Half the Fun

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Half the Fun is a short story from The Inclination to Destiny, volume 4 of the Course Books. It covers Jason and Hunter's journey to Gleskel Core. Its sequel is The Other Half.

In this story, Hunter, Jason, Lily, and Metanie, are traveling to The Caucuses, a scientific conference held on Gleskel Core. Jason is uncharacteristically excited, as he has been invited to "argue" or debate at the Caucuses, which is considered a very prestigious honor. He is, however, quite annoyed, as his father has shamed him into bringing along his step-siblings, Laden and Dora Bur'I.

Bur'I is located in a remote region of the The World, in which "fast" FTL drives are unavailable. With Bur'Ian technology, it would take over a century to reach Gleskel Core. Even traveling from Bur'Ian space to the nearest Foundation GATE hub would require a journey of many years. Inster-stellar trade to the region is made available by cargo ships equipped with fast drives, but the technology to build them (especially on a large scale) has not been imported. Keep in mind that the entire Bur'Ian kingdom consists of only 70 star systems, all relatively close together. At a top speed around nine hundred times the speed of light, a ship can visit every star system in the kingdom in under three years.

As such, Caleb Bur'I, "convinced" Jason to take along his step-siblings, as it was an opportunity to for them to travel well outside the Bur'Ian sphere of influence (an opportunity not afforded to many). Jason agreed, and booked passage for the group aboard an inter-stellar cruise ship built out of an old Crimson Blade dreadnought.

As the ship nears its destination, it is discovered that the vessel has been sabotaged, and a bomb placed near the deuterium feeder lines for the engines threatens to destroy the whole ship. Hunter and Jason, being experts on both the vessel type and the weapon, quickly volunteer to disarm the bomb.

The bomb, however, is a diversion, and the ship has in fact already been crippled. The saboteur is attempting to use the entire (very massive) heavy warship to attack the Caucuses by ramming it into the planet. No specific target needed: a ten-mile-long warship with a fractional speed of light velocity will do plenty of damage wherever it hits.