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.
His family owned several businesses in a variety of industries from utility companies to pure bullshit and hokum. They even owned a company that specializes in products to make life better for the average person. That company advertised on late-night TV. I thought most of their products were inane. There was the Penn-cil. It looked like a pencil, but you couldn't erase it, and it used ink. The Penn-derizer was used for tenderizing meat. It looked like a hammer except the head was made of wood, and the handle was steel. My favorite of all though, was the shop-Penn bag. It was just like a shopping bag except that it had Penn written on the side of it.
As I looked at him, I thought he looked a bit nauseated.
"Nate if you hurl, you're going to be wearing it until we get to the station.
"I'm not gonna ... Ah ... bleeeaaarrrrrrggghh ... Blauuughhh!"
Cassie turned away, trying her best not to look at him. I leaned back in my seat, trying my best not to laugh. Maybe he should have taken some Penn-a-dryl or a couple of aspir-Penn, before we launched.
The vibration and shaking increased as we gained momentum. It felt as if the ship was shaking itself to pieces, but it was only the physical forces of mass, acceleration, and gravity all vying for supremacy as we rose into the early-morning sky.
We heard the sounds of metal creaking and a couple of tiny pings hitting the floor.
"Holy shit we're all gonna die," screamed Nate.
"Calm down, Mr. Penn," I said. "We're fine the ship is just settling."
"Stop being such a girl, Nate," said Cassie.
"Bleaaaaaarrrrgh," was his only reply. Nate's helmet was so full of vomit that it looked like a fish bowl.
"If you get that stuff in your helmet locks, they'll fail," I said. "We'll probably need a can o-Penn-er to get you out."
"We'll have to use Penn-seal to make sure there aren't any air leaks when his vomit eats through the gaskets," laughed Remy.
Then there was a giant clank sound and the ship started to move even faster.
"Was that the second stage," asked Terry calmly.
"Yep, we should be out of the atmosphere, and the G-forces will stop squeezing us soon," I said.
"That was what made me throw up," said Penn. "It was the pressure of all of those G's."
"That's good to know," said Morgan. "I thought you were just being a giant Penn-sy."
"Shit, I miss the shuttle," said Remy. "Even though they just made this thing, it feels like my granddad's technology. All of this shit about leaving the station and then landing in the ocean makes no sense. I'm a pilot, not a guppy."
I looked across the space that separated the glass visor of his helmet from mine and into his eyes. "Holy shit!" I laughed. "You can't swim can you?"
"Of course, I can," he spat, "Just not in water."
It had been a wonderful dinner at a restaurant the likes of which I'd never seen before. It wasn't that I couldn't have come here if I'd wanted to. As an associate with one of Washington DC's most prestigious law firms, my salary pretty much let me do whatever I wanted. It was just ... Well, no need to dwell on that now.
"How about one more dance pretty lady," asked Brett. Brett Baldridge was one of the junior partners in our firm. He was five or six years younger than I am, but had already made junior partner. At the rate he was going, he'll be a partner in the next year or two and then jump the fence into politics.
His father and uncle were senior partners in the firm, but they had made him work for everything he got. The firm and the law were just stepping stones for Brett. He had his eye on the Senate and possibly beyond.
"Why not," I said. I was more than a little tipsy, and I knew that dancing was probably not a good idea. However, I would do anything to calm my nerves. It wasn't really nerves was it? It was anger. And as Brett took my hand and led me back onto the dance floor, there was a bit more sashay in my hips and both, he and most of the men around us noticed it.
As we danced, Brett held me very close, and I allowed it. He probably thought that his charm was finally working on me. He thought that his fashionable two-day beard growth and rugged good looks had finally won me over. The smile on his face told me that in his eyes, I was ripe for the plucking.
He squeezed me even closer, and I laughed. I could feel his boner, a fully hard one forcing itself into my stomach. I laughed again as we swirled across the floor without a care in the world. I noticed the people around us watching. The handsome, young Washington lawyer and his beautiful date. I wondered if they could tell that I was older than Brett.
