The Fatal Effects of the Loss of Gravity

by Mali Fergus

“Okay, class,” my teacher said, like she was about to introduce someone to teach us science. “Let’s give a warm welcome to Dr Martin Martini the sixth!”

Knew it.

The class, including me, gave an unenthusiastic “yay” as a white-haired stereotypical scientist person came through the open doorway.

“Hello, class of Year Seven,” Dr Martini said—wasn’t a Martini some kind of alcohol?

“Today we will be learning about airplanes!” Mr Champagne said in a voice that made it sound like he had something in his throat.

“Hello, Mr. Twelve-raccoons-down-my-throat,” a kid next to me said under his breath. He was a spherical footy head—typical for someone like him to insult the new teacher before even psychoanalysing them first.

“Who said that?” Mr. Martin boomed in a … nasal? voice this time.

“Her-she-he-they, sir,” footy head said, struggling to pronounce my pronouns as he pointed at me.

As he pointed at me.

Oh wait.

“Red-haired boy, report to my office immediately after this session,” Martini Martin said.

I sighed as he misgendered me and said, “You don’t have an office.”

“Report to …” he faltered. “What rooms have no people in them next period?” he asked no one in particular.

“A1, A3, B1, E2, G1,” I replied with the names of the rooms that had no people in them for the next two periods.

“E2,” he said unsurely.


“So, what do I need to do?” I asked Martin-eye the stuck-up science guy, now that I had stopped listening to him talk about the planes we made in 1654 from Leonardo da Vinci’s designs.

“Two seconds,” he said, scrambling through his duffel bag that was full of probably useless stuff.

“Ah-hah!” He paused, holding something brightly coloured in his hands. “Got it.”

He pulled out a fluorescent gun and, his finger on the trigger, said one thing, “Have fun in your past lives.”

He pulled the trigger.

Everything went black.

And then light, everywhere.


My eyes adjusted to the light as I took in my surroundings. I was under an apple tree, in a field next to a house I vaguely remembered from school.

Isaac Newton invented gravity!

Just as I realised where I was and when I was, I looked up and saw an apple plunging towards my head.

Adrenaline kicked in and I dived out of the way as the apple completed its fall, hitting the ground without a single bounce.

And then I flew.

Well, I floated, really. I started ascending toward the sky. If I were religious, I would think I was going to heaven. But I wasn’t, and I realised I was going to die.


Breathing keeps us alive. We take oxygen and release carbon dioxide from our mouth during this process. The atmospheric pressure, condition of the breathing system in the body and other such factors bring it to reality and we ultimately die when there is a lack of breathable air. When we reach a mountain with high altitude, we experience a lack of air: such as when we try to climb Mount Everest or other such places with high altitudes. Most old-aged people and people with breathing difficulties suffer difficulties in climbing such mountains. Even aeroplanes are fixed up with oxygen masks to assist people with breathing difficulties like asthma. Some fall ill when they have not even completed half of their journey.



As I remembered an article I had read for school, I grabbed at one of the branches of the tree to stop me from going to space. Feeling like Tarzan, I manoeuvred my way down the tree, stopping when I reached the ground, at which point I had no plan. But I was Newton! I was one of the great scientists! I could do this!

I did something that wasn’t very scientific.

I grabbed onto the fenceposts that lined the way back to my house. No, Newton’s house. No …

My house?

Was I truly Sir Isaac Newton?

Questions for later, I decided. Right now, I had to focus on living.

Now in the house that Newton— I—called home, I focused on writing down everything I thought I knew.

  • Martini said I would have fun in my past lives.
  • I had just removed gravity from the earth.
  • I was Sir Isaac Newton.
  • But I could still remember my life as … what was my old name? Who did I used to be?
  • I was losing the memories of my old self, or was it my future self?
  • I may be one of the few people still surviving in this world.
  • My brain hurts.

Trying to piece things together in my pounding head, I started to doze off, as I was an old 44-year-old man.

Is that very old?

The walls of reality I thought existed were shattering. I resisted sleep in my tall rocking chair that I had nailed to the ground. Tall rocking chair. Rocking chair. Tired chair. Sleepy tired rocking chair.

“Aagh!” I scoffed at myself once I had woken up. I had fallen asleep! I needed a nice cup of tea.

No! I was not from England, I was from Victoria, Australia. I hated tea.

