Yes, it’s short. I’m still writing. I didn’t want anyone thinking Aurie killed her friend. I mean, she’s quite capable of doing it if she thought she had a valid reason. But given how much loyalty is treasured in the imperium, Colour would have to do something like shoot one of the imperial family. If she, say, betrayed Aurie’s secrets to the Canadian government? I imagine the princess would just shrug and end their friendship.
In the next installment, I hope y’all enjoy Aurie’s reaxion when she first sees the ice with her own eyes. It’s a bit like the Grand Canyon; you can look at pictures or even go to an IMAX, but until you stand there and look at the big hole in the ground, you will not “get it.”
“In there,” she went to rap the wall with her knuckles next to Colour’s hand, “is the motor. Designed on paper in the old US, days before the Change, developed by the Chinese, and brought into production by the sheer drive of Empress Togame of the Japanese Empire. Soon, because, cough Reina cough, the Russians had them, too. It was only due to a spectacular misreading of the soul by said Reina that my aunt’s stepdaughter stole the plans for us. Making the imperium one of the world’s three Great Powers. I lost you at some point.”
“My face that obvious?” Colour asked.
“Hell, even a human could have seen that,” Aurelia laughed. “How can I make you older?”
“Well, setting aside the politics, which I see are important, but,” she waved at the wall, “what is it?”
“I’m going to be deliberately vague for two reasons,” the princess began. “One, of course, is security. This is the most closely held of our secrets. Two is that telling you tech details will only confuse you more. Okay?”
“To look at, it’s a metal cone inside a copper sphere about ten feet in diameter,” Aurelia began, already glossing that the imperium used a special alloy in place of copper. No other nation had that. “That way, it can create a vectored thrust in any direction. That’s why the outer design of this ship looks like it does: it can move in any direction, instantaneously and very, very fast.”
“Is asking ‘how fast’ beyond the pale?” Jansen pushed a little.
“Fast enough to leave all four of us thin red smears on the wall.”
“The reactionless part,” she resumed, “means, without showing you the math, that a ship only moves when the motor is on. There is no propellant. All it needs is electrical power. Larger ships, like our T4s or the Jap and Rus destroyers, carry fission reactors.”
“What powers this ship?”
“Does she have a name or do you demis just rattle off numbers?” Colour teased.
“She’s small but all such ships deserve that honor. You are aboard INS Lenore,” Hartmann replied. “Now let’s go be seated forward and get going.”