Improbability drive

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part of the improbability drive

Type of Artifact: Bold Artifact

The Infinite Improbability Drive is a wonderful new method of crossing vast intersteller distances in a mere nothingth of a second without all that tedious mucking about in hyperspace.

It was discovered by a lucky chance, and then developed into a governable form of propulsion by the Galactic Government's research team on Damogran. This, briefly, is the story of its discovery:

The principle of generating small amounts of finite improbability by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 sub-meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea) were of course well understood - and such generators were often used to break the ice at parties by making all the molecules in the hostess' undergarments leap simultaneously one foot to the left, in accordance with the Theory of Indeterminacy.

Many respectable physicists said that they weren't going to stand for this - partly because it was a debasement of science, but mostly because they didn't get invited to those sort of parties. Another thing they couldn't stand was the perpetual failure they encountered in trying to construct a machine which could generate the infinite improbability field needed to flip a spaceship across the mind-paralysing distances between the furthest stars, and in the end they grumpily announced that such a machine was virtually impossible.

Then, one day, a student who had been left to sweep up the lab after a particularly unsuccessful party found himself reasoning this way: If, he thought to himself, such a machine is a virtual impossibility, then it must logically be a finite improbability. So all I have to do in order to make one, is to work out exactly how improbable it is, feed that figure into the finite improbability generator, give it a fresh cup of really hot tea ... and turn it on! He did this, and was rather startled to discover that he had managed to create the long sought after golden Infinite Improbability generator out of thin air.

It startled him even more when, just after he was awarded the Galactic Institute's Prize for Extreme Cleverness, he got lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists who had finally realized that the one thing they really couldn't stand was a smartass.
— Douglas Adams, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The infinite improbability drive allows you to be at every conceivable point in the universe you simply enter the coordinates of your destination and appear at your destination. The side effects of doing this are that highly improbable events occur such as (usually) temporary changes to the environment and the calling into being of large marine mammals or vibrantly coloured root vegetables.

Wreckage from the Starship Titanic, a spaceship which crashed in sector ZZ9 plural Z Alpha, sometimes rains down to Earth, including pieces of the improbability drive. The cruise ship Starship Titanic was the first to be fitted with the improbability drive. It was incredibly well built and the travel brochure claimed that it was virtually impossible to crash. Unfortunately they failed to realise that anything that was virtually impossible must be finitely improbable and therefore very likely to happen almost immediately.

There is no technology in Godville capable of fixing the pieces together. It is very improbable that the infinite improbability drive will ever be reconstructed in Godville...