Thursday, October 25, 2012



Written 25 October

"Let's run the checklist," I said.

"Let's don't and say we did," said Sweetie.

I glared at her. "I insist--" Then I saw her hand was near her katana.

"Never mind,"I said. "Let's go."

"Yay!" I said."We seem to be watertight."

"Look at the altimeter," Sweetie said. I looked. We were fifty feet above sea level.

"Well then, I said, "let's descend."

"This big windshield is great for watching whales," Sweetie said.

"Plus 14 meters," I said.

"Look, an octopus!" Sweetie said.

"Seven meters," I said. "Five. Three. One."

The face of the altimeter turned from green to red.

"Minus one meter, Captain," said Sweetie. "And Philip Linden help me, I've gone blind!"

"Me too," I said. "I can barely see my hand in front of my face!"

"This is creepy," I said.

"Wait a minute!" said Sweetie. "I'm seeing Kenny from South Park!"

"What are you talking about?" I said.

"Turn off your Windlight settings," she said.

I opened Preferences and unchecked the shaders.

"Much better," I said. "But that's not Kenny. That's us."

"Look at the altitude!" Sweetie said. "We're still sinking!"

"It's uncharted territory," I said. "We go where no avatar has gone before."

"Minus 12 meters," Sweetie called. "Look up!"

"Wow! I said. "It's Whimsy from underneath."

"Minus 25," Sweetie called.

"Yikes!" I said. "That whale looks a million miles away."

"Minus 32," said Sweetie.

That's when the motors stopped.

I'm never one to panic. "Uh-oh," I said. "We're doomed!"

After exploration I realized the motors had stopped when the root prim (which is high above the vehicle) had gone below the grid.

"Not to worry," Sweetie said, and selected Edit and pulled us down to -50 meters.

"Wow," she said. And then she was gone.

Before my heart could stop I got her IM.

"I stood up to see if I would stay below the grid," she said. "I had visions of starting an under-the-grid civilization."

"And what happened?"

"I went to zero meters," she said. "My dreams are shattered."

I grabbed the Descender and pulled it to -32 meters. The motors caught and the craft slowly climbed toward the zero mark.

When I passed zero altitude the world suddenly got brighter.

Back at the docking station Sweetie joined me and we opened a bottle of Dom Perignon in celebration. (The Descender is well-stocked).

And there you have it-- our record-breaking trip below the grid, our descent into unknown space.

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