Odyssey: Part 2

© 2021 Joan Piqué Llorens.
"Outside, there was an all-out battle between physics and human ingenuity and tenacity, jet engines roaring with rage pushing the frame of the shuttle through the thick atmosphere, its flight surfaces cutting through the air, leaving a giant wound through the medium made out of visible condensation and turbulence.

Within the passenger cabin, in stark contrast with the struggles raging outside, there was an almost surreal sense of routine and normalcy. Warning bells rang with a calming chime as stewards and stewardesses hurried with water bottles for the guests. The pilots and launch engineers were doing a good job taming the G forces and the otherworldly journey resembled more a mild theme park ride than the enormous strain on the body the professional astronauts of Saturn V or the original Space Shuttles had to endure so many decades ago. The seats slowly rotated on their vertical axis to compensate the colossal thrust as the ship cut through lighter and lighter air until there was no more.

A different set of engines ignited, giving the only noticeable turbulence within the cabin, some people gasping and laughing nervously as the shake occurred, no doubt first-time orbital tourists. Then more gasps and admiration filled the cabin, this time out of pure awe and wonder, as the deep blue of the atmosphere gave way to an ever darkening black, and the pearly blue silhouette of Earth set on the small pressurized window frame, its teal light spilling into the cabin like a secondary sun. Small objects started spinning gently out into the air, and heads, arms, legs and bellies started tingling with lightness. Then, even seasoned passengers and cabin crew grinned and laughed with childish joy."