Memories of Connor's Adventures

Orlando the Adventurer pulled a Scimitar from beneath his Robes and smiled...

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Short fiction: the mission commander

The Mission Commander

Greg braced himself against the interior of the Lifepod hatchway and chewed his mealbar. Beyond him sat a months supply of similar protien rich, yet undesirably chewy sufferance.
"Bastard." The M.C.'s criticism dug deep.
Greg had made it through Colonist selection and training, now, two weeks from Mars, and this old bastard who would never set foot on Mars, whose entire task was to ferry them out so the six colonists onboard the aging Soyuz-SC Colony Transport could make a landing and build a new civilization, was putting him on report.
His helmet floated in close proximity. Orders. Mission protocol. Survival systems always handy.
I'll take one of yours for good measure. Greg pocketed a bar.
"You go hungry a day from Earth. See how that looks on your record." Greg tossed the empty into the return trip food stores and smiled.
"Greg?" Comm static gave way to a voice. It was Carol.
"Yeah?" He had considered repeatedly becoming involved with Carol but she was fixated on a five sided relationship with the other couples of this journey. Greg had become something of an outcast simply by devoting himself to an increased workload rather than social interaction.
How long are you going to be on the particulate cleanup?" Greg looked down at the humming vacuum cleaner worth a quarter of a million dollars.
"Maybe another ten minutes. It looks like someone had sex in one of the food storage capsules." That would get them whispering amongst themselves.
"Don't be in too great a hurry, the old man is telling us another one of his Lunar survey stories." Great. Another epic about how he and Neil Armstrong built the first lunar colony in one mission. These old Shuttle era guys were nothing but stories.
That just cost you a second mealbar old man. Greg snatched up the vacuum as it made it's way past, a fish swimming in zero gravity.
"We are a survey team. Our task is to assess three possible sites for Colony one. We must analyse samples, evaluate soil loading, search for water, mine, refine, and contemplate our oneness with the environment, and have happy spanking communal sex." It sounded good. Greg smiled and stuffed the vacuum in its storage locker.
Greg was laughing by the time he got to the observation bubble. Carol met him there.
"Do you know who?" Were the first words from her mouth. Greg Shepperd strapped himself in and flipped a switch. For the first time in days he felt G forces pushing and pulling at him. Carol sat in the other one eighty degrees of very comfortable seating. The circum-opposite seats moved faster in their ten million dollar bearing.
Greg reached out against the two gee of rotation and touched Carol's face.
"No Idea. All evidence destroyed." He smiled arrogantly at her. Carol kicked herself out of the seat. She was pissed.
Carol pushed against him with force and spiralled off into the dining area impacting hard against the storage locker that concealed the fold-away dinner table. It left a crease in the metal panel. The engraved colonial kitchen scene that had been worked into the panel was damaged. Women working with food. It was a duplicate of something over two hundred years old.
"S&&+." Greg flipped a switch and the seats slowed.
"Are you injured?" Greg was concerned.
She didn't answer. She simply left, heading for the food storage lifepods.
"Great. Something else I gotta fix."
Greg pushed across to the tools manifest.
Earth radio feed piped in over the Comm.
“Hm hm hm hm-hm hm ha-Hm hm hm hm-hm hm ha.” Koko do ro? It was roses something. This was the pinnacle of human achievement and Greg could no longer remember the name of the damn song.
Nylon mallet, locker six. Grady entered the living quarters from the flight deck.
“Where’s Carol?” Greg pointed a thumb in the direction of Support Systems and pushed across to the bent panel.
“She’s letting go aft.” The joke was lost on Grady.
Flight Surgeon David P. Grady was a humourless bastard. His entire existence was medicine and psychology. He was having sex with three women who were experiencing mental problems over sexual territory.
So much for conflict of interest you unethical bastard.
“Grady?” Greg had to know.
“You got selected by a committee of your peers for this right?”
“Yeah. What of it?” Grady was analysing the tone in Greg’s Voice. Greg could tell.
“Did you ever find out what put you to the top of the list?” Greg acted passive.
“I never cared to ask.” Greg let him go. Carol was waiting.
They kicked you off Earth. And you lied.
“Hm hm hm hm-hm hm ha-Hm hm hm hm-hm hm ha” came the music. Greg felt the rhythm of it and hammered at the bent panel with the nylon mallet.
Priceless art and it would never be perfect again. It took a drawn out inspection to reach a conclusion. The table folded out nicely but you could still see the stress of the metal. For the second time in his life, Greg settled for almost.
Mallet returned to locker six. Maintenance log checked off. Task: Repaired damaged table art. Cause: Carol jumped from the moving rollercoaster.
Greg made for the distant observation bubble and its ten million dollar bearing.
This is the disenchanting truth. I am alive. A flipped switch and two gravities of hope and pain worked their power.
“Hm hm hm hm-hm hm ha-Hm hm hm hm-hm hm ha” came the music even though it was now only in his head. Six months on a ship with people he had come to feel contempt and hatred for. The human race was screwed.
“Shepperd?” Greg opened his eyes to the M.C. A flipped switch and the system closed down. Greg stared at the most annoying individual in his life.
“You didn’t upload the maintenance Log.”
“What time is it?” Greg looked around for a time display.
Must have dozed off.
“I need to upload to Earth.” Was it that late?
“I’ll get it done now.” Greg Shepperd pushed past and headed for the Maintenance Log.
Time display: 02:23
Three hours. I was asleep for three hours.
“If you are looking for Carol and Grady, they went aft three hours ago.”
“I just want the maintenance log.” Greg pushed the buttons faster. The quicker he was done, the sooner he could get sleep.
“Maintenance log uploaded.” Shepperd looked around for the M.C. He was inspecting the damaged panel.
“What happened?” Somehow this was annoying to him.
“It’s in the Log. I fixed most of the damage.”

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