Author : Roi R. Czechvala
In a dark, empty hanger, a needle-like flat black fighter rested in its cradle… thinking.
â€œYou see General,â€ a small man in white gestured toward the ship, â€œthose pods mounted beneath each â€˜wingâ€™ are the main armament. The magnetic rail guns. They are able to launch a projectile the size of a soccer ball to transonic speed within their seven meter length. Each â€˜wingâ€™ serves as a magazine and carries seventy combined solid and nuclear rounds.â€
â€œThe turrets mounted top and bottom are automatic and purely defensive. They only come into play while the ship is exposed when firing.â€
â€œThatâ€™s all very well and good, Doctor,â€ the General said wearily, â€œbut I want to find out more about the propulsion system, what I read… is it true.â€
â€œThe General is aware of the PK work that we are conducting?â€
â€œYes, but I thought it was all theory.â€
The little doctor chuckled. â€œNo, my dear General, we have entered the practical phase. It sits before you. Perhaps I had better explain,â€ he said removing his glasses.
â€œThe concept of PK, that is telekinesis and telepathy, has been around for millenia, but it has only been in the last fifty years that we could select for it in vitro. Only in the past fifteen years have we been able to employ it to move objects this large with the aid of a PK amplifier.
Simply put, since the speed of thought is, as far as we know instantaneous, the ship simply appears out of nowhere, fires, and disappears. It is vulnerable only for a few seconds, hence the turret mounted automatics.â€
â€œHow does the pilot operate the ship?â€
â€œWell,â€ the doctor continued, â€œThe first attempts were standard. The pilot simply sat in a cockpit and â€˜thoughtâ€™ the craft where he wanted it to be, but their thoughts were limited to the speed that their bodies would react to,â€ he shook his head sadly. â€œThere were many casualties.â€
â€œWe tried direct linking to the PK amplifier. This was much more effective, however the men tended to over compensate in their movements, leading to similar results.
Our third attempt was similar to the second, but this time we linked the men to the PK amplifier through a virtual construct that simulated a cockpit but run at a speed approximating that of thought. Unfortunately, after long periods on duty, the men had trouble adjusting to â€˜normalâ€™ speed. There were…incidents.â€
â€œSo, that is all behind us now? The Mark IV is ready for testing?â€ General Kaskorov asked, running his hand along the sleek black hull.
â€œOh yes, it is,â€ the doctor said gleefully, â€œyou see, after PK and pilot training in simulators at normal speed, the pilot is sedated unawares, his entire central nervous system is removed, and implanted into the ships core.â€
â€œSo, he is the ship?â€
â€œNo Sir, he is merely in the ship. Through a VR construct, he runs his missions, and leads a normal life off duty, booze, women, gambling… what have you. All virtual, of course.â€
â€œAnd they donâ€™t realize that their life is a simulation?â€
â€œHe canâ€™t hear us?â€
â€œNo. There are no external audio pickups. Any necessary outside contact is sent through his virtual commander. After that, heâ€™s allowed to follow his own life, within the parameters of the construct of course.â€
â€œYou mentioned telepathy.Â Can he…â€
Both sets of turrets swiveled and fixed on the two men.
â€œOh shi…,â€ was the last thing Kaskorov said.