THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 15a
Oblivious to any real-time happenings back on Earth, with all its own twist and turns, the Space Family McKinney operates in a space they are making their own. At this moment, in related orbits of Mars and Earth, they are 142.55 million miles from the nearest living life form, or at least that is the conventional wisdom. They are free from the incessant strife that is a direct result of 8 billion people who are urged to coexist, for the common good. It only complicates things when you add a million individuals per month to the pot.
Boiling it down to two, with the same last name, should simplify things, but there is a marriage override system that, when an order is given, it is magically turned into a request. The time-tested respectful salute from one commander to another is replaced by a loving peck on the cheek. When you share a bed, as well as a career, you are partners by the strictest measure.
“Have you looked at the spectroscopic analysis Sam?” asks Celeste of her Colony-mate, who is currently doing 4 things at once.
“No, but as you can see, I have my hands full getting these confound systems to talk to each other. I am doing the heavy lifting out here. Sometimes I wish they had assigned Rick Stanley to this mission; he would be giving more help with this nuts & bolts BS.”
“I am the Research Officer here, Commander Crabby Ass. Do you think Stanley would have prepared that gourmet meal last night or massage your *^#?> like only I can?”
“Okay I give,” he heads her off at the pass, “what did the spectro-photographic soundings turn up?”
“As I expected, there are substantial deposits of Iridium, Rhodium and Columbium, pretty rare stuff as we thought, but the real kicker is that there is Lithium in vast quantities down there everywhere.”
“You’re kidding. Curiosity, Spirit and what’s-his-name didn’t find much on their side of this dusty rock. We could start our own battery factory. Let’s keep this under our hats. If word gets out every spacecraft in the solar system will race each other to get here.”
“Isn’t it ironic? We can tell Talibanistan to take a flying leap, them and their 80% stash!” The enormous consequence of this lithium mother lode may well reach back into time, to pay down long overdue bills that piled up earlier in the Century.
There was a time, back in their cadet/Space Academy days, when an influx of funds would have been welcome. As aspiring astronauts, they did not toil in the higher tax brackets.
Sacrifice. It isn’t just a word used around Easter; it has something to do with a life’s intended focus. Space, and the conquering of it, is a worthy endeavor. Both Celeste & Sampson have chosen this as their space-walk-of-life.
And it seems like yesterday…..