But I wasn’t. I was also a 44-year-old man from Lincolnshire, England.

My brain hurts.

I dozed off.

And in my rest, I died.

Everything went black.

And then light, everywhere.


“Oh!” I said in a German accent. It was 1698. I was an 11-year-old boy. I was Johann Adam Birkenstock. I was going to be a violinist.

But I was on the roof, upside down, because gravity had ceased to exist many years ago.

By my hand … or was it? I had been a 12-year-old Australian kid in the year 2022, then a 44-year-old English man in the year 1686, and now an 11-year-old German boy in the year 1698. Was I a time traveller? Or a past-lives traveller?

My brain hurts.

Would I have to go through roughly 360 more years of past lives to get back to my own? If so, would I even remember who I was? Would I still be floating? I decided to stick my attention on the little fact that gravity wasn’t existent and focus on my existential crisis later.

“Verdammt!” I yelled.

“Spreche ich Deutsch?” I asked no one, more than surprised that I had spoken a foreign language that I had never before understood.

“Wäre da nicht dieser dumme Martini …” I muttered, only half understanding the words I was saying.

I opened up the notebook I just realised I was holding and scribbled.

I was panicking. I didn’t know what to do! I was an 11-year-old child for quatsch sake!

I needed a smart mind. I needed Gottfried Leibniz. I don’t know how I remembered that name. I needed to go to Rome.

Easier said than done.


“Gib mir eine Geige,” I said firmly to the airport staff person who asked for my boarding pass. If I could get a violin, I could impress the boarding man with my skills that I wasn’t sure I had yet.

I had the remnants of a plan.

We were standing upside down on the roof. They had somehow moved everything upside down to prevent people and objects floating off.

“Was?” he asked me, not sure if he heard me correctly.

“Gib mir eine Geige,” I repeated. “Ich kann Ihnen etwas Unglaubliches zeigen.”

He grunted and turned, picking up a violin from behind him.

That’s convenient, I thought. There was a pile of musical instruments tethered to the roof behind him.

He handed me the violin and, waiting for magic to happen, I plucked the strings like a guitar.

It made a faint twang noise.

I hit him over the head with it and ran towards the plane door.

“I’m not supposed to be here,” I mouthed to the little mouse that was under the little rackety airplane’s seat with me. It squeaked and ran off. 

Not more than twenty seconds later, I heard a posh English lady scream, “Good heavens! There are vermin in this plane!”

She got no reaction from any of the three other people who were supposed to be on the plane.

She scoffed in outrage.


“Cabin crew, please prepare for landing,” the person at the front of the plane yelled suddenly.

We were nearing Roman grounds. We were nearing Gottfried Leibniz.

“Welcome to Rome.”

I got off the aeroplane and saw that there were little hatches that opened up and closed around the wheels to stop it flying up on its own. Us humans were holding onto a chain fence that used to tell us where we needed to go, but now controlled our very lives.


I was in Rome! Walking up the streets, shuffling with a chain fence to stop us flying up, I guess, looking for people that might know something about Gottfried Leibniz’s location.

“Wissen Sie, wo Gottfried Leibniz ist?” I asked a friendly looking person.

“Ragazzino straniero,” they replied with a smirk.

I don’t speak Italian, but I could recognise aggression.

I needed someone who could speak German and Italian. Maybe someone who was on the plane could help me.

“Heu, heu,” I yelled to a German man who was on the plane. He looked around at me and I shuffled up to him.

“Sprichst du Italienisch?” I asked him, hoping he could.

“Jawohl,” he said, “Warum?”

“Ich muss Gottfried Leibniz finden, aber keiner dieser Leute spricht Deutsch,” I replied. “Kannst du für mich übersetzen?”

“Ich verstehen.”


“Ehi tu, sai dov’è Gottfried Leibniz?” the man said to a person who walked on another fence by him.


“Ehi tu, sai dov’è Gottfried Leibniz?” he repeated to another person.


“Ehi tu, sai dov’è Gottfried Leibniz?” he said again, sounding like he was already ready to give up.

“L’hai trovato,” the old-looking stranger said to us, a smile growing on his face.

The German man’s eyes widened, and I asked, “Was hat er gesagt?”

The German man whispered back to me, “Er ist Leibniz!”

My eyes widened now. We had found him very quickly.

“Lascia che ti porti a casa mia,” said Gottfried Leibniz.


