On entering the corridor that ran the length of the guest accommodation, Dukk checked the control panels outside each cabin. He checked the status. It showed him if the cabin was occupied or empty. It would give him a sense of who he would be meeting in the other living spaces.
Dukk knew that seeing occupied status was only part of the answer. It was not uncommon for passengers to seek companionship on these long passages.
The only cabin that was occupied was the second on the right. The cabin allocated to Larony.
Dukk continued on towards the dining room. He knocked briefly before hitting the open button.
Sitting inside the dining room were Bognath and Carltor. They were both at the opposite end of the table, facing the door. They looked like they were eating in silence staring at the flight plan. The entire route was being projected in the middle of the table. The DMD Dance could be seen causing tiny fireworks in the bottom corner.
“Not tourists! Tourists would be more likely sitting with their backs to the door so they could see out the windows. This was especially true just after leaving Earth. Security people would be more interested in knowing what is coming at them,” Dukk thought.
“Good evening. Everything ok?” Dukk asked.
“Yep,” was the reply from Bognath.
“Any thing I can help you with?”
“No thank you.”
“Good. I’ll leave you to it.”
“No questions. Patient and calm. Not tourists,” Dukk concluded as he closed the door.
His next stop was the door at the end of the corridor. The gym.
It was being put to good use. Trence was on the cross trainer. Kimince was on the treadmill. The bright and fluorescent colours of the observers’ gym clothing flashed back at Dukk as they worked the machines. Even though they were both going hard at it, they each lifted a hand to wave gleefully.
Bazzer was at the weights machine. He looked up at Dukk, and raised his eyebrows.
“Good evening, everything alright in here?” Dukk asked.
“Yes, Captain. Absolutely,” answered Kimince.
“Wonderful view isn’t it,” Trence observed turning to look at the video projection from one of the external cameras. It showed a view of The Earth as the rig raced along in its low orbit.
“It is indeed. Do let me know if there is anything I can help you with.”
“Will do. Thank you, Captain,” answered Kimince.
Dukk closed the gym door and made his last courtesy call. The lounge room status was showing as occupied. Dukk knocked as he pressed the open button.
Joantyi was on one of the couches watching something on the big screen. As he entered, she adjusted the flimsy robe she was loosely wearing. Clearly she was ready for bed. She looked up and smiled pleasantly.
“Good evening. Everything alright?” Dukk asked.
“Yes, thank you Captain. So far so good. Are we on track?”
“Yes, we are.”
“Anything I can help you with?”
“Not right now,” Joantyi answered, lingering on the word ‘now’.
“Perfect. I’ll leave you to it,” Dukk said choosing to move on swiftly.
Dukk closed the door and headed downstairs.
Dukk knew Bazzer would have done a thorough check before eating, so Dukk quickly completed his inspection of the hold, engine room and transport pod dock.
With that done he went to the cockpit and activated the console.
Marr appeared at the door a minute later.
“Passengers okay?” she asked as she sat in her seat.
“As far as I could determine. Not a lot of small talk.”
“So what do we do now?” Marr asked, wishing she’d phrased that better.
“Okay, so we have two hours left in this watch. The protocol is to check the system logs regularly and do a full rig walk around every thirty minutes. We will take turns. To mix things up we can split our time between here and the crew mess. I prefer to stay up here most of the time as it is quieter and has a better view. But it does help pass the time to get downstairs occasionally.”
“Chores and bio breaks?”
“During the walk around is a great time to hit both on the head. But there isn’t any issue at other times either. Alarms will sound in our comms no matter were we are.”
“You mentioned preparation for the traverse.”
“Yes, we can run through that now.”
The next two hours passed quickly. They did a number of simulations of the traverse process in addition to the monitoring of logs and walk arounds.
Nearing the end of watch, they moved down to the crew mess. Marr was out on a walk around when Annee appeared in her robe on the way to the bathroom. She stopped when she saw Dukk at the console.
She came over to him.
Dukk swung around and looked up.
“Hi, Ann. Did you sleep?”
“Out like a light. Listen, I noticed you having a heated conversation with Marr after dinner. Anything to be concerned about?”
“I asked her about her and Luna’s connection to Mentor.”
“He is her mentor. She is Luna’s mentor. I don’t have the details yet.”
“Mentor for what?”
“Not sure. But Marr did admit she had skills that weren’t typical of keepers.”
“Can we trust them?”
“My gut tells me that we can.”
“Are you sure that is your gut directing you?”
Dukk raised his eyebrows.
“Are you making a claim, Ann?” Dukk asked smiling.
Annee stepped in closer and leaned into the console. Video footage of the hold showed Marr weaving her way past a robotic container.
Dukk turned and watched too.
“Marr is hot, but she is not my type,” she answered.
With that, she turned and headed for the bathroom.
Ten minutes later, Annee and Mentor were starting their watch. Dukk and Marr had completed the hand-over and had retired to their cabins.
Before going to sleep, Dukk lay on his bed and cleared his mind. He listened. He paid attention. He observed the hum of the reactor. He noted the faint clunk as a door closed somewhere on the rig. He felt the barely noticeable vibration as one of the eight dual mode thrusters fired for a fraction of a second to adjust the rig’s orbit and position. He was home.
(to be continued...in the next chapter)
[Rule of Twelve, Double Take, Chapter 11 - Orbit (Passage 5 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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