The Galactic Enterprise’s original design could hold more than 7000 people on paper. However, life support and life sciences with their laboratories and aeroponics gardens took up almost one whole level of the Habitat Section of the ship. Even then you could pack in nearly 6000 people in the big ship. Decker had cut that number in half to keep from taxing the ship’s systems and for the extra storage space that would be needed for the prolonged trip.
The educational staff, crew, Starfighters, and their families made up 618 people onboard the ship. The students that would make up the passengers for the trip numbered almost 2000 people; slightly more than half of the students were females. Decker had originally not intended on taking paying passengers but he had made the mistake of telling one of the people who had interviewed him that he would take anybody who could come up with ten million. Two hundred thirty-
Competition among the students around the world for a berth on the Galactic Enterprise was fierce. Testing quickly weeded out those who, for one reason or another, could not handle the trip psychologically or physically. Those with questionable backgrounds or references rarely even made it to the testing phase. Sharon was one of those who had such a background; a chance encounter with Decker changed her life.
She remembered coming out of the office trying to hold back the tears. She remembered her mother telling her, “They don’t take people like us.” Sharon remembered starting to cry on her mother’s shoulder. She never saw the man at the end of the hallway, but he saw her. Decker startled her when he took the papers she still held in her hand and began to read them. She remembered wiping the tears from her eyes as she asked the man what he thought he was doing. He just ignored her as he finished reading her application. Sharon remembered the twinkle in the eyes and the smile that spread across a normally stern looking face as the man took a business card from his pocket and wrote on the back. “Go back in and give this to the man at the desk,” he said before walking off. It only had two words written on the back, Take Her.
Sharon went back in the office and handed the business card to the man behind the desk that a moment before had crushed her dreams. “The man outside said to give this to you,” she said.
“Look, I already told you you don’t have any qualifying references,” he replied with a certain amount of irritation.
“Just read what the card says on the back,” Sharon begged.
The man flipped the business card over and then turned it back over and read the name on the front of the card. A moment later he pushed a stack of papers at Sharon and led her to a small empty room with instructions to try and fill out everything the best she could. That was months ago and now she looked at the plasma screen that showed a view of the Earth from a high orbit as she sat in a classroom on the Galactic Enterprise waiting for the welcoming orientation talk.
Decker looked over the newest group of students to arrive onboard the ship. His eyes caught the eye of one young girl and she smiled brightly. He smiled back as he remembered where he had met her. “Welcome to the Galactic Enterprise. My name is Decker and I am the captain of this oversized tin can,” he said. “I’m going to make this speech short and to the point. You are in space which means you are living in a vacuum. One stupid mistake and you can kill yourself and most likely anyone and everyone around you too. So think about every little thing you do here. Safety is the first and foremost concern. The ship is well built and there many safety devices and protocols and you will learn them and practice them in your sleep, but as safe as this ship is designed to be it cannot protect you from doing something stupid. So think about everything you do here. As it is some of you may not survive this trip.”
“That is about all I have to say,” Decker continued. “Section leaders and department heads will give you a more in-
“We are all going to be on this ship together for a very long time. I recommend that you take up a hobby or two while you are here; it will help take your mind off being stuck here. As large as this ship is and even though we are only taking about half the people that this ship can hold it will still start to seem small and cramped over time. Having a hobby will help you pass the time. Again welcome to the Galactic Enterprise. You are dismissed,” Decker said.
Sharon waited for everyone to leave before she approached Decker. “I wanted to thank you for giving me a chance,” she said.
“You got here all on your own. I didn’t do anything,” Decker replied.
“You helped me get past my past which was the lack of a past that would have counted for anything.”
“I suppose you’re right. A total work history of 6 month working part-
As Sharon walked off feeling a little better about herself, she suddenly realized he had remembered what was in her file after only reading it briefly months earlier. Decker smiled as the girl walked away. He never forgot a pair of pretty eyes which more than anything was the reason he had given her the help she needed, when she needed it the most.
Even though they had started the selection process nearly a year earlier, it still took an additional 3 months to finish selecting the candidates, then load them and the supplies needed for the trip onto the ship. The last shuttle the Galactic Enterprise would see for a very long time was docked with the Command Section waiting for orders that would send her back to Earth.
The speakers all across the ship hissed and crackled. “This is the Captain speaking,” they blared. “If anyone is having second thoughts about going on this trip please say so now. We have a shuttle standing by to return you to Earth. Once the shuttle leaves it will be several years before we get back this way again. So now is the time to change your mind about going on this trip if you are going to change your mind.”
Four hours later the shuttle detached from the ship with only the technicians scheduled to return to Earth. Years of blood, sweat, and tears had finally paid off. An hour after the shuttle cleared the ship the Galactic Enterprise fired the ion engines that would get the big ship moving before they fired the anti-
The Galactic Enterprise was not only the largest spacecraft ever built, with its anti-
Venus was first on the list of planets the Galactic Enterprise would visit. It almost took more time bringing the big ship up to speed and slow it down than the actual trip itself. In just over a week the Galactic Enterprise settled into orbit around Venus and launched a half dozen probes designed to penetrate the planet’s atmosphere and 2 orbital satellites to map the planet and relay the probes' data if necessary.
It took another week to reach Mercury and launch the landers that would roll across the surface of the planet taking samples. From Mercury the Galactic Enterprise raced around the Sun and headed out to a rendezvous with Mars a trip that would take about a month. The Galactic Enterprise operated flawlessly as it raced into history.
To view the Galactic Enterprise Personal Directory of the people who made the historic trip to all the planets in our solar system
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