An excerpt from Sirki’s Children.

Busy editing the sequel to Sirrkusaga so I thought I’d do a cheaty blog by posting a chunk of where I am at present, enjoy a taste of the novel.

Chapter 11 – Freya in orbit

Sparrow stood on the lift pad, all pre-flight checks had been done, the superconductive coils were cycling and the gravity drivers had been run up and down several times. As the ground crew withdrew a vehicle pulled up and two helmeted figures in silver suits emerged to be escorted to the teardrop shaped vessel, after shaking hands with their escort the pair climbed up the retractable stairway to the control blister.

Once inside the steorrafarae took their seats and harnessed up. “Well Freya this is it, today the project lives or dies with us” said Sartorius.

“Let’s be optimistic Dexter, today we make history.” she responded, her co-pilot was a normal human, aside from the Palace Guard the RAF was one of the few services that encouraged recruitment from norms and novae alike. Freya Da N’tan and Dexter Sartorius were great friends and could rely on each other totally, they also shared a mutual attraction but both were too reserved to do anything about it.

“Sparrow to control we have green on all systems.” announced Sartorius.

“Control to Sparrow, we confirm your status as green, you are cleared to lift.” came a voice from the communicator.

“Check Control” replied Freya. “Energising drivers.” she punched in the start sequence, the vehicle shuddered as three massive anti-gravity drivers began running and a low humming vibrated through the vessel.

“Control, drivers are up and running” reported Dexter.

“Check, Sparrow we confirm drivers running.”

“Spinning up” Freya input another sequence and the hum rose to a roar, slight movement could be felt as Sparrow became weightless to merely sit on its triplet of anti-gravity fields.

“Control, we are free” announced Dexter.

“We confirm you are free, lift when ready Sparrow, may the gods grant you a safe journey.”

“Lifting!” shouted Freya over the roar and the teardrop shaped star-boat rushed from the ground to hurtle skywards followed the boom as it went supersonic pushing the steorrafarae back into their seats.

“Sonic 10” called out Freya.

“Plus 15, 20, 24, 27” they were approaching the point where they had failed previously.

“28, 30, 29, 28, 29,” Dexter Sartorius picked up the count as the drivers struggled against Nerth’s gravity.

“Control to Sparrow, fire boosters now!” came the steorhus’ command.

Freya pressed the ignition button and they were thrown back into their seats once more as the solid fuel rockets fired. “31, 32, we’ve hit Sonic 33! Control we have reached escape velocity, our ceiling is 120 miles and rising.”

“Approaching maximum dynamic pressure.” shouted Dexter above the roar.

A few seconds passed then. “Control to Sparrow we confirm D-Max.”

“Booster cut off in 3, 2, 1!” they were jerked forward in their harnesses as acceleration ceased abruptly, Freya operated another button. “Boosters ejected!”

Sartorius looked in the mirror on his side of the cabin to see three thin cylinders floating away with balletic synchronicity against the background of their blue world. “Confirm boosters away!”

A few tense minutes later came the message they had been waiting for. “Congratulations Sparrow, we can confirm you have achieved an orbit of 165 miles above sea level, you are the first human beings to reach space in over three hundred and fifty years!” and now in free fall the two steorrafara made great play of floating a toy troll around the cabin for the cameras.

Freya could clearly see Selene’s crescent in the starry vista to the right of the vessel, then rotating the craft along its length to face their world to see Europa below, Aengland was now far west of them and they would not see it for over an hour upon completing their first orbit. Provided everything went well they would be allowed make a second orbit before returning to the ground.

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