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I am too old, frozen stiff with fear, snow grazing my withered head.
The “weight of the air weighs a ton” as I step towards the control panel.
The fate of the “Atlantis speaks to me” of its chances.
The screens the endless “new rustic LCD’s”, portray the data of their travel.
They are coming in too fast.
Here I am, the chief scientist of NASA, and I can do nothing.
All of my training, my Harvard degrees, do not account for my judgment.
“What can you do?” they ask me.
I can do nothing for the frightened sparrow in the sky.
Every object in the sky is a frightened sparrow, spinning chaotically.
Yet I am a frightened sparrow on the ground, wanting to fly far away.
My nostrils flare, my senses increase, and I feel the wings of the sparrows wash over me: flashing screens, rushed breaths…as I reach the button.
An alarm bursts into my concentration, in on my reverie.
An engine has lost all auxiliary power to its conduits.
I am a block on the ground, and I can do nothing.
The sparrow has flown away.
“Doctor, you must revert auxiliary power!”
“Doctor, there are eight lives at stake!”
“Why do you waver?”
Every person on the base is flying, flying, flying away.
I must act.
With death heavy upon my brow and heart, I act.
Now the rough, uncouth surface of the button is my fascination.
Alarms blaring, I am the essence of calm.
If I rewrite the conduits remotely…
If I redirect the auxiliary power to the sub-engines…
If I recalculate trajectory…
I can save them.
“Death sings a silent tune” as the chaos is directed at our LCD’s.
As time slows, time dilation occurs, and the sparrow stills, and I am calm.
I know they have survived.
The Atlantis crew, according to my trajectories, has made a successful landing.
Clamorous cries rise above the tumult of my praise.
I relish the sweet-washed bath of glory, of action.
My job is complete.
I acted in the nick of time.
My doubt was for nothing.
(Yet Atlantis has burned…)