Gravity-Bound by Ruben Burenstein

Ruben Burenstein
Q2 benchmark
Water stream

Sci-fi story


Tony just got done with his third patient for the day, he looked at his “Best Doctor Ever” mug, on the right side of his desk, after taking a long sip of steaming coffee, he looked at his list of appointments for the day, his next patient Tim Mcmillan was supposed to be there in a few minutes for his appointment. Tim has schizophrenia and recently was very unstable, so Tony thought this session could do him a lot of good.

As time passed by Tony got increasingly nervous, Tim was never late to an appointment. Tony decided to do something after painful 30 minutes had gone by, Tony to called Tim’s phone. Tim always picked up his phone and came to his appointments on time, but this time the phone was disconnected. Tony understood the signs; he had seen it enough times with his patients, he knew now all he could do was go home, watch TV, and see where it happened.

Tony arrived home at around 8:40, as he entered his home he thought about adjusting his bracelet for 50% gravity, but decided not to at the last moment. Tony had never liked the government being able to control your gravity, of course as a kid he had played with his bracelet, like everyone had, but now as an adult he knew how controlling these were. Tony had a clean record, meaning that the government would process his requests first if he wanted to adjust his bracelet, and Tony knew this, but he still wouldn’t do it. Tony had worked out that he should only use this when in a lot of danger from someone on the outside, for example if one of his patients brought a weapon to their appointment.

The news was basically the same as every other day; some weather for the next few days, a storm was brewing over the west coast, and then some local news. This was the section Tony was looking for, he was just listening for Tim Mcmillans name, waiting for the inevitable, when he would find out what had happened to his former patient. Tony started to drift off, but then he heard it, “A local mans gravity was raised to 300% today as police surrounded him. Witnesses say the man was yelling gibberish in a hostile manor for about 3 minutes before the police arrived. The police who arrived on the scene shot immediately for fear that this man could cause potential harm to civilians.”

This took Tony a long time to digest this information, he had seen people in the newspaper that were Gravity-bound before, but never to someone who Tony known well, especially not one he would talk to every 2-3 days for almost a year and a half. Tony turned off the TV and laid down on his couch, pondering what he should do about this predicament. Tony realized that the government was getting increasingly strict with their use of the PYC machine, at first they would only use in high-risk, hostage like situations, but as more machine have been built, the use is much more common in every day life, but never used for harmful purposes like it was today. Tony could read the signs better than others, so his final thought before drifting off to sleep was that he should do something to show the government how wrong they were.

The next few months went by in a blur, doing his daily routine over and over, watching the world changing around him. Every once and a while, one of his patients would be Gravity-bound, with the governments increasing intolerability of any type of misbehavior. Tony was slowly loosing patients, everyone that could come to him was either too scared to go outside, or had been Gravity-bound. He pondered what to do, and eventually decided to actually get up and do something about it. Tony had never seen anyone stand up to the government since the PYC machine was invented, and he wanted to make a statement.

Tony spent weeks planning how this would go down, he gathered about 700 people to march on city hall. Tony made signs, having tons of people come over and help him plan for this event. He closed down the office to work solely on this project, not that it mattered; he only had 2 patients left. The plan was to attempt to get in to city hall, and look for the PYC machine controlling the city, or the people who control it, and talk to them sensibly. If they found the machine first, they would stand there until someone they could talk to showed up. The main idea was to not be violent at all, so that the government couldn’t take any forceful action against them.

The time had come; Tony was the first on the scene, observing the landscape until people started arriving. The security guards outside started to notice something was up when about 20 or so people gathered in a group in front of city hall. The group continued growing until almost 150 people were there, then they started making their way in to city hall. Around half made it in to city hall easily before the security started organizing them in to a line, making them walk in between security guards in order to enter.

This is when all hell broke loose, one of the protesters in the line brushed up against a guard. The guard took this opportunity to take out his baton and hit the man. About 6 people around this brawl joined in, while the rest of the bystanders watched. In less than 40 seconds, the 4 protesters involved in the fight had been Gravity-bound, the starter being killed by the guards afterward. The other 3 were led off in handcuffs. Seeing this kind of treatment appalled Tony, especially with the realization that he had caused this to happen.

Things only got worse from here; the protesters arriving outside saw the commotion and ran in, causing a ruckus much worse than before. This started a riot, between all of the guards and many of the protesters. Tony could only stand there and watch as one by one his companions were Gravity-bound and arrested, or Gravity-bound and killed. Tony even watched as one mans gravity was turned up constantly, until eventually his bones were crushed completely.

Tony ran. It was all he could do, his people were getting over run and shut down. Edging his way around the destruction that he caused, seeing fallen comrades everywhere, beaten by the batons of the law enforcement. Past all of the men whose deaths he caused, barely making it under the radar of the guards. 100 feet until the entrance, 50 feet, halfway down the steps, just 20 steps and a small courtyard until he was safe.

Tony made it safely down the stairs, but then he was spotted by one of the guards outside who recognized him as the leader. Tony heard the guard yell out, but ignored him and continued running, then right as he was about to take the last step out of the courtyard, it happened. His body just stopped working like he was used to, Tony was forced to the ground, and couldn’t get up, he had been Gravity-bound. He was surrounded, a gun pointed straight at him.