Monday, June 29, 2009

Daily Story 75: Tidal Forces

I breathe a sigh of relief as the countdown starts. I can feel the stress of the past few weeks just draining away to be replaced by excitement - finally, after all my training, I'm going to the Lunar base. Twice in as many months I nearly screwed it up; it's easy to get disqualified from these missions and I had made an impressive effort. Out of the three main ways to lose your spot on the mission I had managed to try sickness/injury and drugs. It's a good thing I didn't go for the hat-trick by punching my boss.

Most recently it was drugs, at a party a few weeks ago. I would never do anything to risk this job, but as far as I can tell someone spiked my drink. I felt strange and started to walk home... and next thing I knew I was waking up, naked, in a field somewhere. Whoever did it probably thought it was funny, but if it had shown up on my blood test my career could have been ruined.

Before that it was an injury while camping. Like with the drugs, I was careful to avoid anything dangerous... but you don't really expect a rabid animal to tear into your tent, right? I had to get shots and blood work and they were seriously talking about pulling me from the mission - but since I had a month and a half to go they gave me the benefit of the doubt and sure enough I healed up just fine. Still, it was a close call and I had started to believe fate was conspiring against me.

But now I'm here, and it's time. The specially designed seat helps to cushion me from the G-forces, and while it's still intense I've been prepared for that. I'm a little more worried about the motion sickness that comes with floating around weightless - but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I've dreamed of this moment for so long, becoming one of the few privileged mortals to escape the Earth. Life at the Lunar base will be rough, but I wouldn't trade this job for anything.

I can almost feel it, right there in my reach. I think if I closed my eyes I could still see that beautiful silver orb. You could spin me around and disorient me and I would be able to point right to it. The main thrusters are finished, and as the acceleration stops I can tell we're nearly weightless. Along with that lack of gravity comes a strange feeling, though - a slight confusion and discomfort I wasn't expecting.

It's a lot like how I felt when I left that party; a restless, anxious sensation coupled with a kind of mental fog. I can't think, can't concentrate, and with every second it's getting worse. The glare of the moon is almost painful, and without gravity I can feel it pulling at me, tugging, trying to tear me apart. Can't anyone else feel that? I itch, all over; my suit feels like it's full of bristly hair. Why isn't someone turning us around? How can they look so calm? I hear something tear, and I know I'm straining against the fabric of my suit. It's so constrictive. I try to call for help, but all that comes out is a howl.