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Friday, February 12, 2021

F³ Reeducation

             Flynn eased the thruster control up. He tried not to let his nervousness show, but the jerk of the ship in response to the thrusters gave him the lie.

            “Sir, are you sure about this? Officers aren’t known for doing real work,” Eltie said.

            “Says the lieutenant.” Flynn shot back. “So I’m a little rusty. It’s been a while since I conned a ship out.”

            “And the enlisted did it for you?”

            “I still called out the orders, though.” Flynn turned the yoke, adjusting their heading. The ship, slowly at first, turned to the new heading. “See, that wasn’t so bad.”

            “We’re still in system.”

            Flynn sighed.

            Yeah, that.

            “Not for long.”

            The ship coasted through the bow shock and into interstellar space. Dark energy winds filled the sails, pushing them at faster-than-light speeds. Alarms blared as the sensors registered a negative trim: the bow was tipping forward. Technically, in space, this didn’t matter as it would in water. However, FTL sailers that trimmed too negative or positive could flip entirely. It wouldn’t hurt the ship, but the masts might rip out and the sails shred, entirely.

            “Captain?” Eltie said, alarmed.

            “I know, I know. The dorsal sail is filling while the ventral isn’t. I just need to get the angles right.”

            Flynn’s hands flew across the controls. He adjusted the lines, slightly luffing the dorsal sail. Then he worke don the ventral sails, trying to get the telltales—the small flag sensors built into the sails—to break even. He overcorrected more than once, but finally got the wind flowing smoothly over the ventral sails. The trim evened out, and Flynn got the dorsal sails to do the same.

            He sighed in relief. “See, no problem.”

            Flynn looked over to Eltie, who had a white-knuckled grip on the arms of her chair. “You were working on that for over half an hour.”

            Flynn’s eyebrows went up, and he checked the time himself. “Okay, so I need to put in some more practice.”

            “And hire a pilot.”

            “Hey, it wasn’t that bad.”

            “Anything that makes a marine nervous is bad.”

            “Marines always get this way when sailors do their jobs.”

            “Maybe if sailors didn’t do it so poorly.”

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