THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 18
…As leader of this outpost, I feel it is my duty to inform you that Space Colony 1 will welcome one and all. May we all live long and prosper.”…
The task of preparing Tycho for its maiden mission will occupy the both colony pioneers, right up until departure time.
Celeste (McKinney) has been at a disadvantage ever since she set eyes on the Colony station. Most of her waking time since is spent giving herself first-hand knowledge, by manual or blueprint, unlike the Commander (McKinney), who was hands-on in its assembly and knows every square millimeter and circuit.
In the highest reaches of her temporary home is her single significant contribution; a magnificent botanical garden. Not only does this green slice of Earth provide genuine oxygen and humidity, it also is a refuge for those lonely, miss my boys moments. The station’s orbit keeps it in the continual good graces of this solar system’s life enhancing star; its and radiant sunlight. A person cannot get a tan up here, but it sure can help with the inevitable homesickness.
As she passes through the dome, dodging trees, flowers, and yes the insects that are along for the ride, Celeste cannot resist the peeking through the only observation telescope, though its 1500x magnification is more on a scale of looking glass by comparison.
The ladder tram takes her to the lens viewer, where she is able to take in the wonder of Mars, close up and personal. As she pans the scanning angle, she becomes the first human to inspect (in person) the minuscule moons of the Red Planet: Phobos and Deimos are trailing one another, at different distances above, with Phobos held by Mother Mars more closely. It is as if the Greek god of War had himself tested his arm strength by tossing two oddly shaped boulders out away from Mount Olympus, only to have them fall into the gravitational influence of his distant namesake.
Featureless in appearance, save the pockmarks caused by the millennium passing of meteors, the two moons possess their own engaging character and granite loyalty; mini-chunks of primordial leftovers, attendants to a world that still holds many secrets, in spite of the crisscrossing tracks left behind by NASA’s last attempt at exploration. But those “little rovers that could” paths are on the other side of the planet. This here is virgin territory.
Sampson, for his part, must be getting restless. This could explain him declaring boldly, “This is your Commander speaking. As leader of this outpost, I feel it is my duty to inform you that Space Colony 1 will welcome all members of World Space Cooperative, providing they contribute to the common good; meeting the needs of the collective, each according to his or her abilities. May we all live long and prosper.”
“Ya-da, ya-da, ya-da,” responds the station’s only other sentient being.