Now we were in the house of Leibniz, after he graciously welcomed us into his house through the awkwardly created archway that stopped us floating into the sun.

“Allora perché hai bisogno di me?” Gottfried asked the German man.

After he realised he was being addressed, “Questo ragazzo qui ha bisogno di te, ma non può parlare italiano,” the German said, pointing to me.

“Warum brauchst du ihn?” the German man said to me, so I explained why I was here and he explained to Leibniz.

“Oh!” he said, “Sei il motivo per cui non abbiamo gravità.”

“Jawohl,” I answered, then the German man translated, “Sì.”

“E cosa vuoi che faccia a riguardo?” The Italian scientist asked both of us.

German man looked at me and I told him, “Repariere es.”

“Riparalo,” was the translation.

The old scientist sighed and started gesturing around his room to bits of broken glass. “Hai distrutto la gravità distrutta innumerevoli dei miei esperimenti più inestimabili.”

“E ci dispiace molto,” my translator responded. “Ma noi, tutti noi umani abbiamo davvero bisogno che tu ti aiuti.

I hoped the conversation was going well, but I really had no clue.

Leibniz sighed again and said something that sounded like he was giving up.

I hope that’s a good thing.

“Bene. Ti aiuterò,” he said.

“Er hilft uns,” the German man translated.


“Quindi vuoi che aggiusti la gravità o risolva il problema delle tue vite passate?” Leibniz asked me.

“Sie wollen also, dass ich die Schwerkraft behebe oder das Problem Ihrer vergangenen Leben löse?” the subtitle man translated.

“Schwerkraft zuerst,” I replied. I wanted to help the world before I helped myself.

“Quindi ecco la cosa interessante,” Leibniz said.

I stared at my translator hopefully as he translated: “Also hier ist das Interessante.”

“Dici che sei venuto dal futuro, dove esiste la gravità, giusto?” the scientist asked.

“Sie sagen, Sie sind aus der Zukunft gekommen, wo die Schwerkraft existiert, oder?” the German man said in translation.

“Jawohl,” I replied, but apparently Leibniz had adapted slightly to the German language and didn’t need a translation for that.

“Quindi ci siamo riusciti, sì?” he said before the translator could translate.

The translator was needed this time, though. He looked at me and I nodded.

“Dann haben wir es geschafft, ja?” he said in a language I could understand, and I tilted my head and asked, “Warum ist das so?”

The translation was unusually short, but I trusted the random man I met on the plane.


“Se in futuro abbiamo la gravità, allora come non falliremmo, poiché non abbiamo gravità ora. O lo abbiamo risolto o qualcos’altro ha fatto,” said Gottfried Leibniz.

The living subtitle man nodded and spread the word to me in German: “Wenn wir in Zukunft Schwerkraft haben, wie würden wir dann nicht scheitern, da wir jetzt keine. Schwerkraft haben. Wir haben es entweder repariert oder etwas anderes tat es.”

Now I nodded in realisation. It was somewhat reassuring that the scientist had scientifically proven we would succeed.

“Das macht Sinn. Ich hoffe wir gewinnen,” I said back.

“Ha senso. Spero che vinciamo,” said the subtitles.

Then I had an annoyingly epiphanic moment.

“Warte ab. In meiner alten Futures Geschichte ist Isaac Newton am selben Tag nicht gestorben, an dem er vom Apfel getroffen wurde, aber ich habe es in diesem getan, und ich wurde nicht von einem Apfel getroffen. Wie macht das Sinn?” I asked Leibniz.

The translator cleared his throat and asked the Italian what I had asked. 

“Attesa. Nella mia vecchia storia di futures, Isaac Newton non è morto lo stesso giorno in cui èstato colpito dalla mela, ma l’ho fatto in questo e non sono stato colpito da una mela, come ha senso?”

Leibniz sighed and looked stumped.

I had confused Gottfried Leibniz! That’s not a good thing!


“Potrei avere un’idea che risolva entrambi i problem,” Leibniz said after ten minutes of silent thinking.

“Vielleicht habe ich eine Idee, die beide Probleme lost,” the German man said, so I could understand.

“Was ist es?” I asked him hopefully.

“Troviamo i parenti del tuo Martini Man e li uccidiamo in modo che non possa mai esistere,” Gottfried replied, with a grim look on his face.

