Europa – Chapter Two.

Things went quietly those next few days. I was still pondering what he meant about the  “The reactor speaks to us all.” .

Then the dreams began. All about my paranoia over what he has said. Dreams of overload and melt to the bottom, or lack of and we freeze to death slowly crushed in the ever moving ice.

However I should tell you more about this “ship” we are on, first. You must understand this is not like your normal submarine. No, think more like a giant 5000 passenger cruise ship, but only like a submarine. (I know)  We use the heated hull and other tricks to stay in that sweet spot under the ice, safe from radiation, impacts etc. At our normal depths we tend to stay only about 100 M under the ice for communication purposes and less strain on the hull. Only the captain knows just how deep she can go, given the low gravity. Crush depth and all, less gravity, etc = you can go *really* down. This comes with a small problem. The closer you get to the center of any large  planetoid, well it can get hot. Its even hotter as some gas giant slowly tidally, pulls and squeezes you. We all train for a dive, also gives the passengers a fun ride for a few hours. (We only travel a few KM per europa day).

Things had been normal in the reactor room these last few days. All the guys were calm, we were working as a team. No fights, card games. Business as usual. Eventually my dreams of the reactor went away and I dream of the ocean knowing that I was really sailing the sea of ice. Millions of Miles from EARTH! The claustrophobia is kept at bay with standard crew meds. Also our quarters are small but comfortable. 360′ projected walls and full on sound effects? Yea, when I want to take a time out, its not a bad spot. Games? VR? Awesome perk! I like to change it all to a quiet simple jungle theme, just trees and birds and…  Well, everyone has their theme background, don’t they?

Then the big email came. Captain has informed us we need to surface. Now, this is a big operation for us. Well, Not a real Big Deal. But it can be dangerous. Apparently, there was a tourist ship launched about 2 weeks behind my tech load. (techs are always last to know)  No problem, melt up, off/on load the lander and go back down. Smooth Sailing.

That’s when I felt it. All five of us techs got tougher and made the standard “plan”.  We began to melt our way to the surface.  Broken into two man teams making sure the hull was hot. My job? Watch the reactor! Now consider that this is a menial job. The reactor makes the hot water, its fully A.I computer controlled. You don’t even have to turn valves! It beeps, you hit the button, monkey. At this point I should remind you all that we are not the only techs, this is a story about my tour and the 4 others. We worked in close groups, specific to a section.  There are other tech teams on the ship. I have not heard much from them, much less have met them, so I do intend on finding out during the next few days/weeks if they hear it too.

Nonetheless, The guests were happy, the ascent is going  smoothly, everyone is having a nice time. I knew the other boys on hull duty were probably off shagging or smoking or whatever they do hiding in the bilge… Most importantly of all, the captain was all happy with the smooth sailing. Kinda like a holiday when we surface to receive a a transport. Lots of the long term people have been awaiting their cargo for over a year..

So yea, it’s party time.. But I have a responsibility. Everyone needs a bartender. I don’t serve drink like topside. No, my job is to keep her core running and hot and make sure the water flows. And, And, And… No one notices who keeps the lights on. They just want a drink and fancy food.

So after all the radio checks, everyone was in party mode, over the next few hours, it was a rotation of crew seeking the privacy of the lower decks, so to speak.  I thought, why not? So I left the reactor to its own “software”, and went down to the bilge galley for a snack. Every ship makes it own sound. As I poured my coffee, I could see the slight tilt showing ascension to the surface, and listened to the small groans it made as we worked up toward the surface. Nice and simple up 2 degree bubble and all. Hull was normal sounding, and with noise cancellation topside, they don’t hear that hull adjust itself.  Wouldn’t want our guest to spill their drinks, right? All was good, for the moment…

That’s when I ran into Danny.

 

Europa – Chapter One.

Its time to go to Europa..

I was considering what it would be like to live on a ice moon. Far different from Mars i would assume. There would be no lava tubes, only constantly moving ice that a base would always have to adjust to. What kind of design would accommodate that? A floating base?  Perhaps one with a nuclear warmth that keeps the exterior heated as it slowly drifts and melts it way through the ice. Every now and then, we extend the legs and slowly push the base back to the surface. It is important to maintain a certain depth in the ice way out here however. Too deep and the moon will eat us, too shallow and the radiation will boil us alive.

EUROPA – CHAPTER ONE

You also have to consider Europa is a ‘Shepard’ moon.   What does that mean? It means that it orbits the giant planet and takes hits from giant rocks due to its massive gravity that sucks in rocks and heats this moon through tidal heating.  This brings me back to the situation at hand.

This outpost, similar to the one on Enceladus, is like a submarine. You see, there is a fine line between going too deep and being eaten by the the ice, yet  hovering in that sweet spot where we are protected from random impacts.

This is where the reactor and my job is all important.

My name doesn’t matter, I’m just a tech you never see. You never realize I balance that entire floating base. Did you realize once you land and take that elevator all you see is corporate beauty? Low gravity and all…what they don’t tell you is that you are 1500 meters under the ice pack. That shake you feel once a day? That’s me. Adjusting the entire flexible platform, extending the legs and retracting and slowing melting our way back up as the ice slowly encapsulates us. But hell yea, I love this job. Why? you ask.. It’s thankless and noone will know who does it..

But that is my job…to be unseen. Noone cares how it works, just as long as everyone is all smiles. The base is not smashed to bits and you did not sink into the broiling depths of this moon.  Its a thankless job but somehow I do seem to take pride in it.

