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Ch 4

The Law of Falling
The captain continued:
“This happened in the year 185, by objective time-calculation.
“Saint Venoma had been taken for his merits from the planet
‘Soort’ to the holy planet ‘Purgatory,’ where, after he had familiarized
himself with his new surroundings and new duties, he gave
all his free time to his favorite work.
“And his favorite work was to seek what new phenomena could
be found in various combinations of already existing, law-conformable
“And sometime later, in the course of these occupations, this
Saint Venoma first constated in cosmic laws what later became a
famous discovery, and this discovery he first called the ‘Law of
“This cosmic law which he then discovered, St. Venoma himself
formulated thus:
“‘Everything existing in the World falls to the bottom. And the
bottom for any part of the Universe is its nearest “stability,” and
this said “stability” is the place or the point upon which all the
lines of force arriving from all directions converge.
“‘The centers of all the suns and of all the planets of our Universe
are just such points of “stability.” They are the lowest points
of those regions of space upon which forces from all directions
of the given part of the Universe definitely tend and where they
are concentrated. In these points there is also concentrated the
equilibrium which enables suns and planets to maintain their
“In this formulation of his, Saint Venoma said further that everything
when dropped into space, wherever it
may be, tends to fall on one or another sun or on one or another
planet, according to which sun or planet the given part of
space belongs to, where the object is dropped, each sun or planet
being for the given sphere the ‘stability’ or bottom.
“Starting from this, Saint Venoma reasoned in his further researches
as follows:
“‘If this be so, may it not therefore be possible to employ this
cosmic particularity for the locomotion we need between the
spaces of the Universe?’
“And from then on, he worked in this direction.
“His further saintly labors showed that although in principle this
was in general possible, yet it was impossible fully to employ for
this purpose this ‘Law of Falling’ discovered by him. And it would
be impossible owing solely to the atmospheres around most of
the cosmic concentrations, which atmospheres would hinder the
straight falling of the object dropped in space.
“Having constated this, Saint Venoma then devoted his whole
attention to discovering some means of overcoming the said
atmospheric resistance for ships constructed on the principle of
“And after three ‘Looniases’ Saint Venoma did find such a possibility,
and later on when the building of a suitable special construction
had been completed under his direction, he proceeded
to practical trials.
“This special construction had the appearance of a large enclosure,
all the walls of which were made of a special material something
like glass.
“Then to every side of that large enclosure were fitted things
like ‘shutters’ of a material impervious to the rays of the cosmic
substance ‘Elekilpomagtistzen,’ and these shutters, although
closely fitted to the walls of the said enclosure, could yet freely
slide in every direction.
“Within the enclosure was placed a special ‘battery,’
generating and giving this same substance ‘Elekilpomagtistzen.’
“I myself, your Right Reverence, was present at the first trials
made by Saint Venoma according to the principles he had discovered.
“The whole secret lay in this, that when the rays of
‘Elekilpomagtistzen’ were made to pass through this special glass,
then in all the space they reached, everything usually composing
the atmosphere itself of planets, such as ‘air,’ every kind of’gas,’
‘fog,’ and so on, was destroyed. This part of space became indeed
absolutely empty and had neither resistance nor pressure,
so that, if even an infant-being pushed this enormous structure,
it would move forward as easily as a feather.
“To the outer side of this peculiar structure there were attached
appliances similar to wings, which were set in motion by means
of this same substance ‘Elekilpomagtistzen,’ and served to give
the impetus to move all this enormous construction in the required
“The results of these experiments having been approved and
blessed by the Commission of Inspection under the presidency
of Archangel Adossia, the construction of a big ship based on
these principles was begun.
“The ship was soon ready and commissioned for service. And
in a short time, little by little, ships of this type came to be used
exclusively, on all the lines of intersystem communication.
“Although later, your Right Reverence, the inconveniences of this
system gradually became more and more apparent, nevertheless
it continued to displace all the systems that had existed before.
“It cannot be gainsaid that although the ships constructed on
this system were ideal in atmosphereless spaces, and moved
there almost with the speed of the rays ‘Etzikolnianakhnian’ issuing
from planets, yet when nearing
some sun or planet it became real torture for the beings directing
them, as a great deal of complicated maneuvering was necessary.
“The need for this maneuvering was due to the same ‘Law of
“And this was because when the ship came into the medium of
the atmosphere of some sun or planet which it had to pass, it
immediately began to fall towards that sun or planet, and as I
have already intimated, very much care and considerable knowledge
were needed to prevent the ship from falling out of its
“While the ships were passing near any sun or planet whatsoever,
their speed of locomotion had sometimes to be reduced
hundreds of times below their usual rate.
“It was particularly difficult to steer them in those spheres where
there was a great aggregation of ‘comets.’
“That is why great demands were then made upon the beings
who had to direct these ships, and they were prepared for these
duties by beings of very high Reason.
“But in spite of the said drawbacks of the system of Saint
Venoma, it gradually, as I have already said, displaced all the previous
“And the ships of this system of Saint Venoma had already existed
for twenty-three years when it was first rumored that the
Angel Hariton had invented a new type of ship for intersystem
and interplanetary communication.”
Subpages (1): Ch 5