Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Gravity Wells

Focused concentrations of Airts that create the force we call "gravity"

Gravity Wells are concentrations of Airts that coalesce around large celestial bodies and Starfaring Engines. It is unknown whether gravity wells causes celestial bodies to form, or if it's the formation of celestial bodies that cause gravity wells.   It is the gravity well of a body that has the effect that most creatures perceive as "gravity" - the weak force that holds everything in contact with a body, and causes things to fall towards them. Leaving and approaching these whirlpools are by far some of the most dangerous moments of space travel.   Gravity wells are called "wells" because objects sink towards them. When they form tunnels, those tunnels piece time, space, gravity and magic, creating wormholes through normal space. The opening to the wormhole is a unique form of gravity well referred to as a portal (see Wormholes & Portals .)

Interactions

Larger Wells vs. Smaller Wells

 
The Pilot steered their launch along the port side of the dreadnaught’s abdomen and beside one of those great wings. “Heading in to the gravity well, sir,” the Pilot reported.   Shaundar nodded to himself. Basic cosmological metaphysics: all things had gravity. Larger objects had more gravity than smaller objects. A starcraft’s gravity well circled in a slow-moving whirlpool out to the distance of at least its etheric membrane. So, if a smaller object were to approach a larger object in a way that was contrary to the flow of the Airts, it would draw the smaller object into the larger one, and the passengers of the fighter might find themselves falling suddenly towards the starboard wings, for example!  
--from A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
  Gravity wells associated with more massive objects are larger than those of less-massive objects, whether naturally-occurring or generated by a starfaring engine. While both gravity wells will affect another, the larger gravity well will almost inevitably overwhelm the smaller one.  

Proximity

 
“Slowing to minimum accel,” murmured the Pilot. Starfaring ships all travelled at similar rates that depended greatly on the flow of the Airts, but when they came into range of any other gravity well, they slowed to a speed limited by the abilities of the Pilot, which had something to do with their power of the magics that Pilot could command. A Pilot could will the ship not to travel at the extent of its available speed, however, which was essential for docking.  
--from A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
  Gravity wells in close proximity with starfaring engines interact with them, limiting the speeds they can attain. This is believed to be a natural property of Starseed engines, but was likely a safety feature that had to be built in to the first spindizzies. This property prevents collisions at relativistic speeds with, say, something like small rocks of space debris. If the outward waves of a starship's gravity well detect the outward waves of a body's gravity well, the enging will force the ship out of interstellar speeds into interplanetary ones. In other words, it temporarily loses the ability to travel the Airts at greater than the speed of light, and will not regain that ability until the obstacle's gravity well has been successfully navigated.

Manifestation

“All stop,” Shaundar repeated, and he halted the fighter directly before the glowing rocks. Now that he was bonded with the helm, he watched the Airts winding in and out of their mingled gravity wells like a shimmering whirlpool.  
--from A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
  To the eyes of a Star-Pilot in contact with a starfaring helm (see Starfaring Engines ,) a gravity well appears as a pool of Airts that swirls around the body or ship in a whirlpool, and has a similar effect upon starfaring ships -- meaning that bodies with heavy gravitation may be quite dangerous to navigate. More concentrated gravity wells are perceived as a stronger gravitational pull, and the size of the gravity well is determined by that concentration.  

Shape, Microgravity & Etheric Membranes

 
Garan scurried down into the lower deck, located on the underside of Queenie’s rather un-boatlike keel. The Shrike, their tiny pinnace, was lashed to the keel like some odd kind of baby at Queenie’s belly, accessible via a trap door in the devil. You could go the long way instead if you wanted, leaping over the rail, but the gravity well created by the Starseed’s heart only went in one direction, so access via the trap door minimized the amount of time you had to spend in microgravity conditions.  
--from A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
  Gravity wells generated by starfaring engines are directional. They point in one direction, and so shipwrights have to be careful about placement. Usually they are placed in such a way that most of a ship's decks are within the gravity well. The underside of a ship, however, may not be. Starseed craft naturally manifest their gravity wells in this way.   Being outside of the main concentration of a gravity well causes "weightlessness," or microgravity conditions. Starfarers perceive the gravity well of a starfaring ship or celestial body as beginning approximately where its atmosphere, or Etheric Membrane ends.  

Interactions

Entanglement

 
Shaundar managed to pilot his way gingerly through the debris of the shattered ship to come up slightly beneath their attacker’s centre of gravity, where its whirlpool formed spiral arms. None of its armaments were in any position to shoot at them as they made their approach, or they might take out their own people as well.   The gravitational Airts of the elven ship reached tendrils out to those spiral arms of the orcish one, for all the Universe like joining hands. When they aligned their gravity wells, they found several orcs standing on the quarterdeck with crossbows aimed down at them.  
--from A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
  Gravity wells in close proximity entangle with one another. This is why, in the Sol system, the Moon does not, in fact, orbit the Earth; but rather, the two bodies pull on one another so that they both orbit a place in space between the two, closer to the Earth and father from the Moon. The same thing will happen between two starfaring ships if one is smaller than the other, although they have to be so close together for their gravity wells to interact at all that a starhand on either ship wouldn't notice.  

