The Solar Plane

Glen Little: Captain of the Epoch was sitting delicately in his chair on the bridge. He was small, wiry, and had a fragile strength about him. While he was hurt easily, he continued his duty and recovered quickly. It had brought him renown from Titan to Terra and beyond to the Solar Plane.

Ah…he sighed contently. The Solar Plane! Tonight! They announce me as the Captain of the Solar Plane His mind frequently wondered to the massive ship orbiting the sun. He was in line to be Captain of the first interstellar-faster-than-light ship. He would be the first man to set foot on a distant star's planet. Little was sure that his rival would be dismissed from the running.

In an hour the dinner would begin and he would wait patiently, enjoying his desert while they named the bridge officers and the crew of one thousand (it was going to be a large desert). And then would come the Captaincy. Glen could hear his name being called. "And the Captain of the ­Solar Plane is…"

"Captain—" his first officer tapped his shoulder lightly. "The dinner is about to begin." He had been daydreaming that long? No matter, it would come true in only minutes! Incredible! Captain Little sped down the corridors to the dining hall, took his seat along with the first officer and across from his rival.

The host of the dinner, also the man who was giving out the Captaincy, had just begun his opening speech while Glen sat. "It brings me great pleasure to name the crew of the Solar Plane—" Little tuned him out, having had long practice with ignoring windbag admirals.

His rival sneered at him. "I'm going to win, Little man."

"I beg to differ. This is my ship; they would not embarrass me in front of my crew." He smiled his frail little smile and laughed lightly. "We have the same chance of winning technically, but I have favor with the judges."

"And I have favor with their wives," the rival replied hotly. That disgusted Glen only mildly. Actually, not at all. Either Captain would have done anything to win the Captaincy of the Solar Plane. And there was hardly anything that he had not done for the position.

"You have nothing! Ha!" Glen looked up to the Judges and then to the admiral who was speaking. He was preparing to announce the name. Both Captains sat tense with anticipation of the event. Glen was poised to assert himself to the front as soon as the letter was opened, but it was only a matter of decorum that he stays seated until his name was called.

"And now for the Captaincy of the Solar Plane!" the admiral said, holding a small gold engraved envelope. "The Captain of the first interstellar ship, the first to set foot in a new solar system is—" he opened the envelope slowly—"Abraham De Ville!"

His rival stood, bowing and looking pleased with himself. "Better luck next time, Little…"