I've always been pretty. I've always been tall and thin. My long almost ash blonde hair seemed to draw men to me from an early age. I laughed as Brett tried to dip me. It was hard for him because I'm as tall as he is. And let's face it Brett is only a warrior when it comes to the law. He looks really good rocking a two thousand dollar suit. But it looks good because of the cut, not the body under it.
Doing a dip requires that the man be able effortlessly to support the woman's weight. And even though I'm not very heavy, Brett had to increase his leverage by supporting me closer to my center of gravity. That meant that instead of holding my lower back, he ended up holding my ass. I laughed loudly. I guess I was more tipsy than I thought. Especially since I felt my long hair sweep the floor, and I continued downwards in the flamboyant movement. I later saw pictures that indicated both the presence of Brett's hands on my ass in a public place in full view, and how close the back of my head came to splitting open on the marble floor.
As I looked across that same dance floor and restaurant. I noticed that most of the people there were staring at us. There was one gray haired, shriveled old man who was paying particular interest in our every move.
"Why is everyone staring at us?" I asked.
"That's easy," he said. "You're like a model. You're the most beautiful woman in this place. And they all wish they were in my shoes. They all wish they could be with you. They all wish they were the one holding you this closely. They all wish they were the man who got to kiss those lips ... Like this." He lifted me up pulled me in closer and planted his lips on mine.
Some of his flattery got to me. And awash with a potent mixture of anger, liquor and my susceptibility to flattery, I let him. I knew I shouldn't have, but I did. After all Brett at least wanted to be with me. Brett appreciated my work. That was the main reason we were here.
Two colleagues celebrating another victory in court, on a night when I simply could not stand to be alone. The loneliness and the uncertainty always threatened to destroy me on nights like this. I knew what I had signed up for. I knew what I would go through. However, somehow instead of getting used to it, it got worse every God damned time.
An hour and several more drinks later, I was feeling no pain. Brett finally grabbed our coats, paid the check, and took us out of there. We ended up back in my house. We danced more, drank even more, and got comfortable. Sometime in the early-morning Brett started taking off his clothes. In my drunken state, it seemed only normal for me to also take off some of mine. His body was scrawny for a thirty two-year-old man, and I laughed.
The funniest part was that he was wearing Scooby Doo boxers. He came over to me and danced me around the room again. I was so drunk I would have done almost anything.
"Do you know what this is?" he asked me in a playful voice. I nodded my head.
"It looks like a dick, only it's smaller," I said.
"I'm average size," he spat angrily.
"I didn't mean to hurt your feelings," I laughed. "But I've actually only seen one of those in my entire life."
"You didn't hurt my feelings," he smirked. "You hurt HIS feelings. Do you want to make it up to him?"
I nodded my head several times. "Well then, you have to suck it," he said.
I walked over to him and took his little dick between two of my fingers. Even in my drunken state, I noticed that there were several things that didn't add up. I had done this same act many times before, but it felt odd. Somehow I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I wanted somehow to inflict a dose of pain on the person who had hurt me.
Another thing was that whenever I had done this before, my nostrils had taken in the musky odor of an aroused man. The organ I held in my hand usually throbbed with desire for me and even holding it, I knew that it would fill me and stretch me to the point of no return. I didn't feel any of that. Brett's dick was more like a joke. I popped it on my mouth and the only thing I smelled was his over dose of cologne.
I instantly deep mouthed him in one gulp. I say deep mouthed because his dick wasn't long enough to reach my throat. It didn't get any fatter or any longer no matter how hard, or how long I sucked on it. And that struck me as funny.
"Can you actually fuck with this little thing?" I giggled. I found out. Brett fucked me three times. The last time he fucked my ass. Only one man had ever done that before. and it had hurt but over time I'd grown to appreciate the pain because of how much pleasure it gave him. But this time there was no pain. I laughed the whole time; I barely felt a thing.
"The women on the office are sooooo full of shit," I yelled. "And all of this time I thought I was missing out on something."
"Yeah well, most forty-year-old women are kind of jaded," he smirked. "I think it's because they're so close to menopause and their pussy drying up and becoming useless toothless old whores."
