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Rite of Passage

                    Image result for 1965 blackout
by the Urban Blabbermouth
~
"Wheeeeee!" Crock screamed as his spaceship accelerated out of Saturn's orbit headed towards Jupiter. 
 
"Awwwwesome!" screamed Pot, Crock's best friend. "Once more around Jupiter and we will double our speed." 
 
The two green Martian friends were in the midst a of a Martian boys' rite of passage, that of borrowing Crock's dad's spaceship and speeding well beyond the interplanetary speed limit. Of course, a critical component of the ritual was to avoid the Venusian space cops and indulging in copious amount of Hydro 3, an intoxicating heavy water beverage imported from Earth, simply called H3.

"We need more speed," said Pot. "Come in closer to the Jupiter boundary layer."

"On it," said Crock as he altered the ship's trajectory by two degrees.

This was the trickiest part of Dynamic Soaring - that of using the pull of planetary gravity just above the atmosphere to accelerate the ship speed. Each time round a planet, the gravitational pull add more speed, but you had to get the angles right.

"That's it, that's it," exclaimed Pot, "speed climbing," as he elbowed Crock and took another chug of the H3. He handed the H3 pouch to Crock who took a swig.

As the spaceship approached Jupiter, the ship skimmed the boundary layer at a three degree angle and bounced off into space.

"Hey, whatcha doing?" said Pot. The spaceship rocketed straight rather than rounding the planet pulled in by Jupiter's gravity.

"Just a little woozy, but I got it under control," replied Crock.

Crock turned the ship five degrees, but the ship was moving too fast and would not get back on course. They were headed straight towards Earth.

"Turn the damn ship more," said Pot.

"I am, I am, you nitwit," said Crock.

The ship, not responding well, entered the earth's atmosphere and headed for the surface.

"We're going to crash, we're going to die," screamed a panicking Pot.

Crock pulled harder and harder on the ship's controls to pull up.

"It's turning, it's turning!" screamed Crock.

"It's not enough, we are going to die!" Pot yelled back.

The earth's surface loomed up in the view screen. A giant river surrounded by a forest was clearly visible.

"I don't want to die!" screamed Pot. Crock was too busy pulling up on the ship's controls to notice him.

Amazingly, the ship turned and now was flying parallel to the surface, crashing into the forest, banging and making loud crunching noises, as the ship turned upward back towards space.

"We are safe, we made it," said Crock. "We are not going to die. I saved us."

"Thank you God, thank you God, thank you God," Pot could not stop repeating.

"I think we hit something on Earth and I think the ship is dented. How am going to explain the dents to dad?" asked Crock.

"What did you hit?" asked Pot.

"I don't know," replied Crock. "I think it was some trees. Nothing important."

As the boys flew home, the entire east coast of the United States began to go dark. For you see, it was not trees they mowed down, but power transmission towers for Niagara Power and Electric. Thus began the Great Northeast Blackout of 1965.

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