Star Blaze (opening scene)
It was the autumn half-term holidays. Johnny Mackintosh sat in his chair gazing out of the window for any sign of his friend who was, by now, several hours late. He glanced again at the device on his wrist, checking the time. If he didn’t leave soon he might miss the meeting at Halader House, the children’s home where he lived. His headmistress had demanded it – the school was becoming tired of his unexplained absences.
‘Still no sign?’ The voice came from Clara who had just entered the room behind him. She walked over and stood beside Johnny’s chair. Unmistakably they were brother and sister, with their matching white-blond hair and pale skin. Golden chains hung around each of their necks, supporting ornate lockets inlaid with crystals. Their clothes nearly matched too. Both wore white tops over their jeans, but while Johnny’s was emblazoned with five gold stars in the shape of a wonky ‘W’, Clara’s had seven lilac stars in the form of the constellation the Plough.
Johnny shook his head grimly, rose from the chair, stepped over a sleeping grey and white Old English sheepdog and walked across to the window – the scene outside had remained nearly the same for the last five hours. That didn’t make it any less extraordinary, but Johnny Mackintosh was hardly an ordinary boy. In fact, you could say he was as unordinary as it was possible to get. Through his dark green eyes (speckled with silver flecks) he was staring at the huge planet Saturn, which completely dominated the view. The majestic rings cast a dark shadow over the gas giant’s flattened globe, obscuring many of the storms that raged in its upper atmosphere.For Johnny was not standing in any room on Earth. He was on the bridge of his very own spaceship, the Spirit of London.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute