In Warlords poorer families in the belt or some of the colonies are not able (for whatever reason) to pay for 'gravity treatments' or possibly helpful drugs and are forced to live and raise their children in micro gravity.

Now I think a freakishly tall human with his legs and spine having a visible brace would make these "Lanks" easy to spot and have a unique vibe too them. Also is fun to visualize.

What I am wondering is would braces help these Lanks walk. In my mind the braces would be a small scale exosuit that not only holds them up but does most of the work for them. But feel free to make a better suggestion if you have one.


Space stations gravity (through centrifugal force) is set to or approaching roughly Martian gravity (if this isn't possible or is impractical lunar gravity would do)

Lanks are born (usually) via artificial wombs with the idea being: somehow the machine can simulate gravity inside itself for the fetus (maybe through water currents).

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    $\begingroup$ The brace would be a small fix to a LOT bigger problem, heart failure, blood clots, seizures, the whole works. Their bodies would be so frail that they would be in worst shape then a 70 year old and that's BEFORE they come to a place with gravity. Theirs was a NASA rep that quoted: “having children born in space would be the cruellest thing to do to a living person I can think of”. $\endgroup$ Jul 28, 2018 at 5:11

3 Answers 3


I have muscular dystrophy. I think I fit the description of your "Lanks" pretty much to a T. I am very thin, very weak, and unable to stand or walk under my own power. Even a cane or walker is not enough support.

In my childhood, I wore braces which allowed me to stand and, with quite a bit of effort and a walker to hold on to, to walk short distances. I wore the braces outside my clothes, excluding my shoes. They were hard plastic and metal and could not have been comfortably worn under clothes. They went from the bottoms of my feet, up to under my arms.

They looked a lot like this, though I didn't use canes like this woman. enter image description here

I see no reason why your "Lanks" couldn't wear something like this. If the joints of the braces, particularly the knees and hips, are as close to frictionless as possible, it doesn't really make much difference how weak they are. All it will do is make their steps shorter. The braces are supporting all the weight. Balance will be an important issue, as since the braces make your body stiff, there is no such thing as a minor fall. No matter how you go down, you are hitting your head hard.

I learned to walk in my braces relatively easy, compared to what the other answers suggest anyways. It's certainly not insurmountable. The braces don't need to be powered either, mine weren't.

I would be much more worried about the Lank's cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Can their heart handle fighting gravity? How about the valves in their veins? Can their lungs still inflate even against the weight of their ribs?


1. Artificial Wombs

The latest research suggests that embryos will develop normally in zero gravity. (https://www.popsci.com/mammal-embryos-can-develop-normally-in-space) .

As high-tech as the artificial womb sounds, I suspect it will remain primarily a vehicle for handling premature births for the simple reason that nature has provided humans with the perfect environment for growing embryos.

Complex specialized equipment like the artificial womb would be cost prohibitive (space, energy consumption, spare parts) to asteroid dwellers, compared to "the old fashioned way", which requires only a few extra ounces of food and water per day.

2. Braces

Braces can help to offset some of the brittleness of the bones due to understressing during growth, but simple braces cannot compensate for the (lack of) muscle tone. All the braces in the world will not help your Lank to stand up in gravity.

For that, you will need a powered exoskeleton (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/robotic-exoskeleton-could-help-prevent-falls-elderly) . Note that the people this device is aimed at have exactly the same issues that the Lanks will have, albeit for a different reason (age versus environment).

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    $\begingroup$ Also, your lank won't even learn to walk. That's a complex skill that takes babies a long time to learn, your lanks won't have that experience. They very well might not be able to learn it later. $\endgroup$ Jul 28, 2018 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ Downvoted because you drastically underestimate the effectiveness of braces. I know from personal experience that they can make someone who is extremely weak able to stand and even walk. See my answer for details. $\endgroup$
    – Ryan_L
    Jul 29, 2018 at 1:43
  • $\begingroup$ @ryan_l I love the input of personal experience. $\endgroup$
    – pojo-guy
    Jul 30, 2018 at 2:11

Fine idea for a story! "Lanks" is good too.

The suits would be expensive. If poverty were the only reason for space babies I worry they could not afford them. The Lanks should be proud and possibly even well off. They are disdainful of the thought that a zero-G upbringing is in any way inferior. They might call the gravity-raised "sinkers" or some such.

But sometimes a Lank has to visit a place with gravity and so they need the suit. I like the frame exosuit idea. There could be an artificial intelligence in the suit (as is actually the case now with modern prosthetics ) which helps the Lank coordinate her walking. I like the idea of such prosthetics having a very annoying "coach mode" that encourages proper posture and stride in peppy, Lank-accented tones.

I like the idea of an earth normal trying on the exosuit and struggling mightily for a half hour until its owner shows him how to turn it on. The built in coach is impressed by the sinker's form, much to the annoyance of the Lank owner of the suit.

Halfway through the story you could learn that it is possible to change the setting on the exosuit. A Lank in 1 G sets her suit for 4 G and can jump prodigiously far.

The exosuit could not do it all. I can imagine a busty Lank complaining how suffocating and heavy her breasts were, especially when trying to sleep on her back. The Lanks might have a large isotonic salt pool in their quarters to relax in, their buoyancy counteracting their weight.


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