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Lunacy: Elevator

06/15/12

  06:56:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 810 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Elevator

The docking procedure was almost boring. Everything was so routine, now, after hundreds of hours of simulations, and drills. But one thing they hadn't trained for was the dock.

The dock looked like a piece of shale, which was close to the truth. It was an asteroid attached to the end of the lunar elevator as a counterbalance. The construction inside the asteroid was basic, just one module that attached to the Perseus. The rest of the station was inside the rock, which functioned as a natural radiation soak, which sat at the top of the elevator. But the elevator was different.

A small conventional elevator delivered them to the climber. The climber was massive, a warehouse on wires. And on the far side of it were chairs, and a large monitor, attached to a massive window. The lunar surface looked close enough to touch. 

?Greetings, Perseus crew.? The voice came from the monitor, and a swirling, morphing color-changing object began to move against its black background. ?Come closer.? They started walking, and the human-sounding voice waited until they were only a few feet away. 

?I am Speed, a prototype reading and contextual reasoning platform.?

?Speed Racr?? Levy asked. ?Love it.?  

?I am descended from a long line of technological marvels, including Deep Blue and Watson.?

?I remember Watson kicking Ken Jennings ass at Jeopardy,? Paul said.

?How old are you?? Levy asked.

?Dr. Paul Wesley is thirty-seven years, forty-eight days, twelve hours and twenty-six minutes old. But to answer the philosophic portion of your query, he is quite a bit older than you, and shows his age by recognizing antiquated cultural landmarks.?

?That monitor really put you in your place,? Clod said.

?Maybe. But can you tell me every movie Kate Winslet has been naked in?? Levy asked.

?Holy Smoke, The Reader, Jude, Cleanflix, Little Children, Iris, Quills, Hideous Kinky, Titanic, Hamlet, and she was also nude in the Mildred Pierce series.?

?I?m in love. Can we get one for our ship??

?It?s a little late to requisition equipment,? Martin told him.

?Then can I steal this one? I promise only to have sex with it in my own room and never in the commissary while people are eating.?

?Please don?t let him steal me or use me for sex,? Speed pleaded. ?I don't believe I have a compatible port for that.?

?You will stop harassing the computer, Levy,? Martin said. ?No means no, even in binary.?

?Thank you, captain. The lunar elevator you are currently riding in is comprised primarily of M5 fiber, polyhydroquinone-diimidazopyridine, a high-strength synthetic developed by Dr. Doetze Sikkema at Akzo Nobel.?

?The elevator was completed as part of a public-private partnership between several space agencies and a collection of business interests. As its counter-weight, the elevator harnessed the unused remains of 617 Patroclus, the asteroid brought into lunar orbit using the Interplanetary Transport Network.?

?The ITN is a series of gravitational trajectories around the solar system, and uses planetary orbits to redirect an object?s path allowing for long-distance travel at minimal fuel cost. 617 Patroclus was specifically chosen for its high water-content. Menoetius, its companion comet, accounts for over thirty percent of the water now in use in the Lunar Station below.?

?We?re going really slow,? Clod said, staring down at the surface, which hardly appeared to be moving.

?We?re moving at speeds approaching 200 kilometers an hour,? Speed told her.

?Yes, but we were moving at speeds several times that,? Clod said. ?And I?d like a hot bath before I?m blasted yet again into space.?

?Regretfully, I must inform you that it?s still another 18 hours to the lunar surface.?

?I?ve climbed glaciers faster than this.?

?I have no information on glaciers capable of those speeds, and that is nearly an order of magnitude above human top speed. I presume you were utilizing hyperbole to make the point that you are not pleased with our current speed.?

?Oh, my God,? she said. ?This thing is why they wouldn?t let me carry a gun in space, because I would shoot it, and then myself- but only because I can?t possibly do it in reverse order.?

?Incorrect. Guns are not allowed in spacecraft because their discharge in the confined spaces of a vessel or station would present undue danger to the crew and equipment. Further, there are also concerns in the literature that ready access to firearms increases the incidence of violence.?

?Can someone help me open an airlock? I want to die. But I want to take that thing with me before I go.?

?While your hyperbolic threat of violence is amusing, I feel bound to inform you that the object of your irritation is merely a monitor and interface; my processes are carried out remotely, spread across several server towers on the Lunar Station. I could not possibly be damaged in the manner you describe.?

Clod sighed.  

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