Tranquillity (The) Alternative
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moving upward. They had been heard moving into the airlock, all right. The airlock door started to open. He remembered his kids’ faces, then flipped the emergency switch marked VOID. Pyros in the ceiling hatch above their heads detonated, blowing the hatch cover off its hinges, and a miniature hurricane erupted inside the airlock as its atmosphere exploded through the manhole-size opening. Even through his helmet, the roar was deafening; it was as if a freight train were running through the
few moments within ISPY’s focal lens was a large, dartlike shape … Or, rather, two shapes: a silver form similar to an F-117, mounted atop a larger, black craft which vaguely resembled an SR-71. “That’s Aurora,” Laughlin said, tapping the screen with his fingertip. “The bottom craft is the mother ship, Senior Citizen. It takes the bird on top up to high altitude, where it lets go. The little bastard on top is code-named Thunder Dart … it climbs to suborbit with scramjets.” Parnell nodded. “The
handful of diehard space buffs who still came from near and far to witness major rocket launches. Not too many years ago, so many people used to show up for launches that the U.S. Space Force had to issue camping permits three or four months in advance, and even then many people tried to camp out in the grassy median between the road lanes. This was no longer necessary; over the last decade the crowds diminished in size and number until now only a few dozen pilgrims journeyed to Merritt Island.
of the fourth estate aboard. Perhaps we could do an interview sometime while you’re …” “Hey, man! Turn up the heat or something! It’s fuckin’ freezing in here!” Dr. Z turned to face Dooley, whose nasal whine had interrupted the little chat. “What’s it to you, boomer?” he asked, dropping Rhodes’s hand. “And watch your language … there’s a lady present.” Before Dooley could do more than glare at him, Dr. Z smiled again. “Oh, you must be the right honorable Paul Dooley. I’ve got a message for
map until they reached their destination, the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers. For three days they walked, sang Boy Scout campfire songs and Creedence Clearwater Revival hits, took snapshots of the Needles and Druid Arch, complained about boot blisters, sipped canteen water and dined on trail mix, and walked some more until, almost unexpectedly, they reached a place where the ground fell away and they found themselves staring into a primitive canyon with rock walls like the prows of