‘ Try it again’, the anger and panic more than perceptible than ever.
‘ Some one has got to be out there listening ‘.
‘ Their is no response Sir’.
‘ Goddamn, they ain’t gonna leave up here, and not care ‘.
‘ I don’t know Sir ‘.
As the space capsule traveled into infinity, and the vast mystery of the universe
he gripped the balcony rail very tightly. At least no one could see his physical tension.
When this happened in ‘ Star Trek ‘ and similar TV programs, of his youth, it was a fantasy, everybody knew that. But this was real.
‘ Try it again’, he so wanted to swear, to express his anger and frustration. His fear and panic. But he was after all the Captain of the mission. The person in charge. He had a certain standing to uphold. A certain dignity. A sense of control. Were he to show his fear and panic, what was the likelihood of the young inexperienced crew remaining calm and measured. Very little, and he knew that. If ever he needed his acting capabilities, it was now. If ever he needed to put on a show, it was now.
‘ Okay, let us set a course for Planet Interstellar no.9. I believe the food and entertainment is pretty good there’, trying to interject some humour, and a sense of being on control, and to ease the palatable tension on the cockpit. A few of the others laughed. He glanced round the cockpit, and noted the wide eyed fear of the young crew. Fear is hard to hide. Anything to break the obvious tension and fear. What was that fear ? The very real fear, that perhaps they, and he would never, ever see there loved one’s again. Many believing rightly, that they were too young to die. Out here, in outer space.
‘ I’m gonna to retire to my cabin for some shut eye. Give me a call half an hour before we arrive ‘.
‘ Okay, will do’, the second in command replied.
In the privacy of his cabin, he knelt down beside his bunk, and called on God, or who ever is ruling the world and the universe.
‘ Please Lord, or whoever, help me now. I feel afraid, and don’t know what to do. Please show me the way. Shower me with your guidance an wisdom’. He demanded of the unseen Higher power, that seemingly rules the word, and our lives He waited for insight, for some type of revelation. Perhaps not the flashing lights, or the appearance of etheric figures, angels or whatever. But just some sign, that out there, in the whole, wide universe, that some God, some deity, some whatever, was listening. was willing to help. To offer assistance, to guide.
He was roused from the semi darkness of his cabin, by the intercom, from the forward cockpit.
‘ Captain, we’ve had contact from base, and it’s not good. They maintain there is nothing they can do. That it’s out of their control. The President is due to contact us, within the next hour’.
‘ I don’t want to hear from the damn President, I want to hear from the people who can actually solve this issue, this catastrophe ‘. Finding it hard to control his loud voice and anger.. The reasons for their perdictemnet lay not with the crew around him, but with the people at the space agency on earth. It was of course a rhetorical question. Of course the crew, around him, had no answers.
As the space caspual speed towards the outer reaches of the universe and beyond. The Captain returned to the darkened cockpit, and assumed his position of command. The stars, the darkness zooming by the large fronted viewing platform. The silence of the nuclear powered engines, hiding their power and speed.
‘ You should have know better, than to take us on this course. You Knew it was untested, and unsafe’. The voice angry, bitter, and caustic. He did not need to guess who it belonged to. As it was well familiar to him.
He chose to ignore, and not respond to the verbal attack.
He reached for the ship wide intercom, and made his speech. A consoling, soothing helpful speech. At least in his view. He did reminded all of the crew, that it was their choice, initially to volunteer for the mission, and that they had been made well aware of the possibilities of failure, and disaster, and should they wish to go forward for the mission, it was totally their choice. Regardless of the consequences. It was what they had signed up for. He remained them, that they were pioneers, on their failed journey to Saturn, and the many that would follow in the coming years, would look back and thank them for the sacrifice they had made, and the knowledge that had imparted for their failed journey, and how much those that followed had learnt from their failure.
He further continued, they should be proud of what they had achieved, and what they had left behind, for other’s to follow. How proud, and sad, their loved one’s, and families would be of them. In the silence of the darkened cockpit, the young crew listened. Many sobbed, and wept.
‘ I don’t want to die, I’m too young. I have too much to achieve , too much of the world to see. To much to live for’. He searched the darkened cockpit, for a face to fit the lone frightened voice, and saw her young, pretty, but frightened face.
‘ Well it seem’s like, that it is not gonna be. We all are on this ship, heading towards God knows where. We have no control. Those at the base have no control, or, and perhaps don’t seem to really care. We are after all, expendable. That’s what we all signed up for. We all knew the risks.’
‘ I ask you now, to join me in prayer, or offer up to whatever God, or whatever you believe in, to look after you and keep you safe, on whats happen in the very near future, and to make your peace’.
In the darkness of the cockpit, the assembled crew bowed their heads. Many sobbed, and prayed aloud, to the various different Gods and entities they believed in, and followed. Many were stoic, and silent.
As the space capsule, traveled at speed towards the darkness, and never-ending infinity of the outer reaches of the universe, it shook, and rocked, and vibrated strongly. Many of the crew held hands, smiled, wept and laughed. Mind, a hollow, empty laughter.
On earth, at the launch base, the operator tried again.
‘ I can only get static Sir’, he replied.