A Heck Of A long Journey! by John Cave

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SUMMARY: One man's nightmare stay onboard a Space lift trip!

A Heck Of A long Journey!
John Cave.

"Are you quite sure that you want to do this Dan, it's one heck of a journey!"

"Paul Rogers, you old cynic!" replied Dan Brown "you are the chief research and development engineer on the Space Elevator project and you are still having second thoughts at this stage?"
Dan placed his right hand on the engineer's shoulder.
"Look my old friend, this journey is a one off trip. Once my journey to the top platform is complete, the only objects making the trip will be automated CEVs and cargo units."

"I understand all that. I designed the ribbons that the unit will travel don't forget that!" Paul barked back angrily "but you are going to be alone in that travel pod for an six day journey from the base platform to the top platform. The carbon-carbon fibres within the ribbon will withstand the pressure of the assent of the pod, and the GPS system has shown that the top platform has not moved more than 7.5 centimetres in relation to the base platform in the year since it's construction. The fibres are designed to take any strain and twisting resultant from this slight movement, the same is true of the back-up ribbon. The computer that controls the rate of speed of the journey has three back-ups as well as a full redundant system in case of full system failure. I have complete confidence in all my systems and their back-ups, it's just that you are my friend and this is still a journey that has never been made before."

"Are you trying to scare me or put me off going completely?" Dan replied and couldn't help chuckling to himself, "I trust you and the rest of the boffins in charge, it's about time you started trusting your own abilities don't you think?"

"I guess you're right. Let's go Dan, they'll be waiting for us at the base camp." Paul replied.

Both men rose from their seats in the canteen and made their way to the exit. The exit led to a small courtyard, which both men started to cross together. They got half way across the courtyard and were on the way to a large grey square building of five storeys in height. Beyond the building, on it's far side, rose the ribbons of the space elevator. Both men stopped in unison and looked up the ribbons.

"You can never get used to the sheer size of the thing, can you?" Dan said out loud.

Paul just smiled and they continued the walk. The two men entered the building together and walked down the long corridor that led to the control room. Inside the control room there were four rows of computer booths, and to the front was a large view screen showing the base of the ribbon with the pod ready to take Dan all the way to the top platform. The whole layout of the control room always reminded everyone who seen it, of the way the NASA control rooms were set out.

"Are you ready for the little 22,380 mile journey in the cradle Dan?" asked Dave Bukowski.

Dave was the Space Elevator mission director and despite his untidy appearance and clumsy nature, was a most brilliant scientist.

"Yep!" Dan replied "I can't wait to get started.

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