Two-Thousand Four Hundred and Seventy Four

Entry
1.015
April 15, 2021
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The human mind is not well equipped to handle large numbers.

We rely on abstractions and tools to help us keep track of scale. And while we've accomplished an incredible amount as a species, sometimes that just means we don't really appreciate the large numbers we talk about.

2,474 lightyears is one of those numbers. It's an insane amount of distance to comprehend. More than you and everyone you know will travel over land in your entire life, cumulatively, by several orders of magnitude. Even attempts to rationalize how much distance those numbers represent require other large numbers.

It's 14,544,000,000,000,000 miles. That's 14.5 quadrillions as if that makes it any more intuitive. 23 quadrillion kilometers. But we don't practically use quadrillions much, it's just a big number. It just means "more than you'll ever need to count".

Let's try it another way. When you look up to the stars on a clear night on Earth, out in the countryside where you can find real dark, you're seeing a collection of galaxies, shining nebula, and of course a few actual stars. But only the close ones. The nearest, Alpha Centauri, is a bit over 4 LY away from our sun. Any star farther than about 2,000 lightyears just isn't casting enough light for us to see it from Earth. Beyond that, we can only make out larger clusters like galaxies.

Imagine that sometime in the Classical Era of Rome, around 500 BC, a particularly lucky photon bounces off the polished headpiece of some extravagant merchant, and begins a journey out to space.

Traveling at lightspeed, it would wander through the dark for ages. Through the rise of agriculture, the foundations of most scientific practices, the entirety of the ages of castles and sails, through industrialization, through globalization, through the dawn of the computing age, and all of the time spent planning and building the Fritz Fleet, this lonely photon would drift through empty space.

2,474 Earth years later (plus or minus 60), it just might bump into humanity one more time, as it crosses our path.  That's how far from home we are. It's a good thing photons don't get embarrassed though because we made that trip in one minute. 67 seconds, as far as we can figure. That's just shy of 7 billion miles per hour. Congratulations, crew, you're among the fastest moving humans in all of history.

As you may have guessed, this means we can't see our own sun from here. If this jump is like the last one, we can't rely on simple math to tell us where we landed either. We should be able to find some familiar stars, ones that both Earth and the Fleet are within visual range of. Once we do, we can reorient and figure out where specifically we are. Until then, I recommend a trip to an observation deck, because we're seeing new stars.

Many of you know a larger number, one that was very important to all of us. 2.5 million lightyears.

The distance to Andromeda. The distance this fleet was built to travel. Compared to that, our 2,474 hop is small. In this you can take comfort, we were designed to travel this far. We knew we'd be farther from home than this. All of our critical systems are intact. Well, other than jump navigation.

Finally, some of you might be wondering about our commlink to Earth. I was too, so I spoke with Salina from Communications. What she shared was no less surprising to hear the second time, Earth appears to be 20 LY behind us, according to the still active commlink. I will refrain from drawing conclusions about what this means until our scientists spend some time with it.

So there you have it. We just took a dive into the deep dark, with our eyes closed and only half a map, and now we swim among strange stars. A few relative hours ago, I was gripped with panic as we all rushed to strap in for an unexpected jump. But standing here now, 2,474 lightyears away with no reported injuries, no damaged hulls, and a curious universe spread out in front of us, I can't think of any place in the universe I'd rather be.

Forge the Fritz!

-Ivett Biskup,

Navigation Officer, Granite Charm

A Few Long Minutes, Quickly

Entry
1.014
April 3, 2021
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As the announcement repeated with further urgency, people across the fleet panicked and raced to the nearest straps.

Fear and confusion boiled up. Why are we jumping? Who initiated this? Why weren't we warned? Questions echoed around the worried minds while they climbed into bunks and tightened buckles. Where are we going?

But not for Tobias. From his particular vantage point in the Thruster Control room, he was immediately certain of several facts:

  • No one initiated this jump.
  • No one entered a course.
  • The fleet is about to travel very, very far.

