Author : Iain Macleod
“I still dont get it, man.” The youngster looked up at the grizzled older man. A drilling veteran of over twenty years he looked like an old bear with a hangover. “Go over it again”
“Come on, new blood. It’s not that hard. How did you even get through your training without knowing this stuff?”
The younger man shrugged. Fresh out of his industry training and as green as any new hand could be.
“Ok, it breaks down like this. The speed of light is an inviolable rule. We cant get around it despite our best efforts, nobody can figure out a work around to get us out into deep space and back again in a useful timeframe. All those useful and valuable commodities floating in the vastness completely out of our reach.”
The older man took a deep drink from his pint before continuing.
“That is until Dr Heuring and his crew of science nerds started messing around with time travel.”
“Yeah, thats the bit i dont get, why does time travel help get us with space travel? Sounds back assward to me”
“Come on, man. Just help me understand”
“I swear you green hands get dumber every year.”
The younger man said nothing.
“Ok, The earth rotates around the sun, right? The sun is rotating around galactic centre. Everything is constantly in motion. Six months from now the earth will be on the other side of the sun and not where it is right now.”
“So, when you jump in time your position in space stays the same but what is here now isnt what was here then. For example, 100 million years ago this location in space was taken up by a massive helium cloud in the carina sagitarius arm of the milky way. That’s where they send those dicks on the Heliakos Bravo rig to.”
The old vet knocked back another shot and lit up a smoke.
“We’ve been watching the skies for generations and can fairly accurately figure out from where things are now where they might have been in the past. Once they figure out the time we need to go back to they get a crew of nuggets like you and me together and send us out to collect, drill or harvest in some way whatever resources to make whatever garbage humanity is producing these days”
“25 million years ago: asteroid with huge lithium and other rare earth deposits. Thats where the Beryl Rigs are based. 65 millions years ago, vast water ice reserves on another asteroid. Methane, organic compounds, gold, iron, copper, loads of stuff really over various times”
“You understanding this, new blood?”
Through the haze of smoke the older vet could see the younger mans glazed expression and could tell he had lost him.
“uhh..sure. Yeah, i got it now, boss”
The veteran grinned. ‘Was i ever as hopeless as this?’ he thought to himself.
“Look, just keep yourself safe out there. Do whatever the older guys tell you to do and you’ll be ok.”
“No worries, kid. Now get me another drink. I’ve never made a jump sober and i dont intend to start now”