Wednesday, 23 March 2016

ANOTHER BIT FROM THE PAGES OF 'REACH FOR MARS' :

There was a large staging room (terminal, you could say) on the hangar level with its own airlock to the hangar area, and therefore, direct access for the personnel and passengers to and from the starships parked in the hangar. This was of course where we had most of our meals and gatherings because it was where most of the supplies were stored and you may recall that I had named it the Spaceport Cafe. I parked the buggy behind the others and walked into that large room, which had huge bay windows on one side overlooking the hangar area where people could watch incoming and outgoing flights. I found the rest of the crew in there saying their goodbyes to the third of the crew that was remaining behind on Mars. I walked up to Sammy and said goodbye. She gave me a hug and wished me a safe journey. I turned to Nick and shook his hand. He looked directly into my eyes and said,
“Make sure you’re back in six weeks, or I’ll come looking for you.”
I laughed and replied,
“It’s a big universe. I’m sure I could find a planet big enough to hide behind. I’ll be back in five to six weeks, given fair and favorable (solar) winds.”
With a wave of my hand, I led the rest of my crew out of the room to our buggies. I followed the crew through the hangar doors and pushed the button on the dash to close the inner airlock doors as I passed through. I saw and heard the doors closing as I followed the rest of the crew to the ship. I drove the buggy into the cargo hold of the starship. There was no way that I could see to batten the buggy down, but as I knew the physical flight characteristics of the ship I wasn’t worried, I just made sure the handbrake was firmly applied. Mel and I took the elevator to the flight deck level and put our bags into the captain’s quarters. It was a large, luxurious suite with a door connecting straight to the flight deck. After dropping the bags, I walked through the connecting door onto the bridge and put on a headset. The ship came to life. I told it to retract the ramp and close, lock, and seal the outer hull door. I could hear by the electrical whines, buzzes, and thumps that the ship had complied with my commands.