Never one to waste time with worry, Tobias calmly secured the straps built into his station, closed his eyes, and let his mind begin unfolding this new puzzle. Any fear of danger he was holding was kept safely in the background, where he preferred to store his troublesome feelings. This was no time for feelings, it was time to think. And thinking is what Tobias does best.

The thruster controls fritzed, he theorized.

A full jump command manifested somewhere in the machinery. The internal protocols are optimized for efficiency, but they still require quite a bit of specific and careful calculation to input. A random fluctuation in memory would have a vanishingly small chance of looking like a proper jump command. Like pulling a random sentence out of a dictionary and using it to navigate to the grocery store.

There's a lot of power being drawn into the thrusters, almost 20% of our current reserves. The first jump was a 2% capacity jump, intending for a 20LY jump. Distance scales quadratically to energy input in the Pak Thruster. Off the top of his head, the fleet was about to travel about 2000 LY. Of course, the first jump actually went 60LY, so who knows how much farther our they could wind up. Or in which direction.

There isn't enough time.

Tobias winced. He should have realized sooner. Theoretically, the crew was trained to get to straps in 15 minutes, and the thrusters take 17 minutes to spin up. But those results were in focused testing environments. In a real emergency, confusion will slow people down. They need at least 90 seconds for jump fluids to circulate. Some crew members won't be ready, and a jump this big could be brutal.

Tobias stubbornly refused the tide of fear tugging at the edges of his mind. I know this system, he thought, I know how to break it. His consciousness filled with the elaborate schematic of the thruster array he kept in memory. Racing through the spin-up procedures, he mentally walked through each boot process and pre-check. That's it! The pre-checks!

If he could fail one of the safety checks, he could disrupt the spin-up. Which one though? Power wouldn't work, too much is already in short storage. No safe way to dump that out without doing major damage. The engines will fire soon, one way or another. He needed a way to introduce a delay. Scheduling was already shortcut by the Fritz. Timing is deterministic. Synchronization.. bingo!

His hands whipped across the straps, freeing him before he had time to think about the impact of interrupted jumpfluid. I'll deal with it. It wasn't until he was trying to pry open the link-chain console that he noticed the stiffness in his fingers. Like syrup in his veins. Too bad, body.

Uncovering the synchronization chipset, he pushed through the clouds forming in his mind and recalled the schematics. Compared to the wizard-level tech powering navigation and thrust, the link-chain was little more than applied networking. It's critically important that the thrusters operate in unison, and they will delay their fire if they don't have an actively confirmed sync. This is how Tobias can slow down the jump.

I need to tap into the synchronization channel and introduce a lot of noise. Make it too difficult to find the actual signal.

There was nothing random about the nearby circuitry, Pak Thrusters are a tool of precision. If he was going to make signal noise, he'd have to do it himself.

He didn't dare look at the countdown timer as he dashed over to the tool cabinet. Pulling out a few electrodes, some wires, a fast-welder, and a few familiar components, he began building the schematic in his head. Electrodes at the temples reading beta waves, crossed with a microphone input, run that down through a digitizer, dump that directly into the sync channel. It should be enough.

Tobias was better with theory than craftwork, but he made a sufficient weld to tap his makeshift synthesizer into the circuitry. Running a spool back over to his chair, he attached the microphone to his collar and the electrodes to his temples. He strapped himself in, feeling the cold creep of the jumpfluid continue spreading up his arm.

He took a deep breath to steady himself. And then Tobias began to scream.

He opened the gates he'd locked his emotions behind, and let them come pouring in. He screamed out of fear, he screamed out of frustration, and when those began to fade, he dug deeper. He screamed out of love for this crew. He screamed out of a passion for the glorious engineering coming to life in front of him. He screamed out of raw, human determination.

Every challenge he'd faced to get here, every barrier he'd vaulted, every day he'd struggled to belong among the starchasers, it all came roaring out through his vocal cords. As they ached and sputtered, he screamed. As the jumpfluid demanded calm, he screamed in defiance. And when the counter reset, he screamed in victory.

