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Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Excerpt from my first: Duty and Devotion
To follow up on my "First Time" post from the 6th, below is an excerpt from Duty and Devotion.
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The next morning, Kaitlin and Jenny dragged her to the ground hangar where they joined up with another crew to go to surface cruising. Nettie had trained in simulation and gone out a couple times, but the fear of real surface, open space, still unnerved her. Kaitlin once concluded it was because Nettie had been raised in a bubble.
When their surface cruisers rolled out of the hanger decompression area, bile threatened to undo her. Since it would have taken too long to remove the suit, she forced it back. These vehicle models were not enclosed, but had an exposed frame the other crew called a 'roll cage'. Nettie decided not to ask why they called it that. They might have answered her, and she would have had to de-suit.
She stayed silent while Kaitlin and Jenny fought over steering privileges, repeating to herself people had been surface exploring for several hundred years. It was a perfectly sound method of fun and adventure. Yeah, she thought bitterly, fun and adventure. Nettie clung to the vehicle's handles as they covered ground, heading away from the facility.
"Relax, Nettie. At least we're not somewhere like Mars... though crater jumping would be fun." Having lost, Kaitlin sat in the rear seat while Jenny steered. The other crew drove ahead of them.
Nettie took a relaxing breath and decided to approach the situation as a soldier would during a mission. She mentally recorded the scene. Behind her loomed the structure of the facility. Several stories of metal and pressurized diamond glass were lit up by bright lights. Beyond it, encompassing two-thirds of the sky was Jupiter. The orange and white bands twisted slowly.
Facing forward, she took in Callisto's open frontier rolling out to caress the horizon. It was a flat surface of eroded and dusty glacier-type ice several hundred miles deep. Beneath that was water, which had never seen the light of day.
It wasn't to say the waters are dark. Hundreds of years ago when man first landed on this moon, they drilled through the glacier in search of little green mermen. Instead, they found small to medium size life forms of the fish variety -- and they found brightness. Aptly named the Under Ocean, the core of the moon kept it warmed and lit. The magnetic balance between the core and Jupiter prevented the glacier surface from cracking. The surface's coldness and the core's warmth kept the glacier surface from melting, or Under Ocean becoming too warm.
Nettie drew her thoughts from under the surface back to the Callisto sky. Without the damping of the facility lights, Galileo's constellations sparkled like diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. Her fears calmed and she forgot the terror of open terrain. She recognized the beauty of it. This was the definition of wonder, of awe. Majestic had no true meaning for her until now. The brightness started where the sky kissed the surface in the distance and went across the whole heavens.
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Well, hope you enjoyed it! There's my story and I'm stickin' to it!