The station bridge was fairly quiet and most personnel were running routine equipment and systems checks.
"Albatross Station, this is supply ship Reykjavik.” The radio chimed.
“Go ahead Reykjavik.” Commander Johnson perked up.
“We are entering final approach and should be stopped in less than an hour.”
“Acknowledged.” The commander called up the maintenance and inspection schedule. “Be advised all of our tow craft are down for emergency inspections so you will have to bring yourself in close enough for supply transfer.”
“You’re going to make me earn my pay, you say?” The captain of the Reykjavik was keeping it light.
“I hear you could do it in your sleep.” The commander knew that was not even close to accurate. The Reykjavik was one of the largest ships in the fleet and was full with over two years of supplies for the station and a year’s supply for the ship itself, not to mention all of the repair materials it stocked for both. It takes 8 to 9 months for the ship to travel each way between the station and Earth. Bringing these two vessels within 500 meters of each other, holding them there and connecting the docking arms is a serious task for even the most experienced pilots.
“Tell Captain Calhoun he is going to owe me a drink when we finish docking.”
“I’ll let the Captain know.” The commander called up the navigational display with the ship and the station on it. “Alright everybody,” he announced to the compartment “We are now entering docking operations for the supply ship, so let’s keep an eye on that ship and a lookout for anything unusual.”
The bridge started bustling as everyone shifted their displays and started catching up on status of both vessels.
The commander switched on the intercom “T-Ops, Bridge.”
“Go ahead Bridge.”
“The Reykjavik has started docking maneuvers so keep everything grounded until she is done. Then we can get back to normal ops.”
“Is the captain going to hold the briefing with the mining crews?” Commander Venkataraman sounded concerned.
“No, he left me detailed instructions for it and orders not to disturb him. He needs some sleep.” Commander Johnson didn’t sound very confident.
“Are you sure about that?”
“No, but if I’m ever going to get those eagles I’m going to have to do the hard work sometime.” He was trying to be good hearted about it.
“Good luck. I’ll let the crews know.”
“I’ll take care of the mining crews, you take care of the flight crews.” He looked at the countdown clock “I’ll send you the briefing schedule shortly.”
“Aye, Bridge. T-Ops out.”
Beginning of Story