Shortly after leaving their original crash-site planet, Smith spots a familiar star and, in an amazing show of stellar navigational skill, calculates the course to get back to Earth. He extracts a promise from Don and John that they'll return to Earth, or else he'll destroy his navigation data. They agree, but inform the family at dinnertime that they are headed for Alpha Centauri after all, mainly because the Earth is on the other side of the Sun (how do they know that? - do they know the date? And besides, from Alpha Centauri, Earth revolves clockwise, visible all the time). Smith changes course 180 degrees, then clumsily jettisons most of the fuel. They reach a refueling barge, one of several that Alpha Control put out in 1996, top up the tanks, and resume course for Alpha Centauri, not knowing that they've picked up a tailgater who follows them after Smith reverses course to Earth again. The alarm goes off in the night, and they expend a lot of fuel pulling away from the Earth's
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