With the short workout complete, Dukk made his way back to the crew mess.
Luna was in the same spot, but facing away from the console. She was watching the flight plan projection in the middle of the table. The DMD dance light was now blue. She was swinging the seat gently from side to side.
Dukk looked at the countdown timer. It now showed one hour and 11 minutes.
“I have a question about the DMD if you could spare a moment,” Luna said without breaking her gaze on the flight plan projection.
“Absolutely, but I need to shower and get suited up. I will do you a deal. You rehydrate my breakfast while I shower. Then I’ll have time to chat.”
“Done deal. What do you want?”
“Is there anything you’d recommend?” Dukk replied, noticing an empty food tray on the edge of the table.
“The enriched scrambled eggs thing isn’t half bad.”
“Perfect. I’ll go with that,” Dukk replied as he headed for his cabin.
Ten minutes later, Dukk was at the table finishing his breakfast. Luna was sitting across from him.
“So, I understand the DMD has some sort of A.I. to help with the traverse. It does the calculations and the like. But how exactly does the traverse work?” Luna asked.
“So firstly, the DMD is all A.I.. Well okay, so apart from the double isolated generators behind us here and the super insulated outer layer, there isn’t any thing else really to the DMD.”
“Oh, but isn’t A.I. very dangerous?”
“Yes, true, but the A.I. in the DMD is shackled and caged. To finish answering your first question. We don’t fully know how the DMD achieves the traverse. You know the story about the first successful traverse and how it is linked to A.I. going feral, right?”
“Yes, sort of. The first part is something like, after years of research the first successful traverse was achieved. And the rest is history. I can’t remember how it is linked to A.I. going feral.”
“There is a little more to it all,” Dukk laughed, before continuing, “so, the years of research, was largely done by A.I. enabled space crafts. These machines got smarter, faster and travelled longer and longer distances. Then one day a craft simply disappeared. It reappeared months later. The batteries were dead. The researchers recovered it and powered it back up. The A.I. got aggressive. It basically tried to reshape the machines around it and access more power sources. In the process it nearly killed all those involved. An electromagnetic pulse had to be used to shut it down. They then isolated just the computational parts and embedded a small battery. The limited power source calmed it down. They managed to communicate with it. While still aggressive it did share a little. They determined that this A.I. machine had discovered how to access the space between space. It had entered the dark matter. It travelled to other systems in an instant. But it liked being within the space between space more than anything. It only came out when it ran out of power. The researchers managed to negotiate a deal. The researchers would give it more power in return for using it’s knowledge of how to move through the dark matter to access other systems. In exchange for periodical visits to the space between space, the A.I. agreed to bring a craft with all it’s contents safely through the vastness of space. The A.I. was then copied and embedded into ships like the Dinatha. And, that is basically how we are here today, doing what we do.”
“Wait! Do you mean the A.I. is basically a dark matter junky and we are? Wait! We are it’s drug dealer?”
“Yep, that is one way to look at it.”
“What is stopping the DMD from taking a hit when ever it likes, so to speak?”
“We control it’s energy source. Huge electromagnetic generators are what powers it. The rig’s reactors are used to spin the axle and turn on the electromagnets that give it life. Passing into the space between space disrupts the electromagnets and that kills the power.”
“So in effect it kills itself to get a hit?”
“Exactly. We then choose when we bring it back to life.”
“Cool! But we don’t know how the traverse works?”
“Correct. The A.I. won’t share that. I guess the A.I. realises if we had that knowledge we wouldn’t need it anymore.”
“What! So we don’t know how the near zero gravity works either?”
“Well we do know more about that. First let’s clarify what happens when we turn it on. With power it does a little test or something. It basically reaches into the dark matter. When it realises it’s predicament is unchanged, it comes back. It backs out a little and waits for our instructions.”
“That is the odd tingling feeling we all experience when the DMD is brought online?”
“Exactly. Also it was discovered that during this process the neural pathways gain mass. That results in gravity.”
“And that is how we have near zero gravity right now. Because the DMD is running and because the neural pathways are threaded through the belly of the rig.”
“But, does that mean if we take the DMD offline we are back in zero gravity?”
“Not quite. The mass in the neural pathways dissipates slowly. We get a few minutes or so. Also we can bring the DMD online but not give it a destination. It will just wait.”
“Does that not annoy it? Does it get impatient?”
“Eventually. A delay of twenty four hours is usually pretty safe.”
“What happens after that?”
“The DMD does a bounce to get our attention.”
“What is a bounce?”
“That is a conversation for after your first traverse.”
(to be continued...)
[Rule of Twelve, Double Take, Chapter 12 - Traverse (Passage 2 of 5)]
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2021 BJ Allen
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Chapter 1 - A routine descent
Chapter 2 - Perspective
Chapter 3 - Grounding
Chapter 4 - Cause and effect
Chapter 5 - The first meeting
Chapter 6 - Staying goodbye
Chapter 7- Instability
Chapter 8 - Orientation
Rule of Twelve, Double Take - Ch15 (Passage 5/5)
“Hi,” came Luna’s voice as she bounced into the suit locker.
Dukk turned around.
“Are you alright? You are all flushed?”
“Yes, I am fine. I was practicing some yoga in zero-G. I lost track of time. Quite challenging and not what I expected.” Luna replied.
“Yoga?” Marr mouthed silently at Luna from behind Dukk.
Luna smiled cheekily.
Marr held her hands up and looked away as if to say ‘I don't want to know’.
Dukk laughed. He’d been an apprentice too once. He knew what was on his mind the first time he was in zero-g. And, he could tell an intentional lie.
“Are you sure you want to try this now? I can go alone and you can get back to your ‘yoga’?” Dukk asked in gest emphasising the last word.
“Nope, I’m good. Let’s do this.”
Thirty five minutes later, Luna stood at the port outer doorway. She was in awe.
Dukk and Luna had completed the same process Bazzer and Marr had done earlier. Marr, with ...
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