As a scientist I have wondered about a lot of things, but never have I wondered what it would be like to be wholly conscious, but unable to move or speak. As strange as that may sound, it gets stranger. I can feel a smile creasing my cheeks, but there is no smile in my heart. I am terrified.
I am not sure what they gave me, but whatever it was, it is some impressive shit. They rolled me onto this FTL (Faster Than Light) ship in a motivator. Motivator, a nice word for a powered chair. A device we give to those who lost the ability to walk. All the science at our disposal, and we still cannot repair the spinal cord. I am rambling.
Anyway, the drug they gave me keeps me fully conscious, and apparently causes me to hold whatever facial expression they shape my face into. I cannot talk, I cannot move, hell, I can’t even control how often I blink my eyes. They just do it at semi random intervals. I am paralyzed, but to those around me, I am a happy cripple.
How did I end up in this state? I discovered the truth. It’s like one of those bad crime dramas out of the beginning of the millennium. The witless scientist is researching something we all take for granted, and without trying, stumbles onto the truth. A massive scheme the Galactic Federation has been hiding from billions for half a century.
Here is the back story, for those of you who don’t know. Humanity has outgrown its solar system. We have conquered most every disease, mostly through genetic manipulation. We have extended life expectancy into the century mark, and fertility in woman will into their sixties. What does that mean for the population, it has grown.
For those of you in the outer systems, don’t worry. Everything your have read about Earth is true. It is beautiful. A Solar System landmark. Preserved forever in its most pristine state, protected by laws that go back a century. We lay waste to asteroids and lifeless rocks floating about the system for the precious resources we need.
The problem is, we have pretty much filled up every crevice of this system. There are humans EVERY WHERE! We breed, we multiply, we live forever, and we in the last two hundred years have managed to fill up the solar system. Mars was successfully terraformed two hundred and fifty years ago. In orbit around the red planet is…at last count, one hundred and twenty-seven habitats. Each one holding a half a million souls.
Those planets we have not terraformed, we burrow into their surface and create habitats there. Assuming that the planet isn’t a gaseous beast like Saturn or Neptune. The moons of Uranus offer great places to stash away more of the orbiting habitats.
We have humans burrowing into large asteroids, usually after they have been mined clean of any useful ores. Hell, we have humans just floating about the Solar System in large spaceships, there rings spinning happily to keep humans anchored.
What does this all mean. Some of those habitats are becoming nasty places to live. Building new ones is way more expensive than doubling up families, section off pieces of them for prisons. Yes, if you don’t make a fortune, you might not live a good life in the Solar System.
The Federated Systems of the Solar System came up with a solution. They put the greatest minds in space travel to the task of figuring out how to span the gaps between our isolated little systems like the Solar System. After fifty years, the FSSS announced that a breakthrough was made. Their scientist discovered a way to push ships beyond the speed of light. To travel the vast distances between systems so we could expand our population to the distant corners of the galaxy.
A lottery was setup for those willing to travel to the closest habitable system. To be the first humans to establish a colony outside the system of their evolution. The FSSS would start construction on the new ships immediately.
After the first ship vanished into between space, the FSSS renamed itself to the Galactic Federation to better describe the expanse of the new human expansion. For the next fifty years, humans boarded freshly build intergalactic FTL ships and vanished into between space. No one asked why ships never returned. They did ask why they could not communicate with family members in a faraway system.
The Galactic Federation shrugged that one off as, “We figured out how to travel these distances, but communication is still a problem.”
Enter me. A grad student who as a part of his thesis wanted to explain the science behind faster than light travel. No matter how I worked the math, the papers distributed by the Galactic Federation did not add up.
I wanted them to work, but no matter how much I worked the problem, the facts came out the same. Faster than light travel was impossible. There were no holes in space that sped ships along vast distances in months or days. There was no way to fold time, or space. Black holes crushed spaceships, and there was not enough energy available to create a shield to protect them.
I presented my findings to my department head. He presented me to the universities Galactic Empires Ambassador.
Next thing I knew, I was sitting helpless in the motivator I am currently sitting in while she monologued me about how stupid I was to come forward with my discovery. Why couldn’t I just take my findings and accept that humanity was screwed. At least until the FSSS discovered a way to control the population.
Sure, I was right. Of course, there was no way to travel vast distances in months, weeks, or days. Of course, humanity is trapped in the tiny little system we were born in. None of that matters, we are thriving! We are thriving so well; we have outgrown our system. The Galactic Federation has no choice but to send willing humans into nothing.
She saw my eyes and recognized the shock her words instilled. “That is right, nothing. We have no idea where our FTL engines send humans, but we don’t care. They are off our hands, and we are making life better for those left behind.
“However, we also know the truth will put us back where we were. Filling up every livable space and becoming over crowed in the ‘vastness’ of space. Someday, we will figure out how to stretch humanity to the rest of the galaxy, but until then, you need to be kept quiet.”
And now I sit, frozen on this FTL spaceship, ready to get sent into nothing. All in an effort to silence me.
Too bad the GF agent who monologued me didn’t do her homework. My masters work was on storing and sharing ideas via the Solar Web just with my thoughts. All this will be transmitted to thousands of media outlets throughout the solar system with a single mental command.
No more will perish needlessly, I think, as the ship I am locked into accelerates towards the between zone. I issue the command, and my own monologue is quickly downloaded to the rest of the solar system