It’s 1608, Ladies and Gentlemen and a prescient mathematics teacher from Graz in Austria wrote his Somnium-the dream. I dream all the time and occasionally I find myself visualizing planets and stars or moons in my nocturnal journeys. Here in 2021 we’ve had decades of cinema productions with brilliant graphics and actual missions into orbit, to the moon, mars and the other celestial bodies in the solar system. Pixel after pixel is beamed through space producing stunning representations of other worlds. For this mathematics teacher in 1608 the only fuel for his dream were his study of the planets, his imagination, and a ferocious desire to reach beyond the bounds of earth.
Johannes Kepler spoke of traveling fifty thousand miles up- in the area above the terrestrial sphere, the aether to the island of Levania. And here it is: The Moon of course.
Kepler writes about the extreme cold and about having to slow down as to not crash into the moon, which is indicative of spacecraft approaching the gravity of any celestial body. He visualizes perspective from celestial bodies- distance determining what we see which is not the actual size of the body. And eclipses. I’ll give him a pass for writing about plant growth on the moon and using exotic herbs to lift him skyward- but award him the Celestial Garden Club Award for creativity and imagination! I don’t intend to besmirch Kepler. After all the guy reasoned out the laws of planetary motion:
- Planets move around the Sun in ellipses, with the Sun at one focus
- The line connecting the Sun to a planet sweeps equal areas in equal times.
- The square of the orbital period of a planet is proportional to the cube (3rd power) of the mean distance from the Sun.
In Galactic Command you will not read about Fitton’s Scientific Laws about anything. What you will get is imagination and humans working together in space.
Imagination Law # 1- How does that ESS ship of the future bring John Ross and his crew through space? Coils of course. Squeezing through the fabric of space utilizing a special power source.
You can do anything you think you can.
Imagination Law # 2- Let’ just say there is a horrible medical condition in The Nebula Planet story and a brilliant way to cure it and other obstacles. It is only Dr. Pfeiffer’s tenacity that results in a new and different way to combat an incurable diseases and a perplexing problem for the crew of ESS-14.
An attempt at visualizing the Fourth Dimension: Take a point, stretch it into a line, curl it into a circle, twist it into a sphere, and punch through the sphere.
I’ll do that. Thank you, Einstein.
Imagination Law # 3-Traveling or leaping through unseen dimensions. When I read about quantum physicists speaking of eleven dimensions, I start looking under the Oriental rug. Thus, there is a theoretical basis for dimensions. So, I took it a step further. Let’s hop inside one of those dimensions. Having a legendary Command scientist on call-Dr. Howard Ellison in the story facilitates this astounding breakthrough! Being able to see through this dimension is strategically beneficial to Commander Ross.
A Dyson sphere originally was a thought experiment. How would space travelers from a home planet find a new source of energy when they can’t generate enough energy on the home planet? The sphere encapsulates the home planet and captures prodigious energy for the home planet. A Dyson Sphere is not new to science fiction but the reason for the enclosure around the Marsarvic People’s star is cause for concern.
The power of an alien Civilization to transpose and disperse matter to another part of the universe is not just bizarre but frightening. The Marsarvic People have justification for utilizing this inconceivable technology. The idea for this transposition of matter came when personal computers were just on the scene and being able to move text around a document after years of typing on paper was like magic.
There is no planet consisting of a nebula. Rather the Nebula Planet in the book is at the farthest end of the galaxy and is overshadowed by the massive nebula. Interesting to visualize that. Galactic Command has never encountered an alien civilization until this extremely long voyage. But there are only the extraterrestrial bodies are on the Nebula Planet. There is a whole lot more inside that nebula.
Humans being human.
Just because men and woman go into space doesn’t mean they become new forms of themselves. Knitting together any story are the relationships. Commander Ross had a long friendship with correspondent, the bender Nancy Burke. Ross recounts their past experiences together. In an evolving way Ross develops relationships with his crew especially Lindy, his second in command. Even the crusty engineer Frank Muldoon and Ross are friends with mutual respect for each other’s abilities. This ups the stakes when ‘Crutch” Kuchinski, Ross’s security officer, arrests them at the beginning of the book. And we look into the past with Ross’s best friend Craig Duggan killed at the Battle of Maregualt against the Antarians. And although Dr. Pfeiffer is able to beat Ross in martial arts, Ross and Pfeiffer are still close friends. There are ancillary characters like the utility man, Rip or the sky pilot leader Jim Morris, but the crew remains a solidified and cohesive unit on and off the ship. But there are traitors, too.
And with humans being humans we have the despicable, the traitorous, and the self-serving Commander Jack Bragg, the typical commander gone bad. Bragg will seemingly be an obstacle to Ross now and forever more.
Ross’s family is important to him-his sister Deborah and his brothers Cappy and Wayne. It is Ross’s father John Ross, Sr., whose shadow follows Ross around the galaxy.
Last but not least: The ships computer Pelonis. The great thing about Pelonis is that he hates Frank Muldoon and the feeling is mutual. Muldoon will gladly work himself into a frenzy arguing with the machine, who tries to goat him at every opportunity. Pelonis is smart, able to solve problems, and somewhat emotional. And he transcends the ship into the transport vehicles and the crew’s personal computers.
And what about the Marsarvic People? I wanted the first contact to be unique and not what Galactic Command was expecting. Lifeforms do what they have to do.