Bewildering Stories

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The Fourth Dimension, in the year 5631

part 1

by Deep Bora

“Matters are therefore settled... And we shall embark upon the next phase of our interstellar journey?”

“A sort of interplanetary voyage, to be correct,” the deep-space lady scientist-astronaut quickly intervened. She stood at the very beginning of two dozen steel-chrome ladder steps leading to one single entrance door of the fifty-foot tall interplanetary rocket ship. This particular ship was primarily designed by scientists working for Earth-Forward space research laboratories for the purpose of transporting outer space personnel to and from Uranus.

A permanent base camp was established upon Moon Forward space research laboratory directly intervening all manned and unmanned interplanetary flights prior to landing upon Earth Stations. Earth Command had been explicit in issuance of interstellar advice several years previously, okaying the conduct of all flights primarily between Moon stations and Neptune.

Earth Command inevitably made primary decisions related to all activities directed at humankind’s positive progression upon all inhabited planets presently occupied by the human race and most rationally upon all such activities on Earth also.

The interplanetary space personnel group numbering twelve and standing at ease behind the lady astronaut-scientist were in a cheerful mood and prepared to talk at length, for Uranus’s airs proved conducive to improved good health, too. On this particular occasion, the entire interplanetary space personnel group felt no particular necessity for donning surface-level oxygen masks. Uranus airs still contained adequate levels of saturated oxygen within its precious gases forming the atmosphere.

Atmospheric rarities involving presence of the totally important gas, oxygen, did not encompass lower than necessary amounts of the same, at least not for the immediate future in the approaching six-month duration of time to be spent upon Uranus.

The Flight Commander stood upon steel-chrome floors at the top deck inside the ship. He was in process of manual inspection of all flight related computer functions inside Flight Chamber One, while he spoke to the lady astronaut-scientist.

A single shirt collar receptor-transmitter voice phone, activated for primary use amongst Uranus personnel presented the only indication of controlled static within the vastness of the Solar System at this portion of the universe; the seeming end of their Solar System comprising sixteen planets. Undoubtedly, Forward Space Research Labs of Earth were keenly following their verbal communication with acute ease.

“After reaching Uranus safely, we now prepare for a delayed launch back to Earth’s Moon. Our mission upon Uranus may be classified as complete. This marks our two hundredth visit upon the planet, sir.” She spoke into the transmitter located into her shirt collar, ensuring her tones were audible to the entire group while commencing an initial climb up the high steel-chrome ladder.

Halfway up in silence befitting the atmosphere outside and around them, she halted for the steps were silently auto-engaged in upward movement, transporting her and the colleagues higher, directly inside a decompression chamber.

A few minutes passed by smoothly in absence of further talk as the ladder steps operated in noiseless function guided by computers built within the space rocket ship.

“I made reference to our alternate flight path, to Pluto!” The Flight Commander appeared wary of something as he re-entered the decompression chamber, joining the interplanetary group in silence. He waited for an upward sliding connecting door, now at mid-level behind him, to close shut firmly while seating himself comfortably upon the furthest chair. The rest of the crew immediately followed his movement and soon they were all seated inside.

“We may have to skip a halt at Saturn on our trip back to Earth,” he added, watching quadrille entrance doors slide down noiselessly as these complied to a computer-generated command auto-shut position.

“We shall refrain from all forms of speech now.” Computer audio signals chirped in with an almost human like quality though one could easily distinguish rings of metallic tones settling down within the silence of the decompression chamber. It was the correct procedure nevertheless. Interplanetary rules governing functioning of decompression chambers implied exactly that. As all members of Forward Space Research Expedition-Uranus settled comfortably upon the silver-chrome backs of their individual chairs, computer functioning relating to decompression procedures within the chamber commenced upon its initial task.

Noiseless air vents began to draw natural Uranus air into the widest chamber now, ensuring presence of abundant air for the space personnel to breathe; ever so gently, the quadrille thick steel-chrome entrance doors finally glided to a totally shut position, separating them from the outside atmosphere. Now, for a total of ten Earth minutes, Uranus Personnel would relax closer into their extra-comfortable chairs while subsequent psychological activity related to individual heart rate, heart beat, blood pressure and primary levels of brain functioning patterns were unerringly recorded into the computer data base, again matching mechanical scrutiny with individual medico-health readings. These were obtained and transcribed into the very same computer banks, back upon Earth stations before commencing flight.

