Are We There Yet?

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(Written by Foxboy and Kokuten; posted August 31, 2007)

17 July 2012

"Ptichka, please respond," the traffic controller on duty on Stellvia hailed the incoming shuttle analogue. "I repeat, Ptichka, please respond."

"We've got them on visual si..." the technician beside her broke off as he spotted the markings on the upper wing surfaces. "Patty, that's not Ptichka."

"Whaddaya mean, Jake?" she asked gesticulating wildly at the screen. "There's only one 'Space Shuttle' in our neck of the woods, and that's Ptichka!"

At that moment the communications panel caught onto transmissions on a 'dane frequency.

"... is NASA Pegasus requesting docking procedures 'cause we have no idea what we're doing!" A frantic tween's voice called out. "Can we get some HELP?"

The pair of Suburbans lashed to the stack of massive steel girders hung motionless outside of Stellvia, patiently waiting their turn. The lights on the station, burning white in the endless dark, flashed twice and turned red.

"Stellvia control, this is the Wiregeek... what's going on, can I help?"

"WG, Stellvia control, do you have heavy towing capability?"

"Ahhh... that's an affirmative, Stellvia, what am I towing?"

"There's a plywood Shuttle, looks like Ptichka with an American flag... they need a tow, we've got a dock setup but they don't have a good hand or a good stick."

"Ahhh... Can Do, Stellvia... please send me a heading and frequency"

The lead Suburban detached from the girders and motored off at on a tangent, soon rounding the station and drawing to a halt relative to the mottled white swan shape of the Shuttle.

"Hello, Shuttle!"


"I hear you rugrats need a tow in"

"I'm 16!"

"And I'm driving a tow truck. Can you lower your nose gear for me?"

As the nose gear on the Shuttle lowered hesitantly, the driver's side door of the Suburban opened, releasing a puff of air and a human figure. The figure grabbed at the door and pulled itself down the side of the Suburban. Hooking up a thick cable to the rear of the vehicle, which pivoted and backed slowly towards the shuttle.

The tow in was slow but uneventful, and the shuttle slid into a pressure-tight berth at Stellvia without even brushing the sides.

"Stellvia, this is WG - one shuttle, slightly shaken. I'm headed back out for my steel, take care of these kids."

"Thank you, mister, we owe you one!"

"Good luck, kids... and Welcome to Fenspace!"