They have time. 17 new minutes starting to tick down. Enough to save the stragglers. Enough for the jumpfluid to settle in. It's enough. And then he let go into the gentle grasp of the fluids, and rested. For 18 minutes, and 2,474 LY.

Fritzscripting

Entry
1.013
March 30, 2021
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"You sure this isn't a cheesy ploy to get me into bed, Tanya?" Suzu asked, looking at the disorganized bunk. The bed was the only clear space to sit.

"Afraid not, hot stuff" Tayna said with a touch of sarcasm. "It's just that the code doesn't work anywhere else. At least, not that I've found." She shoved blankets into a pile on the floor and gestured to Suzu to sit. Catching his peculiar gaze, she said "What? Don't tell me you don't code in bed."

She had a point. Suzu sat. "OK. Show me what's got you so worked up."

"Let's start by carving out some memory on the local brain to play with." She assembled the basic code with the same reflexive speed that someone might sign their own name with. "Now let's set up a basic pointer registry in the standard ShipOS Controller schema."

Suzu pointed out a typo. "You forgot to null-wipe your memory."

"Nah. That's the thing. What's usually in freshly partitioned memory?"

"Garbage. Whatever was left there."

"Yeah, if you were the one using it last. But not fresh off the brain."

Suzu thought for a second. "I guess, it'd be chaotic brain noise, right? Between the load balancers and the unlocked d-gates, it's going to be virtually random."

"Yeah. Random like this?" Tanya asked, tapping a command into the keyboard. A stream of uninterpreted memory data scrolled past, hex-codes without context.

"Exactly."

"Full disclosure time. I don't always wipe my memory. I'm just putting it out there, I wouldn't have found this if I were following best practices. I wasn't doing anything official, just messing around."

Suzu's mouth hung open. "You're a data auditor, Tanya! You know better."

"I know, I know. And that's why I know this isn't a usual dirty data error. Lazy code isn't the point right now. Look. This isn't just brain noise. It's coherent." Tanya started typing in a new series of commands, rearranging the data into a more readable table. "There's a clear period to it, so I just started processing it as data frames. See?"

Squinting, Suzu replied, "I see neatly organized noise."

"This register in column 3, right here" Tanya pointed, "is just oscillating between positive Tau and negative Tau. See?"

Suzu watched the number rise and fall in a steady rhythm. "I suppose, how did you even notice that?"

Tanya tapped her head, "Data auditor."  Then she started in on another set of commands. "We recognize that particular sine wave, it's all over the place. It's part of how ShipOS determines time, based on relative angles of the spinning-"

"OK, OK, I believe you. Don't make me do homework, please."

Tanya rolled her eyes. "It means this memory is the output of real ShipOS code. Not noise. And that's not all. These values," she highlighted a few with the cursor, "aren't changing. And they are sequential. It's a memory index, tracking some related set of variables."

"Alright, I guess that makes sense. If some code is leaving a trail, it would be coherent."

"No, not a trail. This data is changing. This is a stream. And not just a record, it turns out. This is live."

Suzu shook his head in confusion. "Wait. How can it be live? This is leftover memory."

"That's what I'm saying. It's not leftover."

"You just requisitioned it from the local brain. I watched you do it."

"Yeah. And that memory is still being manipulated, even after I claimed it. Spooky, right?"

Suzu's face tightened from worry into a squint Tanya recognized as his puzzle-solving face. "I wonder what the data is."

"It took me a couple of hours to figure it out. It's a dashboard panel, from the engine bay. I pattern-matched the timings of a few of the memory oscillations and found a perfect fit. Here, I built a little mockup visualization." With a few quick clicks, a chunky interface appeared with data about the engine health, the electrical supply it's generating, the fuel, and some positioning data Suzu didn't immediately understand.

"This only took you a couple of hours?" he asked.

Tanya shrugged, hiding a sly smile. "I was curious."

