Thursday, August 19, 2010

#fridayflash--Helmet Travel

Helmet Travel
by Eric J. Krause

The first time I wore the helmet, I puked inside it. It wasn't my fault; it was a disorienting situation. I know I wasn't the first, and I could only hope past users were as meticulous in cleaning it as I was.

Supersonic space travel is no easy feat. As soon as you secure the helmet to the suit, it's like the craziest rollercoaster you've ever been on. The ship's mechanism shoots you out the airlock and into deep space. The helmet already knows where you want to go, so all you have to do is relax and let it take you.

Yeah. Relax. They really said that as if it were somehow possible.

As you're floating about, the helmet locks onto its location and forms an energy bubble around you. It's invisible, but the scientists say it's only slightly bigger than whoever is floating in the middle. I didn't lunge out to see if I could feel it. Not because anyone said not to, but at that point I hadn't emptied my stomach into the headgear, and I was trying to hold as still as possible.

Anyway, the bubble doesn't actually move. That's what the scientists say. The bubble makes space bigger behind it and shorter in front. Basically, from what I understand of the process, the bubble takes the universe in front of it and folds it so the destination ends up right in front of the traveler. And it happens almost instantly. Then the bubble straightens everything out when it's in the new location. Space goes back to its original size and shape, but with you in the new place. So no movement, just fancy origami.

Try telling that to my stomach. I've been on the hairiest jet coasters at the best fun parks in the solar system. Some of them go from zero to thousands in less than a second. They all proved tame compared to this acceleration. But I'll give credit where credit is due. I got from Station Saturn to New Earth on the other side of the universe in the blink of an eye. I'd been hoping to enjoy the wonders of the vastness of space on the trip, but one second the rings of Saturn were in my peripheral, and the next I descended down on my new home.

Still no gutbombs from me. I was woozy--I dare anyone not to be after a trip like that--but I'd saved myself a vomit shower. If I ever saw the guy who helped me into my suit, he owed me five credits.

I set down gently in the middle of my new town. Before I took the helmet off, I got an eyeful of everything--a huge Wal-Mart, fast food joints every ten feet, and election posters plastered everywhere. It was just like back home.

I've never puked so hard in all my life.