I was shocked. His words took some of the drunk ones out of me. "I'm not..." I began.
"I got your record from personnel," he said. "I know everything there is to know about you. You'll be forty one three weeks from Tuesday. Pretending to be young doesn't make it true. All the face lifts and tummy tucks in the world can't stop the hands of time grandma."
"Well, for a young hot stud, you suck in bed. Even with your microscopic dick, you have no idea how to make love to a woman. I didn't cum," I shrieked.
"Too bad for you," he said. "I did. I did four times. Once when you blew me, you really know how to suck a dick. You must have lots of practice. I came in that big old, loose pussy of yours twice and once up your tight little ass. I got mine. Now while we're on the subject. I wasn't making love to you. I was fucking you. The same way I'd fuck some downtown streetwalker. You treat a whore, like a whore and that's all you are to me. Actually, you're lower than that. You were just the last name on my list. You were the only bitch in the firm that I hadn't fucked."
Shock and disbelief went through me. Suddenly, I was no longer nearly as drunk.
"The last one," he continued. "Every partner, junior partner, associate, secretary, steno, paralegal, and cleaning woman has given me a taste. I wish I could say that I saved the best for last, but that would be an out-and-out lie. But hey, ya win some; ya lose some. Mission accomplished." He started looking around for his clothes. He gathered them up and started putting them on.
He got to the door with his pants and shirt on. He was holding his tie and jacket in the crook of his arm.
"The best thing about this," he said. "Is that no one ever needs to know about it, right?" I nodded as tears began to fall from my eyes.
"I trust that we can still enjoy a thoroughly professional working relationship around the office, can't we," he asked. I nodded again. He smiled again, and I wondered what I had ever seen in him. What the fuck was it that made him seem to be so God damned charming?
Then I realized that I had been played. He had simply sensed my weakness and unhappiness ... No ... I wasn't really unhappy. I have never been unhappy. What he sensed was my anger and my ... Fear.
He opened the door and stepped out into the early-morning darkness. Well, he tried to. He was shoved back into the house by two men who looked like they belonged on the defensive line of an NFL football team.
"How many doors does this Damned Castle have, Ma'am," asked one.
"Hey, do you have any idea who I am," snapped Brett getting over the shock of being manhandled. The two bruisers, one of whom was white with close cropped blond hair, and the other was black with close cropped black hair looked at each other. They had probably worked together for a long time because no words were necessary.
While the black man repeated his partner's question to me, the blond one stuck his arm out. That was really what it looked like. It was an almost casual movement. Both of the men looked like tanks in suits. The arm that suddenly extended was almost the size of Brett's waist. I could hear the seams in the suit he wore protesting with the sudden movement. Brett suddenly flew across the room.
"The senator wanted you in one piece," he said. "He never said shit about you being conscious."
The black man shook his head at his partner's words. "Yeah, I know," said the blond man. "As soon as we get back, five bucks in the swear jar."
"Can you please tell me what's going on?" I asked.
"Did you hear that?" the blond man asked Brett, who was holding his nose in hands. "That's the way you should be acting. Keep things calm and cool."
The black man turned and spoke to me. "We don't actually know the full details, Ma'am," he said politely. "But Senator Cargill would like a word with the two of you."
"Senator Cargill as in the most powerful Senator in Washington," asked Brett.
Both men nodded.
"When is this supposed to take place?" I asked.
"First thing tomorrow morning," said the blond man. It was then that I noticed the iPhone placed in front of the huge 75 inch curved 4K television set. It reminded me that sometime tomorrow morning I'd be receiving a very important call.
"Don't worry, Ma'am," said the blond bruiser. "All important calls will be routed through to you."
"Great," I said. "There are no exits from the second floor except to the balcony over the pool in the back. I'm too old to jump or climb down to that concrete pool deck, so I'm going up to sleep in my bed. I have a lot of liquor to sleep off and some bad decisions to think through."
Both bruisers nodded.
"Hey what about me," yelled Brett.
"You can sleep on the floor," I said.
