Post by DrLeftover on Jun 15, 2019 18:58:08 GMT -5
The sequel, set some time later, is in progress.
"feel free to resume normalcy at your discretion" As the Mission Commander I get to see the majority of the communications that come in from the overall Mission Control Center at the ESA Operations Center in Darmstadt, or from the one in Houston, Texas. For the first, month, at least, with Doctor Kristoffersen sick and then with the stowaway, every message arrived with such a level of importance attached to it that it began to be a relief when something otherwise routine came in. I'd gotten so used to having to have my eye scanned to read a message I kept a bottle of eye rinse in the pocket of my station on the command deck. It was like a switch had been thrown somewhere. There was no "oh my God!" message blinking at me in the mail server. There was no female voice with barely restrained urgency calling for me from the com panel to drop everything and rush to medical. There was no other crewmen waving for my attention from the corridor shrieking about an air leak. But I didn't want to mention it because I knew as soon as I said something the ship would explode. I finished my command shift and briefed the oncoming shift with the phrase "it's been rather quiet."
I went to the rec pod and had a nice meal listening to Doctor Latour's daughter playing with a jazz ensemble on at some university on Earth. "They gave a concert and taped it for us." "Thank them for me. That was very nice dinner music."
Then I got to sleep for about five hours out of my usual seven or so without interruption. In short. By the time I went back up to command, I felt like I was on the wrong ship. Just to be sure everything was good and there wasn't a catastrophe just waiting for me to relax I ran a ship-wide diagnostic. Other than a slow leak from the water valve in shower cubical number 2 and a slight vibration in the ventilator for one of the lab pods, and the fact that Solar Panel Three was stuck again.... everything was... well. Quiet. While I watched, one of our outside maintenance robots was climbing up the solar panel. When it reached the end of the mast it locked onto a couple of brackets on the shaft and began doing a somewhat humorous disco dance, which made the mast vibrate, and then, it was unstuck. And that red light on the diagnostic panel went out. Which is what I reported to Germany with my next ship's status report. Their response about how I was to " resume normalcy" made me laugh out loud. We hadn't HAD anything resembling 'normal' since we left Earth orbit. But if this was how it was supposed to be, I was all for it.