Gravity Matters

Dr. Kincaid writes:

“I have chosen to answer a question asked me multiple times, at least as relayed by Seigneur Matthew. It is tangentially related to my previous missive on League technology and it touches on interstellar travel, without which there would be no League nor, indeed, any other interstellar civilization.

“The question concerns space sickness, fall sickness, gravity sickness, jump sickness and link sickness. Space sickness, as used commonly, denotes any type of discomfort from mild to severe that people experience when they leave the atmosphere. In the early days of the Imperium, before the development of Quantum-1 hyperdrive, vessels using unphased hyperdrive might spend months in and out of hyperspace only to travel a short distance. With human nature as it is, people confined in even a large ship for that length of time began to manifest symptoms. They were easily remedied, usually, but since they happened in space they were broadly classified as space sickness.

Fall sickness describes the nausea and disorientation some folks feel in freefall. Gravity holds things down and that includes things inside our bodies. Food, for example, or the balancing mechanism in our inner ears. Gravity sickness is the opposite of fall sickness. It manifests itself three ways. People accustomed to a light planet can have multitudinous problems when exposed to higher gravity, and vise versa. Heavy worlders experience fallsickness-like  symptoms when staying on a lighter world. Grav sickness also relates to artificial gravity. The early days of gravitic technology gave us grav pads that didn’t always pull at a constant rate, or even a constant vector. The slight differences affected some people badly. Also, before reliable gravity pads, some space stations used centripetal acceleration (Do you still call it centrifugal force?!). Some people are very sensitive to motion, any motion, so that type of ‘gravity’ sickness was in fact motion sickness.

Jump sickness is harder to define. Unphased hyperdrive has a very ‘hard’ entry threshold which might have caused any of a range of symptoms related to motion sickness. Phased hyperdrive entry was easier but people with sensitive balance or high sensitivity to motion could suffer symptoms from that. Finally, in the modern vernacular, jump-sickness is used interchangeably with link-sickness.

Link sickness is the technically correct term for link-related jump sickness. I know, that’s circular, so allow me to elucidate. Linkdrive and gravitic technology are very closely related. Without going into the long and complex formulas defining it, an active link drive field interferes with any gravity pads within it. This results in micro- to millisecond fluctuations in gravity. The deeper the link, the longer and stronger the fluctuations People who are hyper-sensitive to gravity feel this unconsciously and it results in nausea, dizziness and loss of appetite.

“So. There you have it. All the various forms of sickness people can and have experienced during extraplanetary voyages. With that said, please do NOT let it discourage you from taking that first interstellar trip! Modern linkdrives are very reliable and every vessel has tranqs and palliatives to treat the symptoms and they have no side effects. Other than a thoroughly enjoyable voyage!”

-F. R. Kincaid, PhD, ArG

I would like to thank Dr. Kincaid for taking time out to answer those questions. For the curious, Dr. Kincaid is a famous and friendly League archivist and historian. He has written many articles, papers and books on almost every aspect of the League and its history. As soon as Earth gets its LINC beacons, all of his work will be accessible.

Until then, if you’re still curious, check out my books.

My web page has links to purchase the books as well as some information about your humble author.



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