Laws of physics can be bent, but not broken. It had taken him a lifetime to reach the rim, three years of shipborne study that consumed seventy years dirtside. Most of those years fell in the first few decades. Life never waited for those riding the light, and each time they stopped, machanics swarmed the hull, upgrading what the ships internal systems couldn’t upgrade on their own.
The AIs talked in real-time, back to dirtside scientists and engineers. It was the only way to keep the massive ship in concert with the technological advances that filtered from the core systems outwards.
Out by the rim ships off the beaten paths move slower, and time falls into step. A day shipside no longer cost a week, but it takes three days instead of one, so the tradeoff is the same. Ships rarely ran full-speed on the rim, simply because there was no reason to rush. They wouldn’t get there any faster, and fuel was self-scavanged.