Injuring Eternity

Injuring Eternity by Martin Wilsey Read Free Book Online

Book: Injuring Eternity by Martin Wilsey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Martin Wilsey
Tags: gravity, gravity theory, time effects, weapons manufacture
 
    “ I was acting under direct
orders from Chancellor Dalton. None of this is my fault. Yes, I
lied. I had to lie. The prisoner had to believe we were on Earth
and not a moon around Saturn. These weapons we were developing were
not allowed on Earth.”
    -- Solstice 31 Incident Investigation Testimony Transcript:
Thomas McDonald, Senior Research and Development Engineer, Material
Sciences, Artificial Gravity Specialist.
    <<<>>>
     
    Tom McDonald stood on the grav-plate
apron just outside the hangar. He hated putting on a pressure suit.
He always wanted to take a piss and scratch his nose as soon as it
was sealed.
    Without it, though, he
would not step off the apron that maintained a perfect 1G feel.
Some people liked low gravity. Not Tom. Tom hated it. Which was o dd,
considering he was an expert in Artificial Gravity (AG) technology.
The moon of Saturn called Rhea,
where the R&D facility was located, had full facility AG. It must have cost a mint.
    He turned and looked back
at the enormous opening to the hangar behind him. Well, at least it
appeared to be open. It was ninety meters wide and thirty meters
tall. A band of light traced the opening and marked the line
between vacuum and atmosphere. There was a field, ten millimeters
thick, of gravity chaos in that wall plain that he could just walk
through. The light had nothing to do with the field though; the light and
the field would still be there even if the base lost
power.
    He had designed it.
    He still had no idea how it
worked, even though he’d
been credited with inventing it.
    Today was the final test of
his latest project: the G-rail gun. It was an amplified
gravity-based directional weapon. It was the most expensive thing
he had ever created. Now it was in final testing. Only the full
power test remained.
    His three assistants called
it Grendel because it was a monster that could kill a lot of people. The
Chancellor liked to call it the Grail . Tom was
uncomfortable with the name “Grail.” It held too many religious
connotations.
    “ All right you bunch of
monkeys, are you ready?” McDonald asked. The techs were in the lab
monitoring the test.
    “ Yes, sir. All systems are standing by,” Kristin Vittori replied. She was the team lead.
Tom thought about her as he listened to her voice. She was a professional,
stone-cold, bitch with no interpersonal skills. It was too bad because she
was beautiful in that modern 2G way. Super fit. McDonald couldn’t
help but remember how great she looked naked. Fortunately, none of
the rest of the staff suspected how she’d gotten herself promoted
to team lead.
    “ I’m firing it up, ” McDonald
said as he activated the weapon. It was the same size and same
basic shape as a Frange Carbine, but the damn thing weighed
more than eleven kilograms when not powered up. The onboard inertial
dampeners had the benefit of making it feel weightless when the
power was on. The biggest problem was that the higher the power
settings, the slower it was to move, so that it felt like you were
dragging it through wet cement at the upper settings. It fought
you.
    A change made to the
software, however, had seemed to solve this problem. Now, as he
selected the firing solution power, nothing changed until the moment
he pulled the trigger. The standard Heads Up Display HUD targeting
had also been employed to make usage even easier.
    This very same issue made
it impossible to use this weapon on the higher settings in a craft
in motion near a planetary body big enough to have its own gravity
well. In fact, Watkins had been killed when the
system tore itself out of the shuttle he was
flying. It wasn’t
recoil . It just stopped dead in space, and the
momentum of the ship itself tore it away from the suddenly
stationary Grail Cannon
.
He was another casualty to rushing.
    “ Here we go you chicken
shits. Target number one test. Power set to Four of Ten.” Tom had
to remind them that they had all refused to do any full power tests. The

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