Wing Commander Junior Novelization Chapter 5

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Chapter 5
Book Wing Commander Junior Novelization
Parts 1
Previous Chapter 4
Next Chapter 6
Pages 35-38
Source Wing Commander Chapter 5

Dramatis Personae

Part 1

Christopher Blair


Todd "Maniac" Marshall
James "Paladin" Taggart


Arnold Blair
Devil Soulsong


MARCH 15, 2654
2200 HOURS

Marshall shouted the final countdown: "Three, two ..."

     Blair glanced back at Taggart, who shoved a protein chip into place, then jiggled a wire.


     The navigation system snapped on, panels warming to their normal glow, coordinates spilling across four screens in front of Blair. Snap. Everything went dark.

     Snap. Everything came back.

     "Come on!" Marshall shouted.

     After a tiny spark and loud hum, the instruments came back on.

     Blair read the coordinates and studied the course, but something deep inside said the computer was wrong. He couldn't explain the feeling, but he had felt it before during his training at the academy. The feeling tugged on his mind, his heart, and something even greater.

     "Plot your course, Mr. Blair," Taggart said.

     Mother? Father? Be with me now. Blair pulled out his cross and squeezed it. Then he obeyed the feeling as it told him to close his eyes. His fingers glided over the touchpad as though it were a musical instrument. Then he opened his eyes and stared at the upper left screen: COURSE PLOTTED.

     Drawing in a long breath and holding it, Blair steered the Diligent into the gravity well.

     Marshall released a long howl over the rattling consoles and conduits.

     One, two, three, and the Diligent pierced the barrier--

     And with eyes wide open, Blair could only see darkness. He cried out to Marshall. The other pilot did not answer. Then Blair realized that he hadn't heard himself call out, that all of his senses had been shut down, replaced by ...

     The feeling.

     Never had he felt it so strongly, a connection to the universe that made no sense, that made perfect sense. His body had never belonged to him in the first place. It had always belonged to the universe. He understood at least that much of the feeling now.

     The Diligent's bridge reappeared as quickly as it had vanished. But life still hung between seconds. Taggart stood frozen on his way toward the bridge. Marshall leaned back in his chair, in midscream. And Blair somehow observed this while feeling as though he could move his body but realizing that he could not.

     With a white-hot flash, the Diligent broke free from Scylla's arms and plunged back into normal space. Marshall finished his scream. Taggart came onto the bridge.

     The return left Blair feeling empty, as though he had forgotten part of himself and needed to head back.

     Taggart examined the nav computer's display. He opened his mouth, looked at Blair, started to say something, then just stared.

     Feeling nervous over Taggart's odd look, Blair asked, "What happened?"

     The captain held back a laugh. "You just plotted a jump through a gravity well in under five seconds. A NAVCOM can't do that." His gaze lowered to Blair's chest.

     Seeing this, Blair gripped his cross for a moment before slipping it under his shirt. "I guess I just felt something."

     "You didn't use the nav computer's trajectory. Why?"

     "I don't know."

     "Who cares how he did it," Marshall said. "That was one hell of a rocket ride. Not bad for the second-best pilot at the academy."

     "Shut up," Taggart barked, turning to Marshall. "The next time you fail to follow my orders, I'll dump you with the rest of the garbage. You read me, Lieutenant?"

     Tensing, Marshall kept his gaze forward and replied, "Yes, sir. I read you clearly, sir."

     Satisfied that Marshall had been duly reprimanded, Taggart redirected his attention. "Plot a course for the Tiger Claw, Mr. Blair."

     "Yes, sir."

     Taggart rubbed his eyes, sighed loudly, then walked off the bridge.