This week Tabitha asks about the Captain's mayday & has to write her first mission report. To read the book from the beginning, go here. My idea of Tabitha is athlete Ellie Simmonds.
Intruders chapter 12
Tabitha was desperate to
know what the captain’s mayday call was all about. As soon as Chambers returned
to their cabin, she bombarded him with questions.
‘Did you find out what
happened to the captain?’
‘Well, he’s safe now, but
I don’t know what actually happened,’ he said. ‘It’s all very secretive.
Lieutenant-Commander Hoy came back alone, and Ensign Reuel went back to the
mine. Then the Captain returned and rushed straight off again to meet with Mr
Jones, the Base Administrator.’
‘Did you ask
Lieutenant-Commander Hoy or Ensign Reuel about it?’
‘I tried. When he came
back and relieved me, the Lieutenant-Commander just said “No problem, the
Captain is fine.”’ Chambers climbed up to his bunk and lay down. ‘I haven’t seen
Ensign Reuel yet.’
‘Maybe I’ll ask
Chambers looked over the
edge of his bunk. ‘You can’t do that! You weren’t supposed to be on the bridge,
and any command talk not aimed at you, you’re supposed to ignore. If you start
asking about, you’ll get yourself and me into trouble.’
‘But you put it in the
duty log, didn’t you? What went in afterwards?’
‘I haven’t looked, it’s
nothing to do with me.’
‘Surely you want to
He shook his head and lay
Tabitha felt a glow of
satisfaction. Although she had only been shifting rocks, she had, at least,
been useful, and Lieutenant-Commander Hoy had praised her. She reflected
ruefully that the last thing she envisaged when serving in space was to end up
shifting rocks underground. Still, she now had experience of low gravity, and
before any of her classmates.
Commander Holland came to
the cabin and Tabitha jumped to attention.
‘As you were,
Lieutenant.’ Chambers lay down again. ‘At ease Trainee, how did you get
‘It was good, sir, once I
got the hang of it. I even got used to the gravity.’
‘Good. Now, we need a
report. Document everything you did on this mission. The trick is to get the
level of detail right - somewhere between “down mine, shifted rocks” and a
description of every rock. It’s a skill to be learned, like any other. I
expect you’re used to writing reports for school. They can have a copy too,
once I’ve approved it. There’s a template on the computer to give you an
outline.’ He turned to Chambers. ‘And you’re not to help her - I want to see
her first attempt. Carry on.’
When Holland left,
Chambers stood up.
‘I’ll leave you to it.
I’ve got to prepare for take-off.’ He left.
Tabitha paced up and down
while she thought about the report. Should I include my impressions of the
crew? How the Captain likes things by the book, but Commander Holland tries to
cut people some slack. How Hoy talked all the time underground. She shook her
head. Probably not, but I might put it in my own journal. There’s more than
rules and procedures you can learn by watching people. Should I include what I
heard about the mysterious goings-on over the missing razor quartz? Probably not
- that can go in my journal too, along with the Captain’s absence from the mine
rescue. What was he doing? He didn’t stay on the ship, so where did he go? No,
‘document everything you did’ the Commander had said. Now, what did I do first?
[Next week: Tabitha’s journal]
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