This is the fifth section of the fourth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.
Tom sounded frustrated “Look much as I appreciate you trying to talk to me after I’ve apparently been bothering you so much but why do you do this?”
“Wander off into these long rants”
“It helps my thinking to explain to someone”
“Does Jane have to put up with this too?”
“More than you know.”
“So what is the story with her?” asked Tom
“She’s a friend.”
“Listen I may kiss my friends or casual acquaintances like I saw you kiss her, but not you. I’m not that bad of a judge of character.”
“Oh she’s a child of another time, things were a little different for her growing up to what they are now.”
“She’s not like anyone else I know of that age, if anything society has got less liberal not more.”
“But do you actually know anyone of that age that well?”
“Not really I guess.”
“Well there you go.”
“You’re evading my questions again.”
“No you’re just asking the wrong questions or at least you’re asking the right questions at the wrong time.”
“When’s the right time?”
“In about twenty years I would guess.”
Tom sighed, Laurence had been like this before, he got the impression Laurence thought it was awfully clever but it really just began to annoy. “Anything else you want to rant to me about then?”
“What, er no” Laurence paused for a second “Well I was also thinking about the new fusion engines on this crate and the antimatter boost system. Come such a long way since my youth, did you know that our antimatter source, the Habitat’s inertialess drive and the technology behind this new engine are all the same basic technology?”
“Go on you know you want to” said Tom signalling to a service droid to fetch more drink.
“Well I’m sure you know antimatter became a viable fuel source after the HOPE project” Laurence paused for a moment seeing the blank look on Tom’s face “High Orbit Particle Exciter, a particle accelerator they built in orbit. Honestly sometimes I think they come up with the acronym first and the machine second. Anyway they cracked a method for economically producing viable quantities of antimatter. All based around quantum gravity, well around strong force manipulation really hang on, no, there’s no point me trying to explain that to you, so let’s just pretend we have the anitmatter and move on. Well if you have a rocket engine you need to increase the efficiency or ISP of it then…”