Solomon Epstein developed the Epstein Drive. During the maiden test flight, a malfunction occurred, the highly efficient Fusion Reaction Engine accelerated the ship past the point of survivability. Solomon died with his ship while still accelerating into space. Luckily, Solomon saved his engine specs on his wife's computer which she sold to Mars for a fortune.
The Epstein Drive led to a paradigm shift in the Solar system. Mars at the time was a weak power and Earth was considering squashing down its upstart colony, instead Mars shared its technology so Earth and Mars could colonize the outer Belt and planets together.
Mars had been a colony for a long time, and it was filled with the best scientists and technologists humanity had to offer. We were ready to govern ourselves and start a new nation of our own, but everything we built, or mined or made, was still the property of old Mother Earth. I was a fusion-drive engineer. My wife, Caty, wanted to start having babies, like all good Martians do, but I convinced her that we should buy a second-hand yacht for me to tinker around with instead. She liked to indulge me. I'd been modifying the engine to boost fuel efficiency. I wasn't expecting much, maybe four percent better, tops, and I was taking it out for a test run....My name's Solomon Epstein. And I changed everything.
Way better than I ever expected. Fuel efficiency was through the roof. A hundred times better than anyone had even thought possible. A once-in-a-generation breakthrough. And that was the whole problem. See, a high-G burn hurts like hell. I felt like someone was standing on my chest. It was getting harder for me to breathe or talk. Shut down main drive. Not that talking would have made any difference. The acceleration was making my body so damn heavy, it was getting hard to even move. Oh, that was bad enough, but it wasn't the worst part. Because the most dangerous thing about being in a high-G burn is that if it goes on too long, it'll kill you.
At the rate my drive was burning, my fuel was going to last for weeks, which I have to say was amazing. Aside from the fact that I'd be dead long before then. The only thing I could do was to try to signal for help. Even though I couldn't talk, Caty would realize that I was in trouble. She'd figure out a way to help me.It was my only hope. My last chance.
Sooner or later, it happens to us all. Me, you, everyone we love. Maybe you see it coming. Maybe it surprises you. But in a sustained high-G burn, what usually kills you is a stroke. Lying there, on my death bed, all I could think about was "What happens next?" I'd never give Caty a child.But she had the plans for my drive. They'd make her rich for the rest of her life. Because with my drive, the Epstein Drive, Mars would be able to move outward. Mine the asteroids. Colonize the Belt. And remake the Solar system. My drive would give us the edge we needed to finally break free from Earth. And build a new world for ourselves. That's the wonderful and terrible thing about technology. It changes everything.