"This is nuts. Have you told anyone else yet?"

"No, not yet. I wanted to show someone cool like you first. Once we report this, they're going to lock this area down as a fritz zone and that'll be the end of it, at least for you and me. After hearing all the excitement about the other fritzes, I just wanted to savor the moment."

Suzu sighed. "OK. But this is enough right, showing me?"

Tanya knew not to push it. "Yeah. I just need to clean up real quick, then we can go tell Zee."

"Clean up?"

"I wasn't sure this would stick around when I went to go get you, so I left a little backdoor in case. I'm taking it out now before anyone is sniffing around." Tanya saw unease in Suzu's face. "Don't worry, it was MAC-locked to this machine, with my homebrew encryption. No one was getting to it but me. And besides, it's just a dashboard. Data display, not control. There, all done. Good as new."

The room erupted with a quick flash of orange light as the emergency alert came to life. An urgent synthetic voice announced:

"Warning, Pak Thrusters have begun spin-up. All crew should make immediate preparations to jump. Repeat, all crew should make immediate preparations to jump."

"A jump?!" Suzu shouted. "Tanya!"

"That wasn't me!" Tanya insisted. "I swear! There's no way." Tapping furiously on the keyboard, she pulled up fleetwide diagnostics and flitted through status readouts. "This isn't a fake, Suzu. The whole fleet is getting this. The Thrusters are already at 7%. There's not much time. You need to go strap in, now."

"I don't get it, where are we jumping?" Suzu said, struggling to process.

"Suzu, the only place you're going if you don't strap in is the infirmary. Or worse. Don't make me drag you. GO!"

The unusual tone of panic in Tanya's voice snapped Suzu out of his daze. She turned her attention to her own straps to discourage a lingering goodbye. And to keep him from seeing the starchart on her screen. She'd lied. It was trivial to see where the thrusters were pointed. She didn't know what was in that particular direction, but one thing was clear. They were about to make a very large jump, into very dark space.

Concerning Both Earths

Entry
1.012
March 27, 2021
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1.012
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As you are aware, we see Earth in two locations.

Most 'scopes, including opticals, CMB-maps, and StarNav, all agree Earth is about 60 LY from our current position. We call this Optical Earth to distinguish it from the other, Commlink Earth. As the name suggests, Commlink Earth is the appearance of Earth according to our communications link. Based on sub-band communication principles, we can calculate the focal point of the link lock, and it clearly places Earth 20 LY away. This is the position we expected Earth to be based on our original plan for the first Pak Thruster jump.

We decided to maintain the connection to Commlink Earth. A broken link is difficult to re-establish, and we cannot be sure that Optical Earth has a beacon ready for us to link to. Our initial report to Earth was broadcast successfully, and we received a response. This strongly suggests that Commlink Earth is the accurate position of the Earth we left. It does not tell us why every other sensor apparatus we have disagrees with that conclusion.

We have begun construction on a new commlink array. It will be limited in capability, but enough to establish a link and transmit basic text. Our hope is to focus it on Optical Earth and see if there's any response. If our current Commlink is accurate, there should be nothing where Optical Earth appears to be. If our other 'scopes are accurate, we'll establish contact there through the auxiliary channel.

Some of our scientists speculate that we are seeing a mirage.

They suspect that Optical Earth is an illusionary reflection of Commlink Earth. If this is the case, we expect to be unable to connect with the auxiliary commlink. Others suspect that the commlink itself is fritzed, functioning properly while reporting outdated location information.

Finally, Commlink Earth has indicated they are preparing a new "lighthouse" beacon to aid us in navigation. The plans they've shown us involve a perpendicular, or "vertical", solar orbit in phase with Earth, broadcasting a commlink signal. Because this orbit is rarely used, the new signal will be easy to distinguish. In addition to giving us a verification for our orientation and position, this will demonstrate whether or not the two Earths we see are mirrors of each other. If they are not, then Optical Earth will not have a beacon.

We will keep the council informed as these projects develop.

