[ background music: ‘Sultans of Swing’ by Dire Straits ]
I remember it like it was yesterday,
a new ship, and a new class of ship.
It was supposed to be a roller coaster replacement. After all, how can ya get a
thrill, from a roller coaster, when you can watch live footage of people on Io,
dodging volcanoes ?
There it was, didn’t look like much, the advert showed: a silver ship, the fully
cushioned seats, with the 3-axial webbing restraints.
They called it ‘Dancer’.
There were warnings, no eating for 2 hours before liftoff, from Mars’ orbit.
No full bladders allowed. No tourist vac-suits. If ya couldn’t handle sudden
acceleration shifts, and gravity changes, no need to buy a ticket for a flight.
This warn’t no disco, this was not your parents’ vacation cruise to the moons
of Saturn, no easy time of it.
I signed up. First cruise.
We got about a million miles from Mars, then they did a slow roll end over
end, backwards. Then a snap roll to the right, axially. Came to a stop, and
announced, “Anyone wishing to disembark at this time, please do so. A
shuttle craft awaits alongside to take you back to Mars Station on Deimos.
This is your last chance for a 75 percent refund !”
A few took them up on it.
[ background music: ‘Alabama Song’ by The Doors ]
Dancer moved off, slow roll to the right, diagonally, then a snap roll to the left.
‘Immelman, while rotating left, then right, then left again.
Announcement, “last chance to disemabark ! All ashore going ashore !”
About half of those left, left.
The crew came through and redistributed the rest of us, to sort of balance the weight.
Then we increased speed. Heading for Jupiter. No meals, no peanuts, the humidity kept high, no water to drink until the voyage back.
Jupiter, closing ahead.
The walls, floors, and the ceiling become transparent.
The better to see Jupiter with.
A small LED sign appear in front of each seat, ‘plotting positions of Jupiter’s satellites. Please stand by !’
Voice over: ‘This is the Captain of Planetary Ship ‘Dancer’. We will now accelerate and commence the dance manouvers. Stay put !’
[ background music: ‘She’s a Beauty’ The Tubes ]
Faster and faster the ship speeds into the Night. A quick circle around Jupiter. Dodge the moons, pass around the rings…
snap roll, snap roll. Slow forward end over end loop, pause, snap roll, snap roll.
Jupiter is now below the ship. Well, everyone is experiencing no-weight, so Jupiter is ‘under’ the belly of the ship. No real up or down here.
Then the nose of the ship snaps towards Jupiter and speed increases.
Spin, spin, spin.
[ background music: ‘The Blue Danube’ by Johann Strauss ]
[ alternating with background music: ‘Piano Man’ by Billy Joel ]
Slow roll to the left while alternating between a roll forward end over end, with a roll backward end over end.
Jupiter and its moons glisten in the Deep Dark,
the distant stars shine all around.
Saturn watches from a long distance away.
Pluto makes its slow way in its orbit,
the research station out there,
isn’t too warm, but thats the way it has to be,
out there, in the far off all alone.
Aye, I remember that first flight,
of the Planetary Ship ‘Dancer’.
I later became the Captain.
Other ships were special built,
and became a class of vessel called,
But at first, there was only that one.
dancing in the Deep Dark,
weaving a course around Jupiter,
its moons, and its rings.