Umbra Luna

Time to Suit Up

Vorox space suits, built on the Standard Template, had 223 field-removable parts.  Most of them were articulations for the multiple limbs and double-jointed torso.  Some few were connectors and relays.  The remainder were reinforcements and load-bearing adaptations.

A comparable humanoid space suit had 41 field-removable parts.  Most of the articulations very ably handled by a bodysuit built for four limbs and a typically flexible torso.

Harlan was no soft-clawed rookie.  Though he was low of rank, he'd dealt with the peculiars of space travel, and combat, almost since he could stand on all sixes.

He dumped out the contents of his big, well-worn spacer's duffel into his g-hammock.  The parts of each suit assembly were separate, contained in colored nyloprene mesh bags.

He picked up the orange mesh bag.  It was still tied with a double-bow knot – his mnemonic that he had inspected all the parts.  Untying it, he pulled out the parts of his midleft glove.  Each had one orange spot of paint near where it attached to something.  A few of the parts had two spots, showing that they were wearing out but servicable.

The midleft glove went together quickly, passing inspection, needing only a few drops of slick – from the white mesh bag of tools and lube – to be just right.  He put the glove back into the orange mesh bag, for now, untied but magna-clipping the bag to the bulkhead – assembled and ready to go.

Harlan quickly got into the swing of his routine: more untied, colorful bags magna-clipped to the bulkhead; ready time checked against the ship's mission timer and alarm set; hit the refresher after all the limb pieces were assembled and before inspecting the bodysuit segments.

At five minutes to suit-up time, he bagged all his loose possessions, mementos, and money in his g-hammock, tied around with straps left and right of the bundle to keep it from spilling.

Four minutes: stretch, blow nose, stretch again.

Three minutes: strip from his downtime tunic and Bermudas; clean underwear.

Until alarm: stretch and review.

Harlan tapped the button on his communicator, stopping the alarm on the first beep.  It was a needless habit, but a harmless superstition for good luck.  Fifteen minutes remained until he expected himself to be ready for anything.

Bodysuit went on, segment by segment.  Inner seals set, smoothed, checked.  Secondary and final seals each in turn.  Fraal tape over the seal below his left ass cheek, where the final seal was buckled from wear.

Ten minutes:  Limb segments went on, working outward from the body and upward from lower limbs.  Each one pressure checked.

Five minutes:  Torso reinforcements and adapters went on, locking down the limb segments and engaging power.  Plates, pouches, webbing all hung in place.  Helmet at standby.  Check-lights all green.

Ready time:  Harlan carabiner-clipped his big duffel, filled with empty mesh bags and his suit repair kits, to the wall alongside his hammock.

Harlan stepped out of his cabin, exactly on time for deceleration on approach to Aldebaran XI.


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