A Skitter in the Dark

Entry
1.011
March 23, 2021
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1.011
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"We see. We see!" Sa- said, barely able to contain his excitement. "A skitter. Small, and far away" said -Karn.

Rim-Magua strode over to the comms station to see. "Small," Rim- noted. -Magua peered closer, and said: "That far out, could be sensor noise."

"No!" Sa- insisted. -Karn explained,  "Sensor noise doesn't curve like that."

Rim-Magua shared a thoughtful look. "Who's out there?" -Magua asked.

"Space dust," said Sa-. -Karn clarified, "No one on record. It's a quiet patch, near a smaller star."

Rim- sighed in exaggerated exhaustion. -Karn rolled his eyes. "No, Rim-. We have to follow protocol. Set a surveyor on it," she instructed, "it's such a small skitter and so far out it might be a waste of our time. But if it fires up again, we're duty-bound to investigate."

Sa-Karn turned back to the comms console and began programming the surveyor. "New life?" Sa- asked with a hopeful tone. "Could be, Sa-. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. But I've never heard of dumb rocks skittering in the dark. Takes some brains to do that, one way or another."

Rim-Magua flared their chest in boastful pride. "Discovery!" Rim- cheered "First Connection with a fledgling star-hopper is a sure way to earn presence in the Central Mind. Perhaps this skitter is just what we're looking for," said -Magua.

Interlude - Are You Lost, Jellyfish?

Entry
1.010
March 21, 2021
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1.01
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The savannah is no place for a jellyfish like you.

I've never seen one out here. Actually, I've never seen one before. I'd only heard about you from Shrew. I thought maybe you were just some tumbling garbage. But you're swimming, aren't you? There's no water here. But still, you swim. I have to say, it's quite peculiar.

Are you lost, Jellyfish? Nothing is chasing you, nothing is running from you. Most of those things don't live out here either. I'd point you back to where you came from if you weren't so clearly going the opposite way. Jellyfish look pretty fragile, maybe it's best I just watch from here. I hope you know where you want to go.

Oh? Off in a hurry now? I hope I didn't startle you. Look at you go! Are all you jellyfish that fast? No wonder you wanted out of your pool. Good luck, little Jellyfish. You're in a much bigger ocean now, and even an Elephant like me can't tell you what's out there. Too cold, too slippery. You'll see what I mean, soon enough.

To Our Friends in Space

Entry
1.009
March 19, 2021
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We've received your report, Fritz Fleet.

Let me start by saying we are overjoyed to hear that you completed your exit from the solar system safely. Regardless of the navigation trouble, this is still a momentous achievement, and you should be proud. What you do from here will define the foundation of humanity's future in space.

Regarding the Andromeda mission, we understand your position. Until the Pak Thruster Array can be used reliably, venturing to Alpha Centauri is unrealistic. We still hope to visit Andromeda with your fleet or another, but we won't move forward with those plans until we better understand your situation. So, as far as the Planetary Council is concerned, we endorse your new mission statement and formally recognize the Fritz Fleet.

As you succinctly pointed out, we have no realistic means of enforcing authority over your Fleet, and honestly, we have no desire to. We do hope, however, that we can maintain a mutually beneficial partnership. We are eager to hear all about everything you encounter. Please continue your broadcasts for as long as you are able.

Our engineers have been reviewing the navigation and systems data you've transmitted. We don't have a lot of insight to offer, but we are sending you our observational data, including optics from two satellites that happened to be pointed across your travel path. Maybe there are clues in that data that will help you in your investigations.

Finally, we're developing a plan to launch a new beacon into vertical solar orbit to assist your navigation. We'll transmit further details as they become available but hope to get you a lighthouse signal shortly. At the very least, it should provide insight into the "doubled earth" phenomenon you've described.

Good luck, Fritz Fleet. We know that within your ranks are many of humanity's brightest and most capable problem solvers. While your circumstance is shrouded in questions, we can think of no better crew to be out there finding answers. Your home planet is with you in spirit and eager to know what you find.

