Alissa Robertson was in her space-shuttle, nervously piloting her ship to the moon. Her hands were sweaty, and she was wondering if she could make the three day trip. She would have co-pilots, of course, managing from the ground when taking her naps, but she was always wondering what would happen if she would suddenly fall asleep or faint.
Alissa communicated with the people, occasionally just asking if she was on the right track. Her ship was meticulously planned to meet the moon at just the right time.
She concentrated on remembering her training. It was hard, because there were so many switches and levers she could press. One wrong move, and her oxygen levels would drop or the emergency abort system would be activated.
Alissa knew the dangers of flying. She also knew it was a low chance of her making it back. But she took the chance. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. It was her dream.
So far, it was smooth sailing. No bumps or obstacles yet. But, she knew no space ship had ever gone to the moon and back without problems. Something wrong was sure to happen.
Alissa also knew that her parents and other friends were watching her on television. In tiny corners of her spaceship, there were cameras. The television channels were occasionally switching angles, seeing all what Alissa was doing.
She knew they were watching her, but she ignored it. She stopped her brain from thinking about all the pressure that was on her.
“Hey guys. Everything okay?” Alissa asked into her microphone headset.
“Everything’s fine, Alissa!” The person on the other end answered. “I think every⎯”
The lights suddenly went out. There was no noise.
“Hello?” Alissa asked. “Is anybody there?”
Static. No answer.
Alissa stopped her brain from having a panic attack. Keep calm. She thought. You got this.
Her spaceship was still running, because it was run on gas. Her power, however, was blocked or disconnected.
Deep breaths. Deep breaths. You got this.
She could still pilot the ship on her own; she wouldn’t be able to communicate with the people on earth. She would have to do it all by herself with absolutely no help from earth.
I can do this.
She also knew that it would be hard to pilot in the dark. She had all the levers memorized, but it was still complicated.
You trained for this.
First, Alissa made sure the power was really and truly cut. She made sure it wasn’t a problem that she had made for herself.
Nothing. It was all an antenna issue, or some weird connection.
She made sure nothing else was wrong with the ship; checking the fuel levels, and looking at the engine. There weren’t any problems.
Now, she checked her course. She was right on track, heading straight for the moon. No obstacles were blocking her way.
Now, she needed to adjust the liquid hydrogen levels, as the atmosphere was getting thinner and thinner. She pushed the right levers, and made sure it was at the correct level.
Okay. That’s done.
The rest of the trip should be smooth, unless something else comes up. Hopefully nothing else happens.
Alissa had a habit of talking to herself, so she started to do it now.
“Let’s see, the liquid hydrogen levels are set. Nothing else is in the way now, I think.”
Suddenly, she heard something else in her headset.
“Alissa!” The person on the other side exclaimed. “We are trying to get you connected to us again! Somethings wrong with the ship! Abort now! I repeat, abo⎯”
Alissa gasped. What was wrong with the ship? All of her levels were normal, at least, from what she could tell. She checked and rechecked. Nothing was amiss.
What should I do? Abort?
No. She had worked too hard on this mission to abort. She couldn’t just leave. Walk off. Do nothing about it.
She checked all the levels on her screen. Everything looked normal.
What should I do?
Her hand floated near the abort button, but she quickly snatched it back.
No. NO. You got this.
“I got this.” She said, talking to herself. “Just remember your training.”
She took a deep breath, then focused on getting to the moon. She adjusted the ship, because it was veering off course.
She looked at the levels on her screen again.
Her oxygen level needle was stuck in the same position as it was a few minutes earlier when she checked it. It should have risen or fallen.
She checked her heart pulse. It was beating slightly faster than normal.
Alissa realized her head kind-of hurt.
Uh oh. People can die from lack of oxygen. Alissa thought.
But wait. If I could find out the problem, maybe it will adjust back to normal.
Alissa decided on that thought. She would try to fix it.
First, she tried to remember when her head started hurting. How much time until she passed out? She couldn’t recollect when.
Then, she tried to adjust the oxygen level. No luck. The needle stayed exactly where it was.
She sighed. She would have to leave her seat, and go back to where the oxygen tank was. It was not that far, but she would have to be careful not to disconnect any major wires. Also, she had to do it in the dark.
She got up, took off her headset, and slowly walked toward toward the door. She opened the door that said:
DANGER! DO NOT OPEN UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
Well, I guess it’s absolutely necessary.
She opened the door and saw all the wires and stuff that she had to get through. Her eyes had adjusted to the faint light around the tanks.
You can do this.
She got to the tank and carefully fiddled around with it. She made sure all the wires were connected. They were.
She looked around the tank and checked to see if anything was blocking the tank. Nothing. There was absolutely nothing wrong!
Alissa cursed under her breath. What was she missing?
She looked at the front of the tank. The tank had a needle that showed how much oxygen was in the tank. Alissa gasped.
The tank was empty.