20 April, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 2:18

This is the eighteenth section of the second chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

“So there’s four of these?”
“Yes, on the Oppenheim at least, they’re arranged around the periphery ninety degrees apart. Quite a classic design, but the old things are often classic for a reason. The largest, the Kurchatov, has eight, space for twelve, but you know what budget cutbacks are like.”
“Twelve of these, how big is that thing?”
“Big enough. As usual with the Professor ships the details are classified and you don’t need to know them.”
“And we built all of this after the Habitat showed up?” asked an unbelieving Malka
“The first one was mostly handbuilt. More like a submarine than a spaceship, The joy of these modern bots is that you give them something to copy and they’re remarkably good.”
“Speaking of copying...”
“Ah yes, the fighters. Look we needed something that could cope with atmospheric reentry and yet had the required delta-v. The X-33 was an ideal starting point. I’m surprised you knew about those.”
“My Dad used to love the aerospace museums.”
“Well I’m sure he’d love to see this.”
“Do you have a flight simulator for these too?”
“Yes a standard airplane one for their flight mode.”
“So when do I get to try one?”
“Let’s get us into space first. Or at least pretend to.”
“This simulator must have cost as much as a full ship”
“More than in fact, this was built first to test the systems and it had to be built to be more adaptable than a real ship. But it was a labour of love.”
“This ship alone has more firepower than any previous military combined..”
“What can I say, some people love power.”

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