Huge parts of New York City suffered a blackout Saturday night and not for the first time. Here is the true story of one incident.
"Wheeeeee," Crock screamed as he raced his spaceship out of Saturn's orbit headed towards Jupiter.
"Awwwwesome," screamed Pot, Crock's best friend. "One more around Jupiter and we will double our speed."
The two green Martian friends were in the midst a of a boys' rite of passage, that of borrowing Dad's spaceship and speeding well beyond the inter-planetary speed limit. Of course, a critical component of the ritual was to avoid the Venusian space cops and to indulge 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 Jupiter's boundary layer."
"On it." said Crock as he altered the ship trajectory by two degrees.
This was the trickiest part of Dynamic Soaring - 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 gravity.
"Just a little woozy but I got it under control," replied Crock.
Crock turned the ship's control 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 going to crash! We going to die!" screamed a panicking Pot.
Crock pulled harder and harder on the ship control to pull up.
"Its turning, it turning," screamed Crock.
"Not enough, we are going to die!" Pot yelled.
The earth's surface loomed up in the view screen. A giant river surrounded by a forest was barely visible on the dark planet.
"I don't want to die," screamed Pot. Crock was too busy pulling up on the ship's controls to notice him.
The ship turned and was flying parallel to the surface crashing into the forest, banging and making loud crunching noises. The ship banked upwards and flew back into 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 his prayer.
As the boys flew home, Pot asked, "What did you hit?"
"I don't know," replied Crock. "I think it was some trees. Nothing important. The ship is dented. How am I going to explain that to dad?"
The lights of the United States darkened as the Great East Coast Blackout of 1965 began. The trees they mowed down were the power transmission towers for Niagara Power and Electric.