A voice from the terminal sounds throughout the entire room: “It’s time to get up, you have an appointment with your liaison in one hour.” I quickly get up as if I were a cadaver that suddenly raises from an examination table, as seen in numerous ancient movies I often watch. She is coming here to pick me up, so an hour should be enough. Just about all I remember from last night was using the terminal to confirm that odd chap’s credibility and then starting to doze off. I must have somehow gotten into bed before totally conking out.
“Terminal Assistant, prepare the shower please and order me a light breakfast.”
“Affirmative, the shower is started and you should receive a standard light breakfast in 10 minutes delivered to your cabin delivery port. Just place your hand on the access panel to open it.”
Once that is all out of the way, I’m left with about 20 minutes. The food was decent and I’m now suited up in standard issue orange. Ready for the first day of content gathering.
“Terminal, display and start to read off my schedule.”
“Today, you will spend the entire day touring the station with your liaison. Starting tomorrow, you will have access to all station staff you desire for interviews based on their given schedules. There is no fixed schedule after that. Interviews will be postponed until you provide the necessary inputs.”
A buzz fills the room and Leena’s voice projects over the room’s intercom: “Sky, are you awake and ready? I’m standing outside your door.”
“Terminal Assistant, project voice… Yes, please come in, I’m ready for action. Terminal Assistant, open the door please.”
The door shifts open and I see Leena with a bright smile on her face.
“Did you have breakfast? It will be a while before we can get anything to eat. I wanted to make sure you had something before we start. The Eggs Benedict perhaps? I hear it’s one of the best menu items.” say Leena as her expression turns especially rascally.
“Nope, I didn’t try that. I just had some wonderful hashbrowns, cultured bacon, and juice. Is that a hint for our future reprocessed waste food challenge? I’ll be crossing that off of my list now. Ah-ha! It must be the hollandaise sauce…”
“Bingo! Sauces are one of the most obvious items to watch out for. Good, Good, let’s go. We have much to see. First off we will tour the solar subsystems area. After that will be going to the dual purpose secondary docking area that is often used for Earth viewing. It’s quite the sight. After that is done, we can take a quick lunch or move immediately to the primary fusion generator. That’s just the start… but let’s get going now. The walk to solar subsystems will take a while.”
I pick up a small pocket sized action camera that I can clip to my orange jumpsuit, as well as a full-sized camera that has powerful high-resolution capabilities. The larger camera I attach to a shoulder strap and put it on over my chest. This should be sufficient for the tour. We take the expedited transport walkway to get out of crew quarters. That takes us to the main common area that I had seen yesterday. It’s bustling with activity considering the station time is already well past 10:00.
We make our way through the crowds and give many quick greetings and nods along the way. Everyone I’ve seen so far seems to have a friendly air about them. I can’t say I remember ever seeing such enthusiasm in other Government facilities. My past experiences were at least a few notches toward the grim drudgery of what Government work often entails. There must be something about this station I’ll have to pry into before I can figure it out.
“Leena, tell me about human resources and how the station is managed on a day to day basis. Considering the station needs to be managed 24/7, how does that work out in practice?”
“There are multiple shifts of each given station task. Each worker doesn’t stay on one set schedule, but is placed into various schedules that change over a set time period. The AI computing system as well as some of the managers, or even the Government decides the schedule for each station-wide work cycle. They even decide how long each cycle is based on every given job. While it is complex, efficiency isn’t a problem. The workers that are stationed here long enough eventually form skills that span the entire station. They also enjoy the frequent change of pace. The feeling of being stuck on a space station can start to damage a person’s state of mind. Even though the station is large, this can sometimes be a problem for us. At any one time, the systems in place basically know who is working and who is asleep. All workers are required to have a minimum of 7 hours of actual sleeping time. Lack of sleep can lead to dangerous repercussions. We don’t want any of that. It is best that everyone stays in good physical and mental condition.”