We managed to get out of the space dock without a scratch…
We’re moving slowly beyond the space dock, heading through clear space.
We had seen people inside the wings of the dock, lining the passage windows watching the big ship depart. In olden days, on earth, when a ship left port, people on the dock would remain connected to the passengers by streamers, until the ship started to move away.
It was impossible to do that in space.
But, it was a notable day, the first of its type, heading out into the known, and, later, the unknown if the shakedown worked out.
The captain had decided despite the success of the trials, that he wanted to have one more trial, this time putting the crew through their paces.
I looked sideways, one eye still on the screen, now showing three possible midrange destinations, and on the Captain, also looking at the screen.
Uranus was about 2.8 billion kilometres.
Neptune, where our orders were to go, was 4.5 billion kilometres.
I had done the rough calculations on time to destination, in round numbers, basing the speed of light, what we regarded as SSPD 1,000. That was in km’s about 1.8 billion kilometres an hour, give or take.
Our first ships were under SSPD 1, and the series before this ship had a maximum of SSPD 1.25, which in understandable numbers was about 1,349,063 km per hour. Our ship was capable of SSPD 5.
So, given that our previous fastest ship could move at a maximum of SSPD 1.25, the time it would take to the first destination at SSPD 2 (no one ever travelled at maximum) was a little over 86 days, and to Neptune about 139 days.
In this ship if we were to hit SSPD 4.5, the same time frames would be 24 days and just over 38.5 days.
“Check the co-ordinates for Neptune and once we’re clear of the dock and given clearance, let’s start her out slowly on SSPD 2.
The helmsman checked the co-ordinates and set the speed. “Co-ordinates and speed set, awaiting clearance.”
“Very good. Best have a seat Number One, just in case.”
“Yes, sir.” I took a last glance at the screen, now only showing Neptune on the long-range scanner, and sat.
“Adventurer, you’re cleared for departure.” The voice of the dock master came over the speakers.
No need for further orders, the helmsman pushed the button below his screen, there was a slight lurch, and we were under way.
Next stop Neptune.
© Charles Heath 2021