“Once upon a Time in Space “: An untold theory of relativity by Shivakumar K




“Once upon a Time in Space “: An untold theory of relativity.
>>Inspired by "Interstellar" movie and the life of the first woman Astronaut of America, Sally Kristen Ride<<




Chapter-1:


@ {2012-February in the Gregorian Calendar}[NASA's Head Quarters, Washington, D.C.] 
"We heartily welcome all the Press reporters to the success meet of the Miller mission. We take authentic pride in this prestigious project. We have unexpectedly achieved a lot.We have just predicted the existence of a new strange planet. But, now we have got every detail of it. By the way, we call it the Miller Planet.We are so thankful to Dr.Sally Kristen Ride. I would like to invite her to address the Press meet," announced the President of NASA, smiling and looking at me.

"Hello, Dr.Sally Kristen Ride, Mazel tov," addressed one of the Press reporters, focusing on me, as I reached the podium to address the Press.

"Gratias ago," I replied.

"Being the first woman Astronaut of America and the third woman Astronaut of the world, you have successfully completed NASA's a secret space mission.How do you feel now?" asked the reporter.

"I take authentic pride in this Space mission. I often dreamt about space-travel as I worked as a ground-based Capsule Communicator in NASA.The mission was a dream come true," I asserted.

"How do you define the Miller Planet, as a resident of Earth?" asked the reporter.

"As Time moves slower on Miller planet, I feel It's a planet of immortality," I answered.

"You spent around 34 years of your lifespan in Miller Planet to collect Quantum data because of which NASA has found spectacular things happening in Miller Planet. What made you take this risk?" the reporter asked.

I boasted, "It's 34 years on Earth but it's just 12 hours in Miller Planet.However, I felt like I landed in a paradox, where things were very complex to analyze."

I added, "For me, Space travel is a drug that reboots reality, tweaks the senses, and becomes addictive.Once I start, it can be difficult to stop, and the more I do it, the more I want to keep doing it."

"That sounds great, Dr.Sally," said the reporter as listened to my honest words.

"How do you define your space travel to Miller Planet, as a common woman?" asked the reporter.

"When I was shortlisted for this prestigious mission, most of my colleagues doubted my talent because of my gender. Even I questioned myself, being a woman, about doing it. But my plan was crystal clear in order to succeed," I beamed.

I added, "The space travel was a battle; yeah, a battle against Space-Time. Now I confidently say that even women can be warriors."

"According to NASA, you completed the mission alone. How true is it?" another reporter asked.

I was speechless and I got my mind into the limbo state at that moment.
__


@ {2012-March, Easter week in the Gregorian Calendar}[Sally's Home, Los Angeles]


"My dear Sally."
 
I heard a female voice from the door. I saw a very old woman entering my house with a delighted face. I couldn't recognize her.

"Dr. Sally Ride, the conqueress of Time," She called me from the entrance of my house and she hugged me as she rushed.

I was really surprised and very happy. It was my childhood friend, Diana.

"My dear Diana, What a pleasant surprise. Good to see you again!" I beamed, welcoming her.

"My dear friend, unlike me, you are really giving a pleasant surprise to this world.Wow, you still look young.I can't believe it! Look at me. I am already 55 years old.But you are..." she said in wonder.

It took some time to get her back from her hyper-excitement. Yes, it's a very common excitement not only to all my relatives and friends but to all the people of the world.

"How is it going?" I asked

"I am very fine. Unlike you, I am not young right now," she chuckled.

"It's a great pleasure to see you on this special occasion, Sally!" she added.

"Special occasion? what is that?" I asked.

"Oh, yes, you may not be knowing it, as you are an atheist," she said.

She continued, "Sally, it's Easter week. I have come here to attend the Easter Parade with my family".

"Won't you ask me to have some drinks, Sally," she demanded.

"Sorry, Diana. Let's have wine in the pantry, shall we?" I said.

"Sure! But let me get refreshed first," she said as she went to the restroom.

After a while, we sat together in the pantry as we started having wine.

"When will you join the Easter Parade?" I asked.

"Tomorrow, it's Easter Sunday," she confirmed.

"I will also join you this time," I said.

"I can't believe it. You have never believed in God. But now... I think, Unlike your physical appearance, your thoughts have been totally changed by the Miller Planet, haven't they?" she wondered.

"Diana, I feel God is also a kind of a thing that falls into Einstein's theory of relativity. I mean God's name and the ways of worshipping God get changed in different circumstances. People don't have constant thoughts about the existence of God. Now, I believe in God, as I think love is God," I bleated.

"Whatever. Now you are a new woman. power rose! It's absolutely a right time to celebrate Easter," she gushed.

"My friend, I hope you know everything about my personal life," I asked as I took one more glass of wine

"Yeah, I do!" she articulated.

