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Sunday, June 26, 2011

SPECIAL GUEST POST: Amber Norris

Please welcome sci-fi author, Amber Norris to my blog!

Take it away, Amber...

The Real Space Pilot's Life
We've all day dreamed about being a pilot. Walking the tarmac in that cool flight suit, the wind in our hair, cool glasses, and the helmet propped against our side by our forearm...oh, come on! It wasn't just me! When I began writing this military SFR book, I knew one of my main characters need to be a futuristic space pilot fighter. The experience was a double edged sword. I gained a lot of respect for the true pilot's and astronaut's life and came to the realization I could never have been a pilot or astronaut, let alone a space fighter pilot.

*sigh*

Most of their time will be spent in between action in constant conditioning, physically, technically, and mentally.

When you finally get your mission call, the day of is filled with briefings and planning sessions (like intelligence and coordination). In between all of this you're spending your time getting in "the zone". After hours of preparation, you finally get to head over to the ready room and get suited, then go to the launch deck and perform final checked and sign off on the million dollar vehicle you're taking out.

You and your 2 or 3 man crew crowd into the small cockpit with your bulky, heavy suit and sit...sit a long time. The final go for launch is zeroed down and then BHAM!, you shoot up and out of the satellite military station, up to several Gs pressure in seconds.

For the most part, your mission will be patrolling a designated zone, monitoring a specific area of space. This will be a loonnng and boring time. Hours upon hours of a standard flight pattern and silence. You're lower back, butt, and thigh will start to ache and tingle.

No, about 90% of your time will be boring and tedious and routine. In my newest release older sister, Nettie, is part of a 3 man crew. The excerpt below is about one of her routine patrols, that doesn't end so routine.

Excerpt
In the farthest sector of the outer zone, Nettie's shuttle cruised along through the silence of space. The picket beacons had been quiet for hours and the work had become droll. They used the boomerang surveillance method, slinging out the edge of the zone and slowly drifting back at an angle. Kaitlin and Nettie made small talk and joked, fell silent, and then started up small talk again. Jenny sat mutely in her duties, no matter how much the other two attempted to draw her out.
Understandably, she'd been distant, emotionally withdrawn. Nightmares plagued her at night. She wouldn't go to party settings, like the club. She also refused to go into the locker room alone. Yet, there were moments where she'd be the old Jenny. Times, when they were hanging out, or heading to a restaurant, and she seemed fine. Nettie hoped those moments would start to become the norm, instead of the rarity. The therapist said it was a matter of time. Jenny healed physically and now needed to heal emotionally.
In the eighteenth hour, a friendly shuttle crossed their path. "How's the silence?" their pilot, Ric, asked. "Well... quiet. Funny thing about silence, Ric, it doesn't have much to say," Kaitlin joked.
"Neither did my date last night," their engineer tech, Joel, chimed in.
"Yeah," Nettie said without breaking her constant analysis of her navigation grid. "Disappointment will do that to a woman." Laughter from both crews filled the communication line.
"Ha, ha. Very funny, Matterville," Joel said. "We've been dead all night. You guys pick up anything?"
"Nah, it's a ghost zone around here," Kaitlin said. "Its nights like these that remind you flight duty is not glamorous."
"Yeah, well don't tell anyone or our dating average would plummet," Ric warned.
"Couldn't plummet any worse than Nettie's record." Kaitlin jostled her friend.
Nettie flipped her the bird.
"Hell, Matterville, you need a date? I'm free," Joel snickered.
"Joel, I don't date outside my evolutionary species."
Both crews burst into laughter again. Jenny even hinted at a smile. Nettie continued to check her screens. All clear. The conversation would be the night's most active entertainment.
That's just sad. Nettie shook her head.
Control intercepted with reprimands. "Non-official communications are prohibited during patrol duty. Both crews are to re-engage patrol patterns immediately."
Ric's crew headed off. Beyond Ric's shuttle, from a distance of eight minutes, an unknown silver object swept by.
"Object detected in--" Before Nettie could finish, the enemy launched their armaments.
The charge blasted Ric's shuttle, sent it flying into the flank of Nettie's fighter. The collision jarred the framing. Nettie's shoulders slammed into her straps and her head jerked forward and then rammed back into her seat. A creaking groan warned of possible seal breaks.
"Shit. Control, request fleet assistance. Class A threat. In defensive engagement. Fighter RT4 hit with direct charge. We've been hit indirectly through collision with RT4."
Their fighter spun wildly, stuck in a fast vertical and slow horizontal spin. Kaitlin worked to regain control. Jenny isolated engine problems and redirected thruster power. Nettie tracked the enemy's route on her screen.
"Fleet assistance engaged. Recovery crews in route to your logged location. Defensive fleets in route to enemy coordinates."
"Our main forward thrusters are toast," Jenny confirmed. "Redirecting power to the minor forwards. You can use that, plus the armament combustion to help us out of this spin."
"Good thinking." Kaitlin gritted her teeth. The struggle with their fighter craft strained her face. She had a delicate balance with her physique. Too aggressive and she'd break off the pilot console. Too little and she wouldn't be effective. "This is a fun ride, but lasting too long for my taste."
Nettie scanned outside and quickly looked away. The stars zipped by at a dizzying speed. The low rate of gravity toyed with her equilibrium, making her nauseous. Kaitlin's struggle started to pay off. The fighter slowed and stopped its vertical spin, then its horizontal. They drifted in space, dead weight.
Out the viewer, Nettie spotted the other ship, still spinning off in the distance. "RT4, what is your status?"
Silence.
"RT4, repeat, what is your status?"
More silence...

If you liked this, check out Amber's blog.

8 comments:

  1. Hi Amber *waves to Kylie*

    What a terrific insight into what an astronaut goes through. And a great read too, loved it! =)

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  2. Thanks Mel! - AR Norris

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  3. Great post into the real life of a pilot!

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  4. Thanks TK! - AR Norris

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  5. Beam me up, Amber!

    Love your style.

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  6. Hey Mel, TK & Marva, great to have you drop in! :-)

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  7. Hey, Sarah, glad you liked Amber's post! Thanks for stopping by an commenting. :-)

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