Astrid pressed the power button and felt the hoverbike hum to life as it slowly lifted off the ground. Driving it out the door of the pool house, she pulled back on the controls as she pressed her foot down on the throttle, and guided the hoverbike upward. Shooting over the top of the house, she zoomed through the sky toward the Maxxim Industries campus.
The girl inventor didn’t fly as rapidly or in as straight a line as she could have. She enjoyed the view below along the way, and munched on her breakfast burrito as she flew. It was more than an hour before she set down in front of the fourteen story, half mile wide R&D building. Few employees were on duty, but a security guard helped her bring the hoverbike indoors and put it in a storeroom. At the top of the glass elevator, Astrid found the desk of office manager Flora Purcell empty. Her father’s lab, just beyond, was equally as still. This wasn’t surprising, as he spent much of his time at the airfield or the rocket launch facility. He always had something interesting going on here though. Several large lasers had been set up for an experiment. Astrid looked forward to asking him about them. Just past her father’s lab, was her own, a smaller but equally equipped workspace. She smiled as she ran her hands along the top of the workbenches and checked the equipment.
Astrid’s phone rang from her pocket. Rather than pulling it out or answering it with her Carpé Aviatrix watch, she stepped around her desk and touched her hand to the screen of her workstation. Immediately a man’s face appeared. He was in his thirties, with sandy hair and glasses, and was wearing a Maxxim Motor Cars lab coat.
“Oh, Miss Maxxim,” he looked startled. “I was expecting to get your voice mail.”
“Well you got me. What can I do for you, Mister…”
“Daystrom, Bill Daystrom. I was instructed by Mr. Maxxim, um… that is, your uncle, to update you on the batteries for the Meteor test frame.”
“The um, Maxxim Meteor.”
“Oh yes, my electric racecar. What about the batteries?”
“Well, they’re functioning perfectly, but we’re still having a problem with the charging time. As you know, the batteries will power the vehicle at full throttle for two hundred miles. Ordinarily, we would need to charge the vehicle overnight, but by applying high amperage DC power directly to the battery, instead of going through charging equipment, we’ve been able to reduce the time to eighteen minutes.”
“No, no, no!” shouted Astrid. “I’m going to be up against Tracy Shannon’s racing team. Do you understand? They’re going to refuel their car, change all four tires, and probably clean the windows too, all in seconds! I can’t sit there for eighteen minutes waiting for my car to recharge.”