By Adrian Tullberg.
Inspired by size=1 width=100% noshade>This is not the way I prefer to travel.It was designed, too long ago, as a more resource-economical method of quickly transferring individuals to one interplanetary location to another, without the expense of equipping, launching, flying, landing, and returning a large craft. Those luxuries belong solely to the undertaking of large, new campaigns.
Instead, we are reformatted, not to a compatible shape, but rather a means of streamlining our existing mass for transwarp travel.
We are given a new layer of ablative skin designed to absorb the harsh radiation and energies that can be found only in the cold wastes of space, and just enough fuel for navigational corrections that can only be described as quick and dirty.
A plasma based force field generator meant to protect us from impact yet designed to burn out in an instant is installed in these new forms almost as an afterthought, along with an Energon reservoir meant to power an on-site reformatting.
We hurtle through space at speeds and destinations that are neither under our control or of our choosing. Despite the need to concentrate and prepare for our missions, the worries and fears haunt us. Are we travelling the right way? Have those who have programmed our course and destination eliminated error? In these, the most utilitarian and defenceless of forms available, will we be attacked?
When those concerns are dismissed – or ignored – and mental focus is total on the mission at hand – a reminder strikes us.
Or maybe just me in particular.
Small, micrometeorites. A few centimeters in radius, at the very most.
They hit you with just enough force to reverberate right throughout your framework, a low vibration resonating throughout your entire chassis that, despite all physical laws, is clearly audible.
You check, cross check, for damage, course alteration, energy leak, impending impacts.
There's nothing, of course, but you spend the remainder of your journey obsessed over those details. The plunge through a planetary atmosphere at incredibly dangerous speeds with only a device weighing a few kilograms protecting you from a painful and certainly lethal orbital impact is almost a relief.
We should not travel like this.
Some of us are designed for this travel. They excel – enjoy – this most perilous of environments. Now an emergency method of transporting individuals rapidly is now the norm. Resources, personnel, even time itself is limited and carefully rationed.
Fuel, material, lives, the innocent, those who fight against it, and even those who worship its very fury. The ones who create such horrors often fall victim as they stoke the flames.
I often wonder if we are putting out the fire, or simply stoking an ever-hungry furnace.
Course correction imminent. I'm ahead of schedule.
I fight to stop further loss of life, and hope that I can prevent the fire from spreading.
One of the many prices I pay is this method of travel.
We must never expect others to reap another's costs, despite what we have paid ourselves.