THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 9
…“This is your Captain speaking. We will be leaving space-dock in 20 minutes and thank you for choosing Martian SubLight Airways,”…
“ROY CRIPPEN IS NEEDED AT COMMAND COM STAT.” An audible text blares from his PDA, tearing him away from thinking about sitting next to the stimulating Riva Riviera at a Red Snapper’s game.
“Gotta run Rick, you hold down the fort while I supervise Tycho’s debut on Mars.” He is off to the Lovell Space Center to watch the Mars-roving lander and take his part of history. “I will check in with you before we load up your future Mars City colonists on Mayflower.”
Rick mocks him playfully,“This is your Captain speaking. We will be leaving space-dock in 20 minutes and thank you for choosing Martian SubLight Airways,”Roy salutes as he speeds away on the intra-facility people-mover, chuckling all the way.
Colony Control Command Com is bustling with activity, with that time-lapsed, frenetic look to it. Roy’s arrival does not go unnoticed among the other space geeks. Just about every manned station somebody redirects his attention to the Com intercom. It repeats the same vague-but-urgent announcement.
“Come down to the MedLab STAT,” insists the vaguely familiar voice on the other end.
He cannot imagine why the MedLab people would want to see him at such a critical stage in the mission. His mind races with curiosity thoughts… ‘Did they find something on my annual physical? Oh my God, please not one of the McKinney’s.’
Rather than his worst-case worries, he is being directed to the Morgue.
“Okay, why am I down here? I am not into dead people.” He is speaking to what appears to be the head physician.
There are two other men in the room, one somber dude with a serious tone and one somber dude with a badge & gun.
“My name is Dr. Geraldo Franco, the Coroner for Okaloosa County, Florida,” followed by another voice, “Deputy Sheriff Mike Judge, Okaloosa County Police.”
“You guys are not the bearer of good news I gather?”