Doctor Marshall continued running tests on the crystal and Eugene as the morning progressed, while Jordan spent her time reconnecting the weapons system on the M.A.N.T.A. and sealing the front panel to the remote arm. Nick was right, they weren't going to need that for the remainder of the trip.
As launch time approached, the doctor pulled himself away from the lab, leaving Syndi to monitor Eugene, and headed to the central moon pool area. Much to his surprise, even running several minutes late, he entered the main area to find Jordan standing alone leaning back against the control console.
"I was starting to wonder if I had the wrong time.", she said.
"Sorry.", the doc replied still wiping his hands with a cloth before stuffing it in his coat pocket. "Where's the Lieutenant Commander?"
"No idea.", Jordan said shaking her head. "I figured he'd be here double-checking the systems."
"Maybe he slept in again.", the doctor said as he crossed the room to his chair.
"Syndi, where's -- ", the doctor began, but his question was cut short as the door that led to the crew quarters rolled open with a metallic grumble.
More surprising than the fact that the Lieutenant Commander was late, was the fact that he was donned in a gray t-shirt and shorts -- very "out of uniform" for piloting the M.A.N.T.A.
As a matter of fact, the M.A.N.T.A. suit appeared to be slung over Nick's shoulder on a hanger. The sight left both Jordan and the doctor speechless and confused, but Nick was quick to end the silence.
"Sorry I'm late.", he began as he strode casually into the room, "Something's been bugging me about this last mission but I think I may have found a solution."
"Does it involved getting suited up for the mission?", the Doctor inquired dryly.
"Yeah,", Nick quickly replied. "Well, yes and no."
Nick continued with his thought as he turned to Jordan, "This whole time you're relying on me for feedback about the M.A.N.T.A.. How does it handle? What kind of noises is it making? How's the visibility? It's sort of like me taking my car to the shop and trying to explain all those strange sounds to the technician."
Nick then proceeded in making a series of odd sounds with his mouth, attempting to simulate various car noises.
Jordan, still confused, gave the slightest of nods, "Ok, but we also have the data from the M.A.N.T.A.'s feed."
"Ok, sure, but that's just data", Nick nodded, then quickly waved his hand dismissing the thought. "What we really need, I mean in order to have the best feedback, is to have you experience the ride for yourself."
"To do what?", Jordan replied now thoroughly confused.
"To put you in the pilot's seat.", Nick said with a slight grin.
There was a pause as everyone in the room tried to process Nick's last statement.
"I know, I know, it's not on the mission docs.", he continued, "But in all honesty, you being down here wasn't on the mission docs either...yet here you are."
Jordan stared at Nick curiously as she folded her arms, while still casually leaning against the console.
"You want me to take the M.A.N.T.A. on it's weapons test?", she asked slowly, still unsure that she was putting his suggestion together correctly.
"Yes.", Nick smiled and nodded, "In order to get the most accurate feedback on the M.A.N.T.A."
"I mean, I'll be there too.", Nick quickly added. "In case things get harry."
YOU ARE READING
Deep Blue - The DescentScience Fiction
More people have visited the moon, than have found their way to the bottom of the ocean. Test piloting the military's latest top secret assault submarine, in the most inhospitable environment on the planet, a reckless test pilot teams up with a recl...