Moon Hab Continued

I was here to take care of the work crew during the two-week long darkness at the job site. During that time they would rocket back to the space station where I would cook and maintain their quarters. Eventually, we would be able to “overnight” on the surface, but for now the cold of a lunar night was just too much for spacesuits and other work equipment to contend with.

Eventually the rotation schedule on the surface would be as long as six months at a time, as the hab would provide more radiation protection than the space station. Long term plans would have most living quarters under three to six meters of regolith which would allow a permanent occupancy.

Site preparation had been done by the previous crew which I also worked with. The entire area had been blanketed with buried electrical cables through which a small current pulsated. The current generated a magnetic as well as electrical field which attracted the infamous lunar dust and kept it tamped down. Without the ever present dust floating about, machinery and spacesuits would function better and longer. The system was powered by solar arrays which had been landed and assembled previously during one of the lunar days. Eventually, the area would be cleaned by an electrostatic “vacuum” brought from Earth.

Delivery of the hab by Space Trucks Lunar Cargo Lander (LCL) was expected any time now. Already down on the surface was the current construction crew living in a leased rocket. They had worked a two-week day building up the site. In that time they had gotten the “Moon cement,” made from an alkali binder and regolith, ready for rigidizing and anchoring the inflatable habitat coming from Earth. The US government had helped out, with sufficient compensation, by delivering water from their base at the south lunar pole. The company had also paid for the transport of the water by rocket to the building site.

The space station, along with other satellites, also provided a communication link to the ground. I was busy getting a time of arrival for the habitat when a call from the work foreman came in.

“Rogers, you got an ETA on the habitat?” he asked.

“Hold a moment Johns,” I said.

I turned to the link with the incoming automated space truck. The LCL gave an estimate of twenty-two minutes which I relayed down to Ralph Johns.

“Very well,” he said. “I'm going to call a shift change then, a fresh crew will unload and do the preliminary on the habitat.”

“Understood Johns,” I said, and then signed off.

The ground teams work twelve hour shifts, one relaxing or sleeping in the rocket while the other works on the surface. I'm usually kept busy at shift change relaying information between the crews and the company. I had been at this for quite some time when I heard from the second crew leader, Joan Hartridge.

“Rogers, this is Hartridge.”

“Yes Joan,” I answered over the radio.

“Where's the space truck?” she asked.

I realized I had been distracted and had missed the scheduled arrival of the habitat.

“I don't know,” I said, before thinking about how dumb that sounded, I was suppose to know, it was my job.

“Hold on a moment,” I said.

I opened a channel to the space truck and queried its arrival time. The AI aboard assured me it had arrived and was awaiting unloading.

Okay, someone's hallucinating.

I called Joan.

“Joan the LCL informs me it has arrived and is awaiting unloading.”

“What?” she said. “No way, we haven't seen the thing.”

I knew the LCL was suppose to land on the other side of the hill from the job site so as to protect the site from any rocket blasted dust or debris during landing.

Could they have missed it?

“Okay Joan, hold on and let me run a trace”

Running a trace meant using the radio to triangulate on the space truck, wherever it was. I requested the LCL to fire up a location beacon. It didn't take long using the satellites to locate it. It was five miles from the designated landing area.

What the heck?

I called the AI aboard the space truck, it again assured me it had landed at the designated site. I was at a loss. How could the Em be so wrong? It was unheard of in my experience. I called Joan and explained what was happening.

“Jeremy, we are out here to unload and begin the installation of the hab, that is the only reason. You have six guys standing around under the porch waiting. Do you have any idea what that is costing the company? Someone is going to get their head chopped, you know?” said Joan.

“I know Joan, I'll get it figured out.”

The “porch” Joan was talking about was the aluminum frame bucky-sphere covered with a sandwich of kevlar and high atomic-weight gel which provided some protection from the ever present particle rain and radiation of the lunar “atmosphere.”

There were fourteen people on the surface costing the company six-figure salaries, not to mention my modest salary, and they were all standing around. I knew whose head would get “chopped.”

Okay, calm down, what do I do know?

Then it occurred to me. I could have Space Trucks redirect the LCL to the site coordinates again and ask that the telemetry of the LCL be broadcast. I could then follow the path of the space truck, watching for any anomaly. At first the company refused to believe that the space truck could have landed that far away from the designated landing site. It took an hour before they got back to me and agreed to redirect the LCL with the telemetry broadcast available.

