The Improbable Voyage

Aditi Mishra, Class 4, Bharati Vidyapeeth Rabindranath Tagore School Of Excellence, Pune

I was in the cockpit of the Olympus rocket. I waved one last time to my parents and friends, who had gathered to watch the launch of the first spacecraft traveling at the speed of light. When the formalities and announcements were over, the countdown began. “T-minus 10, 9, 8, 7…” I flipped the power switch and the engine came to life. All systems were go.

Over the speakers, the announcer declared, “… 3, 2, 1, 0! Lift-off!” The rocket propelled off the launchpad, and in no time, we were speeding away from Earth. Everybody was reduced to pale dots in a few seconds, and before I knew it, the rocket entered the stratosphere. When I caught my first glimpse of space, my heart skipped a beat. A comet passed, looking like it was made entirely out of blue light, hurling towards Saturn, its rings in full glory. The Sun was brighter than ever, and luckily, I was wearing light sensitive goggles, so no damage occurred.

I turned on the navigator device. A female voice said, “I am your Voice Activated Navigator. Call me V.A.N.”
I replied, “Hello. Please connect me to the ground staff.”
Immediately, a man’s garbled voice was heard over the speakers. “Hello? Hello?’
“Yes, Sir.”
“Oh, good heavens, I thought we’d lost you,” said the man, clearly relieved.
“Well, you didn’t. I contacted you because I need to know the mission plan,” I told him, rather sternly.
“Yes, sorry we forgot to tell,” he spoke sheepishly.
“Since this craft is claimed to travel at the speed of light, your mission is to travel to the edge of the Solar System within 5 minutes…”

All his other words were muffled while I wondered whether I could actually complete this journey. It felt like so much on a single person’s shoulders as if – as if it was an impossible voyage. What if something went wrong?

What if I didn’t stop in time and drift off into deep, dangerous space? What if I failed? As I thought all this, I remembered that the reason I did this was to push the edges of what mankind could do. To inspire everybody to follow their dreams.

I took a deep breath. I was ready. I gathered my courage and pressed the “speed of light” button and zoomed off.


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