Space… deep Space… infinite in all its dimensions.. as black as Satan’s heart… punctured by the occasional star, bleeding light in a half-hearted attempt to push back the cold, black depths… to no avail… and deep in the darkness below, a small silver dot crawls slowly, intent on its mission… And I’m the one stuck in that forsaken silver dot, trying to finish a mission I’d put off for 35 years… Some say I got tired of all the astrophysical data I had to study to become a Starbird pilot, using only books and a typewriter. Remember, this was a long time ago…
It was probably for all of those reasons that I quit, but the honest truth is that as the missions went further out into the stars, a lot of the pilots were cracking up from the intense loneliness of deep space. The Starbird was a single seater in the early days. It was only after I heard that the Starbird Mark II was ready for deployment with two seats: one for the pilot and one for the genetically modified talking dog, whose sole purpose was to keep the pilot sane, that I decided to rejoin The Halley Project.
I and my assigned Rocket Dog, Harlan, started training together and the time flew by. Before we knew it, we were transferred to Halley Base to begin our mission. Harlan was a great dog; clever, curious and friendly, with a great sense of humor. We were sealed into our Starbird Mark II and blasted into the depths of space.
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