Author : Julian Miles, Featured Writer

Gravity sucks. I mean, who wants to be stuck to anything because it’s so big you can’t get away from it?

I was born in the same cubby that Mom and Dad raised fourteen of us before the aches got ‘em. “Drive stress”, the officers call it. Seems like that gravity thing is plain mean. After all, they did their best to “replenish population” and their only reward is being deadified by the ship? Seemed unfair.

There I was, working my way up the ladder in the tech section. Didn’t plan it this way, but after we’d left the fortieth planet we could have settled on, seemed to me like some officers liked things just as they were a little too much. Told us about “adverse cultural impact” and “negative bacterium adjustment” and stuff like that. I had an idea and then found out I wasn’t the only one.

So when the officers culled all the people who had “formed quasi-religious ideals counter to mission parameters” I knew we were on to something.

So I’m hanging upside down trying to keep my gear from tumbling on to the deck a long way down. I’m skinsuited so I don’t drip, which is going to wrinkle me like a prune so I’ll have to hide from the officers tomorrow. Been here for two hours and my head is pounding and my eyes keep blurring, seems like gravity knows I’m here to mess with it and is trying to make my head explode.

With a smile I complete the reroute and flick the switch I’ve just hooked into the “gravitic core stabiliser coupling”. Only box I could find that related to gravity, so this must be the one. Techs only do some stuff and “mission critical systems” are fixed by the officers. So I spent days looking for a gravity bit. Worked back from the “drive attenuator” box I found behind a bulkhead. Took six weeks but I got it. Gonna teach this gravity thing who’s boss, gonna see the officers spit when me an’ mine from below level ten can turn their ship on an’ off unless they do as we say.

Mom, Dad; this is for you. I flick the switch back and forth a few times.

It gets real noisy down there and officers is runnin’ all over the place, shouting and yelling in their fancy lingo. Then a real bright light hits me. One of them officers seems to have got a line on what I done. I hears a real posh voice from behind the light,

“It’s a squaddie, skipper. Up in the routing duct, he’s done something to the connections, can’t see what.”

“Tell that distant spawn of a redneck émigré that unless he undoes what he’s done, we’re buggered.”

I got the drift of that alright. So I wiggle the switch a few more times. They all get frantic down there and suddenly I don’t feel so good and I hear a ladies’ voice below, all squeaky-like;

“He’s stuttering the coupling! Can’t you feel the fluctuations? If he keeps doing that we’re going to be a toroid denser than a collapsar!”

“Shoot him. Now!”

I heard that. I shouts down to them.

“Don’t you be thinkin’ about that, officers! I knows you got a plot to keep us down an’ if you don’t ‘fess up, I’m just gonna keep wigglin’ this here switch.”

So I wiggles the switch some more to show I wasn’t messin’.

Then gravity roars at me as it presses down real hard.


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