Chapter Fifty-Nine

The day finally came when everything was ready. The impossible was done. The single system engine that had been reassembled with the converter from The Ain't Been There Yet, was carefully slid back on the rails and the hull section covering it, replaced. They had two functioning star drive engines.
2 They were down to half their designed speed, but they could still move out if they had to. North sat on the command deck, all the Officers around him tense. North had forbid any test firing of the system engine; either it worked or it didn't work, and now was the moment of truth.
3 The Ain't Been There Yet stood off some distance, ready to give what assistance they could if the worst happened. "All right, Chief," North ordered, "fire her up!"
4 Back in engineering the Chief Engineer threw a switch and carefully pushed a lever forward. Behind him there was a rumbling sound, and the ship shook a little. He pulled the lever back, took a breath, and pushed it forward again. This time, a steady, even pulse could be felt throughout the ship.
5 "I guess we blew a little dirt out of the chambers," the Engineer spoke into a nearby communicator. "Engine functioning .06. Request permission to push her up to .25."
6 "Ready to maneuver," agreed North, "give us thrust, Engineer!"
7 The lever went forward. At the stern of the ship sparks and smoke blew out of the system engine, but then a steady blue beam replaced them, and the ship slowly moved away from the planet.
8 "Red line climbing," the Engineer acknowledged. "We can go to .30, sir."
9 "Continue!" ordered North.

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