Doesn’t it always?

The crew was around the dining table, if you could call it a table.  Really, it was just a plastic tray posted to the floor, raised about 3 feet, with foot straps surrounding it so the astronauts could anchor themselves around it and share a meal.  Psychologists and those that have resided on the ISS have touted how important this ritual is for humans.  This crew have so far kept to the ritual, though conversations of “How was your day” were not likely to occur.

But this was not dinner time.  This was meeting time.  Barnez had called the meeting.  She was the most “Military” of the group, having served in the Air Force for eight years before falling into this mission.  She was a career military, just like her mother and father, and was planning on staying that way, despite what was promised on their return.

One of the “classes” that must be taken in a game of OLBH is Soldier.  I altered it slightly to “Pilot” to justify why a military member would be on a ship that is meant only to attach a rocket to a rock.  True, it could be alien in origin and trouble might occur, but I wagered that would be downplayed for the people at home.

“Pendragon here has something he’d wish to bring up to the rest of us.”  Barnez was trying to remain professional, but it was hard for her to keep the resentment out of her voice.  Who needs the doubledome here making us break our routines?  Dexter didn’t seem to notice this, though he easily noticed Alison’s eyeroll.

Both Alison Haslip and Jessica Barnez have Dexter Pendragon as their “Crazy” person.  I rolled randomly for the other characters and they picked me!  I’m so honored.

“Thank you, Barnez-”

“Master Sergent Barnez, if you please.”

“Oh, um.  Okay.  Doctor Pendragon if you please.”  More eye rolls, though Barnez retains her professional smile.

“Go ahead Doctor”

This would have been a perfect time to play the Crazy card for Barnez, but it was so early I forgot to.  You’ll see what cards do when I actually play them like I know what I’m doing.

“So, um, I was looking at our route of travel, and we are well within the window for our flyby of Venus, flyby of Earth, flyby of Jupiter and ultimate rendevouz with the Orb.  In fact, in such short notice, I’m amazed at how accurate we seem to be-”

“But?”  Alison interrupts.

“Well, it doesn’t see to be the best route.  According to my calculations, if we were to fly closer to Venus by a few thousand kilometers and angle by a few hundreth of a degree when nearing Earth towards the porapsis, we could actually increase our time at the Orb by days, maybe even a week. ”

“You’re suggesting we alter the mission?  They would never allow us to do that.” Barnez snaps.

“And I wouldn’t allow it if I don’t see the numbers first.” Alison states, grabbing at her necklace and putting it back under her shirt, a gesture the other members have seen her do at least a thousand times before.

“Yes, Alison,” Barnez says softly, “but we know you’d have to check those numbers 20 times, just like you had to check the foodstuffs 20 times, and the cooling vents 20 times and you sleeping bag 20 times, we don’t have time for you to check everything over like that.  This is about disobeying orders, not about the Doctor’s calculations.”

Here Barnez plays Alison’s Secret card: “Crippling OCD.”  She just revealed to the crew that Barnez noticed Alison has been checking everything to a ridiculous degree, shutting her down from this situation.  Harsh.  But Barnez’s player earns two Story Points for doing it.  Given each player starts with 2 at the beginning of the game, that gives her 4 to play with.

“Shirley?  You’ve been awfully quiet.”

“Huh?  Oh, um.  Yeah, we should do it, we probably need all the help we can get once we get there to make sure we do it right.  We’re talking about the fate of the world here, let’s do what the Doctor here says.”

Barnez sighs, “So it looks like I’m against, Shirley is for, Pend-, Doctor Pendragon is for and Shirley is against.  I think because it’s breaking our mission plan we should send it back to Earth and-


The crew’s demeanor quickly changes from social awkwardness, to tense alertness as all the lights in the ship change from white to red.  Several of the LCD screen scattered throughout the ship begin to show the problem:  The heat shield on the ship is failing.  As the ship approaches Venus, things are heating up, but the shield is supposed to prevent any of that extra heat from damaging any thing inside the ship, like our hapless passengers.

“Everyone to the MIM!” Barnez shouts!

The MIM is the Maneuvering and Insertion Module, where the piloting of the main ship takes place.  It looks like Barnez has an idea, but will it be enough to deal with our first threat?  Stay tuned!

All OLBH games start with a Choice that the characters have to make.  At the end of ACT I you find out whether the choice you made was the right one or not.  Usually the choice is whether to stay with the planned mission or to deviate and go for the longshot that can really help with the mission.  Our group decided to stick to our plan, but will they need the extra time?  We shall see!

Things heat up.