“Coming up to the point where we deviate to go around the Poid outpost. I’ll get back out to the bridge.”
He didn’t make it there. Before he reached the door, he few into the air. Anxiously, he swung his head to see if his boss was injured by flying into something. It took him a second to find her because she was right there in her usual chair, staring at him with an open mouth. While Walsh was flailing around, she got on the com to find out who else was up in the air.
She put her conversations on speaker so Walsh, busy using his hands to stop himself from crashing into corners and objects, could hear.
O’Bien was grasping one hand with the other. “Oh, weird! Oh, I see,” she said when told by operational head of engineering, and acting Chief, Hugh, not to move. She got on the inter-ship com.
“Emergency notice. Don’t move from your location. Repeat, stay in place. Don’t try to walk. If you have already been pulled off the floor, stay calm. Guide yourself with your limbs, preferably bottom of the feet or shoulders to bounce safely off surfaces. We’re working on a solution, and will get back to normal as soon as possible. Thank you. Ambassador O’Bien out.” She switched back to Hugh.
“So, what’s the scoop, Hugh?”
Hugh slowly moved a hand from a control. On the Ambassador’s desk holo he could be seen saying, “Anyone who was walking when we hit a strange magnetic field had their horizontally moving electrical charges have a perpendicular force exerted on them. Their own velocity caused them to go up instead of where they were walking.”
“I see. So people will come back down soon as we fly past this magnetic field?”
There was a long pause as Hugh shouted, “Hang on!” There was a cacophony of noises and urgent voices for a full five minutes, then, “Well, yes, but there’s a problem with that. We can’t pull away. If our impulse engine is on, it creates a field of its own that wants to snap us to the space field, like iron filings to kid’s toy, only stronger. If our engine is off, the pull stops, but we can’t go anywhere without it on. The pull made us lose all momentum.”
Karen put her face up to her hands. “What about the Quantum Displacement Drive?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Hugh said sadly. “That should work. Normally I’d much prefer to take the three weeks for this side trip before the one month to the Mini-Tasla, but we could spend a month trying to snap out of this some other way, and not even succeed. Our TREIT still works; there’s lots of ambient space energy for The Random Energy Input Transformer to collect and convert to electricity.”
“Great, so for anyone who doesn’t move, we have lots of power to run Force Field Generators that keep us on the floor. Everything from the garden sun lamps to holo games in the rec lounge would work if we could just get to them. What about Joe’s drones? Can they still work?”
“Right now, they would fly out of control and bash into flyers. They weren’t built strong enough to combat that kind of pull – but I’m working on pumping them up. So, if you prefer to wait and see if we can come up with a drone powered break-away solution, that’s possibly a viable option.”
The Ambassador was nodding her head slowly and looking questioningly at Walsh. “Captain? The known dangers of the QDD, or an unknown wait for another possible solution?
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