Gravity Chute

A common way to transport people and cargo across larger Wayships and Waystations. They utilize gravity plating to move goods through a series of smooth tubes.
 
Please do not double up when riding in a gravity chute, do not try to slow yourself down. Enjoy your ride.
— Controller Announcement
 
Servicing Gravity Chutes is about as fun as cleaning the lavatories- maybe just a few less germs. Maybe it'd be better if I wasn't on a cruise liner, where land-locked kids didn't just use these things for fun.   I walked along the top of the clear tube matrix, observing the passengers zip by. Some shouted in adrenaline, fear; whatever came out of being shot around like a Meissner Train. Others, mostly staff, used it like intended, arms crossed and ready to be stood up at their destination.   Stepping up besides one of the tubes, I eyed the gravity plating propulsion, the individual plates bent and reset around their payloads. Looking down the line, I could see the nearly organic looking movements, undulating networks of mechanical esophagi sending everything where it needed to go.   The whoops and hollers of the children and their parents riding around almost got to my stomach, my brain placing together a macabre visual in lieu of absolute boredom.
 

A Series of Tubes

Gravity chutes are a clustered network of gravity-plated tubes that serve as transport in larger space vessels. They can travel in any direction, and can scale up to any length.   Gravity chutes operate by using Sunmetal gravity plating on a overlapping surface pointed inwards towards the tube. When products are being shipped, the plating tilts towards the destination, creating a gravity field that propels objects towards their destination.   Travel speeds can reach upwards of 70 miles per hour (112 kilometers per hour) and are kept safe by frictionless surfaces and an advanced controller unit that processes all incoming and outgoing traffic.  

Invention

Gravity chutes was the crowning invention of an Aen engineer, seeking to replace ladders, stairs, and elevators in traditional Wayships. The cheap material and exponentially faster transit time made the technology a quick success.   Most new ships come with a gravity chute of some size, many larger vessels can have dozens of gravity chute networks, ferrying thousands of people and parcels at a single time.

The Controller

A critical entity of a gravity chute network is the Controller. The controller is a scalable artificial intelligence who is programmed to treat the chute network as a living organism. It monitors the gravity chutes for any anomalies and schedules each individual journey taking into account the ongoing traffic.   While a crew of Sophonts are always on hand to provide verification and maintenance, the controller is the brain behind the transport method.

Tube Diameters

Passenger: 48 Inches (122 Cm)
Freight: 110 Inches (280 Cm)  

Accessing Chutes

Entering

Gravity chutes are accessed via entrance docks, where users type in their destination and then lay down in the entrance side of a pod-shaped chamber. When the controller determines it is safe, the user will be accelerated into the main chute network.  

Exiting

Exiting chutes is a similar process, the user will be decelerated in the main tube and deposited in the exiting pod-shaped chamber of their destination.  

Emergency Access

Chutes can be accessed by maintenance by using an emergency latch. Opening an emergency latch will cause an entire chute to enter a standby mode, where cargo is halted in place. Emergency latches are activated by touch for three seconds, preventing the usage by moving occupants.
 
My stomach. It was like the whole world was rotating around me. One moment I'm sliding down, then the next I'm practically floating. Then right back down to sliding.   Whoever programmed the Controller on this chute is a dick.
 

Sensations

Vertigo

Riding through Gravity chutes feels like sliding down any other slide. When the gravity plates fluctuate to control speed, it may cause slight disorientation to new users.  

Motion Sickness

In order to prevent claustrophobia, most chutes are built with a transparent top. Since chutes can travel any direction, users may see people walking perpendicular to them, or feel that they are falling uphill. These inconsistencies can cause motion sickness.

Design Variations

Civilian

Civilian chutes have controlled entrances and exits with timed release gates preventing overuse, and the user can not control their movements mid-journey. Destinations have to be chosen via the users Looking Glass. Civilian Chutes are limited in speed to around 40 miles per hour.

Crew

Crew chutes are less regulated that civilian chutes. Entrances and exits are opened by a Looking Glass sensor, and the users can lean side to side in the tube to choose destinations as they travel. These tubes are much faster, ranging around 70 miles per hour.

Cargo

Cargo chutes can carry passengers, but are more suited for carrying large parcels to and from locations. Loading entrances accept parcels that are tagged with a destination. The controller automates their travel, and keeps the speeds to around 30 miles per hour to prevent cargo collisions.

Obstacles

Plate Malfunctions

The gravity plates responsible for sending cargo can malfunction. This can lead to hard stops, crushing weights, or zero-g environments. Gravity chutes are created with many emergency panels, so there should always be a way out nearby.

Controller Damage

Gravity Chutes are tightly controlled systems, organizing cargo into neat lines. If the controller is tampered with it can lead to potentially life-threatening accidents.

Broken Tubing

Damage to gravity chute tubing can lead to dangerous and even fatal incidents, chutes are programmed to auto-detect dangerous situations and reroute all traffic.


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