“Push harder, you’ll feel a click!” I see the lever as it locks in even without needing to have my hand on it. I think I even heard an actual click but it might have been my imagination.
She takes her hand away and we maintain a constant speed. “I know!” she looks pleased with herself and settles back into the plush captain’s chair, relaxing for the first time since we left port. She relaxes for just a second and then starts fiddling with the onboard computer.
“Take a break. Enjoy the flight,” I reach over and give her a pat on the head. “You’re doing fine.”
“I just wanted to double check my calculations before we leave the solar system,” she continues to punch at her tablet, her forehead showing a slight wrinkle above the top of her nose.
I let her finish. When she looks up I ask, “Well?”
“They’re right,” she smiles; she knows I knew they would be.
“Fifteen minutes?” I ask.
She looks back at her tablet and over at the ship’s console, “fourteen minutes, fifteen seconds…mark.” Giving me a little more precise information than I would ever need. She has worked hard preparing for this trip and some pride shows through the nervousness of her first real flight.
“It’s exactly like the simulations on Earth,” I say for the thirty-fifth time.
“But we are really out here,” she waves her arms to indicate all of space.
“It’s exactly the same. The controls, the computer, the view screen are even the same brand the simulation uses. The only way we could tell for sure we are in outer space would be to open the port and be sucked out,” I point at the portal on the curved gray metal sidewall.
“I know, I can feel the emptiness pulling at the walls,” she expresses pure joy with none of the fear I had on my first fight. Of course on my first fight there were still things to fear. I look around at the state of the art spacecraft that really flies itself. “When I was a kid…” I start but she breaks in.
“I know you had to peddle really fast to make your rocket ship go!” It’s not what I was going to say but it’s close.
“Well, this is a nice ship,” I answer.
“And you are a very nice father to provide it,” she smiles a little bigger than would be natural but she’s sincere.
“I wasn’t fishing, but thank-you.”
“It’ll be nice to be able to come home weekends.”
“And you won’t have to depend on any ugly boys to get around,” I say sternly.
“You don’t need to worry about me, all I will do is study, study, study.” I’d feel better if she hadn’t dotted her sentence with a wink.
“Hyper space in: four, three, two, one,” the ship slips into hyper drive and we leave the sol system far behind.