With the nose and internal hold doors closed, Dukk and Marr made their way to the crew mess. The others were already seated around the table.
“How are we all tracking? Ann?” Dukk asked as he sat down at the table.
“We need to check-in with the passengers briefly, then we are ready to hit the showers,” replied Annee.
“Everything in place for the pre-launch passenger safety briefing and evacuation drill?”
“Valve panel doors are closed and checked. We just need to QA the loading process and we will be in the showers,” answered Bazzer.
“The flight plan is loaded, so all that is left is the external inspection and we’ll be ready to close the door. So, we’ll hit the showers now and do the inspection suited up. Annee and Mentor next and that’ll give Bazzer and Luna the last showers before we commence pre-launch. Does that work for everyone?”
Everyone was in agreement
“Right, let’s do the flight plan overview,” Dukk continued as he brought up a 3D plan in the air above the table.
He pointed at the 3D image as he shared the plan.
“Our destination for this load is Mayfield in the Atesoughton cluster. That takes us in the direction of Teegarden first up. Our track for this leg will take us via Maple Tower where we’ll refuel and recoup. To get to the hub, we’ll traverse via JR18, JR56, JR72 and Maple 12. We’ll likely have a longer stay at JR52 and do an intermediary inspection.”
“Hold up,” Bazzer interrupted, before adding, “Maple Tower?”
“Yes, and I understand Ileadees is still in charge. Are we going to have a problem, Bazzer?”
“Not if he keeps his distance!” Bazzer replied.
“It was a long time ago, Bazzer. It might be time to let go. Forgive and forget?” Annee added.
“Not a chance!” Bazzer uttered with gritted teeth.
“What’s going on?” Luna asked.
“For another time, perhaps,” Annee replied.
“Bazzer, can I proceed?” Dukk asked, looking to regain the room.
“Right, so after the twenty four hour layover in Maple Tower we’ll continue on towards the Atesoughton cluster. We’ll traverse through Maple 15, Maple 18, Finch 2 and Finch 12. Finch 2 will be the likely spot for the intermediary inspection. Our second last traverse on this outward journey will be WZR22, which is considered within the Atesoughton cluster. From there we are one traverse away from Mayfield. Any questions at this stage?”
“How long will that all take?” asked Luna.
“All going well we should be on the ground in Mayfield on the eighth day. Our progress, including the time lapse, will be tracked here within the flight plan map. You can interact with this map here at the crew table or on any console.”
“Cool. And how far is Mayfield from Earth?”
“About sixty parsecs?”
“Any other questions?”
Calm faces met Dukk’s question and gave him his answer.
“Annee, will you give us a quick summary of the chore rota and watch roster?” Dukk asked.
“Sure,” Annee replied as she flicked the 3D plan aside and displayed a series of tables.
“Here is the chore rota summary. I will send the individual lists to your comms. We don’t need to go into the detail now. Give me a shout if you have any questions. I suggest you try to complete your chores during your watch so you can use your off watch time for yourself. Is that good with everyone?”
“Here is the watch roster. I’ll go into more detail than usual for the benefit of our new comers. At all times, you will be responsible for your primary station duties and we are all on deck during the launch, landing, docking and traversing. When on watch you must be awake and present to monitor system logs, and rouse the department lead to address anomalies. When not, your time is yours, unless required to address an anomaly or help respond to an emergency. Also, we try to share a meal together as a crew, at least once a day. It typically happens just after a launch or traverse, as we are all on deck anyway.
“We will operate four-hour watches, rotating around the clock. The roster runs from now and until we are back here in Utopium and unloaded. Rig time starts at the hour closest to launch preparation. So, I’ve set it to six PM Utopium time as we’ll be in and out of here for the next while. FYI, rig time usually starts at six PM as it’s our typical launch time. We try to make the most of planet side time and get out just before the Citadel outer doors close for the evening.
“Now for the allocations. As you can see here, first up will be Dukk and Marr. Flight control is most active now and during traversing, which occurs roughly every twelve hours. Also, the downtime for those on the first watch has less interruption which is going to be key for rest for those flying the rig.” Annee emphasised the last part.
“Next watch will be myself and Mentor. Passengers can get unsettled in the evenings, Earth time, and are most active in the middle of the day, so we’ll need to be present anyway. The last watch is with Bazzer and Luna, which is the hardest watch but it is where it fits best, besides it has the second best stretch of rest time.”
“Two AM to six AM? The graveyard shift?” Luna asked.
“Yep, but also two PM to six PM. You get used to it. Besides, it’s always day out there, so you make of it what you want,” Bazzer said in response.
“Exactly, thank you, Bazzer. That’s it,” Annee concluded.
“Any further questions should be raised with your buddy,” said Dukk bringing the focus back to the job at hand.
“It is now six ten, so our window is closing fast to get out of the Citadel before nightfall. I want to commence departure protocols in fifteen minutes. We should be in a position to request taxi shortly after. That gives us only about thirty minutes to get out and heading towards the maglev. Approval will take at least ten minutes so best case is that we are moving off the pad at six thirty-five. I’ll need you all suited up and at your stations by that time. We’ll do the evacuation drill once the low loaders get us moving. Are we clear?”
“Is this typical for departure, it all feels very rushed?” Luna added, ignoring Dukk’s attempt to close the circle-up.
“From this point on yes. We don’t mess about. If the rig isn’t moving, we aren’t accumulating credits. We good?” Dukk replied as he stood up.
“Excellent. Now if it is okay with you all, and as it is our tradition, I’d like to take a quick crew photo before we launch. With jackets on perhaps,” Dukk said in a pleasant tone.
Everyone smiled and complied.
(to be continued...)
[Rule of Twelve, Double Take, Chapter 10 - Launch (Passage 1 of 5)]
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2021 BJ Allen
If you are looking to catch-up by reading entire chapters, find them on ThinkSpot.
Passages will appear here in Locals first, but I can’t put the entire chapter here because of post size limitations. So, I am publishing the chapters via ThinkSpot. You don’t need an account to read the chapters. Just follow the link and scroll down.
Chapter 1 - A routine descent
Chapter 2 - Perspective
Chapter 3 - Grounding
Chapter 4 - Cause and effect
Chapter 5 - The first meeting
Chapter 6 - Staying goodbye
Chapter 7- Instability
Chapter 8 - Orientation
Rule of Twelve, Double Take - Ch15 (Passage 5/5)
“Hi,” came Luna’s voice as she bounced into the suit locker.
Dukk turned around.
“Are you alright? You are all flushed?”
“Yes, I am fine. I was practicing some yoga in zero-G. I lost track of time. Quite challenging and not what I expected.” Luna replied.
“Yoga?” Marr mouthed silently at Luna from behind Dukk.
Luna smiled cheekily.
Marr held her hands up and looked away as if to say ‘I don't want to know’.
Dukk laughed. He’d been an apprentice too once. He knew what was on his mind the first time he was in zero-g. And, he could tell an intentional lie.
“Are you sure you want to try this now? I can go alone and you can get back to your ‘yoga’?” Dukk asked in gest emphasising the last word.
“Nope, I’m good. Let’s do this.”
Thirty five minutes later, Luna stood at the port outer doorway. She was in awe.
Dukk and Luna had completed the same process Bazzer and Marr had done earlier. Marr, with ...
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