Wednesday, 2 June 2010

A Slight Delay

Nathaniel Webber, fat and forty, eased his ship against the tide of gravitons, geared down to third, and took up a wide orbit over earth. Coming out of light speed always give him the jitters. Going in and coming out. That thwock of light and the suddenness of location. It was Sunday evening and earth was busy; the weekend flyers were coming home to roost. He slipped himself into a lower stream and a light on his left flashed in time with a ping-ping chime in his right ear. Earth was calling him. His computer answered and was identified by the traffic centre’s computer. They chatted in quantum time, we’re going here – yes, you’re scheduled to go there. His monitor informed him he was free to come down in ... thirty-five minutes. Not too bad. He tapped on auto-cruise and sat back from the panel.
Thirty-five minutes. Which really meant about fifty, judging from the traffic. With his mouse he zoomed in on the craft in front of him. Tourists. Outer arm moneyed types, probably making the long journey to earth to find their roots. They’d go home with caps bearing the earth logo and stories of a special feeling, like we were there, where it all began.
He laughed and switched on the telly.

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