The Flight Commander noted an absence of restriction in breathing process as atmosphere within the decompression chamber continued to remind them of chilly Uranus airs or even on Earth in the months of May and June. He reminisced that there were parallels to be taken into account, coordinates that may be totally deviated from Earth’s directions at the outer edges of their existent Solar System.

Feeling an ever so higher pressure of yet-natural Uranus air imperceptibly hit his chest, forcing it just a wee bit upward, he looked around to ensure whether other personnel were equally affected. Smiling cheerfully at the newest presence amongst them — a deep space authorized personnel drawn up from Jupiter duties after completion of six Earth years duties — he attempted to relax the individual by such purposeful action. It always happened like that. Decompression chamber activities inevitably caused a slight “hit” at the thoracic region of an individual, thereby almost automatically causing a person to “lift” the chest area slightly. This particular instance occurred immediately after the outer decompression hatch door closed.

Advanced scientists at Earth Advanced Space Research Labs commented upon the process. “This method related to decompression procedures shall assist you in your individual breathing rate. You see, no matter how many times you may be compressed or decompressed — an obvious reference to treatment within decompression and compression chambers during interplanetary flight — you nevertheless become exposed to variant levels of atmospheric conditions. Such different and unregulated atmospheric conditions alter your breathing rate to a considerable extent.

“However, recognizing your individual recuperative processes and physiological ability to withstand such interplanetary atmospheric excesses, we nonetheless suggest the following: always take care to adjust your breathing pattern once you are within decompression chambers. This process, if followed in correct perspectives, shall help you to breathe easily. It shall assist you in your easy breathing.

“Needless to mention here that, while upon planets containing a higher atmospheric saturation, i.e. a more concentrated atmospheric correlation of its precious gases, your breathing pattern becomes an easier process as your blood stream absorbs slightly, almost negligibly, higher amounts of air, including oxygen, present therein. Uranus is a near-perfect example here. However conversely, any planet with lesser concentration of its precious gases — oxygen included — would tend to make your breathing laborious for your body through its blood stream, shall demand its proper composition of air intake, the adequate levels of oxygen-rich air. In all cases, the air is absorbed through your lungs. You may experience these conditions were you not accustomed to walk upon or live at the higher reaches of Earth, above twenty thousand feet...”

This particular two hundredth interplanetary journey to Uranus marked an end, and also a beginning of phases. They were approaching a culmination of planned flights to the outer reaches of their Solar System, constantly deriving inferences, studying curious star patterns of cosmos lights and observing Uranus in its correct perspectives, through radio light computer telescopes located upon Earth, Jupiter and Pluto; and also via computer radars planted upon Uranus’s soils. Each of those two hundred manned flights, done with the intention of discovering Uranus, was intended to be of an investigative nature and now, a few years later, they arrived at rational deductions.

“This one-time and almost direct flight to Earth shall carry imported Uranus air in natural states!” One amongst the crew had stated in matter of-fact tones whilst indulging themselves inside the recreation chamber situated upon the second deck. They made themselves comfortable within the confines seventeen minutes after completing a ten-minute procedure relating to the decompression chamber. Another timetable amounting to fifteen Earth minutes was spent inside the compression chamber immediately afterward, and as the single door leading out from compression chamber slid upward hyper silently on unseen rollers, they headed straight to the recreation chamber, in unison.

The steel-chromium single door between the compression chamber and ship entrance cabin shut them out from Uranus and its induced atmospherical effects. “I have taken the liberty to switch on ancient Earth music belonging to our Earth ancestors!” The second female scientist amongst them ventured at an opportune moment.” They say it is of Greek origin. In the year 5013 we do not differentiate between Greek or Chinese music.

“If you allow me to state, I may venture to comment that I really do not know exactly where Greece was located upon our ancient Earth maps,” The principal scientist ventured. “Well, you may have studied of China in your school text?” The answer formed a semi-question: “I believe Babylonia was closer to home in those time progressions.” Evidently, the principal scientist did phrase those words to resemble an excursion outside of his scientific-rationale world.

