Sunday October 30, 2011
Book 12: Force Multiplication — Part III: Fight or Flight


NARRATOR: Celgate, two light-hours from the bustle of the Celeschul system interior...

BRISTLECONE: Mistress, a word?

PARA: Certainly, Bristlecone.

BRISTLECONE: My last refit included a teraport, but I've never used it for interstellar travel.

PARA: Are you worried that it won't work?

BRISTLECONE: Not at all.  We tested it out here at Celgate during the shakedown.

PARA: If you're confident in the jump, you must be worried about something else.  Talk to me, Bristlecone.

BRISTLECONE: I am six hundred years old, and I've never left the Celeschul system.

In all those centuries the occasion simply never arose.  I blockaded the wormgate three times, but never actually passed through it.

Now, with Celgate dark and the age of the teraport upon us, I am about to transit further from home than I've ever been.

I suspect I shall soon travel further still, and that for... various reasons I shall never be able to go home again.

PARA: Your anxiety is a common one.  People get it all the time.

You're focusing on a single set of superficial changes and worrying that you'll change beyond recognition.  The fact is that you'll just be you again in a new place, and with new friends.

PARA: Any time you want to talk about it, I'm here for you.  I've seen all kinds of quirks in A.I.

BRISTLECONE: In my spare cycles, I track the genealogy and progeny of everyone who has ever traveled within my hull.

PARA: That's number 98 in the Ferro-Swedin Catalog.  It usually gets cured with a restraining order.