فصل 08

مجموعه: کتاب های متوسط / کتاب: 2001 - اودیسه فضایی / فصل 8

کتاب های متوسط

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فصل 08

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 3 دقیقه
  • سطح متوسط

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER SEVEN

Special Flight

Dr Heywood Floyd had left Earth many times before, but as the moment of take-off approached, he still felt nervous.

The jet that had rushed him here from Washington, after that midnight meeting with the President, was now dropping down towards one of the most exciting parts of the world. Here, along thirty kilometers of the Florida coast, were the greatest structures of the Space Age. Near the horizon he could see the shining silver tower of the last Saturn 5, a museum now for twenty years. Not far away from it stood the great building where all the early ships had been built.

But these things now belonged to the past, and he was flying towards the future. As his plane turned, he could see the spaceplane in a pool of light, being prepared for its flight to the stars. It seemed very small from this distance, until he looked at the tiny figures all around it. Then he remembered that - it was more than sixty meters across the narrow ‘V’ of its wings. And they were preparing this enormous machine just for him.

Though it was two o’clock in the morning, a crowd of reporters and cameramen were waiting for him when he stepped off the plane. But he could say nothing except ‘no comment’ as he walked through them.

The stewardess greeted him as he entered the spaceplane.

‘Good morning, Dr Floyd. I’m Miss Simmons. I’d like to welcome you on board.’

He looked at the twenty empty seats. On her advice, he chose the front one on the left, because it would offer the best view. He sat down, put on the safety belt and fixed his bag to the next seat. A moment later, the loudspeaker came on.

‘Good morning,’ Miss Simmons said. ‘This is Special Flight 3 to Space Station 1.’

It seemed she wanted to follow the normal routine, and Dr Floyd smiled.

‘Our flight time will be fifty-five minutes, and we will be weightless for thirty minutes. Please do not leave your seat until the safety light is lit.’

Floyd looked over his shoulder and called, ‘Thank you.’ She smiled, a little embarrassed.

He leaned back in his seat and relaxed as the Captains voice came through the loudspeaker.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Space Station 1

‘Half an hour later the pilot announced,’ We make contact in ten minutes. Please check your safety belt.’

Floyd put away his papers. The last 500 kilometers involved a lot of movement from side to side as the spaceplane tried to get into position. It was best to sit back and relax.

A few minutes later he had his first sight of Space Station 1,300 meters across and turning slowly. Behind it was Earth. From his height of 320 kilometers, he could see much of Africa and the Atlantic Ocean.

The central part of the Space Station was now coming towards them. Unlike the rest of the structure, it was not turning. In this way, a spaceship could land on it without being spun round.

Floyd felt the spaceplane make contact. A few seconds later, the airlock door opened and a man entered.

‘Pleased to meet you, Dr Floyd. I’m Nick Miller, Station Police. I’ll look after you till the moonship leaves.’

They shook hands, then Floyd smiled at the stewardess and said: ‘Please give my thanks to the rest of the crew. Perhaps I’ll see you on the way home.’

Very cautiously - it was more than a year since he had been weightless, and it would be some time before he got used to it - he pulled himself hand over hand through the airlock and into the large circular room at the center of the Space Station. The walls, floor and ceiling were covered with soft material, and there were handholds here and there. Floyd held on to one of these firmly, while the whole room started to turn until its speed was the same as the Space Station.

As it went faster, he was gently pushed back, and now, instead of standing against a circular wall, Floyd was lying on a curved floor. He stood up. The force of the spin had created artificial gravity. It was weak here, but would increase as he moved away from the center.

From the central room he followed Miller down curving stairs. At first he felt so light that he almost had to force himself downwards. He did not gain enough weight to move almost normally until he reached the passenger lounge, on the outside edge of the great turning circle.

‘Can I get you anything while we’re waiting?’ Miller said. ‘We leave in about thirty minutes.

‘I’d like a cup of black coffee - two sugars.’

‘Right, Doctor - I’ll get it.’

Miller walked away, and Floyd turned to look around the lounge. There were very few people there, but one of them was walking straight towards him.

‘Hello, Dimitri,’ he said, because there was no escape.

Dr Dimitri Moisewitch shook hands energetically. He was a scientist from the USSR. He was also one of Floyd’s best friends, and for that reason he was the last person Floyd wished to talk to here and now.

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