OK friends, this is my first post for critique and I'm pretty freaked out. I just started working on this yesterday and this is what I have so far. It's supposed to be a hard SF story. Let me know what you folks think. ****************************************************** Persephone Phillips settled herself into the pilots chair of the Lucifer. It was her first ever shift at the ship's helm, but that did not bother her too much because it was also only the fifth FLT piloting shift in human history. The Lucifer was forty seven days outbound from Earth and precisely 32 hours of that time had been spent traveling at greater than light speed. She, on the other hand had spent the past 2 years of her life studying, practicing and waiting for his moment. She had however, met the eyes of the fourth shift pilot Saul Meyers as he was leaving the bridge. He looked tired. "Keeping all four forces balanced is the key." the taut man standing beside her intoned almost religiously. She restrained the urge to remind her CO that she was qualified, "Aye aye, Captain." Besides he was absolutely right. Keeping the ship moving at speeds defying both Newton and Einstein was literally a juggling act. F=ma and E=mc^2 both played a simultaneous role in interconnecting and cheating space-time. "Just keep in mind Lieutenant, there are no worm holes or fictional warp drives here. We are moving though real space on a superliminal vector." "Yes sir. I understand." She said, and responded more directly by making a slight adjustment to the local ship mass, compensating for the steady shift of gravitational forces surrounding them. Benjamin Sidhain nodded his agreement and allowed himself to return to his own console. Before this mission's training, she could not have even imagined gravity fields as variables. But she recalled, that was before the aliens gave us the Magi field and all it promised. According to their exotic and largely unknown benefactors this technology allowed direct manipulation of mass. Not to mention the side effects of controlled momentum and inertia. By maintaining a delicate equilibrium between variables is was possible to change the ships movements quickly and radically or to keep it moving though space faster than matter should. For the next six hours seventeen minutes of her shift that's what pilot Phillips did. The Captain sat at the sensor console, monitoring her, the ship, the surroundings, plus she suspected, catching short cat naps. She didn't blame him or even think of reporting him for it. He had not left the bridge since hyper 'c' velocity had been passed. He couldn't have slept much, if at all those two days. A small mass was entering the field, she altered the force matrix in that direction to bypass it. Looking at the visual monitors she couldn't see anything, but that was hardly surprising. The massive Doppler effect was another reminder that they firmly remained in normal space. Ahead of the Lucifer, the stars all crowded into the center of the screen, blue shifted into a dull glowing blur. The rear screen showed the same scene in a red shift motif. Using a combination of star charts and computer enhancement she could zoom in for much greater detail, but it was not really relevant to her job now. The irony of it all made her grin, here she was one of the very first people to fly a ship FTL, and she was already bored with the view. Something odd! That small mass was still closing on their position. She adjusted the forces again to move away from it. Beyond belief the object continued to advance. That was definitely not right, no debris could do that. In fact, no object of normal mass could do that. "Oh my god!" Her gasp was as involuntary as the twitching of her insides. "We got company!" Persephone wondered if she should nudge the Captain awake before hitting the all hands alarm.