“There have been so many wars, so many battles that we may never ever acquire the truth of how it may have been!” The Flight Commander made obvious reference to hundreds of thousands of civilizations that Earth witnessed since the beginning of Actual Time, ever since mankind began a formal existence upon Earth. He made that statement in a contentious mood whilst they were involved in the process of recreation, combining a light lunch awaiting simulation of final takeoff formalities. Few Uranus days remained till an eventful departure directly to Earth, bypassing one scheduled stop-over upon Moon stations, mainly for deacclimatizing procedures.

He also made that comment at a time when Robot Computer Two busied itself accepting individual health records of the crew as they delved into recreational matters. Central Data banks required two sets of medical records: one during initial decompression procedures and the other at a later time when the ship’s crew might be involved in varied relative matters. Electronic readings obtained from the decompression chamber assured Earth Command directly that all space personnel constantly remained in Earth Shape One even while performing duties upon other planets within their Solar System. The particular chamber also performed singular activities, that of reducing internal atmospheric levels of the ship, primarily to resemble in all effects a one hundred percent simulation of external atmospheric effects, in this particular case, of Uranus.

Interplanetary flights to the planet Uranus additionally marked the initial settlement phase, symbolizing human habitation long overdue.

Commencing from the fiftieth flight, Mars star field stations were more than actively engaged with Pluto internal field stations in establishing experimental relay stations upon Uranus. Batch after batch of deep space flight personnel were sent upon outer space missions, thereby ensuring huge plastic-glass domes were set up and secured upon Uranus soils at safe coordinates. In the reconnaissance and surface flights that followed, interplanetary rocket ships were dispatched with payloads containing machinery required for establishing a permanent human base upon the planet. Finally, the air conditioning system was created, its location several miles underneath Uranus’s surface level. The air conditioning plants were rendered capable of feeding a city more than double the total sizes of Pluto cities, a conglomeration of several cities housed under one gigantic glass-plastic dome. It covered an area of land 650 miles in diameter. The dome was by itself twelve feet thick and totally transparent.

The two hundredth flight to Uranus symbolized the beginning of an advent of mankind upon Uranus and they were then actively engaged in every effort required to develop a space city. Uranus space city was then and only then, classified a totally safe city favoring human habitation.

The flight commander had personally okayed the first flight of Earth humans to be translocated upon the planet barely one month prior to their own securely guarded take-off to the same destination. This space exercise was scheduled to be followed by a team family each from Mars space city, Jupiter and Saturn. Forming an approximate twelve hundred human space-group, the primary colonizers of Uranus, these people were initially required to undergo thorough and extensive medical formalities as soon as their formal presence upon Uranus was registered. Compulsory activities within the domed space city included one month of continuous medical screening at the end of each Uranus day, constantly followed through till the end of that Earth month.

A totally successful and zero-level mortality rate was immediately followed by the beginning of an exodus of humanity, mainly from Earth, until the primary city of Uranus reached human saturation levels. That carefully coordinated term by senior hierarchy of Earth Command and World Council, also marked an end to further permanent settlement and habitation upon the planet. Visitors and vacationers from other settler planets were nevertheless welcome round the year. Additionally, World Council — the primary Earth governance body immediately next to Earth Command — made provisions for Plutonian citizens to differ from settling upon Uranus.

“Pluto’s proximity to Uranus is a well-accepted factor and known to all humans. Therefore it is our earnest desire to translocate our brethren, our fellow humans, now citizens of Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn to occupy safer places upon Uranus. Needless to state herein that express shuttle rocket ships shall be made available from Pluto to Uranus and back by the beginning of next Earth-year!” Members of World Council, after due discussions with Earth Command and upon advice from the latter, made that formal declaration, announcing its readiness to accept applications for human settlement upon Uranus. All applicant settlers were therefore required to report at Earth stations.

This set of circumstances led to possible human habitation at the end of the one hundred and eighty-eighth manned flight to Uranus and the nine hundredth and ninety-ninth unmanned, computer-controlled flight to the same planet by mechanically carrying equipment, supplies, infrastructural materials and fabrication required to construct a space city upon Uranus.

