In "Silver-Side Up", James gives us a sneak peek at the next Riggs ship, Gossamer Goose, and mentions Sarah is slated to be Gossamer's pilot. You'll recall Sarah appears at the end of "43 Seconds" as the pilot on stand-by near Mars if anything went wrong.
I've been writing Sarah's story, and thought I'd share a few snippets from it. Let me know your thoughts:
Sarah pushes the Pintail’s flight stick forward and the aquamarine sky rolls away. Below, the cloud deck is an impossible swirl of cinnamon and gold with pockets of flickering lightning. Thunder rumbles in bursts, its audio out of sync with the light show. Through the cockpit windows great banded rings fade into the horizon and the scale of it is almost too much to take in at once. Motion catches her eye as a silver glimmer carves a vapor trail across the sky, alternating red and green strobes pulsing from its wings. It changes course, the vapor trail bending behind it, then corkscrews a white spiral before matching her altitude. Saturn’s moons are an audience of bright stars behind it.
“Well, now you’re just showing off,” Sarah says to her helmet mic.
The stars behind Bernard’s Beauty swirl to an invisible periphery as if pushed by a great unseen force. Each brightens and blues. In the blink of an eye the ship collapses into the nothingness of space, the stars rotating back into place in its wake.
Transmission Four: +9 days/+21 hours
Sarah’s having lunch with her mother. Gaige sits beside her, happy to be reunited after her two-week trip. Sarah’s mother has been a saint taking care of him each time she’s been away.
In James’s video the cabin lights are dimmed and he’s weightless in a wall-mounted sleeping bag, his arms floating in front of him. There’s just not enough room in Bernard’s for a separate sleeping area. He gives a salute before turning off the light.
William pilots the Sandpiper on final approach to Hayden-Pratt’s MEO2 construction dock. It’s a twin to the Cassini One shipyard, a great wheel in space filled with brilliant blue Earthshine and sharp shadow. Mounted perpendicular to the wheel is a sixty-two meter wedge with gold light spilling from its cockpit windows. It’s sunlit-side is blinding white, washed out, but its shadow side is illuminated with pockets of running lights and strobes. Black registry letters read HP-G01 Gossamer Goose. Below it the Earth is a sun-washed ocean swirled with powder.
Hitoshi drums his fingers against his thumb.
“You okay?” Sarah asks.
“Okay to design the ships. Not so much for the flying, I’m an engineer, not a test pilot,” he says.
“Well, you’re more of a test passenger, if that makes you feel any better.”
“No. Not really.”