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Light speed was a drag—it left the far colonies as alien to us as Victorians from Flappers. So when GE broke the barrier, a cheer went up. There was more celebration than when Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic. But the scientists soon realized the limitations to their ©SuperWarp Field. No space more than a cubic millimeter could exceed light speed. We had communication, but no transportation.
Every attempt to spread the field beyond a cubic millimeter failed, often disastrously. Finally another idea arose—if the field couldn’t grow larger, maybe the object could grow smaller. The nucleus is compact enough, but around it, electrons swim in a luxuriant, and frankly wasteful, vacuum.
Using the repulsive nature of dark matter, Sandia devised a way to compress matter as in a neutron star. Suddenly, a cubic millimeter was a damned fine amount of space. We sent little grains of rice to the colonies, full of a thousand people and a multitude of machinery in compression stasis.
The pop-up people went to the stars.