Chapter 09.2

It was nearly three days before the rigged up steam plant was ready for testing. During that time, Carl had come up with an extensive inventory of reasons why he should be the one to venture outside. He had always kept himself in pretty good shape and over the course of the trip so far, had even lost ten to fifteen pounds. “I’m the youngest, most agile, quickest, and if something happens, the most expendable,” Carl rationalized.

“Can’t argue with that,” Brandon laughed. “But when it comes down to experience with space walking, Tom has you beat by thirty hours and me by twenty, for that matter.” During the AGAS tests, Tom had set a new record for a single EVA, while he was examining the connecting tethers as his ship orbited the moon. The previous record of 8 hrs, 56 min was set on March 11, 2001 by Susan J. Helms and James S. Voss on STS-102. Tom beat that record by 1 hr, 12 min with his 10 hrs, 6 min walk on June 26, 2014. “But, since this was my idea…” Brandon smiled and raised an eyebrow.

“Look,” Tom said. “I know you are both qualified, in fact every member of the crew has been through the necessary training to perform a space walk. As the Mission Commander, I could pull rank and just do it myself, but as you all know, that’s not my thing. I think of us as more of a family, so I’m willing to put this to a vote. But, like the Mercury Seven, we need to make the rule: you can’t vote for yourself,” he laughed.

“Commander, may I remind you that Starfleet Code section 12, paragraph 4 states that commanding officers are prohibited from going on away missions,” Carl added in a flat emotionless tone.” Everyone started laughing.

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