In the spirit of exploration,

-Alvis Sandhya,

Earth-Space Planetary Council

P.S. Please send us your new emblems. Our marketing team has never been more excited to develop a merch campaign.

Talking Fritz

Entry
1.008
March 18, 2021
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"Have you seen any fritz yet?" Sahib asked, with the usual mischievous look in his eyes.

"Well, kinda, I guess. I saw the green engine trails in the vir-view" Kira said. "Have you?"

Sahib looked around and lowered his voice, but just barely. "Don't tell anyone, but I had blond hair this morning."

"Sahib! You should know better! It could be dangerous. We don't know what's going on with those.. things."

"The fritzes."

"Yeah. Fritzes" Kira practiced the pronunciation a few times silently. "Hey, since you've had your turn being dumb, now it's my turn."

Sahib recoiled with comedically exaggerated shock. "Kira? Planning to do something dumb? I can't believe it. Tell me more!"

"No, it's nothing like that. I just have a question, and.." Kira sighed. "Everyone always thinks I'm so smart, so when something doesn't make sense I get really embarrassed."

Recognizing the sincerity of his friend, Sahib dropped the teasing demeanor. "Everyone gets confused sometimes Kira, it's nothing to be worried about. What's the question?"

Kira took a breath. "I'm not good with slang. I always have a hard time keeping up with new words. Recently, everyone is saying 'fritz', but I only kinda understand what they mean."

"I don't think anyone really knows what the Fritz is."

"No, I mean, I get that. It's just that the word is confusing, it gets used a bunch of ways. Like, when you sat down, you asked if I'd seen 'a fritz' yet. So fritz is a noun, and it means one of the weird things that's happening?"

"Yeah, exactly."

"But then when the thrusters didn't work, was that a fritz? Did the engines have a fritz, or was there a fritz around the engines?"

"Oh, I see. You're right, it is a little confusing. I think it's a pretty flexible term. I think it fits in a few places. So the thruster array fritzed. That means there was a fritz in their operation, a strange occurrence. So fritz can be a noun or a verb, and the past tense verb is fritzed."

"That makes sense. So when you snuck into that cafeteria, there was a fritz there, and it fritzed your hair?"

"Exactly. Or you could say my hair fritzed out. The old way of saying it is 'Something is on the fritz', but I don't think you should worry too much about that grammar. It just meant acting up or malfunctioning."

"Ok, yeah, that was slipping me up a bit. But I've heard people say 'in the Fritz'. Or the sticker graffiti I see that says 'Welcome to the Fritz'. So, is the Fritz a place too?"

Sahib nodded. "Yeah, I think so. I think capital F 'Fritz' is the name everyone is settling on for the part of space we're in. The Fritz is where things fritz." Sahib gestured with his hands to help clarify the proper noun.

"Alright. That's a bit confusing, but I think I can handle it. So if I got this right, the following is all grammatically correct: The thrusters fritzed out, and brought us to the Fritz, where fritzes happen, and we don't know why."

"Bingo." Sahib said, then quickly clarified "That's correct."

"It feels pretty silly to me. It's way too much responsibility for one little word."

"Probably. But language is weird, you know? It's a soup we're all cooking."

Kira chuckled. "Well, I think I'll have to let this one stew a bit longer."

This time Sahib's shocked expression was genuine. "Someone call Julia, I found another fritz. Kira is making puns!"

The Skipping Stone Theory of Intergalactic Travel

Entry
1.007
March 17, 2021
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As you know, Engineering has been hard at work on a thorough review of the Pak Thruster Array.

Today I can report that, to the best of our ability, the entire Thruster system is working in perfect order. We can't find any evidence of damage or disruption. Furthermore, the recorded energy use, which can be verified by post-jump capacitor measurement, was perfectly in line with our pre-launch calculations. As far as we can tell, the Pak Thrusters accelerated us through 20 LY of interstellar medium. Of course, we wound up 60 LY away, in the wrong direction.

