Deceleration was always the worst part of the jump. The engine room was almost as much computer as it was mechiancial engine. Actually there were two engines, the standard star drive engines; the provided maneuvering, life support and general power for the ship. These where the engines that they used to leave the gravity well of Luna orbit over 30 decades ago.
It was a momentous day when it was finally proven that the 12 dimensions did exist and an engine could be build that would drive a ship faster than the speed of light. The drawback, as it always had been been since the original days of the space race, was the limit of how much fuel the ship could carry for a sustained FTL jump. The best the Luna Station engineers could do is build a ship that could jump a thousand light years before running low on fuel. That’s where the FLT and fuel management computers worked in harmony.
The solution to all this lack of travel time, was to develop a method of collecting more fuel while the ship was coasting after the FTL jump. This was accomplished by a dust collector, an incredibly large “net” that was deployed from the nose of the ship, four times that diameter of the ship herself. Even with this large net funneling space dust into the onboard refinery, it would take nearly 20 years to collect enough for the next jump.
This is how the first generation ships worked; get clear of the large gravity well of Earth and Luna, jump the 1000 LYs, then a quick deceleration for one standard year, collect fuel for another twenty standard years and then prepare for the next jump. During the deceleration and glide times, the ship sent automated probes out to search for a habitable world. The ship was designed to be self-sustaining to the crew and explores, all 10 thousand of them. The large rotating core provided artificial gravity and the outer hull hydroponic decks provided oxygen and plants for food. Water was the biggest issue. They had to mine the frozen water from passing comets and asteroids.
Jesop had felt the deceleration, only the second time in his life, but this decel was coming early – he knew this without consulting the cron. His team was on a very strict training schedule, they endlessly drilled launches and landings on any planetoid objects the probes found. They were the first team. They would be the team that would launch and survey their new home world. The fact that the ship deceled unscheduled could mean they had burned too much fuel or collect too little before their last jump; if the stories his grandfather had told, this wasn’t uncommon in the ship’s early jumps. Jesop was hoping that the computers had spotted a potential home world.
Either way, he would know within the hour. Once everyone recovered from the jump and the science group could review the data. First thing to do was check on his team, and prep the shuttle. There was a little extra spring in his step as he headed to launch bays, today would be the first day of the last jump, he could just feel it …
Part of my 500 words a day exorcise: just write, don’t edit. This is a very simplified start of a story. Its more about how a universe could work and less about a good story. I don’t worry, I just want this to get me into the habit of writing every day, and I wanted to away from the daily journal stuff I had been writing.