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Chapter 14: Questions and Answers

20 July 1963, 0100 hours EDT

Kalo: Bob. Lin-Erri here again. Today we wish to provide you with an opportunity to ask questions about us, our ships, or whatever you will. If possible or permissible, they will be answered, if necessary, by the experts, in case my meager knowledge fails me.

Q: To begin with, how many crafts have you now observing our world?

A: Korendor has, at the moment, 150 Earth-based crafts of various types, mostly disc-type observation, unmanned, three feet in diameter. There are ten manned discs of approximately fifty feet in diameter, based on two Class 4 Carriers which are 1000 feet long, and designed specifically for carrying scouts and recording data. Based on the moon are about 500 more of various types.

Q: How often are your crafts seen by us on Earth?

A: Actually, very seldom. For the moment we have chosen to keep our operations inconspicuous, since seeing our ships has not altered your thinking greatly.

Most of our ships are finished to a mirror polish, reflecting the color of the general area about them. In cases where this would make us conspicuous, the crafts are deliberately tinted, which is of necessity easily removed. At this contact, we have received 5 new scouts, manned type, especially designed with a camouflage system on the bottom of the scout.

We carry special equipment aboard every ship to negate radar. This is basically a phase inverter coupled to a computer-controlled transmitter, the power output of which exactly matches the intensity of the received radar beam. Therefore, the "echo" constituents consist of the original beam and a mirror image of it. In the receiver, these phase out, and the net result is no image.

However, it will still not be uncommon to see the crafts of our brothers, whose means-to-an-end differ from ours in that their philosophy is one of '"seeing is believing."

Q: How are the colors of the crafts seen at night explained?

A: A large percentage of these ships, and I again am speaking of those from local worlds, [Note: IC; she said "Confederation worlds"] are deliberately illuminated, either for the sake of being conspicuous or for identification, since certain colors represent certain functions for which the craft is being used.

A few color effects are from ionization of air by magnetic and electrostatic fields. These are usually the green or violet hues. Some cases are reflections of ground lights on the polished surface of the ship, and in others, the hull is translucent or even transparent, allowing internal illumination to pass. These latter are extremely rare.

Q: We read of fantastic stops and starts, and changes in direction. How can such fantastic acceleration forces be withstood?

A: Al-Kori speaking. These are more for show purposes than anything else.

With our propulsion techniques now in use, namely gravitic and magnetic, propulsion is provided by fields generated by equipment inside the crafts.

First, let me describe magnetic propulsion. As you know, the planet Earth is surrounded by magnetic flux. It flows from South to North, since in reality the geographical south pole is the magnetic north, as opposed to something called the North Magnetic pole, located in Hudson Bay.

When entering this field, automatic detectors determine the flux intensity, direction of flow in relation to the ship, and many more factors too involved for this type of discussion.

On our ships, there are four magnetic poles, one vertical through the center of the ship, the other, one of two rotating rings on the bottom of the ship. The first repels the earth's field with sufficient force to cancel the effects of gravity, much as centrifugal force, so as to suspend it in the air. For descending, we simply weaken it. To ascend, we strengthen it.

The other, a set of poles on a ring, is used in travel in directions other than directly perpendicular to the field. These are automatically aligned by computer so the Ring North faces Terramagnetic South and vice versa. The poles are generated independently, and are variable independently or simultaneously, either in terms of strengthening or weakening both together, or strengthening one and weakening the other.

These poles react to provide horizontal movement other than at right angles to the flow. Once again, the strength of the ring poles is automatically controlled by the computer, in response to impulses from our steering apparatus. In speaking of independently-generated poles, I refer to two separate bipolar regions, the end that faces the center of the ship being shielded from the earth's field.

The second of the two rings contains a revolving field, generated by a heavy current flowing in coils in this ring. The field can be reversed almost instantly by simply changing the polarity of the current.

In the direction in which the craft wishes to travel, assuming for the moment a direction along a latitude for simplicity, the field generated by the ship is moving in a direction opposite the field of the Earth, and conversely, on the other side, it is in the same direction.

As any science teacher in high school or college will tell, when flux flows in the same direction—here we must mention the hypothetical lines of force for clarity—the lines of force are mutually repelled. This can be proved simply by putting two magnets together with like poles adjacent. You will feel a force tending to separate them.

When the lines of force flow in opposite directions, the same teacher will tell you that the force is mutually attractive, which can be proved by using the same two magnets, this time putting unlike poles together.

In principle, the electric motor is a prime example of this type of attraction-repulsion, except that the fields in a motor are concentrated in the center, and the repulsion-attraction results in rotary motion. Of course, any point on the rotor can be taken at any instant, and it will be seen that were this point free, it would travel in a straight line.

