Dukk and Marr followed the guests through the doors and into the Transport pods. The evacuation alarm continued to echo around them.
“Remember what we talked about. Fill the middle transport pod first. Fill the back three seats and leave the two front seats for crew. And remember if you didn’t have your suit on when the alarm sounds come directly to the evacuation point as there is a spare suit for you here,” Annee said from the middle of the space that housed the Transport pods.
Bazzer and Luna emerged from the hatch at the top of the aft ladder shaft. They immediately got into the front seats of the aft pod.
Annee and Mentor got into the pod in the middle.
Dukk and Marr took seats in the first pod. Carltor, one of the passengers for Mayfield, and the two observers were in the seats behind them.
“Cosy isn’t it,” Kimince said nervously.
“Imagine having to sit in here for two days waiting to be rescued,” Carltor said coldly.
“Is there a bathroom?” Trence asked.
At that moment the alarm stopped. A short tone sounded twice indicating the drill was finished. The lighting returned to normal.
“Well done everyone, that is the drill done. You can now return to your seats and get settled ahead of the launch,” Annee said loudly as she got out of the middle pod.
Dukk and Marr headed back to the cockpit and got settled.
The video feed was still running. They watched the passengers return to their seats. Bazzer and Luna came through also and appeared at the cockpit door.
“Hello you two, mind if we join you for a bit. Much better view up here,” Bazzer said as he and Luna entered the cockpit.
Bazzer came up between Dukk and Marr and peered out the windshield.
“Only one rig in the queue ahead of us. Quiet night?” commented Bazzer.
“This is typical. You wouldn’t get more than a couple of rigs going at this time here in Utopiam,” Marr answered.
“Bit of a rig watcher are we?” asked Bazzer looking at Marr.
“Somewhat. Perhaps I sensed my future,” Marr responded in gest.
Together they watched the rig ahead of them disappear down the maglev track.
“Approaching the maglev track, prepare for stop,” the Operator announced into Dukk’s comms, which had remained open since requesting departure authorisation.
“Check,” Dukk replied to the Operator.
“We are at the maglev already! Excellent. That means we’d better get downstairs, Luna. It is nearly time to turn the key,” Bazzer announced to the room as he turned and headed back towards the door with Luna in tow.
“People we have about 5 minutes before launch point, time to start pre-ignition protocols,” Dukk shared on the crew Comms.
“Passengers are settled, heading downstairs to double check everything is locked down on the accommodation level. We are on time,” came the response from Annee.
Dukk opened the comms to the passengers, “Hello, your Captain here again. Thank you for your help in doing the evacuation drill and getting seated. We are now preparing for launch. We’ll be in orbit very soon. Please sit back and enjoy the ride.”
Dukk remembered to disconnect this time.
Dukk and Marr watched as the start of the maglev track disappeared beneath them and the rig straightened up.
They felt the rig tremble slightly as the maglev cradle was lowered and then as the jacks retracted to bring the rig onto the maglev.
A chime sounded to indicate connection.
“Ready to advance to the launch point,” shared the Operator.
The rig pulled away. Whilst not uncomfortable, the acceleration was noticeable as the rig put the Citadel behind it.
“Let’s go through the launch plan. Do you want to run us through what you see,” Dukk said to Marr as he displayed the instructions on their consoles.
“Ok, let me see. So, from the launch point?”
“The maglev brings us to lift off speed by the time we reach the end of the track at the ocean. Thrusters will be used to continue our progress out over the ocean. The plan suggests our turning mark is six point two kilometres from the shore. At the turning point the nose will be pointed skywards and a ten minute hard burn will be initiated. We’ll level off at four hundred and fifty kilometres. From there we slowly gain height as the DMD plans and calculates the first traverse.”
“Time to helmet up and connect the g-juice lines. We’ll be plenty busy the moment we get to the launch point and we regain control of our engines,” Dukk said to Marr.
Five minutes later Annee and Mentor had joined them in the cockpit.
They too got their helmets on and connected up the med feeds.
“Approaching launch point, prepare to stop,” said the Operator.
“Check,” Dukk replied.
The rig came to a stop in what appeared to be in the middle of no-where. Up ahead, on the track, they could see the rig they saw leave the Citadel ahead of them.
The movement of air near the back of the rig indicated the burners were warming up.
“Relinquishing control. And I am handing you over to air traffic control, have a safe journey, out.”
“Thank you, Operator. Have a great evening,” Dukk responded.
“Marr, I am handing air traffic control to your comms.”
“Got it,” came the reply.
(to be continued...)
[Rule of Twelve, Double Take, Chapter 10 - Launch (Passage 4 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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