Twenty Seconds of Freedom

Talk about going off on a tangent . . .

Over the edge of the platform, the diamond pavement glitters a dozen storeys below. I feel light-headed and dizzy—although that might be the lower-gravity and consequent proportionally-higher Coriolis, respectively. Up here, the hab’s half-gee feels more like a tenth.

I’ve done the math. With a running start, I should be able to jump off the side of the tower and fall . . . into orbit. Unfortunately, running in a tenth-gee is impossible—and even if I could, running would make me even lighter. So, I’ll have to jump, hard. It should be just-barely possible.

One orbit later, I’ll be back where I started, and I can land and climb back down. If I miss, I’ll hit the far wall of the hab at a bit under its tangential velocity—and I’m probably dead.

But, as I climb over the guardrail, I am confident in my ability. The gravity here is an illusion. It can be broken by those with enough will.

I close my eyes and