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The Expanse Wiki

"Drive" is a short story in The Expanse series. It was first published in 2012 as a part of the science-fiction anthology Edge of Infinity. The short story will get standalone eBook and publication release in Memory's Legion on March 15, 2022.

The story is a prequel taking place approximately 150 years prior to the main series, concerning Solomon Epstein and his invention of the Epstein drive.


Solomon Epstein is in his yacht orbiting Mars when he is thrown into his chair and feels an immense weight on his body. He watches on screen as the number of g's rapidly increases pass 7g's as his vessel passes Phobos. Solomon thinks over of how he would calculate how fast he was going after the test flight. When he tries to reach for the control panel, he feels something pop in his elbow. He then considers the ships that would be needed for him to be rescued as he notices how the fuel supply read-out had fallen only a few tenths of a percent steadily from the 90 percent he started with. He calculates the burn would last 37 hours and that he would end up traveling close to five percent the speed of light. Epstein finally realizes how much trouble he is in.

Ten years earlier, Solomon had first met his wife at the Dhanbad Nova research center which was one of the largest on Mars. It has been three generations since humans had dug into the rock to make the city where he lived and where all the bars were located. There he hanged out with same group of friends until he noticed Caitlin Esquibel had recently joined the group. Solomon was too shy to go up to her but when he finally left, she joined him in leaving the bar and she started to converse with him on their way home.

Back on the ship, Solomon realized that the sustained acceleration would eventually kill him and hoped something would go wrong so the energy shutoff would active but nothing went wrong and worked perfectly. Epstein then noticed the manual shut off in the control panel but he was not able to reach it. He tried not passing out as he knew he wouldn't wake up again. Solomon then reaches for his hand terminal in his pocket in an attempt to contact Caitlin and tell her to shut down the drive remotely.

One night three years into their relationship, Caitlin comes over to his place crying over the news of the U.N. invoking the breakaway province rule. She tells him Earth was sending 40 warships to Mars over the planet's attempt to secede from Earth. Caitlin fears the Earthers would attack and kill everyone on Mars over this. She stays the night at Solomon's place and the next morning he asks her to marry him. Three months later the Earth ships turned back as negotiations with Mars ends the conflict.

After some careful maneuvering, Solomon manages to get out his hand terminal and struggles to use it as he contemplated what his new drive would mean for Mars and the entire system. As he thinks of how people would be able to get to places after like never before, the hand terminal falls out of his hand and falls to the floor. With the G's putting extreme amounts of pressure on his body and hand, he is unable to retrieve it, and also recognizes he is having a stroke.

Six years into their marriage, Solomon uses the bonus from his work to buy a used yacht ship for himself. Caitlin is not too pleased with him buying the yacht without telling her first. Over the course of a year, he fixed all the issues with the ship to do a test run, believing he could increase the efficiency of the engines by four and half percent. With this, Solomon lets his wife know he would return after the test run and took his ship into orbit and began his test burn.

In his last moments, Solomon Epstein knows he will die as he knows he is going too fast and far to be rescued. He however knows Caitlin will be fine as she will be able to sell his drive design and be financially off for the rest of her life. He only wished he would have been able to see all the changes his Drive would bring to the Sol system.




Syfy edition

Edge of Infinity Publication[]

As part of a 13 story science-fiction anthology book, Drive was included in Edge of Infinity with the other stories to tell the next steps humanity could take in the Solar system.

Syfy Editions[]

On July 9, 2015, as part of a tie-in promotion for the TV series, attendees at the San Diego Comic-Con got a limited physical booklet edition from Syfy. A free eBook was also released in conjunction on their website but it was taken down in 2021.

Standalone Editions[]

An Ebook will be available on online stores on March 15, 2022 with a new cover. The audio-book edition will be available on December 28, 2021.

Memory's Legion Publication[]

The short story will be included and published in Memory's Legion.


  • An early version of the standalone edition cover was incorrectly labeled as a novella even though it is a short story and the authors have stated they never called it a novella.[1]

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