2016, astronauts, counseling, Counselor, crew morale, Earth Space Exploration Program, ESEP, ESS Carl Sagan, inquiry, Jenna Wade, JPL, Mars, Mars Mission 2016, Noctis Labyrinthus, Noctis Standard Time, NST, space, space travel, spacecraft, spacecraft design, stowaway, Wendy Stevens, Zeke Jackson
- Mars Date/Time: Year 1, Sur One, Wednesday, Sol 60 (1.1.60) 16:31 NST
- Earth Date/Time: Friday, 4 March 2016 2:00 PM PST
- Distance traveled: 26,135,496 kilometers Time Delay: 84 secs
- Distance to Mars Rendezvous: 366,274,256 kilometers
Zeke sat facing Jenna’s workstation in her quarters. On the monitors were Commodore Dubois and Director Castillo. In front of him were four other people. Rear Admiral Wade, Commodore Hart, First Officer Flores, and Wendy Stevens were all focused on him. For Zeke, it was Judgement Day.
Jenna started by saying, “Zeke, I’m think I know how you did it, but would you explain how you got from the brig on Earth Prime to the Sagan?
Zeke replied, “Yes, Ma’am. I was able to get out of the brig by detaching the storage locker in the room from the wall. The locker was locked, but if you lift it from one of the front corners and pull out at the same time, It will usually pop out. They don’t have a wall cover behind the storage locker so I was able to get into the wall. Once in the wall I could get almost anywhere on that deck.”
Jenna interjected, “Why did you come out where Security could see you?” Zeke replied, “I didn’t come out where they could see me. I had to go to the pods first and program the one pod and prep both of them. After that I went back to get their attention. I needed them to know I had escaped. I then worked my way back….”
Claude’s delayed question interrupted him, “How did you call Earth Prime from the pod that burned up?” Zeke replied, “I called you from the pod I was hiding on, but I routed the transmission through the other, sir.”
Jenna asked, “How did you get to the Sagan?” “I undocked at the same time Davis undocked,” Zeke replied, “I assumed that if anyone noticed they would think the two pods were leaving to chase the other pod. I held my position for a few minutes and then drifted along the structure and up the Sagan. I was docked, unloaded all my equipment, and settled in by the time the other pod burned up.”
Wendy spoke up, “What happened during acceleration? You were hit with more G’s than the human body was designed for.”
Zeke smiled, “I pulled some of the hab insulation out of storage and created a compression bed. It took a little time to rig it up, but I had the time. It was tough, but …”
Again, Zeke was interrupted by the delayed question, this one from the Director, “What was your plan if Jenna hadn’t figured out that you were already on the ship?” Zeke responded, “I wasn’t going to surprise them. I planned on calling them once the Sagan caught up to them.”
Jenna leaned forward, “Zeke, you understand that no one is condoning what you did.” Zeke answered, “Oh no, Ma’am. I expect to be punished.”
Jenna said, “Zeke, would you tell us about your role in the merger of the two ships.” Zeke looked confused and said, “Uhm, after we merged the hab sections I met up with the crew and I started talking to Keira…uhm, the pilot. I told her that at Earth Prime the engineer’s procedures were based on human docking practices and didn’t account for the computer’s capability of multitasking. The First Officer joined the discussion and pretty soon we were creating procedures on how to speed up…expedite the assimilation process. Anna, uhm..the First Officer showed our plan to Commodore Hart, who showed it to you.”
Anna interrupted, “Actually, Zeke says it was our plan, but it was Zeke’s knowledge of ship construction that helped lay out the new procedures. He had every procedure in his head and we wrote it down. In the end, he had not missed a step that needed to be done.”
Zeke looked a little embarrassed, and then said, “May I say something?” Jenna said, “Yes.” Zeke looked at Claude and said, “Commodore Dubois, I enjoyed working under your command, and I hope you do not think that I wanted to trick or deceive you. I’m sorry that I put everyone in a bad position, but I really hope that you don’t think I was ungrateful for the opportunities you gave me on Earth Prime.”
Jenna waited for a time in case Claude wanted to respond, and when he didn’t Jenna said, “Zeke, we have made it official that you are on our crew and under our command. Do you understand that you are obligated to follow our orders and abide by our rules?” Zeke nodded his head and said, “Yes, Ma’am. If I didn’t I might jeopardize everyone’s life.”
Jenna then added, “We appreciate your work you have done since you’ve been on our crew. You will have a work detail and expected to perform to the highest standards.”
Zeke said, “Yes, Ma’am” Jenna then said, “Zeke, thank you. You’re dismissed.” Zeke said, “Thank you, Ma’am.” and stood up and walked out of Jenna’s quarters.
Jenna turned toward Wendy and said, “Your assessment.” Wendy said, “Based on his history and his interactions with the crew, he genuinely wants to be a part of our team. I think his rebellion was not a rebellion, but a reach for a dream.”
Anna jumped in and said, “I was very skeptical about him, but his work and his understanding of our ships gives us an advantage on this mission I never knew was missing. He is a resource…” She was interrupted by Commodore Dubois, “Zeke was the….I’m sorry…I’ll go ahead and continue since I’ve already interrupted, I was going to say, Zeke was our best crew member in thinking outside the box. He could take the most difficult problem and come up with a brilliant solution. I will miss him; however, I suspect we will benefit from his work on your crew….again, sorry.”
Anna looked at Claude on the monitor and said, “No problem, I really said I’ll I had to say.”
Jenna said, “Nick, unless you have a problem with it, I think we burn his past. If he was a normal person I’d put him in a pod and say good luck, but I agree with Anna, he’s too valuable of an asset to waste time and worry about punishment.” Everyone in the room nodded, and then looked at Nick’s monitor for his response. A little over three minutes later Nick smiled and responded.
“Why are we still talking about this?”