Another week down and oh... oh no... only another month and then we're half way though 2021?! I was – apparently – not prepared for time to go so fast this year. (It's not like I'm ever really prepared for how quickly the calendar pages turn, but things seem accelerated right now.)
Flip side, the acceleration appears to be mostly for good happenings at this moment in time. So... I suppose the feeling of daily lacking hours despite mountains of tasks being completed and mentally riding the line of being overwhelmed by my anxiety monsters is... good? Sort of?
I know I've told you that we'd purchased a freeze dryer and it was delivered a couple of weeks ago. It had a designated place before arriving, and since then has been happily running almost constantly. However, throughout the past couple of weeks we've been developing labels, designating / setting up house space for working and for product storage (ie: moving furniture and shuffling stuff, which now requires a garage sale once life is less restricted again), making up orders and getting sales, creating a website (freeze dried food! FliedersFoods.ca), and all the other tasks that go along with having an in-home small business (ie: side hustle). While at the same time the kids were online learning. And my husband works full time.
Shit's been busy, y'all lol.
With everything else going on, writing seems to just not be a priority. Again. And it sucks so much. The online communities I'm part of prove I'm not the only Independent Author in this predicament right now, and while that does give a solidarity between acquaintances and friends, it doesn't make it easier. The stories are all stuck in my head with no time to let them out, and my hands are barely working at the needed level at this point anyway.
A collective whimper shuddered through the crowd of crew members as the deck hummed under their feet. The over distance engines powered up for the usual two second count and then Dockland smoothly transitioned to full speed for inter-stellar travel.
Leo’s stomach was a hard knot and he startled when Captain swivelled the chair she was sitting in with a loud squeak so she could address everyone in and nearby the below decks control room.
“I spent three cycles down here when I was a Tech, reprogramming this NavCom when the previous bridge control systems were installed,” she explained. “When Dockland was upgraded in the first half of this exploration, I confirmed the reprogramming was still operational. This NavCom provides routing, but then relays the pre-programmed route through Dockland’s bridge controls for verification prior to initiating the course. The hard programmed routes are simply a lot faster to calculate than the ‘measure every variable in all of space in real time’ routing modern NavComs do because there’s only one defined path to verify as safe to traverse.”
The collective sigh from everyone but Captain was laced with nervous and relieved laughs. She chuckled along with her crew, getting more than a few wide and sheepish smiles in reply.
“You seven just became my lead shift in here,” she announced to the crew members who had gotten the below decks control room powered on and operating. “Each of you, except Leo, pick one person from the crowd in the hallway who’s good at learning and start teaching them what they need to know for monitoring your consoles while you’re sleeping. You get one shift off and then I expect you back here to operate what are now your stations and begin to train someone else. Our route is five cycles, and there needs to be three competent people per station by the time we reach our destination.”
She made eye contact with each of the six others, getting a chorus of ‘yes, Captain’ in reply.
“Leo,” she said. He straightened his shoulders and focused on her rather than staring at the scrolling NavCom display numbers. “You seem to be good at using that handheld. Take the rest of this shift to get fully familiar with it. On your next shift, train two people at a time for it so there will always be someone in this room who can look up information. We have two hours left in this shift everyone, let’s use them well.”
The next five cycles passed in a blur of double shifts and live training exercises. Leo fell into the pattern of long hours working and short hours sleeping due to the amount of practice he’d gotten during his Academy years, and every cycle he woke up exhausted but excited to be using the antique systems. Trevor seemed to barely notice the change in working hours. Her apprenticeship in construction yards and then years of working shipside installation and training contracts meant she was used to schedules requiring double shifts.
During the first couple of cycles, grumbles from the lead bridge crew about Captain spending so much time below decks made their way as rumors to the lead crew in the below decks control room. Trevor suggested Captain offer them positions training to be alternate lead crew members in the below decks control room, and the grumbles stopped hours after Captain smirked and communicated the offer through the intercom. The double shifts expected of the below decks lead crew weren’t a recruiting incentive.
Captain had frowned when Leo’s first chosen pair to get trained on the antique handheld was Mollin and Hodahvay, but he knew she couldn’t argue his logic. They were two of the fastest crew members for learning new consoles and systems, so would likely be among the fastest to learn these old panels and handheld.
Under the threat that Captain would eject them into open space at over distance speed if they even thought about corruption pranks, Mollin and Hodahvay had been waiting for Leo at the start of his next shift. At the end of three cycles, they had taken over training duties on the handheld, plus Hodahvay had started learning primary optics and radar and Mollin was starting to learn short and long range weapons systems. (Trevor had raised questions about teaching Mollin anything to do with weapons, but Leo convinced her it was only a problem if they went back in time to before demilitarization.)
No longer tied to the handheld, Leo received two full cycles of instruction directly from Captain for operating NavCom. It was exhilarating to learn the pre-programmed routes over-rode current safety regulations, which is how their route was five cycles of over distance travel and not the six cycles it should have been. However, it was terrifying to understand their route would have been twenty-six hours longer except the pre-programmed routing factored Dockland’s structural and radiation shielding capabilities, so right now they were traversing illegally close to stars and dangerous anomalies.
For those two cycles of NavCom training, time had flown by and Leo barely noticed the length of the double shifts… at least, until the shifts ended and he was hungry and tired and so mentally drained he joked with Trevor about expecting a final exam once they arrived at Daion Central World.
Per Captain’s orders, the lead crew slept on a short shift and started minutes before Dockland dropped out of over distance nearby planet seventy-four. One of Trevor’s friends was off shift and opened a live holostream on her smart looking toward the planet out one of Dockland’s small hull windows. Trevor linked into the vid, swiping it up to her smart’s holoscreen so the below decks control room lead crew could all watch. They gathered around her just in time to witness the first five ship components launch from surface to low orbit for final assembly.
Her friend zoomed in on the view and Trevor pointed out personal ships which had been repurposed into impromptu assembly yard worker rest points, and that three transporters were bringing up duplicate components.
“What do you mean about duplicates?” Leo asked. His confusion was visible on the faces of other lead crew members who weren’t familiar with ship construction.
“It means more launches to complete multiple ships,” Trevor answered. “I’d guess to assemble a fleet, and not a single ship.”
“So how many ships are they assembling?” Leo asked. In the vid with the personal ships as reference, the components looked small.
“That’s impossible to guess with only five components up,” Trevor said. She used her confident tone, but even Leo could tell none of the parts seemed like they would assemble into ships large enough to evacuate the number of people he and Trevor had seen through the satellite network.
The components were clunky, the visible wall thicknesses of attaching parts similar to what Leo remembered from working on Dockland during upgrading. He wondered how old the tech was these people were assembling as the vid continued to show transporters positioning components in the large area between worker rest points. Activity around the components suddenly doubled.
“They just saw Dockland,” Trevor said. In the vid, the transporters disengaged from the now-orbiting components and dropped back to the planet in bright plumes of atmospheric burn, a few rest point ships following.
A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!