with only minor glitches. Despite much controversy, construction had begun on the third, mannedhyperspace ship. And Christi had been chosen as pilot.And so now she sat in the cockpit of XP-3, waiting to face the risk. She had christened theship the
, thinking that using a real name, other than the ship’s technical designation, might bring her a touch more luck. In her younger years, Chuck Yeager had been her idol, and the reasonshe had become a test pilot in the first place. Inwardly she wondered if years from now, she mightserve as the inspiration for future generations of space explorers.As the countdown continued, she ran through her pre-flight checklist for the umpteenthtime since she had climbed aboard. That damned fuel monitor light was still glowing red and shetapped it several times with her finger until it reverted to normal. “State of the art,” she mumbledaloud.Her eyes fell upon the lenticular photo of her husband Graham and their four year old sonBenjamin that she had wedged onto the instrument panel. Her checklist momentarily forgotten,Christi gazed into her son’s coffee brown eyes and had a flash of honest fear. The thought thatsomething could go wrong and Benny would be left motherless was so great at that moment, sheseriously thought of aborting the mission.
To Hell with science,
To Hell withknowledge and expanding human boundaries. I want to play ball with my boy.
“T-minus ninety seconds,” the voice of the controller aboard McKinley Station startledChristi from her inner ranting.“Confirm, Control,” she replied, her voice shaky with the sudden surprise.Despite her misgivings, she was still surprised to find her hands shaking as he brought theWormhole Drive online, and knew it was not from the vibration of the engines. Closing her eyes,Christi drew in a deep breath. When she released it, her hands were steady once more.