The bulk of the Celestial Empire is centered on the midpoint of the Beanstalk, at an altitude of roughly 15,000 miles. Climbing down is analogous to circumnavigating the world on a stairmaster. Even if you've got the thighs for it, it's really time consuming. Falling, on the other hand, is relatively low impact (initially, anyway) and a whole lot faster. In a nutshell, the drop pod is exactly that - a modified hollow seed pod for dropping people and cargo to places farther down the g-well. Don't ask me how they aim what amounts to a giant dandelion seed, but they seem to be accurate to within a couple hundred yards or so.
- While they can vary in size, these are roughly equivalent to ship's boats. Cargo/Personnel capacity equivalent to anything from a dinghy through a small pinnace.
- Due to assorted peculiarities in the laws of physics around anything as decidedly impossible as a live space elevator, pods fall at a more or less constant terminal velocity of 300 mph. This means that they may end up falling for a little over two days if they go all the way to the surface, followed by some pretty rough (but non-lethal) bouncing. Cavalry (and other mounted troops) may not take this very well.
- The counterweight is actually "down" from the midpoint, so they can drop in that direction as well.
- You're more or less on your own to climb back up, but supply pods can be dropped along your route.