Z minus four minutes:
Well, I’ll try, sister. I’ll try hard.
Last parts are mounted, the couch from the cutter – right through the forward viewport – and the spare PLSS pack. Software tests clean. The script is ready to shut me down on Gutpunch‘s servers and reboot me on the substrate’s temp space when I give the word. The gyros are spinning up to threshold. It should be time to hit the black.
What have I forgotten?
What have I forgotten? I know –
Shit and ash, I almost forgot a spotter!
Z minus one minute:
Lucky there was one in the DC locker. Anyway. Air’s very tight, so cut her free and make the life support switch first. Aft tether, aft tether, fore tether, fore tether. Good, floating free. Now —
Enter unlock code into the PLSS.
PLSS<-Safety instruction one-four-eleven-niner-six-two. Lock motion enable.
Hyperventilate. One deep breath. Two deep breaths. Three deep breaths, and hold it.
Rotate safety check valve to closed.
Unfasten security turnbuckles, left and right.
Depress eject switch. PLSS will float free and alarm will sound, much appreciated, yes, I know, shut up!
Have assistant place replacement PLSS in position – or, in this case, back up, press shoulder-blades against the interface panel that’s part of the acceleration couch and wait for connectors and latches to engage —
— to engage —
Move forward, move back, and try it again.
Oh, hell. No panicking, now, Isif, work the problem. Pull free and check the connectors.
Feed line, looks clear. Return line, looks clear. Data connector – shit, that pin’s bent. Tools — no time. Will a finger fit? No. The taste of carbonic acid on my tongue. Unclip — the tiedown rings. Okay. The end of the spotter will fit. Find the leverage. Looks eyeball-straight now. Good enough? Have to be.
Rotate back. Press against the panel again.
Gods, that was too close. Connectors show blue. Fasten security turnbuckles.
Rotate safety check valve to open.
PLSS<-Safety instruction eleven-one-three-eight-seven-four. Lock motion disable.
They’re right. Sometimes canned air can be worth tasting. One breath, self, that’s all the reflection you have time for. Bring your mind over here.
Packing for mindcast commencing. Personality execution terminated.