"Rocket!" is the fourth in a series of near future SciFi/Thrillers whose young heroine Ell Donsaii has a nerve mutation that has rendered her a genius and an athletic phenomenon. In Spacer, she works out the enormous potential of the wormholes she discovered in "Lieutenant." Though they only provide small openings through space, the wormholes will prove to be a tremendous boon to humankind.
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Excitedly Ell started picking up the components and laying them on the surface of the big table. The happy babble around her quieted as one by one the team members turned to watch her lay out a number of metal tubes. She heard them speculating,
“What is it?”
“All those tubes. Some kind of plumbing project?”
Ell laid a pointed cap at the left end and a conical device at the other, “A rocket?” someone asked.
Ell grinned up at them, “Yep, a rocket.”
Ben said, “Why a rocket? I thought we were going to replace rockets with instantaneous transfer of materials through port/wormholes to satellites and to the space station?”
Ell smiled even more broadly. “Well, first we have to get our ports up to orbit where we want to transfer those materials, right? And before you say we can just send them up on the rockets that already go up there, think about why those rockets are so huge?” She looked around the group. “Right? Because they have to carry so much fuel! For the first part of the mission they are mostly just launching fuel for the next part of the mission. It’s horribly inefficient!”
The group stared at her as they pondered her words.
Fred scratched his head, “Are you thinking this little rocket,” he waved at the parts on the table, “because we can port it fuel, could make it all the way up to orbit?”
Ell waggled her eyebrows, “All the way to the space station!”
Eyes widened around the group, someone said, “Then we could ‘port’ them supplies!”
Ell said, “Yeah! So, full speed ahead! I think we should bust our asses trying to prepare a rocket that can get to the Station and deliver ports for us to supply the astronauts with. If the Chinese fail their resupply mission to the Station we need to be ready! I’m sure you guys know that if the Chinese fail to deliver supplies, the folks on the station are going to be in some very serious trouble. All their other backups have already failed. As Epaulding said, ‘they are in the midst of the perfect storm of problems.’”