Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Unearthing Tilly - an excerpt

     “Pilot body scan.”
     Gloria’s voice followed the scanner, mounted on the chair and headset which monitored his blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level and body temperature. A slight deviation from normal would delay a flight, or cause an aborted mission. Rigo let out the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding in.
     “All clear. System check complete.”
     He spoke into the microphone on the panel, pulling on the fireproof headgear with provisional oxygen, and hose connected to a water reservoir should it be needed. He’d long ago grown immune to the obvious foreboding nature of these precautions.
     “Preparing trajectory lock-in.”
     “Trajectory mount cleared.”
     The screen ahead showed the two massive ski like structures upon which the catapulting rocket would be hurled into space. The new design with its combined power of centrifugal force and horizontal movement had saved barrels of rocket fuel over the past decade, causing billions of funding to be diverted from operating costs to research and exploration.
     He carefully lowered the craft into place and the ‘claw’ which suspended him released its grip. He felt the clamping motion as the four ton machine was locked onto its launch mount.

     The strains of Handel’s water music filled the cabin. Some long hair type had decided that classical music rather than a digital signal would create a more positive, human environment as a pilot took off. Rigo would have preferred Bob Dylan, or even Aerosmith, but he didn’t make those kinds of decisions. Each month the piece was changed out, only occasionally reverting to a composer from a recent century. There had been some objections to this at first, but George Frederic Handel was Mr. Futere’s personal favorite, and you didn’t tell the third most important man in the world ‘No’ without repercussions.

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