I would have to use the satellite network to follow the progress of the LCL because the space station was not in direct communication because of its orbital position. At the time the company had indicated I started receiving and decoding the telemetry. At first it appeared the LCL was flying directly toward the building site. I radioed Joan to keep a watch as the space truck would be flying over at a low level.

The LCL kept coming, its course was direct to the site. After a few minutes it flew directly over the building site without stopping. I radioed Joan.

“Did you see it Joan?” I asked.

“We saw something Rogers. It was going pretty fast.”

“Very well, I'll call again when I see where it's going,” I said.

I followed the telemetry information as it was plotted on my Emmie's screen. The space truck continued on its path for another five miles when its forward progress stopped and it descended to the Moon's surface.

It had gone almost as far from the building site as it had before. The telemetry stopped as the ship touched down. I called the LCL and asked for its status. It again reported being at the building site and waiting for unloading. I called the company, informing them that the same thing happened again. They agreed to send a team to bring the rocket to the job site manually, but that would take seventy-two to ninety-six hours, maybe more. I called Joan and explained what was happening.

“I think we need to get Ralph involved,” said Joan.

It wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear but I didn't have any other ideas.

“Okay Joan, call me when you are ready.”

It was a few minutes later when I got the call.

“Rogers,” came the big booming voice of Ralph Johns over the radio, “what the hell is going on?”

“I'm not sure Ralph,” I said. “The AI in the space truck seems to be in some kind of denial, it keeps telling me it is in position and ready to unload. I've informed the company and they are sending some people to bring the ship in manually.”

“When?” he asked.

“Seventy-two to ninety-six hours they said.”

“What? We're suppose to sit on our butts for three to four days? Do you know how much money that is costing the company? Not to mention the mess it will make to the schedule,” he said.

“I understand Ralph, but what else can we do?” I asked.

“We can go get it,” he said. “How far away is the damn thing?”

“It's approximately five miles east of the building site,” I said.

“Okay,” he said, “you stay on Space Truck's back, try to get them here sooner. I'm going to take some men and the hauler and find that rocket.”

“Be careful Ralph,” I said.

“Yeah,” he said and the call was dropped.

Chapter 2

The expedition to the space truck had been gone about twelve hours when I got a call from Joan.

“Rogers, we've lost contact with Ralph and the others. Can you try to raise him?”

“Okay Joan, give me a minute,” I said.

I tried, through the satellite network, to get Ralph on the radio but failed.

“Can't raise him Joan,” I said to Hartridge. “I should be near enough to the area on the next orbit pass to try again.”

Besides the radio, I readied a telescope that I thought might be powerful enough to see something on the surface. I assigned an Em to operate the scope and to alert me of any sighting. It would be another twenty minutes before the station would be over the landing site of the space truck.

I followed the station's ground track and as it closed on the area I queried the Em operating the telescope. At first it reported nothing, then it reported identifying the LCL on the Moon's surface. Then I urged it to scan the area to the west of the landing site. I waited a couple of minutes, the Em reported finding something. 

Eventually, a picture appeared on my Emmie's screen. As I zoomed in I thought I could make out the hauler that Johns would have used to bring back the hab. There wasn't enough resolution to make out any spacesuited figures.

I called Hartridge.

“Joan, the telescope on board has found the rocket and the hauler, there's not enough resolution to see any of the crew. It appears that the hauler has crashed, I say this because it is resting at an awkward angle in the image. I estimate they made it within a mile of the rocket.”

“Okay Rogers, I plan on sending out a search party,” she said.

“But you don't have a transport,” I said.

“They'll go out on foot, the suit radios should work if they get within a mile of the hauler,” she said.

“I should get the company's approval,” I said. “We should have called them before Ralph went out.”

“Well, Ralph wasn't going to wait for approval and I'm not either. You do what you think is right.”

“Very well Joan, goodbye,” I said.

The hauler wrecked, four crew missing including the lead foreman, and now another group was going. I didn't know if I wanted to inform the company or not, but it was my job.

“Rogers,” said the head of operations after the communications delay. “You are being paid to keep us informed and now you tell me this has been going on for hours.”

“I'm sorry Mr. Dravers but if you know Ralph Johns, you know he's not one to wait for permission.”

