Gravity of the Situation

Tilsworth is situated upon a bench near the fountain, clipboard laying beside him, lost in reflection as he listens to the falling water.

Maxwell stretches a bit as he wanders in from the lounge, peering at some paper with assorted things scribbled on.

Tilsworth opens his eyes just in time to see Maxwell emerge from the lounge. “Good day young man. I see you prefer the pen to paper as well.” he says with a bit of a smile.

Maxwell chuckles “Afternoon. Well, digital methods have their place, but there’s something more satisfying about writing directly on paper.”

“Quite agreed. I feel that one’s creative abilities flow more smoothly with the course of a pen across paper.” Tilsworth says, the lines on his face stretching a bit as he smiles wider. “Of course the final destination of my findings is in my office computer, but I feel like an artist with his canvas, I must paint my ideas to fruition before they are boiled down to digits.”

Maxwell nods “Quite. Granted, the current work is more recreational than anything. So there’s no need to transfer these to a computer down the line.”

“Like any muscle, the ones of the creative persuasion atrophy without use.” the old doctor says. “What idea has sprung forth today?”

Maxwell smirks “Today I was attempting to prove that this hexagon is similar to that pentagon. Nonsense right out of the gate, but keeps the mind working.”

Tilsworth lets out a bit of a laugh. “Indeed. Sometimes one must give in to the absurd, but even a paradox can exercise the mind.”

Maxwell nods as he takes a seat “Even moreso when you don’t know it’s a paradox when you start.”

“Very true… sometimes a paradox is a problem that hasn’t yet had a solution found.” Tilsworth says. “It is keeping one’s mind open, and tuned to the potential of the universe rather than the known, that results in the breakthroughs that raise mankind ever higher.”

Maxwell stretches as he leans back against the bench “Very true.”

“It is something I have followed all of my life.” Tilsworth replies. “And it is working towards my current project. I am close… so close to achieving a breakthrough.”

Maxwell nods “What barrier are you currently trying to get over, around, or through?”

“Anti-gravity… to date many have tried, but it is still a novelty… an intellectual puzzle, and few have truly put the effort into it to find why creating a stable field has eluded us for decades.” Tilsworth says. “I have been experimenting with it for the past 30 years, and my work has finally paid off. I believe I have found the secret, but there are tests… many tests left before I claim victory.”

Maxwell nods “An interesting concept, certainly. As long as it doesn’t get large enough to throw off planetary orbits and suchlike.”

“Indeed. My analysis of past attempts has shown that the key is the field coils. If they are not properly formulated and balanced, they require too much power to maintain a field and even one small shift in the power flow results in a cascading collapse.” the doctor says, picking up his clipboard. “I do not know about you, young man, but I would not want to be flying in my car when the only thing holding me above the ground is suddenly not there!”

Maxwell nods thoughtfully “Perhaps the cars should come equipped with parachutes. Or springs underneath. Just in case.”

“Indeed, but parachutes require a large amount of space in order to hold one big enough to be effective, and springs.. same situation, and even then they may not protect against a seriously high fall.” Tilsworth says. “No… the key is making a field stable and reliable. Reliable that even if main power is lost, an auxilliary power source can power it to get you to the ground the safe way instead of the fast way, that being freefall.”

Maxwell chuckles “Well, yes. All of the most amusing mechanical solutions to field failure are rather impracticle, sadly. Ah well.”

“Yes.. it is also the focus of another of my projects, that being a thruster system powerful enough to hold a car aloft in emergencies.” Tilsworth says. “I am close there to finding a fuel that can produce the needed thrust. The idea there being that if the field collapses, the thrusters can activate to slow a car’s descent, and settle it to the ground softly.”

Maxwell nods “Hope nobody’s on the ground when that happens. ”

Tilsworth chuckles. “Indeed, but even today that risk exists with jet aircraft. They have wings at least to provide lift to get them to the ground using the rushing air of freefall to slow them, but if anyone is on the ground when they land… well, I would not want to be them.”

