Early Space Exploration
Humans established several stations on the moon, and a joint scientific facility on Mars by 2050. At the same time commerical expeditions to mine the Kuiper Belt proved successful, and, following a twenty year scientific study, shipyards were built on Europa, Jupiter’s ice-shrouded moon.
Humanity’s first baby steps outside of our solar system were to stars such as Proxima Centauri, where a ten year journey was within the capability of a human crew, thanks to the new cryogenic process developed in Russia.
The idea of folding space had been around for some time but it wasn’t until Ernest Evien Wixler postulated the jump gate theory in the late twenty first century that a practical application was tried. A jump-gate route between Earth and Chenon (previously settled the long way) was opened, and from there new routes were forged, and a network established that could transport humans across the galaxy.
The biggest problem was that platinum was required as a catalyst and with each jump a small but significant amount of platinum was lost in the Folds of space. Platinum is found across the solar system, but only in minute amounts. With the race to open up the galaxy for pleasure and profit, the race to find platinum was on.
Even with platinum to keep the jump gates open, navigating the Folds is still a dangerous business. Ships enter but don’t always leave again. In the early days many ships were lost, but the potential rewards were too great for humankind to return to interstellar travel at slower-than-light speeds. There’s no quick profit to be had from sending out a generation ship or an expedition that won’t return until after you’re dead. The real breakthrough in jump-gate travel came when neuroscientists developed an implant to enhance psionic tendencies that had previously been unacknowledged or consigned to the realms of fringe science. Psi-Navigators were suddenly in high demand.
People transiting foldspace, whether a pilot or passenger, often see things that aren’t real – or aren’t supposed to be real according to the training manuals. Hallucinations? Almost certainly – at least some of the time. However some Psi-tech Navigators see the same hallucination time and time again. Are Void Dragons only in the mind or is there something really out there? What creatures inhabit fold space, and are they dangerous or benign?
You’ll need to read the trilogy to find out.
Next time: Law and order in the vast reaches of space.