"Now it's time to share with you about the power behind power," I said as I eventually lost my consciousness.

Diana helped me to reach my bed. I reminded myself of about Dr. Tam O' Shaughnessy, one of my colleagues in NASA, as I fell into subconscious sleep.

I was a Senior Capsule Communicator at the Ground Station in 1979, NASA. My Colleagues and I were busy in testing an incomplete Satellite Machine in the Lab.Dr.Steve Hawley, the Team Lead of Astronomy Dept, called all of us for a formal meeting. He was so excited to share some information with us.

"Dear Colleagues, there is a good news for you. Tomorrow, fresh graduates from Stanford University are going to join our team!" he informed.

"That's a good news, Dr. Steve." I effused.

He added, grinning at me, "Dr. Sally, you ought to give a few training sessions to them. So, please get prepared and train them well."

"It's a pleasure to be a part of it. I will do my best. Thanks for giving the opportunity. By the way, I am curious to invite fresh talents to our team." I exulted.

"All the best, Dr. Sally!" he wished me.

In the next day, I saw three delighted Engineering Graduates waiting for my Training session, as soon as I entered the Conference room. As I gave knowledge, I felt they were very energetic and curious to learn about Space Science. As soon as I completed the session, everyone started dispersing from the Conference room. But I saw Tam, who was one among the Fresh Engineers, approaching me.

"Dr. Sally, now I realized why NASA is good at discovering delighted stars in Universe," he said.

He smiled and continued, "You are the beauteous star NASA has ever discovered to date. The stars don't look bigger, but they do look brighter like you."
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Chapter-2:

@ {1979-August in the Gregorian Calendar}[NASA's International Ground station, Florida]

"I am Tam O'Shaughnessy. I am proud to say that I am also one among the three graduates hired from Stanford University for the NASA's Astronomy Lab. NASA was my dream. Space Science is my soul. I have joined to become a great astronaut," I confidently said as Sally asked me to say what I was feeling about NASA in our first training session.

Sally took the session on explaining about Theory of Relativity. It was my favourite subject in Astrophysics. Of course, every Astronaut loves this Einstein's brainstorming theory.

"According to Astro-physics, time is relative. This means that someone moving through space-time will experience it differently at various points. The only thing in the Universe which is not relative is the Speed of light. The light's speed is constant despite anything in space," she started the session, as we curiously listened to her.

At the end of the session, she concluded, "Okay, friends, I am done with the session."

Her presentation was absolutely fantastic. I couldn't realize how that 2 hours session got over as I listened to her.

"Would anybody summarize the theory of relativity?" she asked,  looking at me.

Like Albert Einstein, the Master of Physics, I stood up and said, “When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”

All my colleagues laughed at me as soon as I said Einstein's famous comical illustration about the Theory of relativity.

"Yeah, nice. This one...yeah, when Albert Einstein was asked to explain the theory of relativity so many times, he used to give this comical illustration. Tam, that's good. Okay, friends, let's meet in the next session," she picked up her books and about to leave for the day.

I wanted to look at her for few more minutes. So I raised a question though I knew the answer for it.

I stood up and said, "Dr. Sally, I have a question for you."

"Yeah! Please proceed," she acknowledged.

"Would you please tell me what unit astronauts use to measure time in space?" I asked.

"I appreciate your question, Tam. no question is ignored in the world of Astronomy. No matter how simple it is or how difficult it is to answer," she cheered.

"The time unit astronauts use in space is sol. One sol is nothing but a solar day as measured on the planet Mars, equal to 24.65 hours," she added.

The discussion continued for 30 more minutes as she felt I was very interested to know more about the concept.

When I told her that she was the beautiful star that NASA ever discovered, she might have thought that I tried to flirt with her. But, I was too early to love her. You can say that it's a true love at first sight. Frankly speaking, Whenever I saw her, I felt that woman is the precious living thing on Earth. I couldn't stop thinking about her.

She was a trainer to me in Astronomy Dept. and I started enjoying the essence of Astronomy along with the beauty of Sally. I felt like I got the best of both worlds.
----
 
 
@ {1981-February in the Gregorian Calendar}[NASA's International Ground station, Florida]

After my training, I was asked to work in NASA's Ground station, where I joined the Junior Astronauts team. On February 14, 1981, I wanted to approach Sally to convey my love. But I was bit nervous. So I chose a traditional way of conveying my love. I wrote a C program in a letter. On execution, That C program prints "I LOVE YOU" on the Computer screen.

I saw her having coffee at the Cafeteria on NASA's campus. I moved towards her as she looked at me.

"Hello, Tam," she greeted as I handed over the letter to her and asked her to run the C program on her computer.

"Tam, I am damn good at computer programming," she glared at me as soon as she read the C program.

"Well, So you love me," she added, throwing the letter into dustbin that's placed in the Cafeteria.

