Wednesday, September 28, 2011


by Gil James Bavel

Mission Day 674:
3:01 hours
Ganymede Base mining station
First Shift

The crew of Ganymede Base was sleeping comfortably while a rain of micrometeoroids fell harmlessly outside. The modifications to the base complete, they were enjoying a well deserved extra few hours of sleep.

The installation now sported extra crew quarters, new shower and restroom facilities, and waste disposal and containment areas. The airlock to the new section had gone in seamlessly. The survey team had graded the surface, laid a slab, and the construction team had gotten the annex up in well under the allotted time, testing each corner, wall and weld. They had pressurized it, waited an hour to insure there were no leaks, and then opened the airlock into it. No problems.

The most difficult part was wiring the electronics, but that was a simple matter to Jensen. As a mechanical engineer, he was used to fixing things on the fly with fewer materials than he’d like. This new section had really gone up without a hitch. Every member of the crew had pitched in, from the surveyors to the Commander. The micrometeoroids were breaking in the virgin surfaces of the outside of the annex, falling harmlessly to the ground afterward.

Dr. Lisa Obermeyer rolled over in her sleep. Will Jensen was there, in her rack, dreaming of his family back in the inner system: Walking on the beaches of Earth with his nephew, Colin; visiting Luna and his mother; and eventually of crawling through the caves of Mars with his brother Michael and his family. They loved spelunking those ancient caves. Michael’s stepchildren were young enough that they still believed that the caves had been cut out of the living rock by aliens millennia ago. It was one of their favorite hobbies. With nearly twenty billion people on the Earth, it had been an easy option for many of his family to settle offworld to the colonies. It was a lot less cramped, and a more easygoing lifestyle, if you could handle it.

Dr. Devon Berkshire stirred, rolled over in his own rack and awoke. “Computer,” he commanded, “MM status.”

The computer answered back, “Nominal.”

Berkshire called up the exterior view of the new addition and watched the dust of micrometeoroids bouncing harmlessly off of it. Over the years he had learned to wake up to the soft pellets of rain on the base. It was an uneasy sleep that came with command. Of course, the annex was the safest part of the installation now, but being the newest, in his mind it was the most prone to faults. He did a systems check from his bed and then rolled over and went back to sleep.

Biggs and Williams likewise slept restively, they were used to the sound of the rain outside but knew that during a micrometeoroid storm, there was a small but not impossible chance that a breach could occur and they’d have to get up and seal it when the alarm sounded.

Presently, the micrometeoroids slowed and the shower ended. The crew of Ganymede Base could rest easy for the remainder of their rack time and sleep in.

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Archive of Stories
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Adam Bolivar's

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Keith Graham's

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David Agranoff's

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