The Vortex Evolution duology comprises The Quantum Elbow and Storm Pilgrim.
__—— The Quantum Elbow : ...follows the fortunes of Terry Gadson, a light aircraft accident investigator, who invents a device known as a Quantum Elbow – used in pairs or larger arrays these ‘QE’ devices are a new engine technology – it is much CHEAPER than rocket technology!. By the time the invention is revealed, Terry is an old man, so his small firm, Gadson Aviation, employs a young protege, Jack Bachelor, to concentrate on Earth orbital business – launching and maintaining satellites and clearing space-junk left over from the rocket era. Available for Kindle from Amazon, US$2.60.
__—— Storm Pilgrim : Joe Bachelor (son of Jack Bachelor) inherits Gadson Aviation and improves QE drives, then invents new QE devices to allow aerospace agencies’ long-cherished dream of human settlement of other worlds to slowly proceed. Joe develops the radial qeser (a cutting tool) and the q-box transport device, which comes in 3 sizes: Radial, for domestic-size displacements; Diametric (later known as a d-box) for commercial use; and Double-diametric for industrial use. This allows interstellar settlers to avoid building roads. Joe and his wife Brenda have no children, and understand that off-world settlement will take many working lifetimes. They secretly bequeath Gadson Aerospace to a colleague’s granddaughter, Annabelle Bennett, who is just 12 at the end of Pilgrim. Available for Kindle from Amazon, US$2.60.
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__—— Will there be a third book in this series? Maybe. Quantum Shift? Implosion Heritage?
The third book could follow Anna Bennett about 20 years later, when the 20-year patent protection on q-boxes has expired. Anna is an engineer at Gadson Aerospace on Earth, overseeing maintenance and repairs. She has helped the Bachelors make several small QE advances during the patent period for the q-box, including a diametric qeser – not very good as a cutting tool, but making all d-boxes technically simpler.Aerospace agencies now want to start settlement of a second world. Joe and Brenda Bachelor are unexpectedly killed in an accident testing a d-box for mining purposes on settler world Hyacinth, caused by a vortex implosion associated with an offset displacement. Anna inherits Gadson Aerospace, now wholly managed from Hyacinth, so goes to live there to continue the Bachelors’ work.
Anna slowly develops a d-box capable of both offset displacements AND sender-receiver displacements, suitable for mining – in zero-G with no troublesome vortex implosion problems – on asteroids. Hyacinth’s star, Parvasol, has its own asteroid belt, plenty of M-class asteroids. The system grows, in at least 6 different stages, from very small-scale (130 tonnes/mission) mining to fairly industrial-scale mining (2,700 tonnes/mission). After this industrial-level stage is reached, Earth demands similar equipment so that their own asteroid belt can be mined. But Hyacinth is too small to provide that at the scale Earth demands.
- Hyacinth eventually can obtain metals without any damaging surface mining, or Earth can obtain precious extra metal resources... although with some political backlash – politicians on Earth expect Hyacinth settlers to prioritize meeting Earth’s asteroid mining needs over their own needs. Several mining companies on Earth seize what seems a profitable opportunity, but wildly underestimate the dangers. They build QE ships using 40-year-old published technical data, but with a terrible safety record and many missions are lost entirely. Gadsons are invariably blamed for these accidents. Bad media on Earth, start of change in popular public opinion, less support for settler worlds.
- Mining M-class asteroids yields mostly nickel-iron, but also rarer, more valuable metals at asteroid cores – but thousands of tonnes of gold or platinum per day is a stock-market problem on Earth. Squabbles between nations mining near asteroid cores – different nations declare they will mount their own mining operations. It would take decades to completely mine a whole M-class asteroid. More than one miner-truck/Mother ship combo could be active at one time, mining different parts of an asteroid, many of which are more than a hundred kilometers diameter.
- Early challenge: decide between settler worlds Sylva or Saxus as best option for next world to be settled.
- Arranging village site preparations on new world, drawing on experience with 4 settlements on Hyacinth. Some improvements.
- Earth’s main problems are:
|| overpopulation; || low mineral resources; || expensive electricity; || expensive liquid fuels; || low on natural food; || industrial-level manufacturing. ||
Easing Earth’s problems will cause population to increase. Where overpopulation pressure is greatest and infant mortality is highest, humans breed faster – fearing extinction or invasion by neighbors. Politicians want population to always increase because shrinking economies can’t support increasing public services. Meeting at least SOME of Earth’s needs will remain essential to avoid political consequences, leaving settler worlds without essential technical support.
- At some stage of Anna’s working life, settler world Hyacinth reaches self-sufficiency and starts small settler world export trade, including some technical products previously an Earth exclusive. Politicians on Earth don’t like this!
- Oxygen recovery from CO2 for safer 2-week space missions, all ships upgraded, some rebuilt. Zero-G now only space travel problem, still experienced travelers only.
- Energy source suitable for village-size settlements, so useful on Earth as ‘extra’ energy but nowhere near big enough for use in mega-cities or for national grids. Sun, wind, wave, gravity, tide, magnetic field? Best if it is QE-related in some way. Settler worlds will continue to be small-scale and Earth’s industrial-scale remains its biggest problem as well as its main strength.
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