She asked, "What's your age?"

I answered, "25."

She said, "I am 8 years older than you."

I acknowledged, "I know it. But I believe Age is just a number. It doesn't play a significant role in love."

She said, "I am a divorced woman."

I quavered, "I want to marry you, Sally"

She became silent for a while and said, "I want to share some information with you, though it's a company confidential information. You have been shortlisted for Miller space mission. You are going to fly in order to explore a new planet that NASA recently discovered. In a few days, we will get an official announcement about this mission."

She added, "You are going to a be an astronaut.It's like a dream come true.Please don't waste your time on this trivial emotions."

Though I knew her intention was not to hurt me, Her words let me feel guilty.

Like she said, Dr. Steve Hawley made an official announcement about the Miller mission. I was on cloud nine as soon as I heard that Sally and I were the selected astronauts for this mission.

He called us for a meeting and announced, "Dr.Sally and Dr.Tam, the Miller mission is NASA's a secret mission in order to explore a strange planet near our Solar system. We need to explore it and reveal it to this world before other Space companies do it. NASA has selected you both for this mission. You are going to be in space for 10 years. NASA has specially designed the Space Shuttle CHALLENGER-1 for this mission. You will use it for travelling between Earth and the Secret International Space Station. And there you will use Space Shuttle-X to travel between Miller planet and the Secret International Space Station. It's a more prestigious and dangerous mission. We are not sure how long you will stay in space, as time may slower in as Miller Planet. So you need to collect Quantum data of Miller Planet as early as possible."

"I know it's not that easy. But we believe in your talents, which led us to select you for this mission. However, we are not compelling you. You can drop this opportunity if you want. Please, let us know your decision in 3 days," he added.

Sally and I had an informal discussion on this mission. Though we both were in confusion, we didn't want to skip this wonderful opportunity that would fulfil our dreams. For us, Space travel was like a drug that reboots reality, tweaks the senses, and becomes addictive. In the next day, we both met Daniel and informed him of our decision.

"Dr. Steve, we are ready for the battle," affirmed Sally.

"That sounds great!" grinned Steve.

"Don't worry. While you live in Space, NASA periodically monitors the Secret Space Station and regularly supplies food to you through some Autonomous Space Shuttles. In case if you find any issues while you live in space, immediately communicate with us through Space Radio Phones. NASA will definitely help you. But remember that it will be battle against Space-Time," coaxed Steve.

"May the force be with you," he wished us.

Thereafter, we both were busy in preparing ourselves to get ready for the mission. That didn't mean I forgot loving her. I spent more time with her in office, as I would join her in the mission in 1983. I fondly anticipated her love as I anticipated the NASA's prestigious mission.

Then the real training began. While practising in the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility, I  struggled a lot to learn the things. Though it's Sally's first space mission, she was already aware of it. She helped me a lot to get through every training session.

Sally supported me a lot whenever I got frustrated with the aggressive training sessions.

"When you're getting ready to launch into space, you're sitting on a big explosion waiting to happen.You have to reach a level of comfort with that risk," she encouraged me.

As part of our regressive training, We both got trained in flying NASA T-38 jets, weightless training in KC-135 plane to experience the state of zero gravity, moving huge objects in Precision Air-Bearing floor.

When we both were in the underwater training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL), we were asked to spend 7 hours at a time under water.We both did it.After the training, I got exhausted and became sick. I couldn't even walk to the restroom.She held me in her hands and helped me to reach the restroom.As soon as she touched me, I felt the presence of the most caring and beautiful woman in the universe.I felt her lips wanting to say something to me.

Immediately, I kissed her.

"What the hell are you doing, Tam?!" she raged and pushed me away.

As I wondered why she couldn't accept my love, I pulled her hands and highlighted my immortal feelings, "I still love you, Sally!"

"Why can't you understand my true feelings?" I exclaimed as I saw her tearing eyes.

"Do you know why my husband left me?" she asked, removing teardrops settled on her cheek.

"My husband left me; divorced me....because I was and am a Pancreatic Cancer patient.I still wonder how he could have left me alone though I loved him a lot. Thereafter, I realized a fact that LOVE is also relative just like the Space-Time that Einstein explained in his theory of relativity," she blubbered, dropping tears on the floor.

"Before understanding the essence of married life, I got divorced. As I suffered from pancreatic cancer, time let me destroy all my emotions. Since then, I have been an emotionless living thing," she added.

"What extent can you go for your love?" she asked and I bowed my head without delivering any words.

"Everything has a limit. Even love is not an exception. So give up your stupid feelings and prepare yourself for the mission because, for you, Miller mission is a dream-come-true," she, as usual, advised me.

"If teardrops were pennies and heartaches were gold, I'd have all the riches my pockets would hold," she lamented.

