C1 Chapter One: 3-2-1 Lift-Off
The three main engines of the shuttle started almost simultaneously. When the countdown clock ticked down to zero, the Solid Rocket Boosters ignited, and the Space Shuttle cleared off the Launchpad.
About two minutes into flight, the crew watched on a small screen as one of the cameras from the shuttle picked up the boosters as they separated themselves from the external tank and fell back down to earth.
“We won’t be needing you, babies!” The Pilot joked. “Say me hi to mother earth!”
“If earth was a human being,” said a woman among the crew, “how do you think the impact would be on her as the boosters hit the ocean?”
“Well, I’ve got a poor sense of humour, Flight Engineer Johnson!” The Commander said, “But I think it’ll be like Hilary’s breath around Trump’s neck; won’t feel it!”
“Whoa!” The crew yelled as they laughed.
“Guess what, Johnson.” The pilot said.
“Yeah?” Responded the Flight Engineer.
“Commander Barry here’s with the feminist team,” added the Pilot, “His wife is the Head of the Women’s Right Brass. So don’t take it personal!”
“Why should I?” She said, “Any man who gets splattered out of a woman, wouldn’t make fun of women!”
“Whoa!” The Pilot remarked, “I wish the guys in the Middle East and Africa heard that!”
James, a young man in his late twenties was quivering as the shuttle pierced through space. The warmth memories of his mother fluxed into his heart, he managed to join the rest of the crew to savour the gag thrown by the Commander
“I promised my mom that I’d be an astronaut someday!” James said, in a shaky voice.
“Aww!” Johnson remarked, “Isn’t that sweet? Well, I guess she just watched your scary butt thrust into space on TV!”
“Well, maybe from above!” He said, “She passed away about two years ago.”
“Ring! Ring! Apology time!” The Pilot said, “Flight Engineer Maurine Johnson, what do you have to say?”
“I’m so sorry, James!” She said, “I didn’t know.”
“It’s okay,” he replied.
“I’m so sorry for your…great loss!” She added, “I believe she’s in a better place!”
“There you go!” The Pilot said, “It wasn’t that hard, was it, Johnson?”
“Shut up, Caleb!” She said.
“Enjoying the view huh, first timer?” Caleb said.
“Yeah?” James responded, “Why is it shaking like this?”
“On an average, a cowboy sits on a horse that’s around 1,123 pounds of flesh or there about,” answered the Pilot. “We on the other hand are stuck like sardine in a can that’s attached to some huge cylinders containing about 383,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and 143,000 gallons of liquid oxygen or more, son!”
“Wow!” James remarked.
“Sitting ducks in a giant tank of a huge propulsion system that is essentially a controlled bomb! That’s how someone put it!" The Commander said, "Like ants hung to your wife’s cooking gas cylinder back at home. She blows! We’ll all get vapourised!"
“Stop scaring him, guys!” Johnson said.
“I’m not married!” James said.
“Oh! You lucky son of a gun,” interjected the Commander. “I wish we’d switch places. Huh! Just kidding!” He mocked, “I love my wife and kids, and if I’m to come back to this God-forsaken world after this life…I’d want to spend my time with them all over again! You don’t know what you’re missing!”
“How’s it going out there sport?” Said a voice over the radio, “BX9, do you copy?”
“Mission Control, we’re good!” The Commander said, “Caleb’s trying to scare the bit Jesus out of our young Spaceflight Participant here. But we’re all good! Copy?”
“I hope our young Spaceflight Participant left his religious beliefs down here on earth with us, where it belong,” said the voice over the radio. “If he carries that crap up into space he might not survive a millisecond there! Copy!”
The entire crew laughed as the shuttle sailed the orbit.
“You shouldn’t take away the only thing that gives a man hope!” The Commander added.
“You’re right, Commander Barnabas!” Said the voice over the radio, “Sail on!”