- Mars Date/Time: Year 1, Sur One, Friday, Sol 34 (1.1.34) 05:21 PM NST
- Earth Date/Time: Saturday, 6 February 2016 9:30 PM PST
During the construction and configuration of the ships people tended to adapt to the pattern of sleeping and eating that worked best for them and the team they worked on; however, now that the crew worked in shifts a pattern of eating and sleeping at coordinated times began to take hold.
It had been six days since commissioning of the ships and crew and Rear Admiral Jenna Wade decided to resurrect a time tested naval tradition, the Admiral’s Mess. Wade served ten years in the Royal Navy and though she had been with ESEP for the last six years, she still kept the military culture as her internal guide.
Almost all of the Command team had gathered already and had selected and prepared their supper. This was a process of grabbing the ration container scheduled for the meal, placing in a doorless, microwave-type device and attaching it to a sensor/tube connector. The sensor identified the meal, added appropriate amount of water vapor and/or steam to the each section of the container to hydrate and thaw the food. At that point the induction plate under the ration heated each section to its correct temperature.
When the ration was ready the person disconnected the tube, removed the top cover, and the food was ready to eat. The ship did have some raw food on board, and the means to prepare it; however, preparing meals was among the lowest priority on this mission, and with the exception of special occasions, it was designed to take the minimal amount of time.
Six of the seven members of the Command team had gathered in the fifth section of the Command Quill. They were already eating their rations and were sitting at a bar-like table that surrounded the central corridor of the Quill. It was an odd place for eating because anyone moving up from the Command living quarter or moving down from the Command deck would pass through the eating area.
However, it did provide an eating arrangement where everyone faced each other, which promoted interaction between people. That was considered vital by ESEP as the crew would function better if involved in social activities during the months and years they would be disconnected from civilization.
Already at the bar were Rear Admiral Jenna Wade; Commodore Ken Hart; the Communications Director, Naomi Pierce; Science Director, Lanny Deaton; Engineering Director, Roman Guzman; and Dr. Kayla Summers, the ship’s physician.
Admiral Wade broke in on the casual conversations, “Our Counselor will join us in a minute, but we should probably begin.” Guzman jumped in, “Regarding Dr. Stevens, I know our team members have to meet with her after we are underway, but she has already been taking my team away for her sessions. Is there a way you can tell her to back off until after were underway?”
Wade calmly looked at Guzman, and said, “First, no one is ever to call her ‘Dr.’ Stevens. She has doctorate degrees from both Stanford and Harvard, but she and ESEP share concerns about the perception of the title of Psychologist or Doctor. If you go to someone to get medical help you want to know they are a professional, but if you want to have someone open up about their concerns and fears they need to be perceived as someone they can talk to at their level.”
The rest of the Command team looked uncomfortable in their chairs. Wade’s had yet to respond to Guzman’s question, but everyone knew he was about to be slapped down hard.
Wade continued, “Each person here has an important function to perform for the success of this mission, but none of us can function without the entire crew working together. In addition, we are about to leave civilization as we know it and experience stress and separation that will test even the most stable person. Wendy’s function is to assess our crew and determine the needs and limitations before we have a crisis.”
Wade paused and nobody said a word. Then she continued, “Before we leave Earth I want to know if we have anyone who shouldn’t be leaving with us, so in answer to your question, yes, Wendy will be interviewing, and re-interviewing your crew, and unless it is at a critical time in your area, Wendy will have full access to everyone on board at anytime.”
“Sorry I’m late. What did I miss?,” Stevens said as she joined the rest of the Command team at the bar. She was met by silence, then Wade said, “I was talking about the crew evaluations your conducting. How are they going?”