“Just take a breather, Pete!” yelled Zak Garrison from the other side of the cargo bay. “I’ll be there in a minute and we’ll get started,” he continuedthen added, more to himself than the technician, “Once I find that friggin’ manual.” Garrison, the
pilot and commander, was searchingfor the operator’s manual that was supposed to accompany the
.Pete heaved his tool box up on the workbench.
I suppose I could re-organize this thing while I wait
. So he began picking tools outof the box and laying them on the smooth surface of the workbench. Every fewminutes the robot-boy would say, “All of my systems are functioning normally,but I have no locomotion at present.”
I should have known he’d put the damn thing together before I found the manual
, Zak thought
. It probably would have taken me a couple of days, and Pete does it in less than two hours. Well, he’s the technical genius; I’m just the pilot of this bucket of bolts.
was, in point of fact, an excellent ship, and the envy of many a commander in the United Space Federation (USF) fleet. She was small,fast and sleek and had gotten Zak Garrison and his crew out of so manyscrapes he’d lost count, though lately she was showing her age a bit. Garrisonhad piloted her for about six years now, he and much of his crew away fromEarth for nearly as long. Five or six year missions were standard for the USF. There were even several craft still traveling through the universe that werelaunched in 2470, the year the USF was formed by combining the space