This either means we have no idea how our own tech works or that the interstellar medium itself has unexpected properties. While our science team continues to try to construct malfunction models that would explain the consistent measurements of our diagnostics, we felt it was important to present an alternative theory that has risen to prominence within the team. We call it the Skipping Stone theory.

As you know, the Pak Thruster uses q-vac tethers to tug the fleet through space within the transport bubble. In this manner, the whole fleet is held together as a single object as the bubble is propelled through space by the compounded vector engines. We waited until after the slingshot maneuver to activate the thrusters so that we could avoid gravitational interference from our own sun. Based on quite a bit of observational data, we assumed that the interstellar medium is mostly empty and relatively uniform.

However, it's possible that space out here isn't as uniform as we anticipated.

Or perhaps that it behaves differently when traveling at super-c speeds. It might be the case that we "skip" through the interstellar medium instead of traveling a direct path through it. When a stone is skipped across a pond's surface, it is only slowed down by the water in the brief moments it makes contact. When it bounces up off the surface, it hurtles through empty air with much less friction. Our transport bubble may have done something similar.

If we are skipping through space, it would explain our unexpectedly long jump. But to explain the change in direction, imagine rippled, radial waves moving across the surface of a pond. Now imagine the same rock skipping across just the tops of those waves. If the rock approaches the wave peaks from a skewed angle, one side of the rock will drag through more water than the other. This imbalanced drag could cause the rock's path to bend. If our transport bubble encountered wave-shaped distortions while we used the thrusters, it might explain both the unexpected distance and direction of our travel.

This theory does fit a lot of our current data. However, it leaves several large questions unanswered. Where are we when we are "out of the water"? What creates the waves? Can we chart and navigate by them? And why didn't we detect this interference during testing?

All models are flawed, but some are useful. This has proven to be our most useful theory so far. Our scientists aren't backing down from this challenge, and I will keep the council informed of any significant progress.

Julia's List

Entry
1.006
March 16, 2021
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1.006
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A lot has happened since the first jump.

While we all know that the jump was mysteriously off course, we are only beginning to discover the true extent of our situation. If you haven't noticed yet, things seem to be behaving strangely around the fleet. I've begun collecting a list of unexplained and unusual situations developing throughout the fleet. All of this started after with the first jump:

1. When the fleet used the Pak Thruster Array, we wound up going three times farther than expected, in the wrong direction.

2. Earth appears, optically, about 60 lightyears away. Earth is in a different location according to the comms array, which has it 20 lightyears away. This location is where we'd have expected Earth to be if the Pak Thrusters hadn't fritzed.

3. The engine trail of Hermite Crab (SCID #112) is uncharacteristically green. Additionally, the engine room has an unexplained "metallic" taste in the air.

4. A crew member on Jasper Sunset (SCID #585) has reported the disappearance of their orange tabby, "Scott". Five other crew members have found stray orange tabby cats, none of which are "Scott".

5. The hallway from the lower bunks on the Jade Renegade (SCID #015) slope downward toward the anterior observatory. This directly conflicts all stored blueprints of the spacecraft, and the recent memories of its occupants.

6. A cafeteria in the central corridor of the Alabaster Point (SCID #119) causes all occupants' hair to turn blond while inside of it. The effect only persists within the perimeter of the room.

7. The food terminal in the front café of the Carbon Hammer (SCID #260) prints a small chai tea every 15 minutes. Even after being unplugged. The tea itself is reportedly "a bit better than usual".

There's more to this list that I'm still investigating and verifying.

If you are encountering anything unusual, please let me know. In particular:

Have you had dreams involving elephants recently, more than once? If so you're not alone.

Have any crew members gone missing?

Have any new rooms appeared that didn't exist before? (Please do not enter strange rooms without proper precautions.)

Are your machines operating normally?

Have you seen anything strange outside the hulls?

Whatever is happening out here, we'll figure it out. But the first step is to gather data. So get out there, be safe, stay alert, and keep talking.