This is the public log of DeeDee 'dzyjak' Jackson, a fictional character. DeeDee lives and works aboard a space station which orbits Saturn, and sometimes he writes about it.



"Let's freeze it."

That's what I said a couple of weeks ago. You would think the lessons of the past could shout a warning or two... Maybe I wasn't paying attention.

The new lesson is one I've learned before: "Easier said than done." Water is a completely different environment that air. This is obvious, and I mention it only because I've learned anew that ice is not the same as water.

I've also learned something completely new. Curious is not genetically enhanced. An argument could be made for biological enhancement, but the truth is closer to symbiosis. Like a parasite, but in a good way.

And that atmo-suit Curious wears is part of it--or plugs into it or something. Part of the harness is somehow fused to Curious's back and neck. It actually looks natural, like a ridge of protective cartilage and bone running up his spin. When he puts the rest of the harness on, it grips that ridge before it wraps itself around the chimpanzee.

Did you ever get the feeling that you suddenly never knew what was going on?


Center of the Universe

EMF Eddie has this interesting idea, (whereas a 'theory' would probably involve math). I find it interesting because it's all about time, which is one of my favorite obsessions.

The speed of light contains a time value. Remove the light, and there is still time. The light simply allows us to see. The greater the distance the light, the farther into the past we see. Therefore, as it applies to time, each of us is the center of the universe. We, dwellers of the eternal present, become what we are now a tiny moment before we perceive the universe around us, and everything we see has already happened.

The exchange of energy within the universe can be measured and predicted very very accurately--until you include life into the equation. The bit about uncertainty principles is another measurement of sorts, and in a way it adds to the accuracy.

But life, center of the universe, looks and listens, and the universe shouts and waves frantically for attention. Life tries to get out of the way if the universe seeks to run it down. Life lives outside the universe, moving tiny nothings of matter but doing so against the universal rules of inertia and momentum.

Even time itself is subject to our tiny adjustments. We know some of what will happen. We plan for the future. We remember and build on the past. Our eternal present includes the pasts of the universe and the potentials of our futures.

Life can only be identified in the present. Past-present-future: Center of the Universe.


Outside Force

Rick and I had five boosters strapped to that ice cube when we rode it in. We were inside his ship, with accel-weight at just under 0.3 Gees most of the time... Enough to get by for a week without getting sick. The station won't even reach 0.1 Gees while it's under thrust... Not enough to stay healthy.

We are also still worried about the pressure those boosters are going to put on some key support structures. The thing about space stations is they are built to spin, not to get shoved around by plasma emitting tubes.

We were drinking and arguing about whether we had a problem, and if so, what it might be. The Dizzy serves brain lube, or so Doc Hester claims. Doc was involved with something "important," but Curious was there, drinking iced fruit juice which I am fairly sure they don't serve at the Dizzy Pig but Curious always drinks when he's there. I, as usual, was bored with the treadmill discussion* they had going on and was thinking my feet needed to visit the dance floor.

I was also thinking other things. Like how inertia means one thing to a chunk of ice or a broken space station, and something else entirely to a living creature. Curious was playing with an ice cube, spinning it on the table and watching until it stopped. I believe Curious was as bored with the conversation as I was.

Something about Curious, maybe his very existence in the midst of all this strange optimism we have going on, makes me think about everything differently. As I watched Curious spin the ice cube, my brain clicked. I swear Curious knew when I got it, because he was wearing that smug, humans-are-slow face when I looked up from the spinning ice.

"Curious has an idea," I said to the table in general.

Paula sniggered. Otherwise, silence all around.

"Instead of waiting for a structure breach to release and freeze the water," I explained. "We allow the water to freeze now, while the station is still providing spin weight."

Most everyone looked ready to argue if only they could speak the language I was using.

"Blame the stupid ideas on the chimp, hey Diz?" Joe said.

"Whatever," I said. "The station is providing a tremendous amount of water pressure from spin-weight. Curious has rightly pointed out that if we freeze the water, the pressure will remain after the station has stopped spinning."

Of course.

    The conversational treadmill goes something like this:
  • Every structure is designed to support itself against weight. Weight can be caused by mass, acceleration, and centrifugal force (which is just acceleration with a twist).
  • A space station is designed to support itself against centrifugal force, not acceleration.
  • Repeat with variations until your speech is slurred from drink.


Counter Weight

I tried to explain how busy I was, but Counter-Spin doesn't understand no.

So I found myself setting anchor cables and rigging explosives on the few hundred tons of water I said I needed.

Maybe I should start at that moment in my own life when I realized I was riding a free-falling snowball with a man who frightened me a lot more than I wanted to admit. I do not believe Rick is malicious or uncaring--probably the opposite--but he can talk like the devil, and somehow I had agreed to be there before I knew the bargain was struck.

"Why the hell did I agree to do this?" I asked him after my third heavy anchor ripped itself out of the ice surface when the cable was drawn tight.

His laughter made my suit-com break with static while he shuffled toward another location nearby... nearby being anywhere you can get at without sending yourself into orbit by trying to take a real step.

"My first busting run," he said. "I got a suit breach when my own anchor popped like that and pinned my leg. Best day of my life once it was over."

That's why he scares me. "That explains why you are here, Rick--I think--but there's nothing about me."

"You said you needed more water to stabilize the supports while the station rides the pitiful and yet dangerous amount of thrust those boosters will be providing."

"Yes. I didn't ask if I could come along though. How did I end up here?"

"You needed a break."

I couldn't argue with that. The second day was better. I was ready to come home by day five, but if this whole station tech thing doesn't work out, ice busting might not be a bad career move.