scrambled when coming out of a jump. The analog system allows us to maneuver if we have to!” Continuing in a more friendly voice, she said, “Lilith, it takes time. Why don't you co-pilot for a time and observe Tanaka?”
Rios moved forward and stabbed a finger at Watez, “Look, you little ground-pounder chick, anything you can do, I can do!” With that, Rios scrambled back into the simulator almost knocking Tanaka into the catwalk cage.
Tanaka had a pained look as she started to say, “Amber.. I'm sorry she..”
Watez stopped her with a smile and gently took her hand, “It's OK, Oka, she's just stressed. She has to learn in days what it took us weeks.” With that Tanaka smiled and turned back to the simulator.
“Control,” called Watez through her computer's communications channel, “Have someone relieve me at safety watch. And Control, run them through a basic set of maneuvers. No more faults for today.”
“Roger Commander, we will have someone up in five,” answered control.
“When are we meeting the survey crew?” Paulson asked over his suit radio.
“I'll meet them after this inspection,” replied Watez.
Paulson and herself where riding an open sled to the Leif Ericson. From stem to stern she was now only 300 meters long. The front was a 15 meter ball that housed the command module and the astronautics, then came a 50 meter long 10 meter wide cylinder that was the crew module. Aft of that was where the QTD had been installed, buried in a mass of cylindrical tanks that were 200 meters long and 50 meters at it thickest. These held the reaction mass and other gases and liquids the ship needed. Then came the rest: the fission reactors that gave them power, and the biggest superheated plasma engine ever built.
When not pushing the large masses she was originally designed for the Leif Ericson, had enough delta V to place her in a high energy orbit that would take her from the earth to Mars in two weeks.
“She's beautiful,” said Watez, almost to low to hear. Like their seaman ancestors, spacers thought of ships as women, and they loved them as only a sailor could understand.
After cycling through the airlock and striping off their spacesuits, Paulson started to give Watez a tour like a proud father showing off his child.
The crew module had nine decks four meters tall, set perpendicular to the line of thrust so the rear bulkhead would become the floor under acceleration. Everything was mounted with that in mind. Each deck was separated by a pressure bulkhead and hatch, so if one somehow accidentally went to vacuum, the others were still airtight. Paulson pointed out the function of the special equipment in each deck as they passed through, until they came to the last deck ’below’ the command module.
“Here’s the command crew quarters. Yours are here,” Paulson said as he slid open the cabin's partition. Watez notice there was a plate on the wall by the door that said ‘Captain Watez’ as she passed. It was a standardized cabin, with a bed that doubled as an acceleration couch on the floor bulkhead. On one wall there was a large view screen, and underneath it, against the wall, was a writing table.
“I have installed a little invention of mine. Would you like to try it?” Paulson asked, like someone about to unveil a masterpiece.
“Sure, I'll try anything once,” Watez answered with a little hesitation. Paulson handed her a shinny belt.
“Put it on,” he said, with a big smile on his face. Watez did, it fit perfectly.
“OK, now: link your computer to the rooms’ systems.”
She did, and after a second he continued, “Do you see the button that says bed?” Watez nodded.
“OK click it on.”
When Watez clicked the bed button on the display, she was slowly pulled to the center of the room and hug there in space.
“Ain't it great? I have electromagnets in the walls, and they hold the belt - and you - in the center of the room! You could just float there and sleep!” Paulson had a big smile on his face, like a big puppy dog waiting to be petted.
Watez sat in the conference room alone. She’d arrived early for the meeting with the survey crew. She had her eyes closed, humming to herself, thinking about the mission. Between Rios's bluster and Paulson's tinkeringm she was starting to think she