"When I was a kid, I dreamt of travelling among the stars. It is a common childhood dream, isn't it? But in my case, it never left me. When I reached the age of reason that dream became even stronger. I do not believe in fate but sometimes I wonder if the geometry drive did not choose me. Not because I was the most clever, not because I was the best person to understand it but simply because I had that dream burning bright inside my heart."
The one who dreamt.
Rani Spengler was born on Earth as a citizen of Laniakea but emigrated on the Moon when she was 18 to pursue astrophysics and space engineering studies. Her teachers remember her as a rather good but unremarkable student who tended to favour her hobby - creative writing - over homework and exams. She had one specific talent, however: an instinctive understanding of physics. Rani Spengler had the rare gift of being capable of visualizing complex notions in fundamental physics in a spontaneous manner. This capacity is what carried her through her studies and gave her a job as lead scientist of a deep space research base on the dark side of the Moon.
The one who found the drive.
Rani Spengler rose to fame when her team discovered the Needle, a presumably alien vessel cruising through the Oort cloud in complete silence. Not only was the Needle humankind's first contact with extraterrestrial remnants but it also contained a strange crystalline artefact that seemed to be capable of locally bending space and time. Rani was the first person to come in physical contact with the geometry drive and to understand its true nature as a faster-than-light device. In the years following her discovery, she found herself at the helm of the team that managed to reverse-engineer the geometry drive, a daunting task that mobilized hundreds of Moon Communes researchers for two decades.
When the first faster than light translation was performed, Rani Spengler took the radical decision of putting all geometry drive data in the public domain, including the reverse-engineered schematics. The Moon Communes soon reverted this decision but it was already too late: the geometry drive was now part of humankind's common heritage.
The one who vanished.
After her unthinkable stunt, Rani Spengler all but disappeared, triggering an interstellar hunt for the vanished scientist. For some Rani Spengler was an irresponsible traitor, for others she was humankind's greatest benefactor but for everyone involved one thing was certain: Rani Spengler had to be found if only to understand why she had decided to make the geometry drive open-source.
But no one ever found Rani Spengler.
One thing is certain: when she disappeared she was far from being done with the drive. Over the past century and a half, several dozen papers penned by Spengler resurfaced on Terran and Eloran networks. These papers were discussing the origins of the drive, establishing what seemed to be Rani's personal theory. A theory so strange, so absurd that it might be correct. The theory that the geometry drive isn't an alien device: it is a time-travelling artefact sent by our descendants to trigger the space age. No one invented the drive. It is taken in a causality loop, an effect without a cause, which is what allows it to travel faster than light.
If Rani was still alive she would be almost two hundred years old but time is uncertain and fleeting when dealing with the geometry drive. There is only one certainty: if she is somewhere out there she is still trying to solve the drive's cosmic riddle.
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