“Still, you could have informed us immediately after you found out. I'm afraid this delay is unacceptable. I don't imagine you will be offered another contract with the company.”

“Very well, Mr. Dravers, but what does the company want me to do now?”

“We are informing Joan Hartridge that she is now lead foreman of the job site. She will dismiss Ralph Johns from his duties when he returns. Mr. Johns will be flown out as soon as possible. We are moving up the replacement crew and sending a new hauler in case the present one is damaged as you expect. They should be there by next week if we can arrange the flight. I will let you know when I have confirmed.

“And finally, we are sending your replacement with the crew, you will return to Earth with Mr. Johns. That is all.”

The communication was terminated, I was terminated, but at least I had another week. I needed to contact Joan on the surface and let her know.

“They're back Rogers,” said Joan before I could tell her what had transpired on the company call. “Ralph's dead but the other three of them are okay, although one is injured.”

“Who?” I asked.

“George, apparently he was thrown from the hauler when it went in the crater. We're trying to figure out how badly he is injured right now. They were also able to carry Ralph's body.”

“Okay, I'll relay to the company, you may get a call from them soon, in which case you can tell them.”

“Call coming in now Rogers, I'll get back to you,” said Joan.

Later Joan called again.

“That's right Rogers, the company wants you down here right now to replace George,” said Joan.

“But I'm not trained for surface operations,” I said.

“Doesn't make a difference apparently. Instead of going back to Earth with Ralph's body, you'll support the surface operations when the new crew gets here and we get back on schedule.”

“Okay Joan, bye.”

As I was sitting there a communication came through telling me what Joan had already told me. I noticed Dravers didn't tell me personally.

Okay, the good news is I can finish out my contract and get paid. The bad news is I don't want to.

But I stayed, and the following week I was on the Lunar Personnel Lander (LPL), which was very much like the LCL only outfitted for people. Both types of landers consisted of two cylinders with rockets for maneuvering and take-off and landing. 

The cylinders were joined by scaffold. Think beer cans with rockets. In addition, the LCL had a large cargo container attached to the underside of the scaffolding.

With the rest of the new crew heading for the surface of the Moon. I had turned over my duties to the new station monitor, Elizabeth.

The LPL deposited us behind the hill that served as a blast shield for the job site. Without the hauler, which was still abandoned four miles away, we would have to “walk” the rest of the way. I had a little training for walking in one-sixth Earth gravity but not enough to keep up with the rest of the crew. By the time we rounded the base of the hill and could see the job site, the slowest member of the new crew was under the porch and the old crew was heading out, towards me. I expected I was a source of derisive comments even if I couldn't hear the personal channels being used to make those comments.

As I neared the job site I felt a sensation on my skin that was difficult to place but not bothersome. I dismissed it and continued my awkward stride, eventually reaching the porch with the rest of the crew. It was then that Joan gave her talk.

“Now, that we are all here,” she said. “I want to talk to you about what to expect during your three month stay.

“We are now a week behind schedule and we still do not have the habitat. Space Trucks has assured us that they will deliver the hab by the end of this week, that is in two days. Unfortunately, that will only leave us two days to unload and move the hab into place before the beginning of the two week night. So that is our immediate goal.

“At that point we will all, except for Rogers, leave on the LPL for the station. It has been decided that Rogers will stay here and keep the rocket at a higher level of readiness than usual during the night-over. This means that we can come back to the job site and be ready to resume our duties immediately instead of the usual startup time required after a shutdown.

“Rogers you will call the company after this meeting is over for a description of your new duties.”

I was a bit stunned. As far as I knew no one had ever over-nighted on the Moon. In the space station I had passed in and out of sunlight over and over during an orbit. I had never experienced a two-week night, no one had ever experienced a two-week night on the Moon, or on Earth. I definitely needed to make a call. I headed for the rocket, even before Joan had finished the rest of her briefing.

It was possible from the surface of the Moon, at the job site location, to contact Earth at any time except for a few short blackouts that occurred because of communication satellite availability. In the rocket, ready to call, I found we were in one of those blackout periods. It would be over in fifteen minutes. I had time to think.

Ridiculous. How am I suppose to do this? They want me to be the first person ever to overnight on the Moon? Crazy. Dravers must be crazy. I don't have to do it. I won't do it. They can't make me do it. I wonder if the LPL has left? I'll get on board and head back to the station. I'll go home with Ralph's body. Who do they think they are dealing with? I'm not an idiot.

