“It’s absolutely true that among certain rock-rat tribes in the outer regions, getting blind drunk and running stark naked through hard vacuum in honor of their culture-hero is a prominent local sport, wager, and test of endurance.
“Of course, it’s also true that isolation-madness, poorly-tuned life support neural syndrome, and taking all the drugs when stationside are the most prominent local medical conditions…”
OK, you really have to stop teasing us like that 😉
But seriously, I’m curious to know more: What did this “local culture-hero” do in the first place to earn such veneration, and particularly in such a manner?
Supposedly, Molq “the Bulkhead” saved his mining station by an epic dash through hard vacuum to hit the right button when the fission reactor had a loss-of-coolant oops.
(Legend has it that he was in the shower at the time, hence the naked.)
Serious sophontologists point out that there’s no evidence this ever happened and Molq “the Bulkhead” is probably somewhere between John Henry and Paul Bunyan on the “Yeah, that happened” scale, namely “a kernel of truth somewhere but…“, but serious sophontologists are not, by and large, willing to argue the toss with drunken rock-rats who are prone to take offense with more’n harsh language.
I remember being part of a discussion on rasfw back in the day, when we realized that it was actually possible for a standard unenhanced human to run a 50 meter dash, naked, on the Moon, wearing only a pair of shoes and a pair of tightly fitted swimmer’s goggles.
Stay in a low pressure pure oxygen chamber for a few days to vent out all the neutral gasses from your body, transfer to an airlock with the same gas mix, take your mark, hyperventilate a dozen breaths, exhale, and leap out from the starting block as the outer doors open, keep your mouth and throat from closing, and sprint in a straight line, into a waiting open airlock that snaps shut behind you and crash pressurizes.
It probably wouldn’t even be all that much more painful than the pain of running 50 meters at competition speed already is.
You will be in a world of lethal hurt, if you trip.
As far as I know, human lungs work basically by passive diffusion of gases through the membranes of the alveoli in the lungs. Breathing just ensures there’s always the “normal” mix of gases in the lungs, so the diffusion process won’t reach an equilibrium.
The problem is that when the partial pressure of oxygen within the air in the lungs becomes too low, the process can happen in reverse just as easily: when in too high an altitude, in oxygen-deficient atmosphere, or in vacuum, any oxygen that’s already in the blood will escape when the blood flows through the lungs.
This makes oxygen-deficient and low-air-pressure situations much more hazardous for humans than e.g. freediving, and the “time of useful consciousness” in such situations considerably shorter than the simple experiment of holding one’s breath would imply.
But if we are talking about eldrae: a species that was designed by the Precursors, and lately considerably enhanced by themselves…
Perhaps the membranes in their alveoli-equivalents include a biological/biochemical feature that will close up the diffusion channels when the air pressure (or even the partial pressure of oxygen in the air) within the lungs gets too low?
If the legend of Molq was born before eldrae started enhancing their own biology, perhaps it was a Precursor-designed feature that may have been mutated into uselessness in most of the population, and Molq just happened to have a mostly-functional version of the relevant genes?
Tragic hero option: perhaps Molq’s genes were functional enough to switch the diffusion channels off but not back on afterwards, so he had unexpected endurance in vacuum but died just after reaching safety. (Compare to Greek legend of Pheidippides after the battle of Marathon.)
No-one actually knows what species ol’ Molq was, if he lived at all, and asserting any given one too strongly in a rock-rat dive may be hazardous to your health, or at least to your face.
(Some say that it sounds kind of like a linobir name, and that the toughness of that species would make this and his other improbable feats at least somewhat more plausible. Others point out that it could equally well be a backformation from múlqár, old mining slang for the wielder of an idiot stick.)
But all that said, you’re pretty on the nose with regard to standard spacer upgrades…
There are easier ways to start a fight in a spacer bar than denigrating the hero Molq, but not many.
It certainly sounds like a case of ‘Hold my beer while…’, but stepping out into vacuum with a stomach full of carbonated beverage is probably a worse idea than just stepping out..