Maxwell nods “Yes, but the odds of a poor pedestrian getting scorched seem higher with a car that’s trying to slow itself down, than a pedestrian getting nailed by a crashing jet liner.”

“Very true, but my goal is that the thrusters provide not only lift, but minimal guidance to choose a landing site. The fuel would only be enough to keep a car aloft for a few minutes at most, but that is enough to get to ground.” Tilsworth replies.

Maxwell nods “Might want to include some form of audio in there, so unaware pedestrians get some warning that a large thing is about to land in their general area.”

“Indeed…” Tilsworth replies. “That would be a good addition.”

Maxwell nods “Or really, whatever it takes to keep the folks on the ground safe. Something would have to be decided on as the standard.”

“Yes.. it is my hope that the era of the true flying car is soon upon us.” Tilsworth says. “Something all of our parents and grand parents and great grand parents before us expected to have back in 2000.” he says with a bit of a grin.

Maxwell chuckles “Yeah, but from what I hear, most of the drivers were a menace to everything on the road in those days. Imagine the carnage if those idiots had gotten to fly.”

Tilsworth laughs a for a moment at that. “Ahhh, yes… I think even today that tends to apply.” he says. “The advent of automatic license plate readers and scanners tend to discourage the majority, however.”

Maxwell nods “Well, that would certainly help the situation.”

“Indeed.. they tend to get you when you least expect it.” Tilsworth says, letting out a sigh. “I could have used that 200 credits…” he says, looking to Maxwell and giving a wink.

Maxwell smirks “Always the case, isn’t it?”

“Indeed, but I do try to keep it under control.” Tilsworth says, still grinning. “The NST bosses don’t like a lot of employee tickets coming across their desks.”

Maxwell chuckles “No, I’d imagine not. Even moreso when they’re paying you to drive.”

“Quite true. Well young man, I must return to my work. They aren’t paying me to enjoy the scenery.” Tilsworth says with a wink. Slowly he rises, grabbing his cane to get to his feet. “I’ve enjoyed our talk, I’m sure we shall have chances at further conversations in the coming days.”

Maxwell nods “Of course.”

 

Martian leaders deny terrorist connection

BRADBURY, MARS – Leaders of the Martian planetary government today denied any connection to the woman who unleashed an Ebola variant at Cape Canaveral.

“It does appear that she was from Bradbury and had no apparent connection to the young man who died on the Texas border,” said Louis Claymore, Martian chief of staff. “We’re not sure why she claimed otherwise.”

Panderyn to lead station construction

NEW YORK, EARTH – Omar Panderyn, a retired physics professor who’s joining the Spark team in about two weeks, has been tapped to oversee construction of Ulm Station.

The orbital facility, named after the hometown of Albert Einstein, will be the new home of Spark’s faster-than-light research and development efforts.

It’s expected to take several months to build, but will start with a small core team in a habitat module in September.

FTL project relocating

CAPE CANAVERAL, EARTH – Bob Busby, CEO of Spark, wants to make changes in the wake of a contagion attack on Cape Canaveral.

He wants to take the effort to achieve faster-than-light travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere to a secure facility in outer space.

The Spark board of directors is expected to approve a reassignment of assets to invest in the construction of an orbital laboratory and spacedock.

The move isn’t just a security issue due to the terrorist incident, however, he said. Busby also worries that technology needed to achieve FTL speeds might threaten the planet itself.

“Better safe than scattered atoms, man,” Busby said.

Panderyn joins Spark

NEW YORK, EARTH – Noted European physicist Omar Panderyn today announced that he was leaving his teaching position at Oxford University to take a lead role on Spark’s faster-than-light development project.

“The work remains in its infancy, to be sure,” Panderyn told CBN. “But I am confident that Bob Busby and the Spark team, working in tandem with the Vanguard, are on the right track. I am proud to lend any support I can to the project.”

He’s expected to start his job on Sept. 1.