The Calculating Stars | Page 11 of 235

Author: Mary Robinette Kowal | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 22378 Views | Add a Review

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>“Roger. Would it help to mention that I’m a retired Army captain and still work with the government?”

“With the government? Please tell me you’re a senator.”

Nathaniel laughed. “No. A rocket scientist with the NACA. Nathaniel York.”

“The satellites! That’s why you sounded familiar. I heard you on the radio. Major Eugene Lindholm, at your service.” The man on the other end of the line was silent for a couple of minutes. When it crackled back to life again, he said, “Got enough fuel to reach Wright-Patterson?”

I’d flown into that airbase multiple times, moving planes during the war.

It was approximately one hundred and fifty miles from where we were. I nodded as I adjusted course to head us there.

Nathaniel nodded in acknowledgment and lifted the mic again. “We do.”

“Great. You’ll be there in time for dinner. Not that it’s much to look forward to.”

My stomach growled at the mention of food. We hadn’t eaten since dinner the night before, and I was suddenly ravenously hungry. Even water would be welcome.

When Nathaniel signed off, he leaned back in his seat with a sigh.

“Looks like you have a fan.”

He snorted. “We should have seen it.”

“What?”

“The meteorite. We should have seen it coming.”

“It wasn’t your job.”

“But we were looking for things that would interfere with the satellites.

You’d think we’d spot a goddamn asteroid that was this close.”

“Low albedo. Trajectory that put it in line with the sun. Small—”

“We should have seen it!”

“And if you had, what could we have done?”

The sound of the engine vibrated the seat beneath me and underscored the hiss of air slicing past. One of Nathaniel’s knees bounced up and down with nervous energy. He sat forward and grabbed the charts. “Looks like you’ll need to lay a course southwest.”

I’d already done that, and we had an escort, but if giving me directions made Nathaniel feel useful, then by God he could guide me all the way there. Every streaking flare of ejecta in the sky just drove home how helpless we were. I could see them, but not in time to do anything about them, so I kept my hands on the yoke and flew.

* * *

The good thing about the constant pinch of hunger was that it countered the soothing drone of the airplane and kept me awake. Well, that and Nathaniel’s terrible baritone. My husband was many things, but a singer was not one of them. Oh, he could carry a tune—in a bucket filled with gravel. Fortunately, he knew that, and leaned toward a comedic repertoire in his efforts to keep me awake. Bellowing with a vibrato like an amorous goat, Nathaniel stomped his foot on the floorboards of the airplane.

“Oh, do you remember Grandma’s Lye Soap?

Good for everything, everything in the place.

The pots and kettles, and for your hands, and for

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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