Until you stand on the observation platform of a ship in space, it is impossible to be fully aware of the limitless attraction of the universe, spread in front of and all about you. Have you ever lain on your back, looking up at the panoply of stars and tried to project your mind up into the void? Multiply this a thousand times over and you will begin to appreciate the sensations, which filled the hearts and minds of the first Waterborn, who travelled beyond the restrictions of Earths influence.
The first ship had been completed now, for about three months and had been subjected to every conceivable test that could be accomplished sitting on the ground. Apart from using its anti-gravity units, to move from its construction site to where the tests were carried out, it had been earth-bound. It was in a way, like bird in an invisible cage, reaching upward, but denied its promised freedom. The workmanship had been superb, apart from minor tweaking and the final uploading of computer control and navigation programs from the Immortal’s ship, everything functioned perfectly. The first crew had been appointed and the past week had been spent conditioning them and their families to life contained in a sealed environment, but apart some twinges of claustrophobia as the hatches slid closed for the first time, they had adapted without too many problems. If there were any qualms, they were kept well hidden.
The whole city had turned out to watch as the ship, they had named “Earthlink,” as it lifted gently off the ground and rose up about a thousand meters before it began forward movement. At a slight angle it increased momentum and began to shrink into the clear sky. Now out of sight, they were above the atmosphere and Earths tenacious gravitational forces no longer exerted its pull on those within the ship, and for the first time they experienced the weightlessness of space. This was but a momentary sensation, because the ship’s main drive had sub-units, which supplied a form of artificial gravity within the ship. Even this was adjustable so that as velocity was increased, the gravitational effect altered the angle of attraction, effectively countering the backward drag.
The controller had set a course to closely orbit the moon and had increased the velocity to in excess of twenty thousand miles per hour. Because of the adjustable gravity, the occupants had little sensation of speed and were glued to the viewers. They had their first view of Earth from space, as it rapidly grew smaller and the moon was growing larger. In groups they had taken turns in the observation center. Every ship was equipped with these spaces, where the hull seemed to change into a completely clear panel, so clear in fact; it almost seemed not to be there at all. Those who were unprepared reached out and grasped the arm of the person nearest to them, occasioning outbursts of nervous laughter. There was no surprise in this reaction, what they were experiencing for the first time, was not something that could be anticipated, it was literally, like standing on a ledge looking into and balancing, against the irresistible attraction of infinity.
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