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Freefall d0327

Freefall 3271

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Is there a point on this trip where I get to be a daring space captain, testing my wits and reflexes against nature?

No, not really.

I bet my skills will be needed when we go through the asteroid belt.

The entire asteroid belt contains less mass than the moon. The only place you see belts like in the movies is, well, in the movies.

So what am I? A captain or a passenger?

Neither. You are classified as a pet.

Ship, you stay out of this.

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Pet? Ship, I am not a pet.

Sam, watch out for…

THUMP

Is it just me, or is gravity going the wrong way?

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Our thrust is along the long axis of the ship. That makes the aft end of the ship down and the forward end up.

Okay. How do we fix it?

Fix it?

Fix it so the floor is the floor again.

Either completely redesign the ship or invent an artificial gravity generator.

The first option doesn't sound practical while underway. How long will the second one take?

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This type of ship is normally on a planet, in orbit, or in drift mode. It's very rare to be under constant thrust.

It was thought of, though. Many of the amenities can rotate ninety degrees. I've installed floor grates in the commons area so we can get around easier.

Then I shall learn to live with it. I've always been good at adapting to circumstances when there is no other choice.

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My first intentional trip through interplanetary space. Time to look at the checklist.

At a half meter per second acceleration, we eventually get moving pretty fast. Most asteroids are small. Even on the developed ones, I would be able to jump high enough to escape their gravity.

One more accomplishment and I can wear a cape.

Strange visitor from another planet.

Faster than a speeding bullet.

More powerful than a locomotive.

Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

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I'd like to check on Winston. Niomi, would you mind staying at the helm for a bit?

No problem.

Thanks. The ship pretty much takes care of everything, but regulations say when in high traffic areas, someone has to be here.

Even in space, someone needs to be the babysitter.

I agree. That is an accurate description of my function.

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Ship, do you use Dr. Bowman's neural architecture?

Negative. I use massively parallel Von Neumann architecture.

Dr. Bowman's design produces consciousness. Conscious beings can only concentrate on a few things at a time. Conscious beings get bored. I am monitoring thousands of parameters simultaneously and I never get bored.

I would not want to be conscious. It sounds very limiting.

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What is that monstrosity?

That is a treadmill.

Muscle atrophy happens fast in light gravity. We need to work out about two hours every day to maintain our fitness.

I was warned about the dangers of space. Cold. Radiation. No air or water. Nobody warned me there would be exercise.

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Is Winston going to need exercise?

No. The hibernation process greatly slows down the loss of bone and muscle. Even if he was unmodified, he'd be fine at the end of the trip.

Is it too late to join him? If I leave my suit and artificial skeleton outside, there should be plenty of room.

We don't know how to safely put you into hibernation. Also, even unconscious, spending three weeks wrapped in your tentacles would probably do bad things to his sanity.

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Maybe I don't need to exercise. There's no medical data on my species in space.

All the more reason to be cautious.

That's why I wanted constant thrust, to minimize the time you spend without gravity. It also gets us there faster. We don't know what your radiation tolerance is.

I am doing the best I can to keep you safe and healthy.

Do not say that in public. People know me and you don't need to make any new enemies.

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