In A Blink

Summary: Two uploaded minds discuss claims of a faster-than-light drive.

In a simulated Parisian café, two uploaded intellects chatted with each other. Such simulations were key to both beings' sanity, as they approximated the sensations honed by a billion years of Earth-based life. In reality, their spacecraft was the size and approximate dimensions of an ancient pencil, accelerated to relativistic speeds by a mega-scale mass driver. To one side of a table was a woman of Asian descent, and opposite her was a man with a bright red beard more akin to a Viking raider than entrepreneur.

"Mister Thompson, I find your claims of a faster-than-light drive to be highly incredulous," Dr. Susan Yi said. "I've installed my diagnostics on your vessel, but there are some drivers you won't share with me."

"Trade secret," the red-bearded man said, wagging his finger as if to chide an unruly child. "We'll get to Alpha Centauri in five seconds instead of five years. Relativity's a pain, but I found a way to cheat it."

"Nevertheless, I must make a full report before we leave the system," Dr. Yi said. "It is highly imperative, given the lag between here and the inner system."

Thompson grinned, and then spoke. He waved his hand, and a television screen appeared behind him. It denoted the spacecraft's approach to the primary star of the system. "Sure. We're here."

Dr. Yi installed her diagnostic tools, and she glared daggers of hatred at Thompson. "You did nothing of the sort, you swine. You merely changed the clock settings of this simulation to turn five seconds into five years. I left Sol without making my report. Of course, that was your plan, wasn't it?"

"Guilty as charged," he said. "Based on a transmission made shortly after we left, my company had a lot of interest after an upload of the famous physicist Dr. Yi vanished mysteriously. My original self's stock back in Sol is probably doing well now."

"Or in jail for fraud," she said. "But, I suppose going back now is out of the question."

Thompson smirked. The display once more showed them passing Neptune. Dr. Yi sighed, but realized the merits of his trick. She would broadcast back, and she wouldn't have to spend another second in that blasted simulation space. Relativity truly was a pain in the rear.