Mr. Puck, the History of Spaceflight Museum’s tour guide, led the 8th graders to another picture on the wall. Much of the elderly man’s body had been replaced by artificial equipment, but nothing yet had replaced his aging brain. He stared at the picture with uncomprehending eyes for a moment. The children giggled as he paused. A flash card would help him remember, but then he couldn’t remember where he placed the flash card 2 minutes ago.
Eventually he found it with the aid of the students’ teacher, Miss Huxley. A brief glance, and Mr. Puck recalled everything in detail.
“Here we have a picture of the one responsible for interstellar flight, Dr. Stapleton.”
The children began giggling loudly. Miss Huxley shushed them impatiently.
“Dr. Stapleton was the inventor of the Dark Drive,” continued Mr. Puck. “Despite substantial bigotry against him, and hampered by a disability that prevented him from using hands, he made one of Earth’s greatest discoveries. Without the Dark Drive, interstellar flight wouldn’t be possible.”
“What’s a Dark Drive?” said Anna.
Mr. Puck grinned at the little girl. “Well, for years scientists knew that a thing called Dark Energy existed. It’s the stuff that makes sure that stars don’t spin away from a galaxy. It’s also what makes the universe’s stars accelerate away from each other instead of slowing down because of gravity. So the Dark Drive is a series of energy paddles, moving millions of times per second, that interact with dark energy and push ships forward at hundreds of gravities. Up until then, spaceships could only push people around at one gravity. It took too long to travel from star to star, so interstellar flight wasn’t practical. The Dark Drive and the counter-gravity fields it created to protect the crew from so much acceleration, changed all of that.”
“Why does it smell like animals in here?” groused Astrid.
Mr. Puck bent down to grin at young Astrid. “Because animals live here.”
“Well, because animals are people too!”
“Ah, Mr. Puck?” said Miss Huxley. She pointed at the picture he stood beside. “Isn’t that a picture of a horse?”
Mr. Puck looked at her as though waiting to hear a valid point. “Yes.”
“You said it was Dr. Stapleton.” She smiled sadly.
“That is Dr. Stapleton!”
“Uh,” winced Miss Huxley. “But a horse can’t…”
Just then a large door opened into the hallway and a horse walked out of it. He wore a thick pair of glasses.
“Ah, Dr. Harris,” said Mr. Puck, addressing the horse. “Still horsing around in the lab?”
“Ah-ha!” said the Dr. Harris. “That is SO NOT funny! I’m tired, okay? I’m still working on those bloody time-space manipulation field equations! They’re giving me a headache.”
“Right. I guess that explains the long face.”
Dr. Harris swatted Mr. Puck with his tail. “Ah-ha! NOT funny again!”
It is accepted theory that the universe was created in an explosion called the Big Bang. It followed then, that all the galaxies would eventually lose energy from that initial explosion, and gravity would start pulling them back together and collapse the universe. Observations proved…that is not true. In fact, it turns out the stars and galaxies are accelerating away from each other. This shouldn’t be possible. It’s also been found that the stars at the edge of galaxies are moving at such high velocity relative to the galaxy’s center, that gravity cannot hold them in and they should go shooting off into space. They aren’t. The current theory to explain all this is: Dark Energy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_energy
Each week, Alistair Forbes sacrifices a first-born photo upon the alter of Literary Entertainment, and encourages all of us to write stories based upon one of his original photos. This is my story for this week’s photo. Look here to find what others have written: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/sunday-photo-fiction-april-26th-2015/