Turning the chair -his chair- around Alexander scoped out the bridge of his ship. If he wasn’t dreaming, then he had just been given command and control over the most powerful piece of technology on the planet, and told he had carte blanche.
His imagination exploded with thoughts and ideas. He knew that he couldn’t squander this opportunity, and had to do more than just be selfish with it, but first, he wanted to see what the ship could do.
Turning back to face the front of the bridge, he looked down at the table. It was still illuminated with various symbols, but Alexander didn’t understand what they were in reference to. “So computer, how do I fly this thing?”
The symbols came together, and some recognizable control elements began to appear. Another hologram appeared in front of the desk, and began playing a simulation relating to what each of the buttons on the console did. Feeling a great deal like a tutorial for a video game, Alexander was still having trouble wrapping his mind around where he was, and what he was about to do.
As the lesson progressed, the various control elements on the table lit up corresponding to an action that the holograph displayed. Much like a keyboard controlled flight simulator, there were buttons for going up, down, left, right, and spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise. There were also buttons for throttle control, and z-axis. Over to the far right was what looked like a playlist of pre-programmed maneuvers that could be instigated by touching them.
Attempting to raise the ship up higher, Alexander wanted to give himself room so that he could attempt to control the ship. Slipping his hand over the controls, he tapped the table, and the icons seemed to respond to his touch. Some recognizable details appeared between the buttons relating to altitude above sea level in meters, ground speed, and throttle level out of one hundred percent. At first nothing seemed to be changing. Tapping on the buttons as hard as he could in hopes of creating a response only lead to frustration. The altimeter stayed the same, as did the land speed and the throttle indicator.
“What am I doing wrong?” he said hoping the computer would give him some more operational tips.
The throttle indicator blinked twice before staying on. Touching it, Alexander watched the numbers on the altimeter climb quickly. Seconds later, he noticed the number read three kilometers, and it seemed to be jumping by a kilometer a second.
“Computer, can you show me outside again, but this time only from the front of the ship?”
The area in front of the ship became translucent again and Alexander could see out. He was rising up into the clouds quickly, as the altimeter read ten kilometers, then twenty. Touching the top of the throttle control, the altimeter started jumping even faster. One second it was displaying twenty-five kilometers, and the next, it was at one hundred and twenty-five kilometers.
Touching the bottom of the throttle, the altimeter stopped climbing abruptly. Alexander thought he would feel some sort of deceleration, but there was no indication that he had traveled any speed or stopped quickly. The altimeter read three hundred and eighteen kilometers.
“This should be a safe height to test this thing out.” he said.
A sphere appeared to his right, glowing slightly it quickly caught Alexander’s attention. It was a holographic Earth, and on it, he could see a reference point of where the ship was in relation to the ground. He was in a stationary orbit, and the world was quickly turning below him. He noticed some other small object approaching his location.
“Um, computer… what is that other icon on the globe?”
A quick chirping tone preceded the even, unemotional female voiced response, “We will pass near the International Space Station in three minutes.”
Alexander had always dreamed of going to space, and here he was. The excitement faded slightly as he realized that being in the Resurrection felt more like being in the safety of his living room than out orbiting the planet near the same height as the International Space Station.
Playing with the flight controls would have to wait though, as he wanted to see the station up close. “Can you show me the station?”
A holographic diagram appeared in front of him between the transparent section and his table.
“No, I want to see the one outside. Is that possible?”
Almost as though the computer had known what he was going to ask, the transparent section at the front of the ship warped and shifted, and Alexander found himself looking at the I.S.S. as it quickly moved closer and closer to where he was.
Continuing to talk to the computer like it was a person in the room always listening to him he asked, “Can I experience weightlessness?”
Alexander felt the weight of his body melt away. The pressure of his body pressing against the seat disappeared. Pushing on the arms of the chair, he slowly floated up towards the ceiling. The feeling was surreal, but exactly how he hoped it would be, except for a queasy feeling growing in his stomach.
He had heard of people getting sick on the vomit comet, a plane that allowed people to experience short periods of weightlessness, but he had always assumed it was because of the constant switching back and forth. By the time the space station was passing by, Alexander was sweating and completely focused on trying to avoid throwing up.