"Emily? Emily, do you hear me? --You did say she's on comms three, right?" The EVA Supervisor turned slightly towards the Comms op, who had already keyed his mic to reply.
I heard it as I walked by the open door to the bridge, headed back to the Engineering Shop from the washroom (transitions don't bother me much but the regular plumbing shuts down at the five-minute mark and I'd rather avoid the zero-G version). Coming in to our next stop, the ship needed to make a short "hop" to end up near the right place at a vector our conventional drives could alter to drop us into planetary orbit. So the bridge was fully crewed -- looked like Russ was the pilot for this one, a guy who had the demeanor and appearance of a English Lit. prof or a minor poet; a calm and quiet fellow, hardly the image of a dashing star pilot. From the tone of the EVA Super, he was going to need that calm, too. The only "Emily" I could think of who was likely to be outside was an Environment and Physical Plant Tech -- and just now was not a good time to be on the hull.
By the time I got back to the Eng. Shop, the guys had punched around on the outside camera array and pointed one at her; she was grinning and waving, then pointed at her mouth -- no, the mic. Comms monitor was up, too: "Emily, can. you. hear. me? Engineering to Bridge, please!"
Big Tom leaned towards the 'comms panel, punched the key with "EVA" glowing on the display above it and said, "Yes, she can, but her mic's dead. Looks like she's secured, ask her."
"Emily, have you strapped down? We're about five away from the jump."
On the monitor, she nodded and pointed to the wide straps crossing her pressure suit. She must have realized the nearest airlock was too far away when the ten-minute warning went out, and headed for one of the safepoints, an oversized chair-like widget with suitably scaled-up restraints. It's not that much more rougher out on the hull than inside during a hop but it can be enough worse that you don't want to rely on a simple tether. --Also enough worse there's a count from an hour prior; there's always somebody who gets caught nevertheless, but rarely outside the ship.
Tom punched the router controls and then keyed the 'comms again, "Vid on your number six monitor, EVA." He rolled his eyes at the rest of us -- EVA Super can call up the hull cameras directly but many of them don't bother hunting through for unplanned locations.
EVA: "I see you, Em," receiving another wave and a worried but cheerful grin in return.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
4 months ago