Beep. Beep. Beep. The alarm sounded.
“Time to get moving.” Tim kissed Sam gently on the nose.
“Do I have to?” She was not happy.
“You had better unless you want the bridge to see you in the buff.” He teased.
“Let them watch us get it on!” She joked as they pulled apart and grabbed their clothes.
“Shuttle 2, Albatross station.” Commander Dickerson’s voice chimed out of the radio.
Tim floated over to the console and activated the radio “Go ahead Albatross.” He responded as he struggled to put on his jumpsuit.
“You should be starting braking maneuvers shortly, what is your schedule for that?” Kim sounded concerned.
“We are rotating around now and braking will start in 5 minutes.” He tried to sound professional as he contorted to get dressed.
The shuttle rotated around as the tow cables were adjusted to the new lengths needed for the deceleration phase they were heading in to. The probe mirrored these attitude adjustments on the opposite side of the asteroid. Maneuvers were slow and steady to avoid tangling the cables while maintaining tension between the bodies.
“We have a small correction to your flight path.” The commander informed the shuttle. “We want you to stop about 20 kilometers further away than originally planned.”
“Ok, I’ll bite.” Sam inquired while Tim was struggling with his jumpsuit “What are you planning now?”
“We are sending a bot out to run some tests.” Kim flatly explained “It will be on station shortly and we just want a little more safety margin.”
“Alright, we’ll swing a little wide when we bring this rock in.” Sam was trying not to laugh at Tim fighting with his jumpsuit. “Did you two have a nice dinner?” She mocked innocence.
Tim started laughing and ripped himself out of his jumpsuit and tried to start over.
“Why yes we did,” Kim started then hesitated “Hey wait a minute. Who told you?”
Sam struggled to not laugh. Between Tim fighting with his jumpsuit and Kim’s response it was almost too much. “We figured it out when the bridge responded to our last check-in.”
“That obvious, huh?”
“Kim, there was a betting pool on how many fixtures you would break when you finally got to it!” Sam lost it and started laughing so hard she was crying.
“Well I’m sorry to disappoint the pool” Kim sounded slightly miffed “but we didn’t break anything. Although Gwen is still cleaning up the wine we spilled.”
Sam made a quick launch toward the restroom.
“Kim, I think you just caused Sam to pee herself.” Tim laughed.
“Give her my apologies.”
“So why is Gwen cleaning up the compartment and you’re running ops?” Tim was teasing.
“She said she would rather scrub toilets than deal with the mining consortium.” Kim tried to play it straight. She paused a moment. “And the look on her face confirms that sentiment.”
They all got a good laugh out of that.
“Ok Albatross,” Tim got back to work “Braking operations are starting, we will check back in as we are approaching final stop.”
“Affirmative.” Kim got back to business “We’ll send you the modified approach plan and the feed channel from the bot we are activating to run the tests.”
Beginning of Story