The summer breeze whisked past the shuttle window as it glided over the wooded hilltop. Admiral Starblayze enjoyed having the windows down, and the Pennsylvania summer air felt good as it flew past. He crossed the crest of the hill and the Site sprang into view. There it was, just across the next little dip on the top of a shallow knoll.
“Why there?” he was often asked. There were plenty of other fine places to build the Launchpad. Connecting the Earth to a much bigger universe is a momentous occasion, so why do it from Shaler? It was far enough way from the Burgh to avoid its with air traffic, but close enough for easy access—but then again, so were a lot of other places. It had close proximity to open land and lush natural resources, but that too wasn’t unique.
No, the thing that made the site special—that made it right—was the people. Admiral Starblayze had searched far and wide, but he was hard pressed to find a tighter concentration of young wonder-filled minds with the spark of creativity still burning bright. In the long run you could build the Launchpad anywhere, but unless you can fill it with sharp thinkers and bold dreamers it wouldn’t do any good. The Infinity Knights didn’t entrust us with a fleet so we could drop the ball; they expect results, and what better place to start than the Shaler Area?
The halls weren’t adorned with the bright color of student projects, and the hard-working teachers weren’t surrounded by young minds on the early August morning when I arrived at the Shaler Area Elementary School to make buildout plans, but the feeling of energetic learning was still there—much as it is when school is in session. The quiet of the halls belied the energy in room 418 where we measured out the dimensions and discussed our first mission plans.
It’s real. It’s happening. It’ll be here soon!