Quick note for everyone who has reviewed to tell me about the formatting issues. I just finished up fixing them all. I am bound to have missed some formatting segments, so please let me know where they are at and I will get them fixed. Thank you all for your patience and I now present you all with the next 5 chapters. I'm not making any promises on when I'll have more out, so in the mean time, just check out the first chapter as I've given more instructions on how to find this story and others that Greywolf has written.
I own neither the story nor the characters of Roswell.
"Something you fear more than two 35 megaton thermonuclear explosions?" asked Slammer incredulously. "That alone would peg my scared-shit-o-meter. What's worse than that?"
"I think the larger cylinder is the faster-than-light drive."
"Normally the speed of light is the fastest anything can go," Jim explained. "An FTL drive would let you go faster."
"Why would you think they'd have to go faster than light?" asked Slammer.
"Well," said Dr. Stanback, "...these people obviously aren't from around here. It's not so much that they are physically different... the variation between groups of humans is as great as the difference between the average human and the bodies that were recovered.
But nobody could hide the development of this level of technology on Earth, therefore it must be from somewhere else. But none of the planets in this solar system are Earth-like enough to harbor life that is so much like us... therefore they are not just extraterrestrial, but from outside the solar system.
This ship clearly wasn't built for long duration voyages... the area for provisions, for example, was quite modest, so they couldn't spend decades getting here... therefore, faster than light."
"What kind of propulsion would that take?" asked Slammer.
"Well... propulsion isn't really the issue. The main power leads from the fusion cylinders go right in to the drive mechanism, which was smashed in the crash. We believe it to be something called a pitch drive which locally changes gravitation. The theory is that with enough power you can change the local gravity... essentially lifting the spacecraft like an airplane wing is lifted by traveling through the air.
That would also solve the problem of the high accelerations you would expect in a spacecraft, to get out of the atmosphere. We think we are actually making slow progress on the drive mechanism itself... it's just that we have nothing comparable to the fusion cylinders that can give us the vast quantities of energy we need."
"What kind of energy are you talking about," asked Slammer.
"The energy seems to be simple electrical energy. It apparently involves direct conversion of the fusion energy to electrical energy. That's theoretically possible... it'll just take us a couple hundred years to figure it out." said Stanbeck.
"Yeah, once we figure out a workable hydrogen fusion power plant... like the cylinders," said Jim.
"Well, we've been working on that for about 50 years... with Tokamaks and the like... with no real results so far, but within 50 or 100 years, it's possible."
"But what has this to do with the other cylinder?" asked Slammer.
"That's just it," said Stanbeck. "Nothing. A pitch drive will never get you faster than light. That's why I think this cylinder is the FTL drive... or at least part of it."
"I guess I don't understand how, if you can't go faster than light, you can have a faster-than-light drive?" said Slammer.
"Look here," Stanbeck said, keying in his computer. After a few keystrokes an image appeared. "This would be one way. You bend space... create a wormhole, then travel through it... faster than the light which must make a longer journey."
"You believe this might be a wormhole generator?" asked Jim. "How could it do that?"
"Well, theoretically there are several ways... but the scary thing is that this was all by itself in the nose of the spacecraft... with no power leads going to it. That implies it is self powered... like the fusion cylinders. And the number of things that are self-powered and could start a wormhole... there are a few... but they are all pretty scary."
"Scarier than 70 megatons?" asked Slammer.
Suddenly Jim got very quiet and the color drained from his face. "Yessir," he said. "Much scarier. We are talking about some things that could potentially destroy the Earth itself."