Tumbler: Part 5

So now I’m sitting here sipping soup in the pilot’s chair. My actual job is pretty much done until we get to dock. We’re pointed in the right direction, going the right speed. I did turnover yesterday so technically we’re decelerating. So not the “right speed” but the “right deceleration curve”, and not “pointed in the right direction” but “pointed exactly opposite of our destination” in case there are any sticklers out there. Ha! Out there. Like anyone is going to be reading this log. That would assume: A. I make it back alive. B. I don’t get thrown in jail for gross negligence or murder accusations or some other bullshit and C. there’s someone out there who wants to read the rantings of a rock hauler suffering from P.T.S.D.

Fat chance.

At least going backwards means I get to turn the cow-catcher off. The engines produce enough heat and plasma to fry anything coming toward us, the cow-catcher would just be pretty lights. That’s one less thing I have to worry about and check. Good.

Ding, that’s the computer telling me to finish my soup and get to work. Remember that schedule I mentioned? Yeah. Right now I get to check my patches. Find out which are leaking. Which are possible to fix and fix them. And which ones I should just plug my ears and close my eyes and pretend aren’t about to pop and kill me in my sleep.

I guess I should be sleeping in a suit, all pressurized up. Screw that. Sounds awful. And, y’know, I just don’t really care right now. If I freeze in my sleep, meh, could be worse.

Ding. Computer noticed I’m still in the chair. Chug the soup, burn my tongue, go check patches. Be right back.

###

Only one patch likely to kill me in my sleep. The rest responded to my TLC. That one, though… Ragged, awkward location (too much fluctuation in temperatures), and it was the first one I did so I did a shit job of it. And now there’s no real fixing it, just keep layering it on and hoping. Hope. That shit’s in short supply.

Unlike coffee. I’ve got lots of coffee. And I’ve got me a cup and I’m going to sit here and drink it until the computer tells me it’s time to do something else.

Not sure what I’m going to do when I get back to Mars dock. Assuming I make my drop-off date, the processor should still pay up. I mean, the contract is with the ship, not the crew. The ship (what’s left of it) is still here even if I’m the only sorry sod left alive on board. Should be enough of a payoff to get the Tumbler fixed back up again. Real Yard patches, not my spit-and-bubblegum hacks. Really, there should be quite a bit left over, even after all the work needed. I’m no Samir, he had the head for figures, but I can estimate this haul. With the iridium in this rock, it should be more than enough. That’s assuming the assholes at the processor don’t try to rip me off when they find out Samir is dead. I’ll have to be on my toes.

That brings me to my next dilemma. Do I hire a crew? Play the captain when all I ever wanted to be was one of the team? A cog in the machine made up of my friends and our ship, that’s what I wanted. Share the responsibility. Share the planning, worry, fear, joy… Share everything.

But a new crew, they’d be employees, not friends. Crew, not family. Can I do that? Can I live and work like that after having so much more for so long?

How can I not? After we all sweated and strained to get the Tumbler space-worthy. After all the successful missions and finally getting out of debt, could I just sell her off? Could I go back to Hab life on Mars?

Hell no. I didn’t learn to fly only to be stuck back on a planet. This is where I belong.

But, with a new crew? I’ll need to think on that.

Thinkin’ time is something I’ve got plenty of.

Ding. Screw you computer. Haven’t finished my coffee.

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