…continued from prior post…
The shuttle nosed into the port at Cylinder’s central hub, briefly jetting to match rotational spin.
One of the other tourists, a fellow who’d complained of a never ending queasy feeling, whose nose dribbled constantly, a glistening dewdrop forever poised, cracked his helmet against the airlock door. “Ugh. I thought the hub was gravity free.”
“No G’s, but ya gotta match the spin.” Petr swam through the circular exit, following his sister who’d somehow beat him to it. “Cylinder rotates once a minute, you know, relatively speaking.”
Dewdrop’s fiance rubbed his helmet where she’d seen it strike. “Easy there, dear. We’ll get to our room at the outer shell where you can finally rest.”
Raina helped corral the couple through and into the antechamber that lead to reception. “As soon as you’re past this next room, you should be able to remove your helmet.” She gave them a nudge. “Hmm. You can start to smell the scent of loam. Familiar smells can help, with….”
The woman smiled weakly. “Thanks, I’ll take it from here.”
Dewdrop mumbled, “I don’t like smell of dirt…”
Raina frowned, spun and tugged her husband out of his seat. “Alexi, we’re the last to go. Unless you want to stay cooped up in here.”
“I was just checking some numbers.” Mr. Dolanoff had been outfitted with a heads-up-display within his helmet. “Looks like the mining company ran into issues while transporting the third rock.”
“Tell me about it on the way.” She shoved Alexi through the hole, giving him a bit too much momentum.
The fully suited attendant, receiving the crew, snagged him as he whipped through. “Whoa, there cowboy. The Z-G race isn’t until tomorrow.” He swung Alexi in an arc and pinned him to the wall of the chamber. He spied Raina. “Looks like you’re last. Let me seal up this first lock and then get you all processed. We’ll have your luggage delivered to your rooms.”
Reception proved a marvel. Luscious vines, and ferns, all apparently immune to zero-G, imbued the tubular enclosure, the size of a city water tank, with earthy tones and organic shapes. Light, dawn colored to match the diurnal timezone that the crew had departed, gave the feeling of an early spring morning.
The attendant, Rick, had followed them through. “You two look agile,” he said to Petr and Alsatia, “let me show you how close locks here on Cylinder.” He tucked a toe into a loop for leverage and pulled the second door closed, gave it a tug to seal it, and dogged it locked. A green glow lit up around the border. “Think of Cylinder like a big submarine. Closing hatches saves lives.”
The eight person crew followed his example when Rick twisted off his helmet.
“Ooh, the room is spinning around us.” Dewdrop gagged once. “Where’s gravity. I need…”
Rick grabbed a bag from a secret alcove, snapped it open and shoved it into Dewdrop’s face. “Some love this room. Zero-G, great aroma, jungle like. Some don’t.”
Alsatia drifted over to the wall and began rotating with it, around the others who floated in the middle. Between the planters, rows of LED lights glowed. She reached into a tangle of greenery and plucked out a brown, furry egg. “Hey look, I found a kiwi.”
“Alsatia,” Raina fumed. She turned to Rick. “I’m sorry. If that’s part of some experiment…”
“Oh, don’t worry. We grow so much food here, we pretty much don’t keep track. Not for the food we eat.” Rick did a quick acrobatic flip opposite of Alsatia and extracted a finger long cucumber. He took a bite. “But, we do expect you to eat what you pick.”
“Oh,” Alsatia said, looking embarrassed. “I’ll save it for later.” She patted her suit and finally tucked the fruit inside her stiff collar.
Her mother continued to glare. Alsatia gave her a big smile.
Rick radioed for two assistants who showed up within minutes. “Tricia, can you take the Zhangs to Tahiti Terrace? Ben, the Clarks are headed to Starry Night, and I’ll lead the Dolanoff’s down to Carousel.”
Raina, ever the hostess, bid farewell to the Clarks and Zhangs. “Take care. This is going to be marvelous.”
“Maybe we’ll see you a-round,” Alsatia chimed as the other two groups drifted through portals at the far end of the room.
“Ugh,” Petr groaned. “Is that how it’s going to be?”
Rick, stroking his shaved head, joined in. “Round is my favorite.”
Alexi followed the attendant as he led them through yet a third air-lock. “Come on you three. Save your puns for gravity.”
Alsatia grinned. “Heavy, man.”
“This is gonna be a long ride,” Petr said, his own grin settling in. He was here, in the most incredible structure humanity had ever created. A place only a fraction of the nine billion souls on Earth would ever experience. “A wild, wicked ride.”
This is a link to an online calculator for determining rotational speed and G-forces for spinning cylinders…