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Friday, July 21, 2017

F³ Tethered

            Ann climbed out of the airlock awkwardly, the mass of the umbilical and extra burden to be accounted for. The first was a tether to the ship, made of thick, strong titanium that was more than secure. The second was a dataline, feeding her HUD with images from the ship’s sensors, relating her position on the ship’s hull, her vital signs, and other minutiae. She needed it since she couldn’t see, at all.
            According to the HUD, they were already sailing at a paltry 11 knots. The sails were full, with no luff to them, but they sailed at a close haul, quite nearly in irons—which would be directly into the wind.
            Flynn’s is starting me off with training wings. Fine, I guess.
            Normally she would have something acerbic to say to Flynn about his sailing, but Ann was legitimately frightened about the prospect of what she was about to attempt. Others had tried, but the number of success stories—and they were all stories—could be counted on one hand.
            She set feet on the hull plating, the gravnets in her suit keeping her anchored. She and Hank had boosted the suit’s power to make the gravnets extra secure. A hand on her shoulder signaled the arrival of Stephanie Kimball, the erstwhile XO.
            She may not know anything about sailing, but marines are dependable in a crisis. Not that I’ll say that so that it could get back to her.
            “Captain,” Kimball’s voice sounded over the comms, “we are tethered on the hull. Making our way forward, now.”
            “Copy that. All sensors show that we’ve got ideal conditions for this, no sign of dark matter or traffic.”
            “Really, Flynn, traffic? It’s space. The odds of hitting another ship at sail are—”
            “Do you really want the stars to jinx this by saying it can’t happen?” Flynn cut her off.
            Ann clamped her mouth shut.
            He’s right. Tempting fate always sets up a chaotic event.
            Ann said nothing, but instead started walking forward.
            “Moving forward,” Kimball called out.
            Time is relative. It slows down as we attempt great things. She recited from the Analects.
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