The First Captain
It was a gray, cold, wet day when he got the news. The job of captain of the Galactic Enterprise was his if he wanted it. Decker leaned back in his chair and looked out the large round window in his office in thought.
There were a lot of reasons for going and just as many for staying. The Galactic Enterprise was his design from the very beginning. Modular Concepts a division of his company worked out the actual engineering and Decker financed more than fifty percent of the project from his company’s profits and public support. When the Russians signed on to the project, NASA reluctantly joined the project too. A chance to get into space was hard to pass up.
However, the risks and the dangers imposed by space were the least of Decker’s worries. His company, while popular with the people, had many enemies in both the political and corporate worlds. A trip to all the planets in the solar system would take years, and it would be impossible to return to deal with challenges his company might face. Just last year he had to deal with a lawsuit that tried to prevent him from putting the plans for his Food Synthesizer on the internet for anyone to use. A machine, with a few base ingredients, which could produce simple meals with the touch of a button was priceless. Companies that had bought the rights claimed that it would devalue their product and reduce sales. Decker had won that battle, but it had made him more than a few enemies in the corporate world.
Still, he could not pass on the adventure of a lifetime. His life was filled with adventures, some he planned and some he didn’t. But, it was those adventures that shaped him and made him the person he was both the good and the bad. He never blamed others for his choices in life; he just accepted what life threw at him. Decker just smiled as he took one last look at the world around him before boarding the shuttle that would take him up to the Galactic Enterprise.
He woke up in the night in a cold sweat with a desire he could never quite satisfy. Decker sat on the edge of his bed. He caught his reflection in the glass window. His past called to him hauntingly, but it wasn't his past. Here, he was a starship captain. The other one was a prisoner of his past. One day Decker knew he would have to face his past as well as his future.
It was a dark past of begging for food and stealing from local supermarkets to survive. What one had to do for twenty bucks. No, Decker would never go back to that life. He'd rather sail the stars alone than do that, but it was no small task ahead of him either. One tiny mistake by any one of the scientists, students, Starfighters, or crew members could doom them all. Decker counted himself as one of the crew members.
It was an impossible task. The first manned visitation to all the planets of the solar system and return to Earth. Decker always liked a challenge. I suppose that was why he sailed around the world in a solar-
Decker pushed off and floated around to get a better look at the planet beneath. How many starving people in the world looked up at those same stars and prayed for help, he wondered. Another reason why he had started the Company, a company who made saving the world their business. And, it all began because Decker spent a lot of time at sea with his computer as his best friend.
The Company was famous for its Seed Pods; containers filled with all the tools needed to rebuild small villages destroyed by natural disasters. It also invented technology to help fill medical and educational needs in the third world. What stunned the world was the food synthesizer, it produced both precooked meals and water. Large solid cylinders of a protein and vegetable base were loaded into the machine along with several base flavors. Water was taken from the moisture in the air. It could feed and provide water for ten families for a week (2 meals/day/person) before needing another protein cylinder and flavor packs. It was that kind of technology that made the Galactic Enterprise possible.
It would take a few years just to make the trip, not counting another year needed only to finish building the Galactic Enterprise. This was a good experience for what Decker had in mind for a retirement plan.
We are terribly sorry. We are no longer accepting applications for the Galactic Enterprise’s journey to all the planets in our solar system due in part to the tremendous volume of applicants. But, you can still follow our journey through our abridged version of our Log Book.
We left out all the boring daily system statistics (though still available), and we have taken some artistic liberties for clarity’s sake. While we focus mostly on events that affect the ship in general; we also have excerpts from other sources including personal logs, new visitor orientations, system reports, etc.
If you have put in an application and have not heard back from us by now; short of a miracle, you probably have not been chosen from the thousands of applications we have received already. However, you can still follow our journey through our Log Book. The only thing you’ll get to miss is the dangers those of us who make the journey must face.