Here’s what Daniel remembered about gravity from his brief time at school.
1) Increasing an object’s gravity is easy.
Add a little mass to an object, and its gravitational attraction increases. The attraction isn’t noticeably different, unless you're adding asteroid-sized amounts of matter.
2) Creating artificial gravity is less easy.
But humans are persistent, and, in 2350, they developed the artificial gravity engine. A version of that engine kept Daniel from floating around the cabin.
3) Lessening the effect of gravity is monstrously difficult.
So difficult in fact, that humanity couldn’t do it without help.
That’s why in the 26th Century, in exchange for several colony worlds, a faction of humanity purchased gravity damper technology from a traveling salesbeing named Troakach—the same salesbeing who sold Anderson’s people their energy prosthetics.
Gravity dampers protected starships like the Afterthought from the crushing gravity of stars and super-massive planets.
The devices did have their limits. If the object in the damping field was too big, or the gravitational pull was too strong, the damper's power requirements became insurmountable.
Daniel recalled the example he'd heard in class: to protect a moon from the crushing gravity of a star, a damper would need the combined power-producing capacity of every sun in an entire galaxy.
And that was only for one moon, an object nowhere near the Garage's size.
"Trak, how much power would a damper need to keep that thing from destroying itself?" Daniel asked, gesturing to the Garage.
“Ignoring the fact that creating that amount of energy would most likely kill every living thing in our universe?” Trak asked.
“Yes, ignoring that,” Daniel said to Trak.
"Still waiting for the compliment, Daniel," Rachel-7 interjected.
“If you could somehow use every atom in the entire universe in a fusion engine, obliterating all of reality for power, you’d gain enough energy to keep the Garage from falling in on itself for twenty-three minutes," Trak said.
“Assuming my estimate of the number and size of the ships is correct,” Trak added.
Daniel went silent again.
Nothing can generate that much power, Daniel thought. That’s why the Garage can’t exist.
He looked at the few fragments left behind from when the spaceliner vanished.
All right, that's one of the reasons the Garage can’t exist.
“Thanks for the kind words, captain,” Rachel-7 said in an acid tone.