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From Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? / Blade Runner:

“Here’s my car.” Phil Resch said, unlocking the door of a nearby hovercar and waving Rick rapidly inside; he himself got in behind the wheel and started up the motor. In a moment they had lifted into the sky and, turning north, headed back in the direction of the War Memorial Opera House.

Why does the author use "had" in "had lifted"? What's the difference between "had lifted" and just "lifted" here?

This tense, called the past perfect, is used when describing a past event from the perspective of a later past time. What is the later past time here?

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LerethelWhat is the later past time here?

The time when they were aloft.

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LerethelIn a moment they had lifted into the sky

The author's intent is for the reader to think "Before even a moment was able to pass, they had already lifted into the sky".

CJ