Rahil spoke without looking up, “Everything checks out. Dr. Hunter’s ship should be docking in approximately seven minutes.” She looked up, giving Carmella a worried look. “The last transmission I got said he wanted to start initiation sequence for O.R.I.O.N. as soon as his ship is within five minutes of docking.”
Carmella seemed completely unruffled. “So, what’s the problem?”
Rahil’s dark eyes glistened. “I’d feel more comfortable if he was on board the station when we turned the machine one. In case any problems occurred during initiation.”
Carmella gave back a good-natured smile. “Ultimately, Hunter is the boss. It’s his project, his baby, right?”
Rahil seemed doubtful. “Yes…”
Carmella allowed a tiny frown to form between her perfect brow. “Don’t you feel confident, Mikush?”
Rahil shifted uncomfortably in her chair. “Like you said, it’s Dr. Hunter’s baby. But, this is a machine that he knows best. And what we are about to do, is something no one has attempted before.”
Carmella’s gaze swept toward the flashing blip on the scope. Her expression seemed unreadable, at least to Andre. “Whatever happens, we will handle it as a team. No one here is going it alone, Mikush, don’t forget that.” She turned to give Rahil a stern matronly look. “I believe you worry too much, Rahil. You’ll get an ulcer that way. Besides, it just entails flipping a switch, on your part, am I right?”
Forcing a smile, Rahil gave Carmella a quick nod of her head. “You’re right. It’s just that easy.” But as Rahil turned back to face the scope, Andre saw the worried expression flood her face once again.
Carmella smiled reassuringly as she waved her hand. “Well, carry on. I’ll be in my office if you need me.” Then she gave Rahil a searching look before reiterating. “Or would you rather I stayed?”
Rahil seemed to force confidence as she turned a bright smile toward Carmella. “Andre is returning any minute now. He’s in engineering, checking on the microprocessor.”
At the mention of his name, Andre felt a flutter in his stomach that made him smile. Carmella gave Rahil a crisp nod of authority, but stood for a moment longer as if to study the younger woman’s face. “I see… well, keep up the good work.”
Rahil chirped back, “Yes, Ma’am.”
Carmella turned and locked gazes with Andre who had yet to leave the doorway. From startled to a welcoming smile, Carmella’s face changed in a millisecond. “Good your back, Tourve. How was it with the processor?”
He answered while sliding past her into the control room. “Everything checks out.” For a second longer, he could feel the woman’s eyes on him as she paused in the corridor and then she turned and disappeared around a corner.
Andre walked up behind Rahil who leaned into her work. A frown of concentration furrowed her brow as she seemed to give her full attention to the radar scope. Dr. Hunter’s ship was still the only blip on the screen.
Copyright Ledia Runnels 2012
The image above found at “NASA-Chaos at the Heart of Orion” http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_693.html
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