Brad Lansky and Alex John
Their home base is Shanghai Spaceport, Earth. (Click to hear what S.I.S.P. sounds like) It‘s a bit quaint and old-fashioned, but parking fees for their lander are low, and they like the fact that they can order just about any alien cocktail from their favorite bar, ‘The Nervous Wreck‘. Besides, they‘ve been on so many trips at significant fractions of light speed (186,000 miles per second) that both have long-since survived their immediate families.
Their trusty ship is called the ‘Full Advantage‘. She‘s their home, transport, friend, protector and pride all in one. She‘s also an AI, so when she speaks, everybody listens. However, she usually speaks through Clement, as humans find it easier to converse with other humanoids.
How do they pay for these exploration missions? With difficulty, but they have one big advantage (no pun intended) - they live in the platinum age of exploration. They were lucky enough to be born shortly after the discovery of ‘The Subway‘, a huge network of dark matter superstrings that covers vast areas of the galaxy. The Subway allowed anyone with a ship that was equipped with a dark matter drive to explore worlds never before seen by anyone in Earth‘s domain. Well, it wasn‘t quite so easy - it also took lots of money, courage, and an appetite for adventure. But the rewards were potentially huge, regardless of whether you were in the exploration business for profit, pleasure, politics or science.