08/04/22 Snippet, TOUR OF DUTY.

I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about here.


January 24

So, hyperspace is different.

They made a deal out of engaging the skip drive. All of us first-timers got called to the main front cargo hold, and they lined us all up. We were given white smocks to put over our shipsuits, and these dried-seaweed circlets to wear. Real seaweed, too, from the hydroponics lab. The circlets smelled nice, though. Sort of like chocolate, or maybe coffee.

The captain — she was dressed up like the old god Neptune, complete with toga, plastic trident, and beard — then gave us this deep-fried fish sandwich thing to eat. I asked later: the fish was also from the lab, but the barley and flax came from Earth. Well, from the Lunar farms. It was tasty enough that I wanted another, but they only had enough for one each.

After that, there was a bunch of slapstick and corny jokes. I looked this all up ahead of time: back in the old days, any country that went to sea would have these rituals for crossing Earth’s Equator, because that’s how you knew you were a real sailor. These days, the big dividing point is hyperspace travel. I guess humans need rituals.