Indian Summer

“Precisely,” Chelan answered.  “Though the test bed, if it works,  is built to turn into a freighter.  And in building the test bed, we try absolutely no technical advances, other than the ship itself.”

“Not ‘one of the proposed improved beta drives’, then.  Or ‘major leap in technology’?  You did not hear me disagreeing,” Bell said.

“Two bits of history here. The first was military, before the Interregnum.  World War 2 Germany tried conquering Europe.  With one exception, they had advanced – bleeding edge technology – weapons that they could only barely produce.  They were wildly unreliable, and could not compete with vast numbers of conservatively designed – the Sherman was arguably obsolete by 1944 — weapons.  The one exception, the one that mattered, were their submarines, the type they mostly produced being nearly worthless in the later part of the war.  The Americans then copied their example, producing the unreliable ultratech that led to the disasters that resulted in the Interregnum.” 

Chelan sipped at his coffee.  “The second goes to a company you have probably never heard of, Samsung electronics.  They started making imitations of known products, adequately good and cheaply.  One fine day their founder, a brilliant man, announced ‘We are doing something new. We are becoming First and Best’. He succeeded, too.  We will be following in his footsteps.”

“So you are proposing,” Bell said, “that Bulger should by and by build starships, visit these stars lacking in interest, and finally map and colonize these places in which the Republic has no interest or knowledge. ” 

“Precisely,” Chelan said.  “So step one is to get the Yard up and running, and the second step is to build a ‘new’ ship by progressively replacing all the components of one of our current ships, some number of components at a time, to see we know how to make or source them, and meanwhile there are such things as a new graving yard for the Space Guard, new ship design, and alpha design basics, all as cash flow permits.”

“A new design and clever alpha drives…that needs considerable training on the engineering side and beyond.  The last few election cycles,  the was talk of Federal Technical universities, but it never went anywhere.”  Bell looked at the floor.  “That takes a lot of money.”

Enter the Frumpkins

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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