As for gravity propulsion, it relates to resonance with atomic vibration, and I believe you were shown a demonstration of it in a personal contact.

To return to your question, the interior of the ship is shielded by gravity screens that form an integral part of the ship, and affect everything within the ship. Thus when the ship accelerates, the entire area inside the grids accelerates with it simultaneously, as if the power were directly applied to each and every atom in the ship individually, as in fact it is.

This is NOT an inertial negator. There is no known way of eliminating mass short of conversion to energy. But it gives the effect of the entire ship being a homogenous mutually accelerating mass, somewhat equivalent to falling out of an airplane. In this case you would be accelerating at 32.2 feet per second per second, yet it would not drive your eyeballs into the back of your head. This is because gravity effects each and every atom simultaneously, as does our drive mechanism.

As I said, while we have eliminated the unpleasant effect of being slammed against the rear wall on acceleration, inertia remains for the entire mass. To accelerate to high speeds from a stop, to decelerate almost instantly, to chance direction abruptly, all this requires power, and not the type one gets from solar batteries. It takes brute force to reverse the direction of an object weighing 3500 pounds travelling at a speed in excess of 10,000 MPH, and there is no way around that.

As you can see, even with a relatively cheap source of power, this type of exhibitionism is not economical, so unless we want to put on a spectacular display of super-science, shotgun takeoffs and brick-wall stops, as well as whiplash directional changes are avoided in preference to slower, easier living.

As a note of interest, were it not for the homogenous acceleration gravity field in the ship, the occupants would feel a force which maximum value approaches 7500 g's. At this force, a man weighing 150 pounds would experience a force equal to 562.5 tons, and as a popular expression has it, "That ain't chicken feed".

Q: Have any scouts actually crashed?

A: Occasionally, though vary rarely, uncharted magnetic disturbances will cause propulsion to fail, especially if the computer fails to keep up to the changes. There are records of seven crafts having crashed since the earth year 1800. Those that are supposed to have crashed in Nevada and New Mexico are not on record anywhere in the Federation, though it is conceivable that they came from a non-Federation world, of which there are many. The ships used to chart magnetic faults are gravitically powered.

Q: Recently, Doctor Donald Menzel authored a book "explaining" flying and otherwise saucers. Just for curiosity's sake, what do you think of such books as this one?

A: Having read many, we can only say that these people certainly lead interesting lives, as must be the case when one has an active imagination. However, what these people find preposterous about people from other worlds we do not know. Also, what they are attempting to gain, other than perhaps personal satisfaction, by proving conclusively that we don't exist, is better left to the psychologists to explain. Perhaps Lin-Erri will offer her view of that.

Q: Returning to your propulsion for a second, doesn't flying close to each other in formation cause changes in the fields that would be destructive?

A: Such formation flying is usually entirely automatic, controlled from a carrier equipped with computers and analyzers sufficiently complex to account for all the fields, their interactions, and the appropriate individual settings for each ship to account for them. There are a few expert crews who can fly manually in formation, but it takes years of experience. Even then, failure of one ship might destroy the balance of the entire group, which no human reaction would be fast enough to counteract.

Q: You speak of ship failure. Does this happen very often?

A: Nothing is perfect, and our crafts are far from it. While failure is not extremely rare, it is seldom serious, and can usually be repaired by the pilot of the craft. In the case of unmanned discs, the craft can be brought back under emergency control from the nearest manned ship, or could, if thought necessary, be destroyed. No ship has ever crashed by failure. Those that have forcefully landed have always been victims of faults in the magnetic fields about the earth. Al-Kori is turning it back to Lin-Erri.

Q: What are the smallest and largest crafts ever produced in the Alliance?

A: The smallest by far was more a scientific curiosity than anything else. It was three inches in diameter, an inch thick at the center, and contained a magnetometer, a gravitometer, a TV camera, a radio pickup, and transmitters for all of them, in addition to the propulsion and computing devices.

The largest is the "Monstrous MA-X", as it is informally called, although it is officially known as the MA-X Mobile World. It was built over a period of five cendrols [Note: 521 days from construction start to operational status], at a cost of 160 billion kole [Note: 1 kol - approximately $63.55 in 2008 dollars]. It is spherical, roughly 2500 miles in diameter, and required the concerted effort of 35,700,000 men and women, working in round-the-clock shifts.

Although designed to carry large numbers of people for light years to act as expeditionary and exploratory groups, it has been used for evacuation of entire worlds when natural disasters to those worlds were unavoidable.

Lin-Erri again. At the next contact, we will tell you of life on Korendor. Until then, va i luce. Clearing.

[Note: they evidently changed their minds. The next topic was Alliance government.]

Text proofread and edited for typographical errors and improved wording 20080909.

2008 Robert P. Renaud -- all rights reserved