Larger Wells vs. Smaller Wells

“Good, good! All right, Elan Sunfall; take her out! Pitch twenty-five, yaw ten and mind the rigging again.”   “Aye!” Shaundar willed the fighter up and out at the required bearing, though he continued to move with caution. They flew up past the rigging. Shaundar thought the angle was a little close and he willed the small craft to roll slightly larboard. He felt the pull as the gravity of the Arianrhod’s Pride tugged at their larboard wing, and then they were clear of her gravity well and down was once again the floor, as the Starshine’s gravity well took over.  
--from A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
  More massive bodies have more concentrated gravity wells than less massive bodies. This holds true even in starfaring engines. In nature, both gravity wells of any two given objects will have an influence on, or resonance, with each other, but sufficiently concentrated gravity wells can overwhelm the others within its field. For instance, the Earth and the Moon in the Sol system have a gravitational effect on each other, but both pale in comparison to their star, Sol. However, because a starfaring engine's gravity is artificially concentrated, even a slightly larger mass with a starfaring engine will overwhelm a smaller mass' gravity well significantly, even if crews on each ship's deck perceive the effective gravity on each ship as being roughly identical (usually, approximately Earth-normal.)  

Harnessing Gravitational Forces

 
“Return…” the Captain began, but Queenie lurched and listed to port, fortunately throwing the tumbling mast over the rail, as the enemy ship deliberately cut a close manoeuver on their port side. Everyone on the fo’c’sle skated along the wooden deck into the larboards railing as gravity was upended.  
--from A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
  It is possible to use these properties of gravity wells destructively. A larger starfaring vessel can disrupt or overwhelm the gravity well of a smaller starfaring vessel, to devastating effect.  
Using a starfaring ship to get to another planetary location averaged ten to twenty minutes or less. One just headed above atmosphere, turned around and came back down, utilizing a planet’s gravity well to increase speed. They found themselves in Kanothi in a matter of minutes.  
--from A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison
  Understanding the flow of Airts and the properties of gravity wells can also be used for personal benefit. A skilled Star-Pilot with a seasoned crew can use the gravity well of a given body as a slingshot to increase speed and change trajectory.

Localization

All mass has a gravity well, but unless a body is of significant size, or unless it is capable of concentrating the flow of the Airts, like a Tree of Life or a starfaring engine, only quanta are likely to notice.

sky-space38.jpg

by Free Stock Photo

Gravity Wells resemble swirling Airt whirlpools to the perception of a Star-Pilot at the helm.
 

PIA12210_hires.jpg

by NASA

It's unknown whether gravity wells cause starstuff to coalesce into celestial bodies, or are caused by the coalescing of starstuff into celestial bodies.

milky-way-thumbnail.jpg

by Jean Beaufort

Gravity Wells even dictate the shape of large-scale celestial objects, such as galaxies.
Type
Metaphysical, Arcane

Gravity Works

 
“Sail crew!” directed Shaundar. “On one, pitch down fifteen; on two, pitch ninety up and follow the curve of the asteroid. All hands brace for impact as the gravity shifts.”   “When we come around the asteroid, shoot at will,” the Captain said.   “Aye, sir!” the weapons crews acknowledged.   Shaundar barrelled towards the large rock, which was a strange mixture of stone, metal, and ice tumbling through space towards them.   “Ready for my mark. . . one!” he called, and the sail crew dipped the sails so that they skirted underneath the tumbling stone. He directed Queenie along this trajectory for a few moments, and then he called out “Two!” and the crew hauled the sails to billow out and the Queen’s Dirk swung up and around the curve of the asteroid.   Gravity shifted towards the ceiling but Shaundar tensed his thigh muscles to bracket himself in place and he did not budge. Shaundar noted that the Captain had wrapped his hand up in a line and he barely moved either.   The catapult crew swivelled the turret around to aim their weapon forward. They came around the curvature of the asteroid and found themselves facing the Hornet that had pursued them head-on. “Shoot!” cried the Captain, and the midships ballista just before the fo’c’sle, along with the catapult and the two light ballistae located in the eye ports, all let fly at once.   The orc-ship was not expecting this sudden turn of the tables and it had no way of avoiding the attack. The ballistae punched holes in its bow. Better yet, the catapult stone landed with perfect soaring aim directly on to one of the enemy’s catapults, smashing the mechanism.   Orcs scattered along the decks. Some aimed crossbows, but they missed due to the sudden burst of speed from the asteroid’s gravity slingshot.  
--from A Few Good Elves by Diane Morrison

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild


Cover image: by NASA

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!