Today is the big day. I’m getting naked and heating down the ducts to try and effect my fate.
It works like this. I’ve got the instructions and a 3D simulation of what I need to do to practice on this morning. Then, when I get down there, I’ll have a head camera and the computer will give me clear, un-vague, un-nuanced directions as to what do to using a small pack of materials, two tools, a sort of Allan key looking one, and a wrenchy one.
Based on the probes they estimate that I should aim to complete the whole thing, end to end, in less than five minutes. Ten is fine, but I might get much sicker. Fifteen to twenty and I might not be able to recover.
This is complicated by a few facts. Firstly, the duct I am going down bends, and is very narrow, so I cannot turn around in there. Secondly, the way the duct goes it lateral to the plan of the light gravity, but nearer the side, so as I get closer I will be slowly, gently, but inexorably, moved towards the broken panels by centrifugal force.
To counter this I am tying a rope off to a bulkhead and taking it down with me so I can brace myself on it by wrapping my foot around it, to stop myself getting moved forwards, and also so I can then pull myself backwards up and out of the duct.
As you can imagine, I am quite concerned about getting stuck in the tube. But for every problem there is of course a solution. I am lathering myself in butter before I go in, all over my torso and legs, to ease thing on the way out.
Okay, I’ve practised the movements and the procedure now a couple of dozen times, lying down with my head under a chair and I am pretty confident I’ve remembered what to do, even without the computer telling me.
Have told HQ I’m good to go and just waiting for the greenlight at which point my life is in my hands.
I’ve never really fixed anything before, broken plenty, fixed very little, saved my live never, endangered it a few times. Somehow, this is silly but, I’m sort of sad that I didn’t come up with the solution myself. But then, if memory serves the crew on Apollo 13 relied on their team back at base.
So to everyone at Sirius, thank you. I haven’t met you, you haven’t met me, you didn’t sign up for this, whilst I did, so whatever happens the responsibility is with me for putting myself in this position and me if I cannot fulfil the task to save myself, you’ve all been wonderful, or have at east seemed so from your terse and to the point messages.
I finish with a misquote from Charles Lamb. Nothing puzzles me more than space, yet nothing troubles me less. I never think about it.