, so it was the one he stuck with. Lex didn't care how it worked, just so long as it did. Plus, it had the bonus of allowing the same engines to do the work for FTL and conventional acceleration, so he only had to learn to tinker with one system.

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