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   Chapter 14 No.14

Loderunner By Christina Engela Characters: 6007

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:01


"Uh –" Said the engineer. "In simple terms, it's part of the cooling system – it helps to stabilize the temperature of the warp plasma injectors."

"Okay." Said Tim, trying to look like it meant something significant to him. "And that?"

"Interpolating generator unit."

"W-"

"Generates the opposing magnetic fields that separate the matter-anti-matter fuel mix."

"Uh-"

"If it fails at warp speed, people in Proxima Centauri will wonder where that pretty new star came from."

"Great." Said Tim, finally managing to complete a whole word. "And that?"

"That? It's a baffle plate."

"Why do they call it that? What's it do?"

"Dunno – but it baffles the hell outta me, man."

Okay, then.

Over an hour was spent checking remaining things on the pre-launch check list. Like fuel, for example. There was still plenty of it, so luckily Tim wouldn't have to dip into the remaining nine grand to fill 'er up. At least not yet. Food and water stocks were also at acceptable levels. Everything seemed okay. With all the doors closed, the old hull even passed the pressure test with flying colors. The only thing that went 'pop' was Timaset Skooch's eardrums. Eventually, the main suspects were sitting at their respective positions on the bridge. The off-center view screen was all lit up, showing the vast parking lot outside. Jimmy the cook was at the helm – no steering wheel in sight – and Deire was at the navigator station. At the clearance signal from the Tower, Bubba revved the anti-grav, dropped the handbrake and with a dull distant roar and some distressing creaks and groans, the old ship lifted off the tarmac and sped skyward like a warp-powered elevator.

Lift-off was like a bad ride in a roller coaster. In fact, Tim wondered if it wasn't really the insane elevat

ow engage your hyperdrive at your convenience. We wish you a Safe and pleasant Journey, AND REMEMBER – SPEED KILLS."

"Garn! Okay, Bubba – Hit it!" Deire cried enthusiastically. The maniac behind the wh – um, helm desk punched something on the console.

"Oh, crap!" He heard himself say, just as the deck seemed to drop out from under him. The jump to warp speed was unlike anything Timaset Skooch was prepared for. At first it felt like his body became weightless, and then it felt as though he was slowly turning inside out, being stretched thin like an elastic band. He waited tensely for something to go snap. Then there was a faint little sound vaguely like the note at the beginning of Looney Tunes, but as it turned out, somewhat distressingly, that was just the hundred and nine year old warp engines as they went to full acceleration in a matter of moments. There were no fancy fireworks or flashy streaky light effects on the view screen – which suddenly appeared to be quite straight. Perhaps that was just the vibrations. By the time Tim's stomach finally caught up with him, the screen was black with the inky waste of space outside, the stars tiny motionless pin pricks of light.

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