Interstellar travel is one of those persistent, persnickety engineering and logistical problems that give people who think about “deadlines” and “reliability” nightmares.
700 years after Sputnik, and the problem still seemed insoluble. Oh sure, the first interstellar seedships were already centuries underway (and later efforts had already long since beaten them to their destinations). But ships these days were at best moving at 5% of light speed, and still they needed icebergs stapled on their fronts to intercept stray dust particles.
Until one day, some genius solved the unsolvable. Japanese citizen Kasumi Tsukino, living abroad in outer Mongolia, quietly announced a working warp drive she had constructed from farming equipment in her family yurt.
Until one day, some genius solved the unsolvable.
After promptly accepting an invitation from the European Astrophysical Society, an international team of experts arrived to find the Tsukino residence quite empty. Ms. Tsukino and her apparatus had, of course, been abducted the previous evening by United States Marines.
Safely back in the states, Tsukino was given a lab, a nuclear reactor, and 40 billion USD, while the outraged, excluded world collectively stomped their feet at a U.N. special hearing.
One year later, Ms. Tsukino was quietly deported to Japan. Officially, she had entered the country without a proper Visa. For what it’s worth, this much was actually true.
The real reason turned out to be that her warp field generator simply didn’t work. Like, at all. In fact, it seemed that the primary channel by which Tsukino had surmised her device was capable of superliminal transportation was the colorful sparks it emitted and spontaneous rotation it displayed when activated.
And so technology marched onward . . .