"Fuck you," he sneered. "If you won't give me a guest room, I'm sleeping on this couch."
"Gentlemen," I said to the bruisers. "I would prefer it if Mr. Baldridge kept his slimy ass off of my furniture. Can you at least do that for me? Help yourselves to coffee and anything else in the kitchen you'd like."
Brett sat down on the edge of the sofa. The blond man smacked his fist into his other hand and Brett leaped off of the sofa as if it was on fire.
"I miss the Earth so much, I miss my wife."
"It's lonely out in space."
"On such a timeless flight."
The usual thing to do on a mission like ours was to sleep. The mission specialists would sleep or try to for most of the trip to the station. The flight crew would rotate napping. Truthfully, we all could have gone to sleep. The capsule was pretty much guided from mission control. We were only needed if, for some reason something malfunctioned, or we got off course.
However, space travel did have its share of dangers that were faced nowhere else. For one thing, we were prisoners inside the capsule. Without our oxygen supply, and life support, we wouldn't survive for very long in the cold, dark vacuum of space. As I looked out into the universe, I felt many things. I was amazed at just how bright the stars seemed to be away from the earth. I was amazed at exactly how small we are when compared to the almost infinite size of the universe. And I felt loneliness.
I think it was then that I decided that this would be my last trip. The rocket man would settle down. I'd take a long vacation and see some of those tropical places that Beth and I had always dreamed of seeing when we were young. We were actually still young. We were just an older version of young. To me, Beth was still the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. And I had short changed her in our lives. I was always out exploring this or that, when all she ever wanted was to keep her feet planted on earth.
It kind of reminded me of that old KISS song lyric. "Beth I hear you calling, but I can't come home right now."
It was almost as if I had grown up while I looked out at the nothingness. Beth hated to watch me take off. The challenger disaster from so many years ago had shaken her to her core. We always argued just before a mission, and the closer the launches got, the angrier she seemed to get. However, as soon as I was back, she was right there with me, making up for lost time.
I got my iPad out of a storage locker. I decided to make a video for her. I guess it would be kind of like a selfie from orbit. I figured out what I wanted to say and figured out two ways to get it to her. The first possibility would be if I could hook into the Wi-Fi on the station. There was wireless communication between devices on the capsule too, but I had no way of knowing how to hook into it.
"Beth, Honey, I love you. And I'm coming home," I said. "And this is the last time. This is my last one."
I recorded my heartfelt words and tried to play it back. I didn't want anyone else to hear what I had said, so I spoke softly and kept the volume down as I played it back. Or as I tried to.
I need to point something out here. I'm a pilot. I'm an aerospace engineer. I work with some of the most high-tech equipment in the history of mankind. BUT ... I have to admit that I have absolutely no idea how the fucking iCloud works.
I do know that my iPhone back on earth and the iPad I had on my lap were linked. So that pictures or videos shot on one automatically went to the other. But the nearest thing I could figure was that as I tried to play back the video I had just made, it somehow told my iPhone back on Earth to start recording as well. That had happened to me a couple of times before. I usually got recordings of a wall or the inside of my pocket. However, this time it was different.
This time as I hurtled through the emptiness of space with nothing but Beth on my mind; my iPhone sent me video of my Beth fucking some guy in our living room. I've heard that there are men out there who are turned on by the thought or sight of their wives with other men. I clearly am not one of them. As horrid as the video was I couldn't turn away.
I saw Beth, suck this guy's junk. It made me want to vomit. He fucked her at least a couple of times, and he even fucked her ass. Beth and I had been married for over twenty years, and I had only been allow to do that a few times on special occasions. The one thing that was merciful was that there was no sound. I don't think I could have taken listening to the sounds of the pleasure she was having with him. The smile on her face throughout it, told me more than enough.
I shut the iPad off, and the tears began to flow. Once we'd left the atmosphere we had all taken off our helmets and heavy suits. I watched as several tears rose into the air intearsat ro gravity of space. As much as I tried not to a few very soft sobs escaped my lips.
"Commander, are you okay," asked Cassie.
