|NaNoWriMo, day 21
||[Nov. 22nd, 2005|12:02 am]
Jumping through hyperspace resembles regular spatial travel about as much as being suddenly picked up and set down somewhere else resembles walking. Only that metaphor doesn't really work, because being picked up and set down somewhere else still requires that you cover the intervening distance somehow, and hyperspace travel doesn't really work that way. Hyperspace travel perhaps resembles, more than anything else, the "Go To Jail" card in Monopoly, in that you don't really travel in the normal way like you do the rest of the game. When you get sent to Jail, you don't pass Go, you don't get your two hundred dollars, you don't cover the intervening spaces. You're just all of a sudden in Jail, and as far as the game is concerned, the travel occurs outside of the normal geography of the game board. Except, in hyperspace travel, you don't generally end up in jail. If you were to try, apart from the fact that hyperjumping into space already occupied by another object tends to be disastrous for the object doing the jumping, you'd find when you got there that all the other prisoners and guards had been irradiated fatally. Hyperspace travel lets off fantastic amounts of radiation, which is among the reasons that it is forbidden to do so anywhere near inhabited worlds and offworld habitats that lack sufficient radiation shielding.
Luckily for the original researchers, their calculations and simulations had already shown that the hyperjump process would cause that sort of radiation. This really didn't keep them from being sterile from the rest of their lives, or the majority of them from dying of cancer by the age of fifty - "luckily" here is a relative term - but an unshielded hyperjump on Earth would have easily killed every person in a large city.
Anyway, no group of space travelers has ever really been able to consistently describe what it looks like to undergo hyperspace travel, though many have tried. To some, it looks like the world melts away, while simultaneously the world melts back into place, looking much the same as it did before (unless one is paying attention to the starfield outside the hyperjumping ship). To others, it appears as a flash of lights and colors. Others don't even notice when a hyperjump occurs (again, unless they're looking at something other than the jumping ship as a frame of reference), and still others perceive it as a brief moment of utter disorientation. One traveler described it as a sudden flash of that sensation you would get if you walk into a room in the house you've lived in your entire life, only to find that everything in the room, and the room itself, had been removed and replaced with an exact duplicate.
Whatever their sensations, each of the people on the Pallas Athena felt the hyperjump in their own way, and knew that they were now in the Borealis system.
Current pace: 47741