Chapter 08.2

“No warning on the monitors?” Brandon asked.

“No,” Valerie replied. “There was nothing on the monitors and then a second or two before impact, there was a single beep from the radar. This thing must have gotten knocked out of the asteroid main belt and was headed in towards the sun, rather than orbiting.”

“And moving like a bat out of hell, to sheer that panel off like that without putting us into a spin,” Carl added as he sat down at the control console, just below the porthole.

“How bad do you think it is? Looks like we only lost about a two-thirds of the panel, right?” Sally asked, obviously worried but trying to sound optimistic. By that time Carl was checking the power meters.

“I wish it were that simple,” he responded, with a sigh. “The way these things are wired, it looks like we may have lost use of the whole panel. See there?” he said, pointing. “The normal readout from the top half of each panel is on one gauge, with the bottom on another. These four gauges represent both panels and their operating capacity. Right now, there are no readings on gauges one and two.”

Tom then added an observation, “Carl, pull up the Power Loss Protocols in the computer and, while you’re at it, send the Alert call to Mission Support, coded ‘Stable, but guarded’. They will be reading the voltage drop on their consoles soon enough. Let’s let them know we are still alive.”

Carl acknowledged the order and sent the message. Next, he typed in the phrase Power Loss Protocol and the monitor displayed the instructions outlining what to do in the event of a total loss of power, as well as various degrees of power loss. Most of the instructions were the same:

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