"I'm fine," I said trying my ass off to make my voice sound as normal as possible. "I'm just in awe about how beautiful it is out here."
"Sorry," she said. "I've heard there are weird echoes out here because of the lack of air for sound waves to travel on. But for a second, it sounded like you were crying."
I started laughing.
"I just wanted to know if I could help," she said. "You know ... Make you feel better?"
"Oh my God," I snorted. "Cassie, are you really hitting on a man who's almost old enough to be your father?" She folded her arms across her chest and stuck her lip out.
For a while, I sank back into my seat and thought about things. I could not for the life of me figure out where I went wrong. But then I tried to see things from Beth's perspective. She literally hated what I did. I couldn't understand it. We grew up together. She had always known that I wanted to be an astronaut. She had encouraged me to go for it, just as I had encouraged her to go to and had paid for her to go to law school.
I hated the idea of her parading around with her tight little ass in one of those pseudo business suits with the short skirt. I hated the idea of her working with all of those sleazy Washington lawyers. But, I trusted her. I trusted her with my heart and soul and look what I got for that trust. After that I began to wonder exactly when she had begun cheating on me. I tried to look back and figure out when things changed. Could it have been when she simply stopped coming to the launches?
If that was the case, then this shit had been going on for five years or more. And the thing that bothered me the most about it was that if she was tired of me, all she ever had to do was to say, "Jack I want a divorce."
I would have given her anything and everything she wanted. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. Fuck that bitch.
"The station should be in sight, people," the voice of mission control sounded out through the speakers on the control console. And it was.
From where we were the shuttle appeared as just a very bright light in space. Our relative orbital speeds made it seem as though the station was moving relatively slowly. However, it was moving at more than 10,000 miles per hour around the earth.
The shuttle orbited the planet every 92 minutes. We were exactly on time. The mission thus far except for my personal tragedy was a good one.
"Rise and shine Specialists," I said in my most booming voice. "Time to earn your keep."
Terence was the first up. He suited up and then helped Cassie. Vladimir was involved in an argument with Nathan Penn, who had tried to switch helmets with him.
"I can't use this thing," yelled Penn. "it smells awful."
"We told ya not ta upchuck in it," smirked Remmy. "But you can always go without it."
"Remmy, you've got the controls," I said. I climbed back into my heavy space suit as he nodded. Then we switched, and I watched the shuttle as he suited up. The capsule had an airlock. So we should be safe even if the docking maneuvers went wrong, but we were better safe than sorry.
Mission control walked us through the process of docking with the station. I guess I make it sound easy, and we had done it so many times that it was. We simply matched speeds with the station and then lined up the capsule's airlock with the docking port on the shuttle. Once we touched, a mechanical lock was engaged, and the two orbiting bodies became one.
I could tell that Cassie was a bit apprehensive about leaving the ship. Going through what basically amounted to an aluminum tube into a different environment could be frightening.
"Don't worry we're all going," said Captain Morgan. "You guys are staying for two weeks until the next ship comes along to take you home. I think it's a Soyuz. But, the three of us will take turns going over to the station before we head for home. We can "phone home" from there. The news media eats that kind of stuff up.
"Who's going first," asked Penn.
"I will," said Terry.
"Why do you get to go first," whined Penn.
"Okay, you can go first," said Terry.
"Are you out of your Vulcan mind," asked Penn. "I'm not going first. I've seen this God damned movie too many times. Whoever goes first dies. If he doesn't, then it's whoever goes last. One of the flight crew has to stay in the capsule that means there are six of us going. I'll go forth, or fifth."
"Who elected you president," asked Remy. "Look I'll go first to make sure everything is correctly attached. That way, I can speak with my wife and my boys and come back so the commander can call that hot wife of his before we drop back to earth."
"I'll go second," said Captain Morgan.
Terence and Vladimir agreed to go third and fourth. "I'll go last," said Cassie looking at me.
"Take your time guys," I said. "I have to arrange some things with mission control. I think I'll pass on the phone home thing." Remmy and Morgan looked shocked. As soon as the docking procedure was done they opened the airlock door and walked across the small tube of the docking port.
