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"My father was a master mechanic; I grew up with a screwdriver in one hand and a pair of pliers in the other."
- Frank Herbert
||A two-seater craft capable of spaceflight; it used radiant power to achieve orbit.
How best to get to Wheelchair, the orbital home of Waldo Jones, inventor and world-famous eccentric?
|"...We'll use my 'broomstick'".
Grimes let his eyes run over his friend's fusiformed little
speedster. Its body was as nearly invisible as the plastic
industry could achieve. A surface layer, two molecules
thick, gave it a refractive index sensibly identical with that of air. When perfectly clean it was very difficult to see.
At the moment it had picked up enough casual dust and
water vapour to be faintly seen - a ghost of a soap bubble
of a ship.
Running down the middle, clearly visible through the walls,
was the only metal part of the ship - the shaft, or, more
properly, the axis core, and the spreading sheaf of deKalb
receptors at its terminus. The appearance was enough like
a giant witch's broom to justify the nickname. Since the
saddles, of transparent plastic, were mounted tandem
oven the shaft so that the metal rod passed between the
legs of the pilot and passengers, the nickname was doubly
"Son," Grimes remarked, "I know I ain't pretty, nor am I
graceful. Nevertheless, I retain a certain residuum of self-respect and some shreds of dignity. I am not going to
tuck that thing between my shanks and go scooting
through the air on it."
"Oh, rats! You're old-fashioned... Look - I'll polarize the hull before we raise. How about it?"
Grimes slid a regretful glance at his own frumpish boat,
but assented by fumbling for the barely visible port of
the speedster. Stevens assisted him; they climbed in
and straddled the stick.
"Atta boy, Doc," Stevens commended, "I'll have you
there in three shakes. That tub of yours probably won't
do over five hundred, and Wheelchair must be all of
twenty-five thousand miles up..."
He fumbled, apparently in empty air; the hull suddenly became dead black, concealing them. It changed as suddenly
to mirror bright; the car quivered, then shot up out of sight.
by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1942
Additional resources -
The ship's power came from the deKalb radiant power receptors, which pulled radiant power right out of the air.
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