With the inspection done, Dukk and Marr returned up the stairs, through the main door and stopped in the starboard passenger airlock.
“Let’s close the door and get this rig out of here,” Dukk said as he opened the console in the panels of the airlock.
Using the console, Dukk opened up the rig schematic and found the main door. He clicked the close button. The door swung into place behind them.
“Now to pressurise and start the test. And we’d better let everyone know.”
Dukk selected broadcast mode on his comms. A pleasant gong filled both the air and the comms of all on board.
He gave it a moment, then began to speak, “Good evening all. The main door is now closed and sealed. Your crew and I will now start making final preparations for departure. And, I’d appreciate if you would follow all instructions so we can get launched on time. I am pressurising the cabin and starting the integrity tests. You may find your ears popping during this process. Also, the internal doors will close themselves to facilitate the tests. If you need to move about, please wait for the access panel to show green again before trying to open doors. I will be back with further details of our launch once we have cleared the pad. I am expecting that to happen in the next ten to twenty minutes.”
With that, he turned off broadcast mode.
“Smooth,” Marr said.
“Thanks, now let’s get into the cockpit and submit the departure request.”
“After you, captain.”
Dukk and Marr headed up the two flights of stairs to the upper level. They passed through the passenger seating area and entered the cockpit.
Dukk jumped into his seat on the left and Marr got into her seat on the right.
Dukk opened up his console and located the flight plan. He dragged it onto a request form and submitted it. He then opened up a channel to the pad control.
“Operator, this is Dukk, captain of the Dinatha,” he said into his comms.
“Welcome back, how can I help you?”
“I have submitted the departure clearance request.”
“Thank you. I will process it now. Please hold.”
“Thank you, ” answered Dukk before going on mute.
“And now we can run through the launch protocols. I will mirror my console, so you can follow along,” Dukk said to Marr.
Fifteen minutes later, the Operator was back,“the Dinatha is cleared for departure. The launch plan should be with you now. Low loaders are started and ready. Barricades are ready to be lowered. Path to the launch zone is clear. Give me the word, and I will remove the stairs and start the low loaders rolling. Standing by.”
Dukk enabled his crew comms and said, “we are cleared for departure. Check-in please. Annee?”
“The passengers are in their seats. The Passenger debrief is complete. They are currently getting familiar with belts and g-juice connections,” was the reply from Annee.
“QA complete and the logs have been updated. Luna and I are reviewing the launch protocols,” was Bazzer’s response.
“Perfect, let’s get moving,” Dukk said back to his crew.
“Operator, please proceed,” Dukk said after unmuting the connection with the pad control.
“Pulling back the stairs. Barricades opening, prepare for taxi,” shared the operator.
“Check,” Dukk replied.
Moments later the rig started to move as the three low loaders turned and then manoeuvred the rig out of the pad.
Dukk waited until the rig was clear of the pad, then turned to Marr saying, “Time for some fun.”
“How so?” Marr replied.
“First let’s see how the passengers are getting on and also listen in.”
Dukk flicked a panel and opened a video feed in the air before them. They had a full view of the passengers sitting in their seats in the area behind the cockpit. The four paying passengers looked bored. The observers were clearly chatting and fully enjoying the new experience. Their merriment was coming through muffled in Dukk and Marr’s comms. Annee was standing at the back, behind the passengers, near the door, smiling up at the camera.
“Why is Annee smiling at the camera?” Marr asked.
“She knows what is about to happen. Now open the protocols panel that I showed you just now.”
“Now select ‘Wellness, Health and Safety’ and locate the ‘Emergency Scenarios’ panel.”
“Select ‘Transport Pod Evacuation Drill’ and press ‘execute’.”
“Nothing happened,” Marr said prematurely as a high pitch siren rang out followed by a repeating single long tone. The lights turned orange and arrows illuminated in the floor.
A scream came from the video feed. The observers had both launched out of their seats and nearly hit their heads on the ceiling. They were screaming hysterically and flapping their hands. Annee could be seen in the video feed, trying not to laugh.
“It is okay, Kimince and Trence. This is exactly as we spoke about downstairs. Calmly put on your helmets, then get out of your seats and make your way to the Transport Pods behind these doors,” Annee could be heard saying in between attempts not to laugh.
The other four passengers had hardly moved. They calmly got up and headed towards the door.
“Let’s join them,” Dukk said grabbing his helmet.
(to be continued...)
[Rule of Twelve, Double Take, Chapter 10 - Launch (Passage 3 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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