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  • Mars Date/Time:  Year 1, Sur One, Friday, Sol 34 (1.1.34)  7:21 PM NST
  • Earth Date/Time:  Saturday, 6 February 2016  11:30 PM PST

The first Admiral’s Mess was now approaching two and a half hours. Rear Admiral Jenna Wade said, “Let’s save something for us to discuss at Mess tomorrow. I’d like Wendy and Dr. Summers join me in my quarters. Roman would you join us also.”

Roman Guzman was the Director of Engineering so he could see no logical reason he would be invited to join the Admiral and the ship’s Counselor and physician for a meeting. At the beginning of the Admiral’s Mess he had made the mistake of complaining about the Counselor, but the Admiral had already dealt with that in an not-so-subtle manner.

They cleared their food containers and then divided up. Pierce was on duty tonight and headed to the Command deck to check in. Hart went to his quarters below and Lanny Deaton headed to his quarters in the Science Quill. The rest of the Command team followed Wade to her quarters in the same section as Commodore Hart.

Command quarters were twice the size of the regular crew quarters and included a bathroom with a shower. Crew quarters were roomier than one might expect on a spaceship, but they were primarily a place to sleep. Command quarters were a place to sleep, work, and meet with small groups.

Rear Admiral Wade’s quarters were functional, and well kept. The video displays on the wall showed a live view of the outside of the ship with Earth in the background. This view wasn’t an accurate placement of the real scene as the Quill they were in was spinning at the rate of two revolutions per minute. The rest of the walls were of a two-hour looped recording of a tropical scene with a waterfall. The exception to this were a video console and monitor over a work station in her ‘office.’ There the displays were of ship systems and status reports.

Wade invited the three to sit as she gather glasses and a bottle of wine from a locker on the wall. She started pouring wine and Guzman quickly said, “None for me, Admiral.” She replied, “Do you have a drinking problem?,” She knew the answer as she would not have put a recovering alcoholic in charge of Engineering. He said, “No.” Then she followed up and asked, “Do you drink wine?” Again, she knew the answer when he said, “Yes.” Wade then smiled and said, “Good. Consider this an order: You will drink a glass of wine. That goes for the you two,” Stevens and Summers looked at each other and said, “Aye, aye, Rear Admiral.”

As Wade passed out the glasses of wine she said, “Roman, I wanted you to join us so we could talk about the process of ongoing crew assessment. As I said at Mess, we are entering the unknown when it comes to the impact of stress and isolation on our crew. We can’t just fire someone and get a replacement, so we have to assess and respond to issues before they become a crisis. Wendy, would you explain our system.”

Wendy set down her glass and said, “I look at every crew member from three perspectives. I talk to them and try to understand their self perception, I talk to others to determine what they perceive about the crew member, and finally, I develop my own perceptions of the crew member. I then send a video report of my findings to a team of psychological and sociological professionals on Earth. They then develop a plan for me, for the Team Director, and for the Command staff that is designed to meet that crew member’s psychological and emotional needs.”

Guzman said, “It sounds like you have us down to a fine art.” Wade replied, “We don’t, but it’s not like we’re working with a propulsion gun and we know exactly what output each pellet will have. We are working with perceptions and with imperfect humans. We are not trying to manipulate people, just keep a constant awareness of their mental state and, when needed, step in with support.”

Stevens said, “You should also know that our assessment process on this first mission is as much about research as it is counseling. The hope is that by closely monitoring our crew, the ground team will develop better strategies to help crew members on future missions.”

Wade took back the conversation, “At least three times a week the three of us will meet to discuss crew member assessments. When the plan involves taking action to address the acute needs of a crew member we will likely bring the Director over that crew member into our meeting so that everyone is on the same page. Periodically, we will bring in a Director to review all of their team members. Since you’re here tonight, Wendy, let’s run through the Engineering team.”  

Guzman took a big drink of wine.