He raised his thermal-gloved hand to his mouth for what was probably the tenth time in as many minutes. And this time was no different from any of the others; he still couldn't chew his nail. Or wipe the sweat from his brow. Or scratch that bloody spot behind his left ear that always itched when he was worried. Damn it.
He glanced out the small side window in the capsule at nothing. Nothing but blank sky. Nothing to take his mind off that itch.
If I don't get off the ground this time*five times! Five bloody times this thing has been scrapped. He'd been so angry, he'd felt woozy after the last time. Equipment not ready to go, fuel tanks leaking, bad weather patterns.
As if it wasn't bad enough, following in the footsteps of Gagarin. Ten months too late! And with all these delays it seemed as if he'd never get up there. But he had to; not just for himself, but for America. To show those Russians that Americans could do anything they could do, but do it better. Gagarin did one orbit? Well, damnit, he would do two. Or three! Anything you can do, I can do better.
Approaching footsteps told him the technician was at the hatch. If he says one negative word, just one.
"Mr Glenn, sir? Command says we're good to go. God be with you."
He relaxed, finally, and prepared for take-off.
God be with us all.