Station: Helios Alpha VII

Seven: John Spencer, Station Vice-Commander, Rotation day:554

John watched as Jack and Ron made it back into Station but all he could think about was Vishwa. They had trained together for years, shipped out together and had woken up together on Station. John was going to be Commander when Max shipped home and Vishwa was going to be Station Doctor.

And now he was gone.

Sarah entered Control, she never entered this room.

“I need to show you something,” she said to him.

“Not now,” Jack said, trying to concentrate on the panels that Donna and Ralph were monitoring.

“This is . . .” She went on, indicating her PAD, but he flashed her an annoyed look.

She still hesitated but then turned and walked away.

“Here’s your Goddamn filters,” Jack said over COMM. “Now someone help me get this shit off me.”

John saw him start out of the airlock but Ron hesitated, holding his left hand to his right shoulder.

Oh no, John thought. He reached over Ralph’s shoulder to look closer at the panel.

“COMM, Ron, are you OK?” John asked.

“Yes,” he said standing up. “I think something might have poked me out there. Nothing to worry about.”

“Wait!” John said but it was too late, Ron had followed Jack out of the airlock and into Station.

John hesitated. He knew that Ron should be quarantined in the airlock, Jack too, but they were already both back in Station. If something had punctured his suit, though, they would have been alerted in Control. Those suits were full of sensors and any penetration would have set off an alarm and ALICE would have automatically sequestered them until the anomaly could be analyzed.

“Seal everything up tight out there,” John said to Ralph and Donna. “And let’s double check all the cam logs in the sheds to see what is shifting around. I don’t want anyone walking into this again.”

Neither of them indicated they had heard John as he walked away from Control. While he liked the ability to monitor all of Station in Control, it was always on the back of his mind that there were two small nuclear reactors just a fortified couple of doors away from him while he was in there.

He checked his testicles as he walked away as he always did.

They seemed to be intact.

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