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When the Rocket Girls accidentally splash down in the pond of Yukari Morita's old school, it looks as though their experiment is ruined. Luckily, the geeky Akane is there to save the day. Fitting the profile—she's intelligent, enthusiastic, and petite—Akane is soon recruited by The Solomon Space Association. Yukari and Akane are then given the biggest Rocket Girl mission yet: to do what NASA astronauts cannot and save a probe headed to the minor planet Pluto and the very edge of the solar system.
Born in Mie, Japan, in 1961. After working in instrumentation control, CAD programming, and video game design, he published his first work, The Blind Spot of Veis, based on the video game Creguian, in 1992. He gained popularity with his subsequent works, the Creguian series and the Rocket Girls series. In 2002, he published Usurper of the Sun, ushering in a new era of space science fiction in Japan. After first appearing as a series of short stories, Usurper won the Seiun Award for best Japanese science fiction novel of 2002. His other works include Pendulum of Pinieru and Fuwa-Fuwa no Izumi.
Compared to these two, I’m like one of those walking stuffed animals at Disneyland, Norman thought.
The two other astronauts looked frighteningly small and thin to the American. Their waists were barely bigger around than one of his arms in the spacesuit. And what’s more, while he looked like the Michelin man, they were shapely. You didn’t expect to see curves like that in the payload bay of a space shuttle flying at 300 kilometers above the surface of the Earth.
Their golden reflective visors were up, so she could see their faces—like dolls, he thought.
“The valve assembly is inside there. See the gap on the engine side in the center of the ring?”
“So it’s in there, just behind the helium tank, right?” Akane asked.
“That’s right. How’d you know?”
“I’m a quick study.”
“All right, well, be careful. Every single tank in there is dangerous.”
“I’m aware of that.”
“Shall we get started, Akane?” Yukari asked. “Let’s go in and check things out first. Take it easy. It’s more tangled in there then it was in the CG simulation.”
Akane was getting used to extravehicular activity by now. In the skintight spacesuit she wore, it was hardly any more difficult than scuba diving. But Yukari was right. Compared to the training video they had seen, the real engine structure had all kinds of small protrusions here and there. This wouldn’t be easy.