Or maybe I was, anyway a call was coming in.

“Job site, this is Rogers,” I said.

“Rogers, good, this is Dravers. I want to talk to you. I suppose that Joan has told you what we want you to do?”

“Yeah, she told me,” I said. “But I'm not sure I want to do it.”

“But Rogers, we've got to do everything we can to get this project back on schedule. You are the perfect person to help us with that.”

I was surprised that I was the perfect person.

“Why am I the perfect person?” I asked.

“Because with your experience aboard the station, you have all the necessary skills to keep the job site going during the two week night. You've done it aboard the station for as long as that, all alone,” he said.

I realized he was right. I had done most of the chores aboard the station that I would need to do to keep the job site going, and I had been alone for almost two weeks. But Dravers had just threatened me with dismissal a short time ago. Why should I do this for the company?

“I was headed for Earth not long ago, by company decree, if you remember. And now I'm to stay here in a totally different capacity for the good of the company?”

“Rogers, I know I was a little hasty, but getting this hab built on schedule could make or break the company. You will be well rewarded for going above and beyond, I can assure you. I am sorry for what occurred before but I and the whole company, that includes many of those you have worked with or are currently working with. It means their jobs also. So I'm asking you to forgive my rashness and do this for the company and the employees.”

My righteous indignation subsided, the man was making an effort to atone, unfortunately, I probably would have to do it. I was always a sucker for an apology.

“Okay Rick, I'll do it,” I heard myself say, though not wanting to hear myself say it.

“Great Rogers, me and the company owe you.”

The call over, I sat for a moment thinking that I had made a good decision. Then I thought about being alone on the surface of the Moon for two weeks, in the dark, and I wanted to run away, but the others were beginning to come through the airlock.

Chapter 3

The Space Trucks company finally came through. They manually flew their rocket and landed it at the job site, that is on the other side of the hill. I had a chance to talk with the Space Trucks pilot while she was waiting for the hab to be unloaded. We sat down in the rocket's dining room over a cup of coffee.

“I'm Jeremy Rogers,” I said, as I poured her a cup of coffee.

“Jen Blalock,” she said.

“Ms. Blalock, I was wondering, I use to be the monitor on the company's space station and I was responsible for getting Space Trucks and you out here. I was just wondering, do you have any idea why the AI couldn't land the LCL at the job site? I mean, did you have any problem?”

“Well, Mr. Rogers, I don't know why the AI had such a problem, but I brought the rocket in manually, so there were many automated systems that didn't come into play.”

“Like a sensor?” I asked.

“Maybe,” she said. “Why did you say that?”

“Oh, just something that occurred to me as I was walking from the landing area to the porch the other day.”

“You don't have a hauler?” she asked.

“No, ours is out of commission,” I said.

“Well, how are you going to get the hab around the hill?”

“I don't know,” I said. “Joan's got a plan. She's the lead foreman on the job.”

“I see,” she said, but I knew she didn't, because I had no idea what Joan was doing either.

It was afternoon before I saw how the crew was moving the hab. As they came around the foot of the hill I could see they were carrying it on a frame. Two crew members in front, two behind, and two on each side. This was not as silly as it sounds because although the inflatable hab might weigh over a ton on Earth, here on the Moon, it was less than four-hundred pounds. So eight crew could handle it if careful. And they were being careful, with Joan walking in front and calling out the choreographed operation. Another few hours and they had the hab in position and they quit for the “day.”

The next day, except for a few finishing touches, the new crew and old crew packed for the trip to the space station and a trip home for George and what was left of Ralph. Some had already started for the LPL, Joan stopped to see me.

“Well Rogers, you are about to make history,” she said.

“You mean over-nighting?” I said.

“Yeah, no one's ever done it before on the Moon. Those guys at the poles have almost continuous sunlight, except when they're working down in one of the craters. But that's just shift work. So you will have the record soon.”

“I'll have it alright,” I said. “I hope that I'll want it.”

“Nervous?” she asked.

“Yeah, not so much staying here alone,” I said. “But if something happens I'm stuck here.”

“You're sitting in a rocket Rogers.”

“I know, but I don't know how to fly it and apparently an AI has trouble flying into the area so why should one be able to fly out?”

“I see,” she said, as if she had just realized what I was saying.

“Well, the LPL can come back, that's a human pilot,” she said.

