Touch of genius
“Fifteen minutes until impact!” said the computer soothingly, Stephen checked the sensors one last time to make sure the payload was still intact. Everything was running smoothly and the fusion generator was almost at critical output. A second counter under the first counted down from fourteen minutes, at which point everything would go miraculously right or he would learn the horror a bug feels right before impacting onto the windshield of a car.
“Ten minutes until impact” the computer chimed, “Please take your seat and prep for FTL.”
As Stephen buckled himself into his chair and donned his helmet, he crossed his fingers, then checked his calculation for the twelfth last time again while muttering “Please work, please work, please work,”
“Five minutes until impact…. Finishing final scans…. Scans complete!… Calculating launch vectors…. Launch vectors complete… Would you like to start the FTL sequence? Y/N?” the computer asked displaying the point-of-no-return message on the screen.
“I guess this is the windmill Marty!” Stephen joked as he clicked the ‘Y’ for yes and immediately felt the engine start drawing from the massive power his generator had just built up. As it did a large blue aura seemed to expand from the ship like a catcher’s mitt, ready to grab that asteroid before it could destroy his home.
Meanwhile Stephen watched the clock, it read thirty seconds as he gritted his teeth, “Please work, please work,”
Finally, the stars stretched in reds and blues for a brief moment before everything returned to normal, he punched the thrusters and headed perpendicular to the asteroids trajectory which was now safely on the other side of earth with no chance of impact. As he cleared the asteroid and Earth came back into view and his radio clicked on.
“That was a touch of genius Steve!” said Fred at ground control.
“No,” replied Stephen, “that was just courageous, genius would have been bringing an extra pair of shorts.”
It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E. F. Schumacher