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posted Nov 27, 2009, 9:26 AM by Jonathan Sherwood

- Mark Watson, March 2006

The largest protospike engine in history propels Tessa and Lorand towards the stars, in a spacecraft - or, more accurately, a Concussion Vehicle, for in order to make use of the wormhole that is to be humanity's pathway to the stars, the crew have to stand up to tremendous g-forces, and to do so requires a great deal of genetic tampering. Their ship, a regular monthly launching for some decades, appears to be pushing the envelope with respect to the amount of G to which they are subject to, and when it goes way past what has ever happened in the past, Tessa realises something has gone wrong.

Coming round, at their destination, but with their bodies badly beat up, Lorand the more so, Tessa is faced with the usual Analog conundrum - how to stay alive, how to identify the problem, and how to resolve it and to return to Earth. Can she use her scientific expertise and her gutsiness to rise to this challenge?

But this isn't Analog, and so the answer isn't 'You Betcha'.

Maybe a tad too much tech description at times, but Sherwood handles the story well, building on the present dilemma through Tessa's memories of seeing the spike in action as a child. But damn those cold equations....

An excellent first published story.