The morning of that third day, all were present and accounted for, standing in a neat row in front of the hangar. I would just as soon have tried to fly the craft in private so, if it turned out to be a failure, no one would know but me. Oh, well, what the hell; if it turned out to be a success, I would have the last laugh. Coundis and Ho happily wished me luck. Reaivous and the Jessa stood looking on in disapproval. Monday was already seated in the skimmer as if he were my co-pilot.
Just as I started for the skimmer, Reaivous shouted out, "If the gods would have wanted man to fly, they would have given him wings." Oh, God, how many times had I heard that sad old excuse about the space program. I spun around on my heels and looked Reaivous straight in the eye. "The gods did give me wings, and I am about to show you how to use them." I turned and stomped off toward the skimmer. I seated myself in the cockpit and strapped myself in, patted Monday on the head, whispered a quiet, "Here goes nothing,” and then ran down the checklist. All controls were in a series of threes. There were three banks of three systems switches. Above each bank was a master switch. Each bank controlled one of the three solar packs; as to how the machine worked, I had no idea. Everything seemed to be in solid-state units, which acted or reacted with each other. They apparently could be exchanged, but not repaired. The hull of the craft was made of something like foamed aluminum; however, in this foaming process, they used an inert gas like helium instead of plain air. The metal of the craft had almost no weight at all.
When the checklist was over, I flipped all the bank switches into standby, then went back and hit the master switch across the top. As each switch flipped on, I could hear a strange humming sound and each of the solar packs began to glow with a slight blue cast. As the third switch flipped into on, I felt my heart leap into my throat, for the skimmer began to rise slowly off the ground, only a few inches at first, but it did rise up off the ground.