“Do you ever think of what would happen if they initiated a jump while we were in here?”

                As much of a gateway as it is an engine, the Aethereal Entry & Transitional Interface Device allows the Khrn Stellar-Ships to traverse the fantastic expanses of normal space by entering the realm of “Near Space” which is adjacent to the Aether itself.

                The device, as we know it today has changed greatly from its original form and function. Originally the device was created to provide a means of transporting matter from one location to another. All of the initial testing proved that the device was working, but none of the test objects ever made it to the receiving device.  Some of the test objects would re-emerge at the origin location, but most just disappeared into the void, never to be seen again. Eventually it was decided to send a probe device capable of recording the conditions and available images from the other side of the event. So probes were transported into the realm, but few returned and the those which did seemed to show a very strange and empty void free of any matter whatsoever.

                Finally, a breakthrough came when it was noted that time appeared to be at a near standstill in the void and that all of the probes recovered were done so in a special cycle of time on this side of the effect. So a probe was equipped with a greatly increased capacity recording device and programmed to take its imagery in a 360 degree arc over time lapsed periods of 90, 180 and 360 day increments. When the probe was successfully retrieved the discovery the Khrnaad scientists had been searching for was finally revealed. Within the arc of one view there existed the very edge of the transit device itself. The device was functioning as an anchor source for all of the objects previously sent through the event horizon. The key however was those objects which were not within the arc of the entry event could not be retrieved when the device was deactivated.

                Other revelations showed all of the objects earlier placed into the transit were in ever widening orbits there inside the void. It became clear that someone was going to have to enter the void and collect as many of the objects sent in as possible so that they might be analyzed and tested for the affects that this void may have had on them. Since there was no way to know what would happen to a Khr it was decided that a Series 4 Cyber-bot (S4Cb) would be given all of the data relevant to the void and sent in with the means to pull as many orbiting objects as possible back to the point of entry. The Series 4 was the most sophisticated machine-based worker the Khrn had developed. It was able to work in open space at extreme temperatures and it had a power source capable of lasting 1100 years before requiring replacement.

                The S4Cb was sent in and given the full 1200 cycles (approximately 3 days) before contact was made. Once contact was initiated the event burst with nearly all of the lost objects formerly seen orbiting the aperture within the void. The last object to come through was the S4Cb itself. Full analysis and testing discovered the S4Cb had been inside the void for nearly 1100 years. During that time, it had taken it upon itself to run numerous tests on its own. The most significant of these tests revealing that not only could an engine be fabricated and built on the other side, but it could be connected to the engine on this side of the event in order to propel an object about the reaches of what was becoming more commonly referred to as “Near Space”.

                Over the next few years Khrnaad scientist poured their lives into the project to build a working near space engine. Testing revealed some surprises, some revelations and some horrors. Firstly, it was discovered that the Aether lay deeper into the void than the Transit Devices had been penetrating. It was also discovered that the closer to the Aether one went the more time slowed until one was irreversibly trapped in a state of suspension, frozen in a place where no actions whatsoever take place. It was also discovered that pulling one out of a state of transit or breaking contact with the portion of Near-Space  attuned to one’s entry origin would result in those within the effects of an engine to age instantly to match the difference between the outside and the inside anchors. Obviously, there would need to be a better understanding of just how the effects of this void played out upon any would be traveler before any further “live” testing could be performed.

                Interestingly, there seems in every civilization ever to encounter a scientific crossroad, someone who rises to the challenge and embraces the science. It was no different here, not only in the genius of the young Khr who took on the challenge, but in his being an outsider to common scientific perceptions and beliefs. Joh’vaan NaerRedge was a visionary that could work complex concepts in his head. That alone made him amazing and desirable to most guilds, but his refusal to accept preconceptions made by the leaders of those guilds resulted in his being equally undesirable. So, it was the answers which he held within his powerful mind were not revealed for many years. Not until one of Joh’vaan nephews became guild master of the Sk’ohrehz House, a manufacturer of Near relativistic drive engines and spacing frames. It was Naar’jiles Sk’ohrenz who sat in his uncles shop as a young Khr and marveled at his work. He was always convinced that his uncle was the one to build a successful solution to Near-Space travel. He had determined that someday he would be part of that venture.

                So Naar’jiles went to the priests and opened a request for prayer that would allow his uncle to lead a research guild to build the Near-Space Transit Device. Because of the power, both politically and religiously (which most would suggest are the same thing among the Khrn’naadin) the prayer was answered and granted as an “Offering of the Most Significant Nature”. This placed Joh’vaan in the position of heading a scientific team, of what to most acclaimed scientists seemed like misfits and dreamers, tasked with obtaining the impossible within their lifetimes. If they failed it would shame them, their families and all associated with the endeavor for seven generations.

                Within four short year the team tested its first engine. Most felt that, at best everyone would be killed and at worst there would be a rip in space that would suck everything within 12 light years into the void. House Sk’ohrehz was compelled to run its landmark test in a void of space 18 light years outside of the galactic plane. All of the monitors were setup, the equipment and the ship were towed to the location and the media were informed Joh’vaan NaerRedge would be in the ship for its maiden test voyage, he and his principal team. This seemed to cause as much of a tumult among contemporary scientists as the notions he had espoused as a young scientist, but Joh’vaan had planned well and there was quite literally no one to stop him nor his chosen team. They brought the ship and its engine online, forming a great and shining sphere about it until it seemed to evaporate into the darkness of space.

                Minutes passed into hours and hours into days. Many were saddened by the loss of what they now deemed as a great scientific mind, but Joh’vaan’s nephew was not to accept any of it. It was as if Naar’jiles knew the future. Calmly he sat at his place in the Hall of Leadership there within House Sk’ohrehz and said that his uncle would not be back for another year and a half so people needed to go on with their lives and ready themselves for a future beyond their wildest imaginations. Sure enough, nearly to the day of his nephew’s prophesied date, Joh’vaan and his crew returned, appearing at the Zenith point of their own home world system. They returned with a most startling revelation. They had traversed some 2211 million light years to observe a galaxy that the Khrnaad Scientists had been observing closely for many years. They had data that catalogued an entire arm of that galaxy and proved a number of theories about potentially habitable worlds there within that galaxy. Indeed, there were some 114 worlds ripe for settlement listed there in the archives of the ship. When asked how so much scientific data could have been obtained, analyzed and catalogued Joh’vaan pointed out one of the benefits of his new machine.

                “When we travel through near-space, we can set ourselves into a march of time that allows us to virtually live forever.” He began with an obvious pride in his work and his team. “We had about 118 years to work on the data as we returned home, but overall the trip itself took us a little over one month in real time.” Joh’vaan said as he waved an arm into the air above his head.

                Overnight Joh’vaan and his team became heroes to their people and House Sk’ohrehz began building the engines and shipping that would propel the Khrn’naadin to reaches heretofore undreamed of. It was the dawn of their empire and they all knew it. Colonizing 114 new worlds in the next 18 years they expanded faster in that brief period than in all of the history of space travel to that point. Everything was changing. Everything had changed. It was the dawn of the Golden Age of Growth and Reason.

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