Episode 157: The Teleporting Puzzle

Captain Calen stood by the door to the computer terminal station, eyeing the few people who walked by without noticing her. Each passing agent of the Dyson Empire reminded her that she was focusing on remaining hidden, and that vengeance needed to wait.

“This is curious, Captain. If I’m reading the schematics properly, this ship is actually three vessels.”

“What?” said Calen, leaning in to look at Trell, sitting at the terminal that extended from the pillar in the center of the room along with the other five unoccupied stations.

“There are three ships, but they’re functioning as one.”

“Didn’t Ortega think that all of this technology came from other ships? I’ve heard of many unusual vessels in my day Ensign, and personally discovered many others, but I’ve yet to see a ship like this, so clearly designed for humanity, that could function in that fashion, apart from the Astroguard’s experiments with saucer and nacelle integration.”

“The… captain from the Astroguard did say this, yes,” said Trell. “And for the smaller ships like Tan’s fighter, he was accurate. The technology within this larger vessel, while also largely borrowed from other sources, has been customized, altered, or built from scratch where needed. With the proper commands, we could cause this ship to break into two or three functional pieces that would act on their own as vessels.”

“I see,” said Calen, taking a step into the room. “Trell, would this create piloting complications? Flying a ship that was multiple ships?”

“It might, but I believe they would be negligible in a vacuum at most standard velocities. The nature of the integration seems to be built with the avoidance of potential stress-fractures from inertia in mind.”

“How similar would it be to our trial exercises with the Scuttler?” asked Calen. “We could have five ships working in tandem to force another vessel in another direction, and usher them to safer harbor with ease during the challenges set before us and the other Scuttlers.”

“I believe there would be similarities, but it would be even easier. Our experience with Scuttlers might give us a piloting edge, though. Especially considering the lack of training that we’ve seen in all of the Dyson Empire’s conscripts.”

“Oh, I like hearing that, I truly do. How do you suppose the vessels connect? Do they take the time to couple and decouple in space? What if they felt a need during the heat of battle?”

“I suppose they’d manage without unless they truly felt safe. These are very intricate connections, and while separating could be done quickly, I don’t see combining being reasonable mid-combat. Unless…”

Trell grew silent and began tapping the interface, quickly scrolling through commands and schematics in the screen of tangible electricity that sparkled in front of her eyes.

“Captain, do you remember the Phoenix Circuitry?”

“Of course. That horrid secret technology was all that stood between me and destroying Tan’s vessel, a request made when you and Captain Ortega worked together to pacify me.”

“Unpleasant as the captain from the Astroguard may have been, the crash course it gave me on the Phoenix Circuitry was useful here… it’s laced through the connections of the ships.”

“So? You said there were tracings of the circuitry throughout the entirety of Tan’s vessel. Why would any Dyson empire ship be different, especially custom-built jobs like this that would differ from Tan’s?”

“Because the circuitry here is designed to move through the connections. The Phoenix Circuitry can create a larger circuit pattern through all of the connected ships.”

“Wait… Trell, if we were able to bring the Scuttler through the teleportation by just clinging to the vessel with the Scuttler’s own machinery…”

“These vessels are built for coordinated receiverless teleportation, Captain. They might even be able to teleport from a disconnected state to a connected one. Ordinarily I’d assume that this wouldn’t be possible, but a lot of the coordinating instructions I’m seeing here look like they can teleport to a position in relation to their space within the phoenix circuit relative to all the other participants rather than to a specified distance or set of coordinates.”

Captain Calen fully turned her back from the doorway, and approached Trell’s screen, leaning over her ensign’s shoulder for a better look.

“It’s an incredible bounty you’ve found, then. Tactical teleportation for rapid redeployment… like stuffing all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle into its box, shaking it, and then pulling the assembled picture from within. Trell, I see an armada of a dozen vessels, adeptly cutting through the Magellan Mine-Cloud without tripping a single security measure, and then reforming into a battleship capable of destroying any resistance on the opposite side! Farthest Fleet, this is technology that can turn barbarians into emperors!”

“Wouldn’t the ships be able to simply teleport to the opposite side of the mines?”

“We still don’t know the limitations of Dyson’s technologies, Ensign, I make no assumptions. On that note… be sure to save as much of this data as you can without raising security concerns. If we can’t reclaim Morcala and strike the death-blow to Dyson himself, we may yet have an incredible career of piracy ahead.”

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