Artwork above by Jesse Stevens


Thursday, September 29, 2011

SPACE IS A DEADLY SISTER: XI

by Gil James Bavel


Mission Day 674
: 7:56 hours
Ganymede Base mining station
First Shift




Marquis Williams was the first out of bed. He went directly to the workout facility and stretched, then put in a half hour on the exercise equipment. It was mandatory for all crew to use the workout equipment daily. Afterward, he got into the shower. When he had finished and gotten dressed for duty, on his own way to the mess hall he met John Biggs headed toward the workout station.

“Morning.” Williams offered cheerfully,

“Morning, Marquis,” Biggs replied. “Did you wipe down the bike seat?” he asked playfully.

“Yeah, it’s all ready for you to use. Have a good workout. See you in the mess hall.”

“Right,” answered Biggs, and patted his friend on the shoulder as they crossed.



Mission Day 674
: 8:29 hours
Ganymede Base mining station
First Shift





The mess hall was already buzzing with activity. Today was a Friday Run, and since the crew had been allowed to sleep in, they were feeling lazy. They now had less time to do to catch-up to prepare the shuttle bay, and were consequently running pre-landing checks while they ate their breakfast.

Dr. Devon Berkshire was sipping black tea—Irish Breakfast—while Dr. Lisa Obermeyer and Will Jensen were drinking coffee and eating what passed for reconstituted eggs with some kind of soy-sausage patties. Obermeyer was finishing a fruit protein bar. They were noodling together while parallel working on their respective duty pads.

Marquis Williams entered the mess hall. “Morning all,” he offered, and made his way toward the drink station to procure some coffee. Various salutations went up from the crew, and Berkshire offered him a pad.

“Make sure you get your ducks in a row this morning. We’re running late, and I want to make sure our deliveries get made without a hitch. And that Jim and Sondra don’t have to do any more work than usual because we slept in today.”

“Sure thing, boss,” Williams replied, taking the pad and looking it over while he retrieved a cup from the drink station. He poured himself a coffee, stirred in some creamer and sat down with the rest of the crew in the breakfast nook. They munched at their breakfast and began planning out their duties for the day.

“Who wants to wash out the landing bay? I want it done before noon so they have an easy landing,” Berkshire ordered.

Jensen raised a hand. “I’ll take care of it. Then I can hit the bike afterward and be ready for them when they get here. What’s on the bird today?”

Berkshire wiped his pad with a finger and called up the relevant data. “Looks like we’ve got more drill bits, blower parts and algae kits. Oh, and they’re bringing us that new rover that’s been on backorder. I guess they worked out all the kinks, finally. Look, when it gets here, I want John to go over every system, check it and prepare it for initialization. Will, will you see that it gets done? And when you’re finished, I want it stowed away and locked down under a tarp. We won’t need it for a while yet. Let’s get as much mileage out of the old one as we can.”

Jensen nodded, finishing his breakfast. “I’ll make sure to tell him.”

“Everyone have their duty rosters down for today?” Berkshire asked his crew.

“Yeah, we’re ready, Devon,” answered Obermeyer.

“Good. When you’ve finished up breakfast, let’s get to work.” Berkshire resumed looking at the data he’d brought up and lost himself in his cup of Irish Breakfast.



Mission Day 674
: 10:04 hours
Ganymede Base mining station
First Shift





Class I Mechanical/Maintenance Technician Will Jensen was spraying out the landing bay, not with water, but with an air hose. A grating at the far side near the bay door caught the grit and stored it for eventual redistribution on the surface. It was tedious work, but compared to installing the annex, it was easy, and it was necessary to insure the Friday Run ship had a smooth landing. Jensen thought about seeing Sondra Lawton and Captain Jim Stanton again; Sondra always lit up the base with her youthful enthusiasm, and Stanton would be retiring soon. He wondered if they’d have a party. Jensen would have to look him up once his own rotation was over.

Of course, he’d have to repeat this process after the ship departed again, but that was par for the course. Dr. Lisa Obermeyer popped open the airlock and joined him in the shuttle bay.

“I’ll help you clean out the grate and get the regolith out, if you like. After a little nookie,” she said, a familiar glint in her eye.

Jensen smiled. “Sounds good, I’m done here. I’ll have to clean up before I suit up again, anyway. Let’s knock off for an early lunch, I’ll tell Devon I’m done here and that we’ll depressurize the bay in an hour or so.” He turned off the air hose and stowed it back on its rack on the wall. They left the bay together holding hands, and made for the command center. Dr. Berkshire was there, correlating data.

He turned to face the two of them. “Get the bay sprayed out?” he asked.

Jensen nodded. “Yeah, just finished. If it’s okay with you, Lisa and I are going to punch out for an early lunch, and then we’ll depressurize the bay and empty the grate outside.”

Berkshire agreed. “Okay, but when you’re done, I have instructions for you to reposition the antennae array on the radio shack. Not sure why, but here are the coordinates. Make sure you put them into your suit.”

Jensen took the pad. “Sure thing, boss,” he said, examining the data.

Obermeyer reached for Jensen’s other hand. “Let’s go, I’m hungry!” she remarked.

Berkshire smiled. “Have fun guys. Don’t fail to be back on duty in an hour,” he commanded. “Friday Run ship is due no later than noon-thirty”.

“Will do,” Jensen replied, taking Obermeyer’s other hand and following her out of their Commander’s control center.

They quietly walked back to her quarters. She opened the door and pulled him through.

“I didn’t get enough of you this morning,” she said, unzipping his jumpsuit. Jensen began removing her own clothes and soon they were in a competition with each other as to which would get the other’s clothes off first. Their boots fell to the floor and soon they were lost in each other.

“I want to have children,” Obermeyer admitted.

“What, now?” joked Jensen, fondling her smooth, white breasts.

“We could get started now,” she answered in between breathy moans. “No time like the present.” She instinctually inverted him so he was on top of her.

“You’re serious? Why the sudden urge to have kids?” Jensen asked. He was beginning to drop beads of sweat onto her naked body with every thrust of his pelvis.

Obermeyer's eyes rolled back in ecstasy. “Ohh…I…don’t know. I don’t want to wait until I’m forty to have kids.”

“You’ll have to marry me when we get home,” Jensen said, seriously.

“Oh...oh...okay...FUCK ME!” screamed Obermeyer, and pulled him into her where he exploded like one of Io’s volcanoes. He settled down onto her smooth, flat body and folded his fingers inside hers.

“I’m going to hold you to that, Doctor,” Jensen said, smiling.

Obermeyer was lost in post-coital bliss. “Oh, you do that,” she said with a sigh.

After a few minutes, she sat up, reaching for a nearby towel. “I’m hungry, let’s go eat.”

Jensen laughed. “Okay. Then we’ve got to clean up and suit up.” She handed him the towel and he cleaned off. Putting on his clothes, he zipped up and put his boots on. “I’ll see you in the mess hall.”

“Wait, I’ll come with you,” she said, and hopped out of bed. She dressed quickly and they left her quarters, headed for the mess hall. She planted a kiss on his lips as they departed.


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