“Yeah, but a night landing,” I said.

She paused.

“Nothing's going to go wrong Rogers, we'll be back before you know it,” she said as she turned to process through the airlock.

And in a couple of minutes I was alone.

There is nothing like being alone in a place that was just full of people to make one hyper-sensitive. Outside the sun was just passing below the horizon and without any atmosphere to scatter the light it was just like the turning out of a light bulb. It was dark outside, as dark as I've ever seen, the only consolation was the emergent stars which I had also noticed from the space station.

But as the temperature dropped there were sounds, sounds such as I had not heard before aboard a rocketship. Besides the metal stress, there were the different tanks of liquid and gases, the cycling of heaters and pumps, and the ramp up and down of the environmental system.

I felt suddenly cold, whether the chill was from a temperature change or the quiet darkness. I sat for another few minutes in the control room listening to these sounds before deciding that the first thing I would do during my command of the rocket was to take a rest in my bunk.

By turning on the small fan in my cabin I was able to drown out most of the sounds of the rocket and after some minutes I fell asleep. I must have slept for a while when I woke suddenly.

That's it. It must be the electrical grid.

I had awoken with the thought that the electric grid used to attract the Moon's dust and keep it tamped down might cause a problem with some sensor necessary for the AI aboard a rocket to land in the area of the job site. The electrical and magnetic fields were confusing the AI somehow. I wasn't an engineer so I didn't know how, but I would pass along my thoughts to those who might know. Anyhow, it calmed my mind enough to get finish a nights sleep.

When I woke I wrote up my idea and sent it to the company, then I started my assignments. Mostly, I went around checking the equipment which wasn't necessary since it was all monitored from the control room, but the company had decided that since this was a first, it would be advisable to make a personal inspection. I would do my inspections twice during a twenty-four hour period.

It was sometime after the middle of the two-week night, during which I had started looking forward to my inspection rounds, I was counting them down to the end of my stay. Then, down in environmental, I heard a strange sound.

Removing several access panels I finally found the noise, the pump in the circuit responsible for scrubbing the carbon dioxide was making the racket, it also felt warm to the touch. The system was regenerative in that it used multiple beds of amine beads which removed the carbon dioxide from the air the fans caused to circulate across the beds. As they removed the carbon dioxide the beads got quite hot, the pump and coolant kept them from getting too hot. Once saturated, those beds were exposed to the vacuum to out gas while other active beds took there place.

Without the pump the beads would heat up and crack and fail quickly. Carbon dioxide would then build up to dangerous levels. I had learned during my training for manning the space station that carbon dioxide poisoning could cause cardiac problems as well as impaired judgment. At higher levels it could cause convulsions, coma and even death.

I would have to replace the pump before carbon dioxide levels became too high. I headed for the machine locker to get the correct replacement. But no matter how many times I went through the inventory there wasn't a pump like it. I wondered?

The answer was found in the maintenance logs. Apparently, that pump had failed before and been replaced by the spare. But that spare had never been replaced and now could only be replaced by one that was a quarter of a million miles away on Earth. I sent off a message to the company explaining my situation and waited.

By return message the company said they would be sending a replacement which should arrive in a week. It would take that long because the replacement would have to come from the manufacturer. I began wondering again, would that be in time?

I put the problem to my Emmie. Considering the size of the rocket, occupied by only one person, if the carbon dioxide scrubber failed, how long before carbon dioxide levels reached a dangerous level? The result, four days.

So, the scrubber pump needed to last at least three, or even better, four days. It was that evening that the alarm I had programmed appeared on my Emmie. The pump had overheated and shutdown the system. I had four days to find a solution. I messaged the company, they would get back to me.

Such a deadline didn't really help focus my mind and certainly did not contribute to any restful sleep. In my bunk that night with my mind churning the only solution I could think of was to have the rocket take-off and rendezvous with the station. I would wait and see what the company proposed but I had my backup plan. I turned the fan on again, the noise was comforting enough for me to fall asleep.

The next morning I still had not heard from the company, that wasn't comforting. I decided I wouldn't wait. I was going to try to take-off and rendezvous with the space station. Of course, everything would have to be done by the AI. I told the ship's Em what I wanted to do and it agreed, it would run a diagnostic and should be ready in an hour. Now, I had to confront the company and see why they were delaying.

