The people gathered at the news conference were anxious to know what the press officer Guzman at mission control from UESC (United Earth Space Consortium) had to tell them. I wasn't that curious, as I already knew what he was going to say. I was there when the disaster happened with the first space test that was done with the new Dimensional Drive Thrusters and a Dimensional Power Module to power a vehicle in space. Of course I had been invited, as I had invented the DPM and was a consultant with the team that had developed the DDT. I'll never forget hearing the voice of Sanjiro Wakami, as he described what happened during his testflight.
A week earlier, during the DDT test
"Sanjiro, give us the stats please?"
"Hai, Synergy thrusters just shut down, rocket boosters have fired and are propelling me with 1000 kps outwards. The DPM has been checked and is online. I'm checking the DDT's now; they appear to be in order and standing by."
Moments later his voice came again, "I've shut down the rocket boosters, but will keep them on standby, just in case the DDT's don't fire. Hold on, firing up the DDT's now. No ... that is ... Oh my..." Then there was a screeching noise and the transmission cut off.
"Sanjiro, what is happening, talk to us. Sanjiro?"
Current time at press conference UESC
The press officer Guzman said, "We are still trying to ascertain what really happened, but all indications are that a piece of equipment failed."
Immediately the question started, "Was it the new thruster?" and "Did the power generator explode?"
"Please, we can't make any comments on what exactly failed and how. All I can say is that we are still investigating the matter." Guzman hastily interrupted all the questions.
As the reporters fired more questions at Guzman, who would be getting frustrated, I turned away and left the press conference. The UESC had asked me to sit in on the inquiry board of the accident. Partly, since I was present at the mishap and mostly as one of the leading scientists in the field.
I was worried about my children though. I had been away from them for a few days now. I knew they would be in good care with Gabe and his Mom, but still I liked being with them and taking care of them. Especially little Tommy, he was teething and though Mom in law is good with her bio powers, it still is a troubling time for kids.
However I also was anxious to see this project through. The DPM was my latest project and I was integral connected to the development of the DDT's. Nothing should have gone wrong, but it did and I wanted to know what and why.
I was so convinced that these developments where the ticket for our people to get out to the stars, and now it seemed to fall dead before it even started. I knew there were other companies trying to create technology that would allow mankind to reach the stars, but ours had more potential. Or at least I and some of my colleagues thought so.
Waiting for the next meeting of the UESC inquiry board, I relaxed in the luxury seat of the VIP lounge. Behind me I heard people whispering to each other. "They're going to kill the program. I just know it," a man said.
"I don't know, but I fear they may scrap most of it. You heard what they said, they couldn't find anything from the craft. It was totally destroyed. Like, it was transported out of there."
"Maybe it was aliens? They could've warped in and taken it. Then they warped out before anything could be seen from down here."
"Don't be daft, there's no such thing as aliens or Warp engines. No, I think the Chinese blew it out of space and it all got covered up."
A soft chime signaled the starting of the meeting and I got up fluidly from my seat. Those people back there were guessing wildly at what had happened. Though there might be some truth with it, the UESC might cancel the whole program and go with a competitor that had more crude, slow and more costly technology to propel vehicles through space. They didn't like it when people got killed which meant the better technology would be foregone in favor for more proven but more costly technology. I thought that there was something fishy about it all and wanted to see this through if only to satisfy my longing for knowledge and understanding.
"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. This inquiry of the mishap from flight SES 34 is now in session." The leader of the inquiry board, Ronald Mosey said to the assembled crowd. (SES= Space Exploration Systems)
I was sitting next to Sarah McIntyre. Since our adventure from Tenkei, I had been in regular contact with her and I was glad that she was involved with the DDT program. I could clearly recall how we got started on the idea and the start of the program. I was having a quiet afternoon tea with Sarah just talking about technology.
Afternoon tea at Everybody's Place in Tenkei months earlier
"Did you hear about the new ideas they're launching for interstellar travel?"
"Aye, they'll no' get far with today's technology. The engines just ain't powerful enough, nae fast enough. Let alone fuel consumption. If only those thrusters of yours could work."
"Sadly my thrusters only work with pushing against something. In space there's just not enough stuff to push against. It's too bad since my new project the DPM might solve the fuel and power problem."
"DPM stands for Dimensional Power Module, right?"
At my nodding, Sarah continued, "But what if we could push against somethin' else?"
"What are you thinking of, Sarah?"
"Dimensions, I mean there are dimension boundaries everywhere, what if we could somehow push against those. I know we cannae see them or even know where and how they are, but we dinnae need that, we just need somethin' to push against."
"You might be on to something, unfortunately I have my hands full with the kids and my DPM, I can't take on another project like that."
"You dinnae have to, I'd like to explore this myself, if you dinnae mind."
"Why would I mind? Go for it. Can you use a sparring partner as a consultant?"
"I wouldnae dream of tryin' the project without your help now and again."
Current time at inquiry of flight SES 34, UESC
"As you can see, after we targeted some telescopes on the area, there was just a little debris in the general area. It seems like the craft piloted by Sanjiro Wakami disintegrated or vanished without a trace." Ronald Mosey concluded his presentation of the findings.
Someone directly asked the question I dreaded, "Do you think the Dimension doohickeys failed catastrophic and sucked the craft into another dimension?"
"There is no indication that something like that happened. But I'm not an expert in that field. I'll leave the answering of that to the leading scientists present here. Mrs. Kramer and Miss McIntyre, would you come forward please and answer these questions?" Ronald Mosey looked straight at us and though I didn't want to be in the spotlights, I realized that I had no choice.
Together with Sarah I got up and walked to the stage accepting a nano-clip microphone for the sound.
"I'll be answering any questions about the Dimensional Power Module or DPM for short." I said clearly to everyone. "My friend Miss McIntyre is head of the project Dimensional Drive Thrusters or DDT for short and will answer questions about that."
"Did your DPM fail aboard the craft?" an older man asked.
"Till everything has been examined and tested I can't be 100% sure, but all my tests didn't show anything like that."
"But this was the first time your DPM went into space?" A woman asked.
"Yes it is true that a DPM hasn't been in space before. Due to regulations and fear of unknown technology I haven't been allowed to have it tested in space yet. However it was tested with cosmic radiation and every other kind of possible hazards, short of hard vacuum. Since the DPM is installed inside a craft it would not have been in a vacuum."
More questions were about to be fired at me, but I continued, "However to make sure this wasn't the cause of any mishap I'm having a DPM transported to Tenkei soon with special preparations, where it will be undergoing more tests."
Some technical questions were quickly dismissed by the classic answer 'Classified' or 'read the manual'. I had prepared a short manual of the DPM that didn't reveal the workings, just what it was and how it operated.
Sarah got grilled afterwards about the DDT and fortunately she kept it low tech, as most people wouldn't understand her if she began to speak about how it would work. As it was, her accent already made following it a bit difficult for some people.
After the meeting we had another private conversation with Ronald Mosey in his office. He started with an apology. "I'm sorry that I have to tell you this."
I interrupted him, "You're not thinking of cancelling our projects, are you?"
He looked aggrieved at us, "Well, you see..."
Sarah looked like she was about to explode, "No! You're no shut this project down, not now! They're blaming it on us and we're going to prove 'em wrong. With or without your funding. If you cannae give us a little time, we'll find a way to do it ourselves. When we succeed, we'll sell it very expensive to every competitor we can find."
I looked at Sarah, we made a good tag team like this. Mosey looked even more pained in his expression. "You can't do that, all the research is classified and guarded. We can't have you take it somewhere else."
.... There is more of this story ...