Tea of the Day: Flora Tea by Dryad Tea.
Description: Flora is the protector of the Flower Fields of the Spring Coast. She ensures that the flowers grow to be beautiful and that no one harms them. In honor of Flora, this tea has bounding berry and floral notes, blended wonderfully in this caffeine free tea that is sure to brighten your day
Dry tea smells like honey and roses
Liquor is chestnut red brown in the cup.
Steeped tea smells richer than the dry, like currants and incense made of flowers.
The tea itself tastes of raisins and berries, sweet but not cloying, but is better without adding sugar.
Tea Rating: 4/5
Today, a little musing I had on timekeeping and space travel
September 41, 2065
No, that’s not a joke, as ridiculous as that looks. This is what happens when you try to keep Earth time on a non-Earth world.
But I’m getting ahead of myself a bit. I’m allowed, I’m nearly 80 years old, although my shipmates insist I don’t look a day over 40.
Anyway, back to the story. I am part of an expedition to a second world that we humans are looking to call home. It’s Earth-like, slightly bigger than Home, with a slightly faster rotation but roughly the same amount of travel time around its star—hence the extra days in the month. We haven’t been able to agree on what to call it–we travelers refer to it as Landfall, the brass at Home want to call it “Tierra” and the locals call it “ushkatok,” which roughly translates to “home water.”
Yes, there are locals, and no, they don’t use Earth letters, that’s just as close as I can get to how it sounds. Fortunately for us, the locals are friendly, and an aquatic race who can’t survive for long on the land, so basically the inverse of us. They call themselves “Butanbau,” which is, roughly, “the people” in English and are looking to travel to the stars same as us. They have lots of neat technology and cool telescopes and long range communication equipment but have found actual space travel to be a problem they can’t quite get their fins around.
That’s where we come in. They’ve been sending communications out into the void for a while now, since the early 2000’s, but it wasn’t until 2045 that we were able to pick it up and understand it for what it was—a message…that we could not understand at all and seemed to just appear out of the “empty” space between us and the Sun.
As you might imagine, this caused quite the stir.
After much wailing and gnashing of teeth a strange collaboration between codebreakers, linguists, communications experts and astrophysicists, and more months than anyone wants to admit (but apparently fewer than the Butanbau had expected) we were able to figure out that the message had come from about 200 light-years away, closer to the center of our galaxy, and what it said….and that it hadn’t taken 200 years or more to reach us.
Like I mentioned before, the Butanbau are a friendly race and part of their message was a simple explanation and a very complicated mathematical formula for how they got their message to us, along with instructions for how to build a similar array to talk back.
I’m not a math person, so the simple (ish) explanation is: sub-space. Basically, there is a part of space that is somehow above regular space so if you send a message (or a ship) through sub-space, it takes way less time to travel than it would through normal space, something like how you can fly to a destination faster than you can drive to the same place. Except, because gravity behaves differently in space than it does on the ground, it’s a ton less time. So, a message from Home to here and vice-versa takes a couple of hours rather than a couple hundred years.
The revelation that sub-space is a thing that exists caused quite the stir at Home. This meant that the way we understood the Universe needed to change, a lot. Many people thought the message was a fake, that it was too much like science-fiction to actually be true. Thankfully, there were enough people in high enough places that believed that it could be true to immediately begin building not just communications arrays but sub-space engines, and then ships. We even were able to improve on the Butanbau’s communications array.
Then began the experimentation, testing, and tinkering. On engines, on, ships, on people. We learned a lot, though there were some setbacks early on that almost made the human race as a whole throw in the towel on actually using subspace to travel. Truthfully, I’m not yet convinced that keeping at it was the best idea.
But anyway, it was eventually found that it takes a couple of years to travel in a ship between the two worlds because sub-space is…small. This isn’t quite the right way to describe it, of course, because it’s more like a combination of trying to squeeze a big object into a small space and being very deep under water at the same time. Our ships’ engines have to force subspace to bend around us, and they can only do this safely for a few hours at at time. Safely meaning without overheating, exploding and destroying the ship. And then there’s the stress on the human mind as well. Sub-space does wacky things to our perceptions so although the engines operate within acceptable parameters for 6 hours and 24 minutes in sub-space, we limit our dives (or flights, take your pick) to 3 hours each, with 3 to 6 hours in between each one, depending mostly on the state of the crew.
I’m not going to go into how we figured out this limit of human endurance here. It’s not exactly pleasant and some good people lost their lives or their minds (or both) in the name of figuring out how to do it. Suffice it to say that there is a range of reactions to sub-space, none of which are particularly fun, and some people are better suited to it than others. We have also found that a person can be sedated and travel through sub-space with no ill effects other than that of the sedation. Thank goodness for small favors. However, because it is necessary for there to be people awake to monitor the ship and its instruments, the trip to Landfall was limited to those three-hour dives I mentioned before.
I’m here not to be a chronicler, although I enjoy writing, but rather to help keep everyone on an even mental keel, at least as much as is possible. I’m the lead psychologist on this ship, and also the oldest person by a good 20 years or so. There are 200 of us all told, from all walks of life but with one thing in common—we’re among the best and brightest in our chosen fields. With the possible exception of myself. I would not call myself the best or the brightest, but I was recruited by quite literally the leaders of the world so here I am. I miss my husband something fierce but I was promised that either I would be heading back after a year or he’d be on the next ship here in 6 months, depending on if I could stomach staying or not. Plus, because of the magic of sub-space we send messages back and forth every day.
20 years and 18 days after we first received the message from Landfall, we have arrived.