Instead of messaging I would radio, it was afternoon and all the managers should be available.

“We've been in meetings all day Rogers, we haven't come up with anything other than what you have suggested. Of course, if you take off now without trying to repair the pump we lose any chance to meet our original goals. But we'll leave it up to you.”

Dravers had said they could send me the procedure to substitute a different pump if I wanted to give it a try. It shouldn't take more than a few hours.

“All right I'm going to try to replace that pump, so send me the procedure.”

I had replaced the pump just as the company had suggested but nothing was happening. The company sent me a troubleshooting checklist but after another hour, still no luck. It was getting late, I figured I had about two days of good air left. The company messaged that the replacement pump was delayed, it wouldn't get here until after my air ran out. I decided to get some rest and then have the Em take-off. Once in my bunk, after all the frustration of the day I fell asleep fast.

I woke gasping for air, something was wrong. I looked at my Emmie, I hadn't been asleep more than four hours. I sat up, breathing was still hard but better. My Emmie must have miscalculated, I checked the carbon dioxide monitor, it was borderline high and increasing. I went to put my suit on, it hadn't been recharged since the Moon walk but it should give me another hour of fresh air, more if I used it sparingly.

Making my way to the control room, I strapped into a chair and told the ship's Em to take-off and rendezvous with the station. It would be close but I thought I had enough air to make it. I heard the oxidizer pre-valves open and the glump, glump, glump as the oxidizer was pumped down the lines to the engines. Then, I heard it stop and all was quiet. My head swam as panic set in.

“What happened?” I asked the Em.

“We have a sensor in the red zone preventing the launch,” said the Em through my suit radio.

“Can you override it?” I asked.

“Not possible, it is a safety measure.”

I felt dizzy.

Is the air in my suit bad too?

I tried to focus.

“What sensor is it?” I asked the Em.

“It's a tilt sensor.”

What in the world is a tilt sensor?


I was breathing rapidly, I had to calm down, I was using too much of my suit's air.

After a moment of concentration I asked, “What's a tilt sensor?”

“It's a landing pad sensor, it measures the tilt of the rocket. If it's too far out of range, a landing or take-off will be aborted.”

I knew there was nothing wrong with the “tilt” of the rocket. It must be a sensor problem, another malfunction. Was I doomed?

Another moment of concentration before I could think.

What kind of sensor is it?

I used my Emmie to access the sensor manual. I discovered it was a hall effect sensor, whatever that was.

I read, 'A hall effect sensor is a solid state sensor that produces a voltage which is proportional to an applied magnetic field . . .”

I stopped, it clicked. The dust reduction grid, I knew it had been turned on after the rocket had landed, not before. Maybe?

I would have to leave the rocket and go to the porch to shut off the grid. Since I was already in my suit I simply went to the outer airlock and cycled through. It was a short walk to the porch and with the simple press of a button I de-energized the grid. A short walk back and cycling through the airlock, I was back in the control room, it had taken less than an hour, but that was a long time in my present situation.

Again strapping into a chair I told the Em to take-off and rendezvous with the station. I heard oxidizer pre-valves open and then the glump, glump, glump as the pump pushed the oxidizer toward the rocket engine. This time it didn't stop.

Some one-hundred and fifty feet below the control deck small gas cartridges released their contents causing the turbopumps to begin spinning and forcing both fuel and oxidizer into the reaction chambers of the twin engines. The rocket came to life, groaning and vibrating but not yet moving.

“Lift-off,” said the Emmie.

Soon the rumble of five-hundred thousand pounds of thrust was vibrating throughout the rocket and told me I was going somewhere. The take-off wasn't nearly as stressful or loud as an Earth launch and soon I was high above the Moon's surface. I didn't know how long it would be before I rendezvoused with the station and I didn't want to know. It was going to be close and soon because of either nervous exhaustion or bad air I was calmly drifting off to sleep.

I woke up strapped in a bunk on the space station. Joan was there.

“How do you feel Jeremy?” she said.

“I'm a little tired and my head hurts,” I said.

“Probably an effect of the carbon dioxide,” she said.

“I made it,” I said.

“You made it,” she said.

“I know why the space truck wouldn't land at the job site,” I said. “Same reason I almost didn't make it.”

“Yeah,” she said. “You'll have to put that in your report.”

“Yeah, it's easy to fix, as easy as pushing a button,” I said.

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