A Long Way From Home
A stylized holographic projection of the solar system, complete with oversized planets, floated in the center of the navigation room of the V.S.S. Legacy. A convoluted colour-coded surface denoted the gravity wells around various objects and the required delta-V to get there.
“Computer, show primary destinations.”
Curved lines were drawn to a few planets, and a list was generated: Earth orbit, Lunar orbit, Mars transfer, etc.
More complex trajectories appeared, now including a gravitational slingshot. The list lengthened.
Now the squiggles of orbits were so numerous that it was hard to tell which was which. But one passed close to the sun and then shot out of the plane of the solar system on a strange angle. A rarely-seen entry appeared on the list: α Centauri.
“There. Let’s go there.”
As the navigator readied himself for hibernation, the computer’s synthesized voice came through the intercom. “Prepare for main engine burn. Estimated transit time: 4,822 years.”