A sharp buzzing sound wakes me up in a painful instant after it starts. I finally arrive at the Solgen plant, while I was still asleep no less. I didn’t properly time my wake and sleep schedule. I ended up doing a marathon session of planning and equipment preparation that lasted a good 22 hours minus a few naps, leaving me only around 6 hours for deep sleep. The view, out the floor windows, is fantastic in so many ways. A massive pitch black tether takes up every inch of all windows. The view out the top is just the same, but with solid metal bulkhead covered in pure white paint. The tether transport has no form of artificial gravity, so I can easily unlock my bed harness and float to the primary exit on the ceiling. In short order, the door opens and I’m quickly greeted.
A fair skinned woman pops her head past the door frame lock and shoots me the biggest smile I’ve seen in a long time. She manages to make it through the entrance giving me a full view. The woman is suited up in standard Solgen station attire that consists of a moderately form fitting full body jumpsuit of a somewhat flashy orange color. It is covered in informational patches and an identification badge Velcro-ed to the left breast pocket.
Her black hair has a very slight blue sheen to it and probably around shoulder length, but it is tied in a bun for the sake of practicality. Her facial features and skin tone are a duet mixture of what people historically looked like in Earth’s western and eastern continents circa 2000 AD or there about. The places as far as I can recall from my ancient history studies had names like Norway, Sweden, Korea, and Japan.
Given the speed and ease of global transport, most people these days have a fully conglomerated appearance. Usually neutral light brown skin tone with averaged out bone structure, brown hair, and dark brown eyes. I am not too far off of that mark, but different enough to draw in citizen consumers with my appealing combination of strong traits.
Leena, on the other hand, has a set of features suggesting that her ancestors didn’t mix as much as most people have by now. Her body structure is decidedly thin with a little bit of curvature here and there. Her thin look is partly due to being stationed here where artificial gravity isn’t as strong as Earth’s natural gravity. Direct sunlight can only be had through what are mostly small radiation filtering windows, which exasperates the lack of any tanning. It’s difficult to tell just how tall she is as I’m floating toward the door with my gear in both hands and trying my best not get stuck mid-flight.
“Sky, I presume! I’m Leena Hayashi. I’ve seen some of your work, but it’s nice to meet you in person. We are looking forward to having a citizen producer check out our fantastic facility. There’s a ton of construction happening right now, but most systems are still running at full capacity. You should have your documentary work cut out for you.”
“Hello Leena, I am indeed Sky Smith. It’s nice to meet you. Before I forget, the transport escort named Dunkan suggested we have a beer on the surface once my work here is done. It sounded like a good idea!”
“Oh, that would be fantastic. Seeing as Dunkan approves of you, I’m sure we will have a great time working together. That puts me at ease. I have some free time built up just for opportunities like this. Being on the station always keeps me in work mode. We Government workers don’t exactly have as much freedom as you guys. Well, some more than others… but I digress.”
“Haha, I’ll take your word for that, Leena.”
She does a reverse barrel roll and uses her left hand to gain forward momentum back through the doorway. Quite gracefully I might add. I, on the other hand, end up using my head to cancel out forward momentum. I haven’t figured out how to switch up my body’s orientation mid-flight, and not to mention this equipment is tying up my hands.
A soft thunk reverberates throughout the wall panel.
Leena looks back and shoots me another big smile: “Think of it as an initiation ritual of sorts. You’ll most likely get use to it, eventually. Most of the station is under artificial gravity, so you will be good either way. Though, some people never master it…”
We enter a large empty square box of a room. There is just enough gravity on this side of the room that normal two legged locomotion is possible. The details on artificial gravity are still a bit shrouded in mystery for citizens, even with our supposed information access rights. It doesn’t use classic station ring rotation to generate a downward force. That, I at least know for certain due to the station’s diamond shape and lack of spin. It’s pretty dark in here with only a few red lights giving me a general idea of the room’s features. A computerized voice disturbs the silence: “All individuals must be screened for contaminants, please relax and breath as normal. This process will take 2 minutes and 30 seconds.”
A slight buzzing noise fills the room and the light panels around the entire room flash multiple times in a methodical sequence. This is what equates to a sterilization chamber that collects, analyzes, and destroys anything that could be harmful to the station residents. I pull out my small camera again to record a few short video clips. There really is no discernible sensation besides the sound and lights. Literally no smell to be had, to the point that I feel like my nose no longer exists had I not felt air rushing in and out of my nostrils. It’s a nice display of current technology that keeps workers on the station safe. It’s certainly something to show off to my citizen consumers.
From my initial research, the process for lesser known guests is quite different. Normally, the representative would be in the next room waiting until the contamination process has finished. Had something seriously dangerous been found like explosives or an engineered virus, it’s wholly possible the individual would have been offered up to the coldness of empty space, but I’ve never heard of that actually happening.
The process completes and an extremely thick hatch opens on the furthest parallel wall from the tether hatch. I leave all of my gear in the room as per standard procedure. Leena gives me a quick nod and we walk through to the next room. The little hop to my step from lower gravity is an enthusiastic state of mind for what will come next. Not many citizens are allowed to see such things that are so vital to our daily lives. From power comes all things necessary to facilitate life. The people that control the production of it literally stay in power of the Solar System.