 As I felt that I hurt her, I admitted, "I am sorry, Sally."

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Chapter-3:

@ {1983-December in the Gregorian Calendar}[NASA's International Space Station]

"Tam, please get ready, we are going to reach the station in 0.3 sols," Sally cautioned Tam.

"Yes, I am. I have been eagerly waiting for the mission," Tam enthusiastically replied.

"Roger!" beamed Sally.

After he saw her grinning, he felt more energetic and started locating the coordinates. However, he was quite nervous as CHALLENGER Space Shuttle near to the International station. She immediately pressed some buttons on the space craft's computer system as she could clearly locate the Space Station, which was hanging like the pendulum in space.

"Sally, let's dock our Spacecraft, shall we?" Tam said, giving hopeful look. She acknowledged with the great Indian head bobble.

"9..." "8..." " 7..." " 6..." 5..." 4..." 3..." 2..." "1..." "0..."

"Alexa, let's dock!" Tam commanded the Spacecraft's computer system, Alexa.

"Our Spacecraft CHALLENGER-1 is docking.Please get ready to enter the NASA's Secret Space Station-007," Alexa made an announcement and started docking the Spacecraft to the Inter-National Space station.

After a while, Sally and Tam entered the Space station and started checking the Space station's computer system. After they got settled, they communicated with NASA's ground station in order to inform the NASA's CHALLENGER-1 Ground crew that they had successfully reached the Space Station.They both decided to take a power nap. They tightly tied themselves to the Station's rest-room.

After few hours, Tam interrupted Sally, "My dear soldier, wake up.Let's get ready for the battle, shall we?"

"Yeah, we are in the same zone," Sally grinned.

"Let's recall our plan," requested Tam.

"I will go to Miller Planet by the Space Shuttle-X. And you will stay back in the Space Station.I will spend around 1.5 sols in Miller planet to collect it's Quantum Data.Once I am done with collecting the Quantum Data, I will come back to the International Space Station," instructed Sally.

"Roger, Sally," Tam acknowledged.

"Sally, I hope you remember what our scientists told us about time on Miller Planet", said Tam.

"Yeah, Yeah, I do remember", agreed Sally.

"Time moves slower in that planet.But we are not sure how slow it is. So please be conscious and try to come back as early as possible," Tam assured.

"Yes, I got it," promised Sally.

Sally's space shuttle-X took off and started flying in space. At that moment, they both were not aware that time would play a game with them.

Some period of time after she flew, She could see a shining sphere-like structure in the far distance.

"Wow, the planet looks like the Eye of Sauron," Sally emphasized.

She reached Miller planet, which is completely filled with Stellar dust and Silicon stones.She started collecting Quantum data by using NASA's Quantac Machine. She was not able to know the exact Earth time on Miller planet. However, she was busy with her work. After some amount of time, she felt that she collected sufficient quantum data and planned to come back to International Station.Due to extreme dust on the planet, the Space Shuttle got damaged.So Sally spent some more time to repair the shuttle. Finally, she left the planet and was on the way to NASA's International Space station.

As soon as she reached the space station, she started searching for Tam.

"Tam, Tam, where are you? I am back.I am done with my task.Let's go back home", chirped Sally.

She saw a very old man lying on the bed.She thoroughly observed at the old man and got shocked.

"Tam, what happened to you?" sputtered Sally, holding his hand.

"Oh! thank God! you are back, you are back, Sally", marvelled Tam as he opened his eyes.

"I have been waiting for you here for last 34 years, Sally," Tam added.

"Oh my God! Did you inform NASA's ground station?" asked Sally as she eventually realized how Space-Time played with their life.

"Yeah, I did. Dr. Steve told me that NASA no longer could help us due to some unexpected technical issues. He told me to come back by the CHALLENGER-1 space shuttle. But I rejected it," said Tam.

"But you could have gone back to Earth. That's our plan, isn't it? Why did you stay back?" asked Sally in grief.

"Because, I still love you, Sally. I can go to any extent for my true love," burst Tam, letting her understand how true his love was.

"I am extremely sorry, Tam. Now you need medications. Let's go to back to Earth," apologized Sally.

"It's too late, Sally.I am very older now.You go ahead," articulated Tam.

"Did, you collect the Quantum Data?" Tam asked.

"Yeah," said Sally.

"That sounds great. I request the highest of fives, Sally," said Tam, moving his right hand towards Sally.

"Task complete," said Tam, grinning at Sally, as she gave hive-five to him.

As soon as Sally couldn't hear his breath tone, her teardrops sank in space.The absence of Tam's soul let her feel unconsciousness as the zero gravity let her experience weightlessness in space.

"Tam, you taught me an undeniable truth. Unlike Space-Time, Love is not relative," wailed Sally, staring at Tam's frozen eyes.
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(ArtoonsInn Edited version)

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