Chapter 02.2

May 11, 2018 (Alanday, Sagittarius 25, 0031)

As part of the Mission Support team, Clinical Psychologist Dr. Pamela Willis is tapped surreptitiously into the personal email transmissions to and from the crew. At the first sign of any discord or anxiety, the message in question, along with Dr. Willis’ comments, is forwarded to the head of Mission Support, Commander Lewis. He will in turn, liaise with the onboard psychologist, Dr. Thomas. Each morning Dr. Willis reads through the latest batch of email messages, and either saves them in a special storage system or addresses potential problems. A negative report is a very rare occurrence, as the crew is so well-balanced. The majority of the messages barely rate a first glance. Of course, professionalism always prevents details from being divulged to anyone other than Commander Lewis, and then only if it is deemed hazardous or essential to the mission.

Commander Morgan Lewis has been with the Space Program since he graduated the Naval Academy in 1995. Though only approaching his fifty-fifth birthday, he looks much closer to sixty-five, if not seventy. A bottle of scotch, an eight-ounce ‘water’ glass in his desk drawer, and a carton of unfiltered cigarettes in the back seat of his ’07 Impala has that effect on a person. Cmdr. Lewis dresses professionally, but the odor of stale smoke wafts around him, making a first impression many would rather forget.

From: Richard Devlin
Subject: Way to go!!!
Date: May 11, 2018 11:36 a.m.
To: Brandon Devlin

(CLT): 0.13 sec

Dad, YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You made it. Whoo Hoo!! You’re actually on your way to Mars. Congrats! Sorry I couldn’t be at the launch with Mom to see you off. I’m trying really hard to keep a low profile here at Western and need to keep myself out of the press. There are only three or four people in the entire state of Michigan that even know you’re my dad. And, I need to succeed on my own merits, without it being all about ‘the son of an astronaut on his way to Mars’ and hearing buzz about riding on your coattails. Dad, I can’t tell you enough how proud I am of you, and how very proud I am to be your son. I just want to make you proud of me, too, by making it on my own. Well, gotta head to class. If you come across Marvin the Martian, be sure to get his autograph for me. lol


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