The Governor wants the impossible
|The polar vortex would ruin everything, thought Winter, as she studied the maps.
It wasn't like on Earth, where you could plan for such events according to the seasons. Here on Zypso N7L the single vortex wrapped around the whole planet, and changed by the hour. Two decades she'd been trying to find a way to predict it, and whilst some progress had been made, it was painfully slow. She'd got as far as predicting the movements for one day.
The Governor wouldn't listen, of course. He insisted he needed a crew to fly to the planet's closest moon, Ergon, and nothing Winter or her team said would change his mind.
Petra joined her at the table, and for a few moments, they studied the charts in companionable silence, each leaning on the table for better perspective.
"It's not possible, is it?" asked Petra, resigned.
She shook her head. "If the launch goes ahead as scheduled, they'll be caught in the storm in the mid atmosphere. There'll be nothing left of the Charger to fall back to the ground."
Petra turned his back on the table and leaned against it as he glanced at her. "Do we know the wind speeds of this storm yet?"
Winter straightened up to ease the pressure on her back, then ran a hand through her thick blonde hair. "Upwards of four hundred."
Winter reached for her cup of replicated coffee and nodded as she brought it to her mouth.
Petra knew as well as she did that miles per hour was the only valid unit of speed on Zypso. "Eight hundred miles per hour on Earth. Or more."
Her colleague let out a low whistle. "And the Charger Spacecraft?"
"Huh. Not fast enough nor powerful enough to outrun that monster." She banged the coffee cup down on the table in frustration. "If they could only put off the launch til tomorrow, they might have a better chance."
Petra cocked his head at her, ginger hair flopping to the side as he did so. "What's the weather like tomorrow?"
Winter sank into the chair, resigned. She massaged her aching head. "Better than today. Wind speed down to fifty, temps down to 25F. Cold, but better. A rocket like the Charger should be able to withstand that."
"That's excellent news. Just what I wanted to hear," boomed the Governor.
Winter spun around on her chair. The Governor filled the doorway, a huge grin on his face and arms folded.
"Sir, that's for tomorrow. To attempt to fly to Ergon this afternoon would be suicide for the crew. There's a huge storm raging in the mid atmosphere just waiting to toss them around like a toy on the ocean."
"No trying to get out of it now, London. I distinctly heard you say that the Charger could withstand it."
"Sir," said Petra, "with respect, it's my fault. I'd asked Winter what the weather was like for tomorrow. That's what you overheard her talking about." He dipped his head in submission. It didn't pay to get on the wrong side of the Governor. "Sorry for the confusion, Sir."
The governor seemed to grow even taller as he stiffened. "The mission to Ergon happens today." He pointed at each of them in turn. "Find a way to make it happen. Or I'll send the pair of you back to Earth in disgrace!"
Winter slowly rose to her feet, ripping off her Commander badge as she did so. She threw it and her gloves down on the table. "In that case, you'd better summon a space cruiser. I will not be responsible for the death of a single member of the crew. Let alone four!" she spat.
Two hours later, she was in her room, packing her case, when movement from outside of her window caught her eye. She stopped and watched as the Charger took off. "Good luck," she muttered, "I hope to God I'm wrong."