Monday, June 5, 2017

Always Consider the Gravity of your Situation

(Note: this story is the result of a highly entertaining rant by John Reiher on just how silly antigravity is. thank you John and all the great commenters!)

Professor Ormsby had taken me in so I owed him. Most of the people of the 26th century would have stuck me in a zoo or a jar. The Prof stepped up and helped smooth things over after my 500 year old viruses caused a small epidemic. He would make medical observations of me undergoing various experiences and compare them to the readings for modern men.

Thus our little jaunt around the Moon. The Lunar Excursion Tours Ship looked ridiculously small compared to the rockets of my youth. I said as much.

"You obviously know nothing of anti-gravity," the Prof said with a shrug.

There was a brief medical check up. The doctor boggled at my height and then a couple of the readings from a big metal cap he made me wear. The Prof argued with him for a while and then showed him some paperwork. Probably my license. Stupid little bitty future folks. I was a little under average height back when. Now I was a t-rex.

Before we boarded we were issued clothing,  something like the gee suits fighter pilots used to wear. Mine was Amber and the Prof's green. We changed and boarded. A steward showed us to our small compartment and that was it. We grabbed seats and the Prof started reading a book. I had a couple magazines that I still didn't understand much of.

After a while I looked up and asked, "When do we blast off?"

The Prof set his book down and looked at his wristwatch and made a small sucking sound. "We lifted off about five minutes ago. Once we get above the atmosphere we'll really accelerate," he explained. then he checked my pupils for dilation and my pulse. It was a little fast.

Then I began seeing spots in front of my eyes as my weight seemed to increase. The Professor remained standing to further poke and prod me. I was glad of it when I began seeing flecks of light and dark spots.

"Professor ... I don't think I'm reacting very well with this antigravity. I'm seeing things ..." Professor Ormsby got very excited until he heard exactly what I was seeing. maybe he was expecting me to start spouting on about vision and such.

"That is the gravity simulation warming up. Stand up a minute, Ty," he said. My weight seemed to be sort of normal. I was finding it hard to figure out exactly what was happening. It was close to normal gravity, I guessed. I took a few experimental hops and still couldn't figure out what was off.

The Professor watched me intently and chuckled once or twice. "Tell me what is going through your mind."

"I feel kind of like ... gravity stops at my skin?"

"Exactly! The spots and flashes you viewed were caused by a cloud of microbots. In form they are like those ... drones you told me about. A central body with four rotors. They are a fraction of a millimeter. These suits are studded with micro hooks that provide power and guidance to them. The microbots thrust downward and voila! simulated gravity!"

"All that ... and you guys still don't have microwave ovens for the home ..." I muttered walking around. I picked up a magazine and let go. It hung there in the air. I did that with a few more magazines. No microbots to waste I suppose.

"That's right! You can't drop anything! But wait there's more!"

I had a stupid grin on my face as the Professor threw himself at the floor. He missed, slowing, stopping and then bobbing back up around waist level. "The suits have accelerometers. They shut down the microbots whenever they detect a sudden motion like falling. Jumping is okay as you saw. It kicks in if you are dropping and no longer vertical. All the health benefits of gravity with none of the drawbacks!"

"That is pretty neat," I said.

"Better than your selfish phones!?" he asked. I was about to correct him then stopped.

The Professor walked over to a wall and carefully began walking ... up the wall. The act wowed me. When Professor Ormsby turned to smile at me I decided to go him one better and took a short run at the wall and a skip onto it.

I fell.

I hit the deck with a thud, not hard enough to really hurt more than my pride. The Professor stepped off the wall and helped me to my feet shaking his head. I assured him I was fine.

"I am sorry, Ty," the great man offered me a rare apology. "I thought you knew. I sprang for first class for myself but ... you are traveling coach."