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       Brane Child, p.1

           D.L. Morrese
 
Brane Child
Books by D.L. Morrese

  ~*~

  ~Stories of the Warden's World~

  An Android Dog’s Tale

  Defying Fate (Combined eBook Edition)

  The Warden Threat (Defying Fate Part 1)

  The Warden War (Defying Fate Part 2)

  Amy’s Pendant

  Disturbing Clockwork

  ~*~

  ~Adventures of the Brane Child~

  Brane Child

  The Scarecrow's Brane

  Brane Child

  (A Science Fiction Counter-Fantasy Novel)

  D.L. Morrese

  * * * * *

  PUBLISHED BY:

  Fuzzy Android Press

  (https://fuzzyandroid.wordpress.com/)

  ISBN-13: 9781310425578

  Copyright © 2014 by D.L. Morrese

  License Notes

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in a form or by any means, digital, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or conveyed via the Internet or a Website without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Thank you for respecting the author's work.

  All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

  First Paperback Edition: December 2014

  First eBook Edition: December 2014

  Publisher’s Notes on this Edition

  This edition has been minimally formatted for compatibility with multiple types of digital readers. Paperback editions are also available.

  Author’s Notes

  Thanks again to Rowan for editing and other valuable comments on the final draft of this story. I really appreciate your help. Thanks also to readers who have taken a chance on a book by an unknown indie author, especially those who have written reviews or who have recommended those books to friends.

  ~*~

  This book is dedicated to all the philosophers, scientists, engineers, and dreamers who have ever looked up at the stars in wonder and asked themselves, "How the hell can I get there?"

  "There are countless suns and an infinity of planets which circle round their suns as our seven planets circle round ours."

  — Giordano Bruno 1584, De l'infinito univesro et mondi (The Infinite Universe and Its Worlds)

  ~Prologue~

  At the end of the sixteenth century, Giordano Bruno, an insightful but not overly cautious Italian friar, philosopher, mathematician, and poet suggested that our sun was a star, that Earth was a planet, and that there might be other planets around other stars. He saw no reason why they, too, might not have life.

  People in positions of power saw this as a challenge to their beliefs and to their authority, and they voiced their discontent in direct and unsubtle ways. They imprisoned him, tried him for heresy, and eventually burned him at the stake with a spike through his tongue in 1600. Some of them thought he got off too easy.

  By the middle of the twenty-first century, using methods such as radial velocity, changes in luminosity, infrared imaging, and spectral analysis, astronomers had inferred the existence of hundreds of worlds in the theoretically habitable zones around other stars. A fair number of these planets, they said, might support life. They could not know for sure, of course. The newly discovered planets remained much too far away for direct investigation, but they found the data from long-range instruments highly suggestive. They yearned to learn more.

  None of these astronomers were burned.

  Times had changed. The new holders of power did not see other planets as a threat. They saw them as an opportunity. Governments wanted to control them. Corporations wanted to exploit them. Scientists wanted to investigate them. Others wanted to explore them, or colonize them, or escape to them. Even some of the major religions, including the one that had condemned poor Father Bruno, were now receptive to the idea. Their commitment to the Strong Anthropic Principle, that God had created the universe for humanity, assured them that these new worlds must be there for mankind. If people could not get to them, what was the point of them being there?

  Unfortunately, they remained out of reach.

  Compared to the planet on which humanity evolved, compared to the entire solar system, space is disturbingly big, and stars are inconveniently far apart. The fastest manned spaceships people knew how to build would take tens of thousands of years to reach the nearest of the newly discovered worlds. Even robotic probes would take many millennia. There seemed to be no practical way to get there from here, at least not in anything anyone would consider a reasonable amount of time.

  One serious problem was the universal speed limit discovered by Albert Einstein in 1905. Nothing could reach, let alone surpass, the speed of light. That was the theory. The reality was that even light-speed was a pipe dream. No ship ever made, up to this point, could achieve more than a minute fraction of the 300,000 kilometers per second limit imposed by physics and disclosed by relativity.

  And yet the planets beckoned.

  As with any inconvenient law, there were those who tried to find a way around it. If humanity were to reach these tantalizing new worlds, it needed to discover some kind of shortcut, but as no one had any clear idea what it might be, funding for research remained paltry and tenuous. Corporations driven by profit considered it a risky investment. Politicians motivated by the desire for reelection feared being labeled as wasteful spenders of taxpayer money.

  Nonetheless, the hunt continued in small ways in research laboratories and universities around the world. Curious and often socially awkward investigators labored without recognition or financial reward, simply because they had a dream and wanted to know if they could somehow make it a reality.

  By the dawn of the twenty-second century, over one thousand promising worlds taunted the frustrated ambitions of humanity.

  Then, one day, a brilliant post-graduate student without a social life, hit upon an idea. Three dimensions of space and one of time were not all there were. This had been known, or at least theorized, for some time. But she realized that the numbers behind quantum mechanics, like the words on a page, were only tools that helped people deal with reality by taking it apart and focusing attention on small, intellectually manageable pieces. Those pieces were themselves somewhat arbitrary, with fuzzy subjective borders separating one thing from another. Reality was much bigger and not as neatly divisible as words and numbers might make it seem. Space, time, matter, energy, and all the rest might be far more observer-dependent that people generally thought them to be, which, she claimed, might mean the highway of reality had unmarked side roads that people simply were not equipped to spot.

  What she came up with was an unconventional theory, and although many scientists eyed it with all due skepticism, no one reached for kindling and a torch.

  Leading experts in physics, however, remained wary. Her revolutionary ideas required considerable peer review, debate, and years of painstaking research before they could pass judgment on their merit. But with entire worlds waiting to be won by the first to reach them, the competition between nations and among corporations hurried the idea to practical testing.

  This is not her story, but the experimental spaceship Brane Child could not have existed without her.

  Its commander and crew might not have objected strongly to that.

  ~Chapter 1~

 
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