I run the reactor, but I can not say I do it all alone. Oh no, credit must be given where it is due. You see, there are five of us. We are a team.

I asked them if they wanted to be accredited, but it was a resounding NO! I didn’t understand first till it was explained. I was quite strange to me they didn’t want the credit for such a monumental responsibility.

In vino veritas.  It took a few beers to get the answer, deep down on F deck, one day (or night – night and day looses it’s meaning out here…) But I knew why I was here, pride. I thought all of ‘us’ engineers were here for the same reason, turns out – they just wanted to escape to the remotest place available. The moon sucks etc, they all had reasons, I was told. However the end story was just them creating a prison to escape a hell..

So, OK I was cool with that. Each to his own and all, so to speak.  I knew not to press the issue but I was left with a unrelenting desire to know more. I only had 5 more years before the orbital transfer to slingshot back to the moon…then earth.

However…

Something called to me. Maybe it was the reactor, maybe it was all the lives and property I was responsible for, I don’t know. But when i felt it, well, I FELT it. I could not leave this moon. As I tried to sleep that night, my head wandering full of thoughts – I had to ask myself over and over – WHY? Why do they not want to return home? More shockingly, Why did I suddenly desire to remain in this icy tomb with only the reactor calling my name in my dreams? I spoke it to my only true friend..

He only smiled and said “The reactor speaks to us all.” before he calmly walked away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Europa!

Welcome to the Fly-To-Europa portal. Here you will enjoy many of our fine packages within your budget that will get you to and from the moon to anywhere else in the solar system! Please be sure you use our travel tools to help you determine costs and flight times for other planetary destinations. Please click an advertisement because, well space *is* expensive and we aim to keep travel costs to the low billion dollars.

Currently we are offering discounts for transfer windows. Last minute reservations will depend on  availability of space and your requested travel package. (Depends on how many monkeys we got stuffed in the cargo bay.)

Available packages :

1’st class :  Full service pre-flight prep by one of our many highly educated talented technicians who will explain everything in as much (or little) detail as you require. Once securely in your private cabin you will find a full range of comforts such as :

  • Quantum Internet – No more 2 second ping times! Frag all your friends from millions of miles away! This also includes full entertainment package of your choosing, full communications so you can still work from millions of miles away. (Hope your job pays well..)
  • Also included is a full supply of whatever space food you enjoyed in our 5 star cafe overlooking beautiful Cape Canaveral during your pre-flight preparations. This will be your in-flight meals. Upon reaching your destination, Marvel at our 5 star resorts! We also offer full fun parks, day care, medical needs,  resturants and much more! We also are host to theaters showing everything from hard rock bands to the latest blockbusters from Hollywood to the latest YouTube celebrity of the week! And the end of your day, you will relax in your super soft genuine low-g bed stuffed with the feathers from a flock of cloned DoDo birds. In the interests of our biospheres, you can also find several mouth watering DoDo dishes in all our menus! (I’m partial to the spicy buffalo DoDo myself).
  • You are also allowed up to 1/2 metric ton of cargo space with the option to have more sent to/from should you decide to extend your stay. For a small fee of course.

2’nd class :  Want to Fly-To but your on a budget? Worry no more! Our ‘steerage’ package will get you onboard!

  •  Upon arrival for your morning pre-flight you can stock up on beef jerky and sandwiches you can find in one of our many Fly-To-Vendo machines.
  • You and other travelers will be educated in many things during the standard pre-flight briefing. No worries, our janitor – Sparky (noone remembers his real name after all these years..it just sorta took) will educate the group on all the functions of your suit. Fear not, he is highly educated in our tech, because “I done this ‘fore, it aint my first bbq”.
  •  Your accommodations consist of a fine padded 6’x6′ stored in the cargo bay. Your space Lazy Boy ™ that also  folds into a launch chair, a bed, or a couch. Your cargo is, well, whatever you can stuff in there with yourself.
  • Travel throughout the ship is restricted to cargo bay, so you may roam and meet other travelers and livestock but not the command module or 1st class areas.
  • Internet is available through standard radio based 512KB link. Video is limited to standard def 4:3 television. You have 10 hours per Diem, overages will result in additional charges.
  • Upon landing,  You will depart cargo and head to your new 12’x12′ cabin. Unlimited internet with cable speeds, ping times are will be measured in light speed. You may upgrade to Quantum Internet for the price of your arm or leg.
  • Package does not include viewing areas however, your entertainment package does include a feed from the surface, among others you can explore in virtual reality. Package only includes the current planet you are on. You can buy one of our many additional entertainment packages for a nominal free per channel.

Well that’s the gist of it folks! Check with one of our fine booking agents who will be happy to answer any questions you have. So come try out one of our travel packages and see space yourself!

  • payment must be rendered in full before lift off.
  • You must also sign a waiver absolving Fly-To-Europa and the Fly-To corporation should you experience starvation, loss of atmosphere, catastrophic fuel detonation,  ‘space willies’ (sanity clause),  unsolved cargo hold crimes (it has happened), alien parasites, alien abduction, loss of navigation resulting in crash landing, system failure at any time of any system. Basically, you are on your own, we only ship yer butt. Don’t worry though, space travel is still safer then 3/4 of the Earths landmass. Nothing is guaranteed in life. Our motto is “We should be able to get you there alive! Mostly…9/10 is good odds the engineers tell us legal people.”