Friday, November 24, 2023

Four Minute Read Sample - Vigilance

In the following excerpt from the Future Chron Universe novella "Vigilance," a rocket
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jockey has been hired by a mysterious contact to place an equally mysterious black box on the Mars moon Phobos. Rex, the rocket pilot, doesn't much care who, what or why, but he does care about getting paid.


Rex Stamford had worked around the clock to supervise the hopper modification. He had enlisted the help of his network of acquaintances he had worked with on both Mars and Earth. The main change to the hopper rocket was the additional fuel tanks strapped like a belt around its main rocket. The extra fuel would allow the rocket engine to burn long enough to achieve a rendezvous with the Mars moon and then provide the needed retro-burn to bring the rocket back down.

Rex had borrowed the results and necessary calculations from public documents filed by other expeditions. He had enough fuel to duplicate the orbital elements of those other expeditions and rendezvous with Phobos at some nine-thousand four-hundred kilometers altitude. He had chosen a small ridge on the trailing side of the moon as his target for placing the relay station.

Rex had contracted for an expensive, made to fit EVA suit for himself, something he could keep afterwards. Even so, at no time did Roscians balk at paying the bills and he never even requested an explanation for an expense. Because Rex was able to pay a premium for all services the hopper rocket was ready on time.