The German translator paled and said, “Wir finden die Verwandten Ihres Martini-Mannes und töten sie, damit er niemals existieren kann.”

We find Martini’s relative and kill them.

“Jesus Christus,” I replied with wide eyes. “Wie würden wir ihn aber finden?”

After it was translated into Italian, Leibniz replied with, “Come mi hai trovato?” which was shortly translated into: “Wie sind Sie auf Leibniz gestoßen?”

How did I find him? I thought to myself. 

I had studied him in a school project that wouldn’t happen for 4000 years.

Well, that’s not helpful.

“Ich wusste bereits, wo Sie vom Lernen sein würden,” I said to the translator to say to Leibniz.

“Sapevo già dove saresti stato dallo studio.” In Italian.

“Bene allora. Possiamo almeno provare. Qual era il suo cognome?” Gottfried replied.

“Martini,” I said back, after it had been translated.

“E aveva delle caratteristiche definitive?” was Leibniz’s response after the German man had translated it for him.

“Er hatte ein dunkles Muttermal auf der linken Seite seines Kopfes, er hatte lockiges weißes. Haar und blaue Augen und sah sehr europäisch aus,” I replied, listing all the things that I noticed about Martini’s physical form.

“Bene, allora troviamo tutti i cognomi che sono Martini e vediamo se assomigliano al tuo Martini,” the scientisté explained. 

We find everyone that has the surname of Martini and see if they look like your Martini.


The first Martini we visited was called Lutherford Aerin Martini. He looked nothing like the Martini that set this horror upon me. He also was eighty-three years old and had no children, which we learned from Leibniz asking him.

The second Martini was a middle-aged woman with auburn hair and thick spectacles. She had three children who had all left to go to Asia. She hadn’t had any contact with them for the last three months.

The next Martini was a young boy with short trimmed white hair and blue eyes. We decided he could be a good suspect, but none of us were willing to kill a 15-year-old boy.

The fourth Martini was named Martin Martini. He had brown hair and hazel eyes.

My eyes widened.

“Okay class, let’s give a warm welcome to Dr. Martin Martini the sixth!”

Dr. Martin Martini the sixth.

Martin Martini the sixth.

It could be a coincidence, but it was worth a try.

I nodded to Leibniz and the German man, whose name I really needed to find out. They approached Martini the first and, sensing danger, he ran onto the road.

The road that people were riding horses down.

Martin Martini got crushed by the galloping horses and then everything went silent.

I tried to speak, but I could only mouth: “Was haben wir getan?”

Then there was a loud tearing sound, very similar to Velcro being ripped apart.

I looked up and the sky was fragmenting.

The sky had many rips and tears in it, leading to nothing but pitch blackness. Then, many screams echoed through this land of fearful humans, people who didn’t know what was happening. The very existence of space and time was being ripped apart. Now, the ground was cracking, splintering and moving away from existence as we knew it.

“Was haben wir getan?” I screamed to Gottfried Leibniz. Shouldn’t he have thought up a plan for this?

The streets around us were swallowed up by the blackness oozing through the tears in the sky, and it felt like we were the last life in this world, this damned thought immortal plain.

Now it was just me, the German man whose name I would never know, and Gottfried Leibniz, all of us on one uneven heptadecagon of gravel, dirt and stone.

And then we fell.

Through the small block of land, through the black eraser of this earth, into a classroom.


The German man and Leibniz were gone now, and I was no longer a German boy, or Isaac Newton, for that matter.

I was back in my original form, before all this madness happened, just in my normal, disappointing life.

“Okay, class,” my teacher said, like she was about to introduce someone to teach us science.

God no, not a paradox, I pleaded in my mind.

“Let’s give a warm welcome to Dr. Alvaro Martini!”

Alvaro Martini?

The class gave an unenthusiastic “Yay”.

But I was not with them.

I gave an enthusiastic yay, as I was grateful to whatever higher power granted me my spot back in my life, no matter how boring it was.

“Greetings, Year Seven students. Today, we will be learning about time paradoxes!”

“Okay, Mr Fancy Pants,” the bald footy head behind me murmured.

“Who said that?” Alvaro asked politely.

“She … they did, sir,” skinhead boy said, pointing to me.

“And I’m the empowerment of China,” Alvaro Martini said with a smile. “Skinhead child, please stay with me after this class, I have some extra work for you.”

I smiled. Back in my place, I am.