Now, awaiting a silent zero-gravity lift-off from the upper soils of Uranus, they were stationed at the other diametric end of Uranus Space City. Limitless landscapes of natural origin encompassed them for thousands of miles in every direction and even the nearer hills seemed to tower high above them like mountains while the mountains towered higher in the visible distance. Further into the moderately windswept plains “zone- parallel” coordinates marked a definite and controlled landscape. It was the tallest mountain upon Uranus and yet not conquered!

From vantage points upon Earth, Moon, Mars and Jupiter, computer telescope-radar data pointed towards the height of this mountain at almost equal levels as that of Pluto’s highest mountain. Earth was benefited from Pluto’s highest peak during several important and hitherto unknown events, primarily amongst all the extraterrestrials’ contact coordinates. Nearly half a decade ago, Earth-representatives carefully selected by Earth Command hierarchy and the World Council were totally successful in maintaining contact with extraterrestrials upon Pluto. It was also rumored that Forward Space Research Lab Earth One played a crucial role in those events whereby several important interstellar meetings were made possible.

“For the purpose of all calculations, our exact coordinates upon Uranus now are at the exact opposite of the space city. For instance, you may assume the following sets of data while calculating our position appropriately: if the space city is located on the north pole of Uranus, you may safely be assured that we stand at the south pole of Uranus.” The flight commander Earth Stations spoke in gentle tones while addressing crew members one Earth month after landing.

Earlier, they spent one entire month inside Uranus space city, utilizing all of its high-tech facilities available before moving on to safer zones outwards and outside the confines of the transparent glass-plastic twelve foot thick dome which stretched nearly a thousand miles in diameter. They made camp at the more desolate plains and hilly territory and studiously avoided straying closer to mountainous ranges, for Pluto-like situations during its second moonrise were anticipated at the higher reaches of Uranus.

The interplanetary rocket ship was therefore finally parked a few miles away from the biggest natural lake, stretching approximately a thousand miles lengthwise and measuring fifteen hundred miles in breadth. The final halt of the rocket ship also marked a conclusive part of their intended mission.

The atmospheric concentration of Uranus made marked changes at an interval of every six months.

It was like experiencing an “in excess of a hundred percent clean” air saturated atmosphere for the first six months, and one felt compelled to stay on, deciding against moving on to other parts of the Solar System. Even the semi-dark yellow globe of the sun shone with acute gentleness of a warm summer, though barely making its summer impact mainly because of its farthest distance from the sun. However, that was just about all one would experience within the six-month term besides other oddities in climatic changes.

Gradually though imperceptibly, after the first six months term, climatic excesses would begin to overcome generally fair-weather conditions and an intense sort of cold was bound to make its presence felt, bringing in its shadows a swiftly-receding atmospheric condition wherein even the natural gases composing the atmosphere would dissipate to a considerable extent. One was then left to experience an unnatural process of cold mingled with an acute thinning of the atmosphere even at sea level. This phenomenon brought in processes of harsher breathing upon humans and a peculiar susceptibility to catch flu.

“I would prefer to walk on the beaches of Pluto, outside the protected city limits.” Her remark drew reference to the portions of Pluto exposed to nature outside the mammoth glass plastic dome encircling Pluto space city. The weather outside assumed proportions of ferocity during those forty-five days and nights of gale-force wind storms that the planet was witness to during its second moon rise period. As the second moon of Pluto rose into the unchartered heavenly skies, it also brought into effect, strange, untamed gale-force winds storming across the planet. However, Pluto’s second moon influenced the planet at a constant alternate month pattern of forty-five Earth days.

“Our dual experiment upon Uranus begins today; care must be taken to keep our oxygen masks handy and well within reach at all times.” The flight commander issued curt instructions to his crew as they began to move around a previously agreed-upon land area. Leaving the rocket ship docked securely to an open air-landing zone built up with assistance of steel slates, they commenced an investigative procedure requiring ample time for completion.

“We are exposed to harsher effects of Uranus’s climate than anticipated, and I suggest that our voice transmitters-converters remain switched on day and night. I propose continuous activation of voice relay mechanisms.”

To be continued...

Copyright © 2003 by Deep Bora

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