Hey folks, Mid terms kicked my ass. I spent so much time studying and getting the cars ready for spring that I barely had time to write. Thanks to all who thought enough to write and ask what the hell was taking so long between this one and the last. But really it's only been about three weeks. So let's get to the meat of this one. I have to apologize to all of you who like quick, dirty stories with a lot of sex scenes and very little dialogue, because this ain't one of those. You should probably skip down to another story so both of us can be happy. I am also apologizing in advance to all of the would be Sheldon Coopers out there who will probably be licking their chops with glee as they analyze the story letter by letter to find places where I got the science wrong. I am admitting right now that i got most of the space stuff from google. It's probably all wrong, so please don't waste your time in the comments section explianing to us what an idiot I am when it comes to space travel. Unlike you I have never been to space, but I'm looking forward to reading your story where you tell us how it really is. This is just another story written purely for the hell of it. I am not now, nor have I ever been a rocket scientist, but hey any one of my Mustangs will run rings around your Prius. Lastly, Thanks so much to the great Barney-R not only for editing this and making my scribbles legible, but also for reminding me from time to time that i needed to write something. While I wrote this, we lost one of the greats. And this time we don't need to search for Spock. He's in a better placed. Here we go. SS06
"She packed my bags last night pre-flight."
"Zero hour nine AM."
"And I'm gonna be high ai ai ... As a kite by then," I screamed at the top of my lungs.
The laughter in the small space came from the other six members of my crew.
"Holy shit, Commander. Remind me never to invite you to go karaoke singing with me," exclaimed Captain Martin, who occupied the command seat to my right.
"Remy, you cut me to the quick," I said dramatically. However, deep down, inside my mission had been accomplished.
The reason for my outburst was to lighten the mood. I was sitting on top of a stack of rocket motors with a crew of mostly first timers. The air was so thick with nervousness and genuine fear that you could smell it. Making them laugh with my horrible singing helped to ease that tension.
Every one of them had been well-trained and was ready for the mission. At least as well trained as you could be on the ground. But let's face it ... Going into space is a whole different animal. They can simulate the environment. They can sit you in a jet and subject you to massive amounts of G-forces. They can put you in a giant underwater tank and have you perform your mission duties thousands of times until you can do it in your sleep. But it's just not the same as being in SPACE.
I'm Jack Daniels, a NASA mission commander. I hold the record for space missions. At 45 years old, I'm the only man in the US or any other space program to serve on more than 20 missions. I'm somewhat of a legend. And I consider myself to be somewhat of a loser.
Sure I'm very proud of my successes. I've successfully completed my mission objectives in every God damned case. And some of those were situations where I had to improvise and pull solutions out of my ass to make things happen. The eggheads at mission control had a saying when the job was complicated and absolutely HAD to be done correctly and on time.
"Send up the Rocket Man," they'd say.
That's me ... The Rocket Man. I think it's a joke. I'm more of a space going or ... Orbital UPS driver. OPS ... Orbital Parcel Service is what they should call us. And that's why I'm a loser.
It's not really my fault. I was just born in the wrong fucking time.
When you think of space, you think of exploration. You think of seeing things that or going to places that human beings have never been. I hate to quote William Shatner, but Captain Kirk said it first and best. I want to boldly go where no man has gone before.
But I can't because we don't really explore any more. The only space missions we do now involve delivering shit to and repairing that rapidly aging, piece of orbital junk we call the international space station.
As much as I think Obama got it wrong when it comes to his health-care plan, I have to hand it to him. He has definitely cranked up both the funding and the interest in space exploration. His determination for us to launch a mission to Mars is great. It's just that it came far too late in my career for me to benefit from it.
So here I am, along with my flight crew, Captain Remy Martin, and Captain Pete Morgan, flying a group of mission specialists from several different countries, up to the ISS to fix the toilets and let them try to grow plants and shit.
So once again, to get these highly motivated, well trained, extremely bright individuals to stop being nervous, so they could all do their jobs and make mine easier ... I sang old Elton John songs to help them forget that they were sitting on top of what was basically a giant bomb that would soon go off. The first stage alone put out 860000 pounds of thrust. They were all petrified, while I was wondering if this rocket's thrust was equal to my Mustang's horsepower. Sometimes, I wasn't sure.
"Hey Cassie," I said loudly.
A very nervous redhead looked up and made eye contact with me.
"What does NASA stand for?" I asked in the cheesiest voice I could manage. Her pale skin flushed, and for a second, I thought I had misjudged her. However, the fire returned to her green eyes, and she glared at me.
"Need another seven astronauts," she laughed. "That's a horrible joke, commander. Especially right now, sir."
"You're right," I said. "I wasn't thinking that at all. You should be ashamed of yourself, Cassandra O' Reilly. And I was trying to hit on you too! I have terrible taste in women."
She blushed returning even more color to her milky complexion. Cassie was one of those fiery redheads. If you pushed her, she would always push back. I just wanted her cranked up enough to erase her fear, not pissed off enough to make her angry.
"So what DOES it stand for, commander?" she pouted. The amusement in those green eyes alone was so enticing that even without seeing the three feet plus of curly red hair that they had somehow managed to stuff under her helmet, she was extremely beautiful.
"Need another SEXY AGRICULTURIST," I smirked. Her face got even redder as the rest of the crew laughed at us.
"Why do you need another one?" she quipped. "You can't even handle the one you've got!"
The crew laughed again this time at me. And before I could continue our duel, the voice of mission control came over the com.
"All systems go, people. Ignition in ten," said the voice of John Walker, who ran mission control. "Five."
A few seconds later, the world began to vibrate and then to shake violently as the rocket built up thrust.
I smiled as I watched the expressions on the faces around me. Morgan and Martin had both been through it before, so while understandably tense, especially after the NASA jokes, they were okay. It was the other four I was worried about. Vladimir Miranov, a member of the Russian space program was fine. He met my gaze with a slight nod. He too had been through a mission or two prior to this one. Terence Dawkins, an aerospace engineer who looked as if he'd be more at home on a basketball court than a rocket was also fine. I had gotten to know him a bit while training for the mission and liked him. He was solid, dependable, and brilliant in his field. The idea for bringing him actually made the most and yet the least sense.
Terry coming along so he could experience a mission would give him invaluable experience and insight when he designed rockets and components for future missions. It would help to set him apart from all the other eggheads who designed and expected us to use equipment that was substandard or just plain junk.
It would be great to have someone on the design team who actually thought about the people who used the things they designed and built.
However, taking Terry up to the space station to look at trying to find ways to upgrade or modify the ISS was silly. That barely flying piece of space junk is seventeen years old. How much has technology changed over the last 17 years? What we really need to do is dismantle it and build a newer, more modern version.
Terry as expected was doing fine. I quickly glanced over next to him and saw panic on Cassie's face. I smiled at her and then pretended to wipe my eyes as if I had been crying. She stuck her bottom lip out stubbornly and then realizing what I was doing, smiled back at me. She gave me the Okay sign and then lurched to the side unexpectedly.
Seated next to Cassie was Nathan Penn. His family were supposedly descendants of William Penn. It was rumored that their family still owned half of the state of Pennsylvania. Penn was a theoretical physicist. I had no fucking idea why he was here. He had probably bought a seat, or made a huge donation to the favorite charity of one of the senators with oversight of NASA.
.... There is more of this story ...