TITLE: Noah Zarc
GENRE: Middle-grade science fiction
JJ felt the heat on the soles of his feet intensify, even as the ever-thinning air grew colder. His thermo-suit popped and rattled, and he was sure it would disintegrate before he tore free of Earth’s gravity. Sam isn’t going to like this, he thought as he watched the blue sky above darken. He dared not look down. The act of turning his head would most likely send him careening off course, causing him to plummet back to the surface, eight miles below. Nevertheless, he knew he was still being followed. The blip on his heads-up display flashed a rhythmic red pulse. The beeping was slowing, so he had built some distance on the robot drones, but he knew they were still there, watching him rocket toward the blackness of space.
His brother Ham had told him the suit would never hold up under these conditions, but JJ knew Ham was just trying to discourage him from trying. “Don’t even think about trying to leave Earth in the thermo-suit,” he had said. “You’ll just burn up. Then we’ll have to tell Mom and Dad why their youngest son is nothing but a floating cloud of ash, drifting over the Atlantic.”
“Then why's the suit retrofitted with a second stage booster?” JJ asked.
“Because,” his sister Sam interrupted. “Some day, we might need it.” She pointed to Ham and herself. “In case of an emergency.”
Well, if this wasn’t an emergency, JJ didn't know what was.