five minutes and a bite-sized piece of history later, he arrived
I’m editing my novel right now, since I have nothing better to do. I’m still off limits for writing. (One more day!) However, I was reading this I thought I’d share it.
The setup to this is Shad, a pilot, is diverted from his current course in a race to inspect, and possible rescue someone, from an escape pod. I knew that I didn’t want to have it be something like:
Shad reprogrammed the AP to fly towards the eject pod. Five minutes later, he reached it.
I generally like to insert something more than “five minutes passed” to indicate that time has passed. But when I first wrote this section, I wrote:
Lunlight guided effortlessly through space. Sometimes, the ease with which Lunlight flew made him forget that he was even racing. It more made him feel like all this time was just a practice and if he messed up, it was no big deal. He rarely felt this way outside of the cockpit.
Then I continued on about how the only other place he felt comfortable was when he watched a sunrise. Okay, yes, but not great.
I don’t remember what exactly gave me the idea of writing exactly this but, see, Shad is one of the youngest pilots in the galaxy and I never really explain much about how he became a pilot. We know a little bit but the exact happens of it we don’t know. So I wrote this and not only does it inform the reader a little bit more about my character in a bit sized piece, but it fills in the time without saying, “five minutes later.”
Lunlight guided effortlessly through space. Sometimes, the ease with which Lunlight flew made him forget that he even raced. He simply practiced and if he messed up, it didn’t matter. If someone interviewed him now, they would say he took this race way too casually.
Yet, he never wanted to fly a ship like it would explode if he didn’t pay attention to for one second. No true pilot ever flew like that. Elia did though. She might have been main pilot on Adrus but she always fretted too much about the ship. Near the end, her fretting became worse, close to an obsession that even the captain began to notice.
That last time, Shad knew she was too tense to begin her shift. Her tenseness kept Shad from mentioning that he suspected she flew into a minefield. But, even if she had noticed herself, she probably would have overacted. That outcome would have not been much different than when she finally realized that they flew among mines and not asteroids. Without any warning to anyone, she took Adrus through a series of much-too-sharp twists and turns. After that first mine touched Adrus and exploded, she overcompensated for it and set off a chain reaction. Shad knew that he should call for a replacement and kick her out of the pilot’s chair until one of them came. He knew that based on her flurry of curses, she should not be flying any ship right now in such a stressful situation. But at only fourteen, why should she listen to him?
Only after an explosion threw her against the wall did he leap into the chair, forgetting even to call someone to help. As soon as his hands touched the controls, everything became a sim. The minefield and the ship simply became a game. He could not touch a mine or he would lose the game. Only when he finally brought Adrus to safety and reality once more materialized did he understand what he had done.
Elia died from a subdural hematoma and Shad became a relief pilot in her place. But he always flew anything difficult like a game. Some people considered him to use too many colorful actions when he flew. You fly one way in a sim and another in real life, they thought. You can do all the crazy, neckbreaking stunts you want in a sim and it make some incredible shows. But in real life, people call those same stunts colorful actions and not to be tried. He didn’t think he truly did what they accused him of doing. But he promised himself never to do anything reckless like Elia did, when she stopped pretending it was a game and started realizing it was a matter of life and death.