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   Chapter 48 No.48

A Girl Named Sandy By Paul Kater Characters: 12094

Updated: 2018-02-11 19:04


Test-flight

To Sandy's surprise there were four additional chairs on the bridge. They could be folded into the wall, Matilda the second captain explained. "Those chairs are for anyone that might be needed here; they don't connect to the person sitting in them."

With Malcolm and Samantha secured, the ten crew members sat down in their chairs. Sandy looked at Paul, who smiled at her and said that he was nervous as well. It relieved her a bit. Probably everyone was feeling that way.

"Charles, can you see if you can call Lester?" Samuel asked one of the communication people.

"Call?" a few people asked. Charles deWinter just nodded, leaned back and closed his eyes.

"We have to give him some time, " Samuel explained, "we know this is possible but he's never done this before."

Only mere moments later they heard a telephone ring. "Lester Sutherland speaking."

Samuel and Matilda talked for the crew, informing Lester that everyone was present and that they would attempt the first start soon. Lester was pleased to hear that, said that he was very sorry to miss all the excitement and wished everyone good luck. "Maybe you can send us some camera footage when you are up there, " he joked before he ended the call. Now everything became serious.

"Laverne, activate the engines please."

Laverne Medfield, first helmsman today, silently sat back and closed her eyes. After a few moments, during which nothing seemed to happen, she said that the engines were online and ready. Tamara Hodgkiss, who was second helmsman for the flight, was then asked to check if everything was in order with the ship, while Matilda told Charles and Melanie to monitor outside communications. Charles had to listen on all military frequencies for anything suspicious pertaining to the ship, while Melanie Hall would attempt to contact people on other ships that might be available. Ben and Jess, the short range navigators, settled back to scan the nearby airspace for aeroplanes. Samuel and Matilda waited for them to give the all clear signal before they continued.

"Sandy and Paul, can you take over the scanning from Ben and Jess for a while? This way you'll get used to interacting with the ship. Ben and Jess are going to set a course out to the sea once you tell us what's the best direction to go."

Paul and Sandy nodded and lay back in their chairs.

'We can do this, Sandy.'

'I know. I think.'

They closed their eyes and felt the ship rush into their heads. Paul twitched a bit as it happened and then he sensed Sandy next to him, as well as Ben and Jess. They took a few moments to 'see' what the navigators were doing. The ship seemed to assist with that, and soon the astro-navigators had taken over the surveillance of the airspace overhead. Sandy gasped in silence as she became aware of the vast area that she could 'see', the amount of commercial aircraft that was out there and where they were going. And all that without any real effort or the sensation of being overloaded.

'Angelo is going to be so proud of his mother, ' she suddenly heard Paul say in her head. It made her smile, and proud to be there. As one they looked over the skies and decided that going west by south west was the area with the least traffic. Jess was still 'around', so Sandy pointed out the best direction to her, which was childishly easy. It was as if they all watched the same giant three-dimensional image, and the ship simply drew a line where she wanted them to go, which was adjusted according to her thoughts until she was satisfied. Jess let them know that it was an excellent choice and then re

In a concerted effort Sandy and Jess first took the ship to the edge of the earth's atmosphere. Paul helped them in a few small ways to get the position right. Then Sandy requested the use of the ship's cameras and scanners, and looked down. They had drifted off a bit, below them was the African continent, so together with the ladies at the helm the ship was moved until they were over western Europe again. From there Sandy scanned the surface and simply picked a spot over the Bristol Channel, and from there she left it to Jess and Ben to create the navigation-trajectory.

Laverne and Tamara worked together on directing the ship, which eased itself into the atmosphere. The entry was amazingly smooth. Paul recalled images from the Space Shuttle and reports of shaking and vibrations, but this ship was of an entirely different pedigree. Whatever the material was, the ride down was amazing. Paul followed what the others were doing, and in the corner of his eye he saw the view from an outboard camera. Flames surrounded the craft for a few fierce moments, and a minute after they'd started their descent the ship soundlessly hovered at the spot where Sandy had aimed for.

'From here you figure it out, ' she then said to everyone. This did not prove too difficult. Ben, Jess and Laverne first brought the ship over land, hovering over Exmoor Park, and from there it was a straight line back towards Bristol. They did not land in the same place from where they had taken off however, and it was the ship itself that decided on another spot, which was a bit closer to Bristol.

'Engines are offline. Everything looks good, ' Matilda said. Everyone sat up. The monitor in the front of them showed that it still rained. The bridge was silent, no one spoke a word. They had flown this enormous ship, just the ten of them. They had been in space and come back to earth safe and sound. Slowly everyone realised the importance of what had just happened, and it took a while before they felt able to get up and move around to congratulate each other.

After all the emotions had settled down again, Matilda announced: "Let me tell you, folks, we're very much screwed."

"Oh? Why is that?"

Matilda sighed. "We landed four miles away from the cars. I would like to see a show of hands for people that want to walk through the rain and come back to collect those who are afraid of water, please."

***

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