The board bucked underneath Ann’s
feet, while the sail jerked, almost beyond her control. The idea that she,
using simple human strength, could control a sail caught up in a dark energy
wind that propelled a ship at 1.1 light years per hour was ludicrous. It was
beyond insanity. None of the math would ever work out, but then she hadn’t
At first Ann fought for control,
but the futility quickly became apparent. She and the board tumbled in front of
, though the ship was gradually
gaining on them. Flynn kept the sails trimmed so there was no spill, while Ann
was tossed like a leaf in a tempest.
Procedures for how to trim sails
flew through her head. The readouts on her HUD flashed information from the
board’s telltales. Numbers and alerts cascaded, flashing from blue to white to
yellow to red before going back along the spectrum.
“Ann,” Lita’s voice sounded in her
helmet, “your pulse and blood pressure are jumping. Blood oxygen saturation is
dropping. You’re coming close to hyperventilating.”
The sail jerked again, her left
hand slipping free.
She couldn’t see her hand, nor
could she see the rail on the sail. All she had as a reference was where her
body knew her other hand was. She flailed blindly, a sense of panic rising up
as her right hand ached from its death grip on the rail. Several times her hand
glanced off, but she was never able to grab it.
“Ann, your vitals are spiking
again.” Lita’s voice took on worry.
“Ann!” Panic welled in that voice.
“Flynn!” Lita was now on the
ship-wide comms. “Ann is not responding. You have to bring her in.”
Flynn’s voice cut in. “Stay calm,
Doctor. Ann, we’ve got telemetry and know your comms are active. Call it.”
She said nothing as she continued
to flail. Fingertips hit something, and she grabbed reflexively.
“XO,” Lita came over again. “You
have to reel her in. She’ll go into a panic attack soon.”
Despite the assurance, the sail
kept fighting her, and she was amazed her feet hadn’t torn free from the board.
Dully, she could feel her whole-body ache from every muscle exerting to try and
control the board.
. . . stop! Stop fighting it. Stop thinking. The wind can’t be thought out.
Stop being. Feel the wind. Surrender control to the wind’s mercy.