"Hot wife, huh," said Cassie. I didn't know what to say to her. She seemed out of sorts at discovering that I was married. I was surprised that it hadn't come up before. As I turned to her, I saw it out of the corner of my eye. Terence and Vladimir had just gone into and through the docking port. Nathan Penn was in the port when suddenly we heard a giant clang.
I believe that Cassie thought the noise we heard was the sound of the airlock closing on the other side, so she could go through. But it wasn't; it was a large piece of space junk that I had seen out of the corner of my eye, traveling at a high rate of speed had slammed into the docking port ripping it from the side of the station. It has also separated the capsule from the station.
Cassie had simply stepped out into nothingness. The airlock was destroyed, and Nathan Penn's bloody body went floating out into space. Cassie grabbed for anything she could get. As she did so, I saw Nathan Penn's cracked helmet float by. His body followed it on the same trajectory. A look of "I told you so," was frozen on his dead features.
My biggest problem was Cassie. I had no choice. I fired the maneuvering jets and inched closer to her. I had to be really damned careful cause if I accidentally tapped her, I would kill her.
I could still hear her screaming over the comm links.
"Cassie, just relax," I said. "I've got you."
"Okay," she said, calming down at the sound of my voice. "You were right. It really is pretty out here."
I turned the ship until I thought that what was left of the docking bay was pointed towards her. I grabbed one of the very sturdy lines that we used for emergency space walks and secured myself.
"Jack, what the fuck are you planning," screamed Remy. "Jack, none of that cowboy shit! If you hit us we're all dead!"
I realized then that Remy was so worried about me hitting the station that he failed to realize that Cassie was out there and still alive. I gently goosed the maneuvering jets again, moving the capsule even closer to the station. It was like performing brain surgery with a wrench.
Another thing I had to worry about is that there are no brakes. When the jets stopped thrusting, I would continue moving in that direction, unless I used a jet to go in the opposite direction. But that wasn't what I had in mind.
Looking out the view window, I saw that I had almost caught up to Cassie's rapidly moving form. I guess a sane person would have slowed down then, but to what end? I no longer had an airlock. The space debris had destroyed it.
Surprisingly, Cassie wasn't screaming like the men on the station. Just before the capsule reached her and slammed into her, I left the controls. I crossed the small space to the doorway, even though the outside door of the airlock had been destroyed. And just before the heavy capsule slammed into her, I did the least logical thing possible. I opened the hatch.
I had clipped my suit to one of the heavy cables we used when doing space walks and latched the other end to one of the internal support beams. I left only enough line for me to reach the hatch. As I expected the air hissed louder and louder as the pressure was released and my life-giving atmosphere vented into the vacuum of space. I reached out and snatched Cassie's arm before the buildup of escaping air pushed her farther away from me. I then closed the hatch.
"Jack you asshole ... You could have killed us all! Good job," screamed Morgan over the com link.
"Jack check the capsule for exterior damage," said the voice from mission control. "Your O2 scrubber seems to be malfunctioning."
"Oh, it's fucked," I said. "The same chunk of debris that hit the airlock and docking port damaged that side of the capsule. It's why my flight to get Cassie was so erratic. I have no maneuvering jets on that side either."
"Then how the hell did you manage to... ?" he began.
"It's like drifting a Mustang," I said. "You can't really control all of that power. So you just learn to use the fact that it's out of control. After a while, you get so accustomed to it that when the ass end breaks loose in the turns, you go with it and use it to make that beast turn better."
"So what's your next move," asked Remy.
"I'm gonna maneuver this busted ass ship around to the docking port on the other side of the station," I said. "This won't be easy, so give me some time."
It took me nearly an hour to move around the station. My erratic movements were hampered not only by the fact that I only had maneuvering jets on one side of the capsule, but by the fact that if I hit the station, I could damage either the station itself or our capsule.
"Jack, there's another problem," John Walker's voice from Mission Control was quiet. I already knew what he was thinking, and I was ahead of him.