Pilots, part 4

As usual, VC was ahead of the game. He was already busy setting up the future of the company, while the rest of us spent three months pottering around doing experiments to nail down Fizz's "parameters". Like shape. We've never -- nobody has ever -- managed to switch anything other than a rough sphere. There have been a few slightly flattened spheres, but never anything more than a few degrees away. I still think this can be done, it's just a matter of getting your mind right. But exactly how to think to switch something other than a sphere? I have no idea. Even X and Y didn't, I think. Right, sorry, getting ahead of myself again. The other parameter we played with was distance. The compound was huge, miles and miles across. Switching from one end to the other was a piece of cake. Line of sight was no problem. What was key was having been there before, physically. I couldn't switch to a place if I hadn't been there before. And the definition of "there" is really, really specific. Anything more than 1.35...
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Pilots, part 5

The fact that the second pilot ever was female was a surprise to the world, I think. Nobody had really been looking for female pilots. I don't know why that would have been, but I guess even now people make assumptions based on gender, and this was all thirty years ago now. There actually is a gender bias in pilots, at least in terms of raw recruits: the split is about sixty-forty, biased towards men. But in practice, women tend to be more reliable pilots than men, who tend to burn out early. Three years into their careers, the split in pilots is exactly fifty-fifty, and that ratio has held steady no matter how good our meditation techniques have got, no matter how much we spend on rehab. Once we had Maddie, Recruitment started looking for similarities between us. They collected all the data they'd spent months collecting about me in just a few weeks -- it bugged the hell out of her, would have driven her crazy if they all hadn't been under such instructions not to get her psyched out. First they went...
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Pilots, part 6

So, how were we making all this money? Well, initially it was transport, like the name implied. Switching completely revolutionized the travel industry. You're young, so you won't remember how much changed. The primary change, the root of everything, was that the connection between distance and time, and hence with expense, was cut. It's only very, very slightly more expensive to switch from California to Tokyo than it is to switch to Los Angeles. That was a gigantic change. Nice places that were previously far away were the big winners initially. Australia and New Zealand had massive tourism booms and then, as the price dropped, immigration booms. Pretty much all of micronesia took off - the more isolated and undeveloped it used to be, the better off it became. The losers were places that were never particularly nice, but merely nearby -- crowded, crappy resorts in Mexico, practically everything in Florida, portions of Spain and Greece -- they saw their business dry up. The far-away places that were...
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