Six: Dr. Ronald Harrison, Exo-geographer, Seismologist, Rotation Day: 244
Ron checked his watch once more before sliding it off to put his final set of gloves on. He already had two layers covering his hands, but he kept his watch on as long as possible. It had belonged to his grandfather, Dr. Reverend Roald Harrison.
With a sigh he pulled his gloves on and turned to see that Jack had already finished dressing. With a nod he followed Jack out of the EVA prep POD and to the airlock.
Vishwa laid covered up, ready to go to his temporary resting place. Ron wondered who had bagged him.
Most of the crew were around, Ralph was approaching Jack.
“Since you are going out, can you grab a hydrogen filter set from shed 14?” he asked.
“What the fuck Ralph?” Jack retorted angrily.
“It is right on the way back from 12 and if you can grab them now we can delay our next EVA by weeks,” Ralph said.
“We have plenty of water,” Ellen said.
“It is two more minutes,” Ralph said. “They are passing the shed anyway to get to twelve.”
Jack looked at Ralph and then at Ellen. Ron thought he saw her shrug slightly.
“Jesus Fucking Christ, make sure the God Damn doors are open when we are coming back,” Jack said loudly. Donna wasn’t there, she would be in OPS monitoring everything on the EVA. Max would be there as well.
No one moved of a few moments.
“Open airlock,” Jack said and everyone starting to scurry away.
“We have to carry him out there,” Jack said. “You carry him into the airlock.”
The doors in front of them whooshed open and various members of the crew lifted the bagged body of the Doctor and carried him into the airlock. Ron noticed that Sarah wasn’t there. When they were done Ron followed Jack into the airlock POD.
“Second on the left,” Jack said to Ron, indicating the shed they were headed for, even though it blinked in red in both of their face displays.
“Tie in,” Ron reminded and they both locked in the tow cables. The cables would link up automatically once the airlock was open. Even though they only had a few meters to go, they could easily be swept away without them.
“And then back around to pick up the filters,” Jack said as the airlock door whooshed shut behind them.
“COMM check,” Max’s voice said in Ron’s head.
“Fuck you,” Jack said.
“Clear,” Ron said.
“OK,” Max replied. “No screwining around out there. Get the Doctor to his POD, get the filters from fourteen and get back in here.”
“Let’s go,” Ron said making the sign of the cross and looking over at Jack.
“Open the God Damn door,” Jack said.
There was a hiss and the indicator lights in the airlock POD turned from white to dark blue and then an alarm sounded both internally and externally with a four second countdown and then the external doors blasted open.
Both Ron and Jack hesitated a second but then grabbed the body bag and moved out of Station.
If it wasn’t for their guide lines, Ron felt like they might fly right up into the atmosphere but somehow they struggled along. At one point, half way to the shed Jack lost grip on the body bag but was able to recover in enough time to keep the Doctor from flying away.
Although it was only a few steps, it felt like an hour to get to the shed. The door was open and when they finally entered it was calm, but much of the equipment in the shed had shifted around.
Ron looked at Jack through his shift screen and they nodded to each other. It was calm enough and they dropped the body on the floor to clear away his stasis chamber.
“This is going to take a few more moments,” Ron said.
“What’s happened?” Max asked over COMM
“What the fuck do you think?” Jack said quickly.
“Looks like some supplies have shifted,” Ron said.
They quickly uncovered and opened up the stasis chamber and clambered back to the body.
“OK, let’s get him in,” Ron said.
With a grunt they both hefted the body and planted him in his original stasis chamber. He spent the better part of three years asleep getting out here in it. If he was lucky he would spend the best part of three years getting home in it.
Jack closed the lid. “Go on,” he said to Ron. “I’ll get the filters.”
Ron obliged and hurried out of the POD, unaware that a container had opened and left a sharp flange dangerously exposed. Unaware that as he followed his guide wire out of the POD he dangerously cut his EVA suit.
A loud hiss came from his suit as it was cut, but neither Ron nor Jack heard the sound amongst the pounding of the storm. It was only halfway back to Station that Ron noticed the pain in his right shoulder as it was becoming increasingly cold.