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Enlarge: Things look grim from inside Lew's rocket

They were inside the orbit of Venus when Lew's rocket stopped going forward at all. Lew hadn't let up on the accelerator, but it was all he could do to stay ahead of the Big Ball of Doom. It was slowly, relentlessly, drawing them backward.

So many bits of drifting rock and dust had plastered themselves against the Ball's inertrium shell that it looked like an asteroid now. Lew knew that every bit of debris the Ball attracted to itself was ever so slightly increasing its gravity, and each tiny bit was making their end come that much sooner.

His rocket would have looked stalled, to an observer who didn't notice that his engine was still pounding away as hard as it could. Lew was leaning on the accelerator so hard that his leg was starting to cramp. But, of course, they weren't going anywhere. That's the way he chose to see it, anyway: because in fact they were, very slowly, moving backward into the Big Ball of Doom.

There really wasn't much to sa

Reader Comments
There are 5 reader comments on this page.
Thalia says:
March 31st, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I will confess I’m not entirely convinced of the physics of this situation; something about one Mr. Newton and objects in motion remaining so. Though I suppose increasing mass would be a type of outside force.

Though I’m perfectly happy to smile and nod, too.

Bradley W. Schenck says:
March 31st, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I’ll first point out that Mr. Newton tells us that bodies in motion will tend to stay in motion unless acted on by an external force, in this case, gravity.

But I have to also point out that this whole unlikely situation starts with a metal that repels gravity, which might just be a little less realistic. I rely on the Zappencacklers and Rognvalds to explain these things to me, and we know they’re all bonkers from the get go. So….

Thalia says:
March 31st, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Fair enough. When was the last time Rognvald slept? That alone will put some bats in the belfry.

Bradley W. Schenck says:
March 31st, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Even as you typed that, I was working on an illustration of his eighth (known) cup of espresso in Part Two. Muahahahaha.

I’m sure there’s something significant about the fact that the rocket+doomball unit was traveling together at a certain velocity that should remain pretty much constant even though the gravitational pull of the doomball is pulling the rocket closer to itself. But we have to rely on Lew’s account here, and I think he was understandably a bit upset at the time.

If we’re very lucky, the Clockwork Book might ask for a clarification on that point when Lew finishes his story. But I have this feeling that the Book may fixate on something else, instead.

Thalia says:
April 2nd, 2011 at 12:04 am

Ha! I just came over from your blog and saw the new picture you put up (uh-oh Nat) and was wondering if that wasn’t an espresso cup in his hand. 🙂

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