Author : Robert White

“Wait. I don’t get it. I thought transit was supposed to be instant”

“It was. It is.” The scientists are always so snarky. “We did all the tests, sent animals and clocks back to the beyond and everything was instant. So this here cannot be happening.”

“Look, I may be a glorified janitor on this ship, but I know ‘happening’ when it happens.”

“No you don’t. This isn’t technically happening. We are experiencing it, sure, but time isn’t really passing. We are experiencing the passage through space as if time is passing.”

“Okay, Scientist Guy, if you are so smart, how long will this not be happening?”

“About three hundred and seventy light years.”

Scientists never answer simple questions simply. “How long will that take? I still see earth like we haven’t left orbit and it’s been like a month already.”

“Every Planck distance is taking up one Planck time.”

“Translation, forever, am I right?”

“More or less.”

“And the things?”

“These ‘things’ as you call them are hallucinations made manifest. Our perceptions are dictating the configurations of mater, but it’s all transient. When the ship arrives it will all disappear. It has to do with the plasticity of distance and perceptions when delta-t is zero.”

“Yea, okay, sounds like you don’t really know.”

“Well there is no control here for proper experimentation.”

“Okay, you said something about a ‘spatial distortion wave’. What’s that again?”

“The projector compresses space around the ship and then the ship coasts through the distortion.”

“How big is this distortion?”

“I takes up zero distance, It’s a threshold. So essentially the front of the ship is already there while the back of the ship is still where we started.”

“But we’re moving around on the ship.”

“Well… maybe.”

“And the livestock isn’t here, and didn’t have the problem because…?”

“Animals don’t really experience time the same way we do. They don’t understand the idea of ‘now’ being a different thing than ‘before now’ and ‘after now’. They just have ‘now’.”

“Even though my cat remembers me?”


“So your solution is…?”

“Well we aren’t really aging, so we just wait it out.”



“I think I’d go mad.”

“Probably we both will.”

“No deal.”

Stress, they say, is what happens when the body resists its natural desire to beat the hell out of someone who really deserves it. I hate stress. I cold-cock Mr. Scientist and he drops like a rock to the deck.

“You people make everything so damn hard.” I haul his behind straight to forward observation. “Here is what’s really going to happen. I am going to look out that window and see the target buoy. See! There it is. And that means that that window and that part of the ship is already ‘there’.

“So I figure I’m gonna draw a line across the deck, and wait a second for me to really see that everything on that other side of the line is already ‘there’.

“Then I am going to throw your dead weight over the line.

“And now, since you are ‘there’ and I know exactly where the bunched up space is, I am going to take a running jump…

“And here we are.”

The translation engines spin down immediately as space expands behind us.

I look down at Mr. Scientist and his bloody face. “I may just be the glorified janitor on this ship, but you know what? You people think way to hard to ever really get anywhere.”


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