Yet another scene from my book

November 12, 2007 at 8:59 pm (Writing)

My book still is missing a title.  I don’t even have a working title for it, which is OK, since it’s not like I’ve written any others – ‘My book’ works for now.

I’ve deviated quite a bit from my original plotline.  I now have three distinct sub-plots, and haven’t even reached the main storyline in my outline yet.  I’m expecting that I will still get there, but who knows.  It seems to have taken twists and turns that I didn’t plan for.

I have also noticed that as I have developed the scenes, that the characters are becoming much more detailed – in my mind at least, if not on paper.  This scene isn’t important for any particular character, but it does give some more detail of the technical aspect of the universe that I’m creating.  And I’m not quite ready to give up any of the other things that have occurred between these scenes until I have a better idea of how they will be resolved.

Captain Jamison went to breakfast late – just as the galley was shutting down.  He settled for what was left on the buffet, french toast.  It was good, but not quite as good as before.  Did Reynolds make that much of a difference when he was cooking? he thought.  Not for french toast, he decided.  It must be because of the hour.  He ate quickly and made his normal rounds of the ship.  It was laundry day.  There was a distinct laundry-type odor in the air.  Not unpleasant by any stretch.  When he finally arrived at the bridge, preparations were already being made for entering planetary orbit.  The engineering teams were ready to launch the shuttle pod and begin repairs on the reflector, as well as patch the hull.  He had the ship placed in high orbit, which would give them the most time to fix the gravity reflector.  All external emitters, scanners, and thrusters were shut down and locked out for safety while anyone was outside the ship.
‘Bridge to engineering, We have achieved orbit, and have secured the gravity emitters.  The reflector is furled and ready for repair.
‘Roger that.  Pod1 is launching now.  Repair crew standing by in airlock 1’
The shuttle pod transported the replacement reflector to the end of the mast, but it had no means to actually complete the job.  Three engineers left through the forward airlock once the shuttle was in place, and quickly removed the damaged reflector, and replaced it with the new one.  Once they were safely back in the airlock, the shuttle disconnected itself from the mast and went back to the docking bay.  After everyone was secure inside the ship, the new reflector was unfurled and tested.
The bridge was interrupted by the comm: ‘Whittaker to Jamison, I need you to hold position over the planet so that we can start our deep scanning’
‘Mr Whittaker, we are currently conducting repairs externally that require all propulsion systems, thrusters, and emitters to be shut down.  I will keep you appraised as to our progress. Jamison out.’  Just for that, he should require a full external inspection – he wouldn’t mind waiting another day or so…
‘Bridge to engineering, you are a go to catalog damage and make necessary repairs to our hull’
‘Roger.  Crews going outside now.
‘Keep me appraised of the progress.’ Jamison said
‘Will do, sir.’
Within minutes, there were 20 crew members were covering the outside of the ship.  They carefully photographed and noted the location and size of the scars left by meteorite impacts on the hull.  By design, most impacts had occurred on the forward part of the ship where the impact coating was nearly a meter thick.  When each was cataloged, it was filled with a special ceramic epoxy resin similar to the original surface of the hull.  The color was a slightly lighter grey, but that would darken eventually.  Most of their time was spent dealing with the impact crater outside the galley.  Several engineers were consulted before they decided on the method of patching such a large crater.  On the sides of the ship, including where the mess hall impact had occurred, the coating was only about 10 centimeters thick.  They first cleaned the edges of the hole, then filled it with the resin, and covered it with a composite plate to make sure that the entire patch didn’t dislodge.  When all the repairs were complete, they went back to each one to make sure that the resin had adhered properly to the hull coating. The entire set of repairs took nearly all day, and required several shift changes because of the amount of oxygen that each suit carried.
It was a tense and exhausting day.  Everyone was relieved when it was finished, because that meant that the ship was no longer a ship, but a sensor platform for the mining conglomerate.
Only one thing left to do before the mineral survey began – the futile, but required bio-scan.  This was a holdover from years ago, when people still thought it was possible that there was life somewhere else in the universe.  The scan was looking for any kind of protein, which was a requirement for organic life.  None had ever been found, none would be found on this planet either, but regulations required the scan anyway.  The scan took about 4 hours to complete, and as expected came back negative.
‘Bridge to Mr Whittaker’
‘Whittaker here’
‘Repairs have been completed, and the bio-scan results are negative.  You may begin your scans at your convenience.  The ship is at your disposal’  Which Jamison thought was a fancy way of saying ‘you’re in charge, I’m just driving now’
‘We still do the bio-scan?’
‘Standing orders, Mr Whittaker.  The conglomerate has petitioned to have it removed, but it hasn’t been rescinded yet.’
Whittaker immediately requested a full deep sensor sweep at a relatively quick speed to get the general topography of the planet and to see where, if any, things of interest might be.  The ship was nose up, pointing the powerful sensor array at the planet.  Unlike the navigational sensors, which were entirely passive because of the great distances involved, the planet scanning sensors were active.  When the active scanners were engaged, the aft sections of the ship hummed with the energy being channeled through the waveguides.
After the initial planetary scan, several locaions were selected for more intensive scanning.  These scanners were capable of detecting specific substances up to 50 kilometers deep in solid rock, and could pinpoint deposits as small as a cubic meter.

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