Captain Brewster stood on his bridge and smiled. He leaned heavily on the ornate walking cane given to him by his grandfather. Only a crazy man would try what he was attempting; he knew that. He recalled the words his old mentor had said so many times, “The arrow of time goes only one way”. It was a nonsensical notion now, he thought. The very existence of his ship denied that simple truth.
“Navigator! Dead ahead. Engines full.”
This was the moment he knew the crew would not expect. After quite a silence, Richardson was first to speak, “Did you say full, Sir?” The captain sighed — it was a fair question. “Of course I said full! Let’s have it, lad, and quickly!”
“Yes, Sir!” Instantly, Lambert, the cool science officer, appeared at the Captain’s side — without making a sound. “Ah…begging your pardon, Sir…but we don’t know what that will do to the ship…the stress factors alone could crack the Arcturos open, from stem to stern.”
“Just wait and see,” said the skipper from the side of his mouth, “I think you’re going to be quite impressed with this.”
Of course, no-one else realised that he finally knew what this amazing ship was actually made for. At least, he hoped he did. At that moment, a flash flew from left to right across his field of view. “A shooting star,” the captain thought, “that has to be a good omen.”
The ship tore across the unfathomable beauty of the ringed planet they had been orbiting. The ice and rocks which formed the rings were so reflective they glinted like a billion diamonds in the starlight.
Then, the shaking started. No-one was surprised. The star drive had never been pushed like this before — maximum speed had always been forbidden on board this vessel. The sounds that came next were unearthly — like the moans of tortured souls trapped in an unrelenting damnation.
There was a noticeable pressure building up in the air. “What’s going on, Lambert?” the Captain shouted, doing his best to be heard over the astonishing sound of the great behemoth trying to tear itself apart.
“I’m not sure, Sir. We appear to be moving out of phase somehow.”
At that moment, he knew it was all going to be alright. Suddenly, everything stopped — there was no sound, no pressure, no vibration. “Navigator, where are we?”
“Er…we appear to be…well…everywhere, Sir.” Gasps went up around the bridge.
They had done it. They were now in the perfect state of quantum flux. They were all places in the universe, simultaneously.
They could step out of this moment to anywhere they wanted to go — they had managed to fold spacetime. The future of space travel was finally secured. No-one needed to take long, interstellar voyages any longer. They had solved the unsolvable riddle.
Where should they go now?
“Take us home.” And, with that, for the first time in one thousand years, the Arcturos went back to Earth.