This week First Officer Mike Holland discusses the crew deployment for the mine rescue with Captain Darrow. To read from the beginning, go here. I picture Holland like actor Tom Cruise (but taller!).
Intruders chapter 3 scene 3
Holland came to see Darrow to discuss the initial crew assignments.
‘With no communication we don’t have the latest update, so I may have to make adjustments depending on what we find when we arrive,’ Holland said. ‘I think we should leave someone on board Kestrel during the rescue. If there is a saboteur, we have to protect the ship.’
‘Good point. Commander Blackwell spoke with me and we’ve agreed Stubbs won’t go underground. There’s something in his past apparently.’
‘No, just a fear of going underground. So leave him on board.' He paused while Holland made alterations to the notes on his pad. 'Do you plan to send Hoy underground? He is claustrophobic.’
‘He’s overcome it before. If he’s going to be an officer, he has to get over it, or at least learn to deal with it.’
‘You could assign him to co-ordinate the rescue work, while you go down to assess the situation underground.’
Darrow smiled to himself as Holland squirmed. He knew Holland would want to be in charge at the pithead.
‘There’ll be no need for that,’ Holland said. ‘The miners are the experts; they’ll be able to tell us what the situation is and what’s needed. I thought Dr Robinson should meet with their doctor and Commander Blackwell with their engineer, to assist them, and the rest I’ll take to the mine. I’m not sure what use Reuel will be, he’s not strong, so I was planning to leave him on board. He and Stubbs can stand guard. I can always call on him later if necessary.’
‘So that means you’ll be taking Hoy, Chambers and Ryan with you. Are you sure that will be enough?’
‘I won’t know until I speak to the miners, but I’ve checked and Pallas isn’t very big, so the mine may not have a lot of room to move in.’
‘What about Trainee Enns?’
‘I’m not sure. She’s enthusiastic and works hard, but she’s barely had time to settle in. I could take her along for the experience I suppose.’
‘Don’t forget she grew up under 2.5G, so she’s strong in standard grav. What’s the gravity like on Pallas?’
Holland consulted his pad. ‘Minimal on the surface, but they live under a dome with artificial gravity. So she’ll seem even stronger there.’
‘I’ve hardly spoken to her since she came on board. Let’s call her in, see how she’s getting on, and assess whether she could help.’
Tabitha arrived, nervously tugging her tunic straight.
‘Trainee Enns reporting, Sir.’
‘At ease, Trainee. Commander Holland tells me you’ve been working hard.’
‘Yes sir, I want to make the most of my time here.’
‘You know where we’re going?’
‘Yes sir. Pallas, it’s an asteroid full of razor quartz crystals. There’s been an accident at the mine, so there’s liable to be severe lacerations as well as blast and crush injuries.’
‘You’ve been doing some research.’
‘Andrew, I mean, Lieutenant Chambers, has shown me how to use the console in our cabin.’ She frowned. ‘Will there be any gravity sir?’
‘The domed base has artificial gravity,’ Darrow said, ‘unless it was damaged in the explosion. We'll be docking with the dome airlock, so you won't be out on the surface. The gravity will be set to 1G, since the miners are from Earth. How are you coping with 1G?’
Tabitha paused a moment, looking unsure. ‘Dr Robinson is helping me … adjust.’
Careful choice of word there, Darrow thought.
‘I just need to remember everything’s so light.’
Holland smiled. He too had seen the hesitation, but didn't pursue it.
‘Sir, if there’s been a cave-in,’ Tabitha continued, ‘we’ll have to dig them out, won’t we?’
‘Think you could help?’
Her face brightened. ‘Yes sir, I used to help my Dad with the logging, so I’m used to heavy work.’
Darrow and Holland exchanged glances, and Darrow nodded.
‘Very well,’ Holland said. ‘Report to Lieutenant-Commander Hoy in fifteen minutes. Dismissed.’
So, Darrow thought after the others had left, not only is Hoy going underground, but he’s going to be babysitting.
[Next week: The Kestrel arrives at Pallas mine complex and Tabitha steps on her first alien soil]
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