The Zephyr made its way into formation on point in front of the Bethesda freighter and waited for the other two escorts to form up.
The running lights of a gunboat flickered to Logan's left as it came around the Halifax.
"Zephyr, this is Shakedown, we're forming on your wing. The August is on its way."
"Roger Shakedown, good to see you."
Logan looked between his knees and through the cockpit under his feet, he could see the other gunboat coming up from below. "August, this is Zephyr, we've got you at six low, Bethesda, we're all here, copy last?"
"Roger Zephyr, all call signs acknowledge when ready."
"August, we're good to go."
"All call signs, this is Bethesda, synchronize now."
Logan pulled a keyboard toward him from his right and typed in a few commands. the screen before him came to life with windows of information on the gravitational field the reactor was sustaining. "Sarge, I'm moving us in to jump pattern."
Logan typed in a few more commands that executed precise thruster bursts to re-align the gunboat. Regardless of her deteriorating state, she handled rather well. Logan looked through the canopy and watched the small flashes of light from the other gunboats thrusters as they too realigned for jump formation.
To move at faster than light speeds in unison, all ships in a formation had to optimize the effects of the gravitational fields that each of them created so that none would be caught in the space-time turbulence, or wash, of any other vessel. Once in formation the ships would synchronize their reactors and jump together.
Logan executed the last few commands; the hum of the reactor changed pitch slightly as it came into synchronization with the others. "Bethesda, this is Zephyr, we're ready."
"August's in synch."
"Shakedown here, we're synchronized."
"All call signs, good copy, we're engaging now, out."
As the Bethesda was the largest ship, and created the biggest field, it was responsible for activating the synchronized drives.
Logan saw a waterfall of characters slide up his display as the commands came through from the Bethesda, and the reactor began whining. He looked forward and watched as the gravitational field around them warped the visible spectrum of light.
The Bethesda was a long narrow ship that looked massive when at full capacity, loaded with cargo containers. As the drive wound up, the field strengthened and it seemed as though the Bethesda was stretched out into space to an endless distance. Eventually all light outside was stretched to an infinitely small point, then a jolt was felt. After the inertial release, no visible light could be seen through Logan's canopy. It was an eerie sight. Before him, through the relatively thin shielding of his cockpit, there seemed to be an endless void of absolutely nothing.
The Alcubierre drive had created an event horizon around the ship, surrounding it in a pocket of calm space. At its edge, the gravitational ripples moved space like an inchworm, pulling the ship faster and faster in the desired direction. Because the space was moving, and not the ship, they weren't subject to inertia or reaching the limit of relativity's "speed of light". Soon they were moving through space at faster than light speeds, moving through objects or debris as if they didn't exist. Their small bubble of space was almost its own dimension.