The Aphelion Project Concordance
by William R. Warren, Jr. & N.J. Kailhofer(but mostly by William R. Warren, Jr.)
AFFIE(S) : A semi-insubordinate appellation the Aphelion 1
& 2 crews adopted at some point in the mission for themselves to
create a new classification for their unique job. As a matter of morale
and unity, they eventually dropped nationalistic appellations and
militaristic nomenclature ("Grunt", "Squid", "Limey", "Canuck", "Yank",
"Sailor", e.g.) in favor of a more "family-oriented" nickname, a
private club of the original 12 to which nobody else can claim
APHELION PROJECT: An ambitious, and possibly
politically-motivated, manned mission to Mars launched in 2035
involving twelve souls from many nations split into crews of six aboard
two similar "stacks." The Mission Profile consists of a six-month
outbound voyage, eighteen months of orbital and surface operations at
Mars, and an approximately six-month return trip. The timeline for the
Project includes the planning and preparation stages, which were
initiated in 2018, and terminates in 2043 with the debriefing period
and study of whatever artifacts or samples the crews return to Earth
with, if any.
APHELION ONE & TWO SPACECRAFT: each is an assembly of
interchangeable spacecraft modules which are deliberately redundant,
but not necessarily identical. Each stack consists of several
subassemblies, each of which is dedicated to a purpose for the mission,
as described below. Neither stack was designed to be "spun" so the
crews live in freefall for the duration of the voyages out and in.
LANDER: A large three-stage vehicle consisting of the descent/utility
(DU) module, an ascent booster, and a crew module capable of
accommodating six Affies and their mass in samples or, given a
worst-case scenario, all twelve of the mission crew should one of the
ascent stages prove to be incapable of achieving orbit from the surface
The DU modules carry different payloads -- one, for instance,
carries a heavy-duty manned Rover capable of moving modules or
equipment about on the surface of Mars and traveling for long duration
excursions, the other carries two lighter-weight Rovers which can
accomplish (in tandem) most of the functions of the Heavy Rover should
it be incapacitated or lost. In the best case, the Heavy and Light
Rovers will all survive to reach the surface, in which case three
long-distance excursion vehicles are available to the crew. Should they
lose the Heavy, there are two Rovers available that can jointly fulfill
its function. Should both Light Rovers be lost, the Heavy still affords
the utility vehicle and a reduced (but significant) exploration range.
Both carry a number of inflatable habitat modules to create living
space for the Affies on the surface, as well as redundant supplies,
tools, expendables and other cool stuff that will be intvented as the
series goes on.
HABITAT: A large inflatable living and working space -- but "large"
is a relative description, the stack is by no means "roomy". Each has a
solid hardware core running the length of the module from docking ports
at the fore and aft ends, and each has an airlock which would allow EVA
or rescue activities should they become necessary. In dire emergencies,
each Hab module is capable of serving as an oasis or lifeboat, albeit
without propulsion or maneuvering capability -- each has independent
life support and communications and emergency battery power and a
supply of consumables that include CO2 scrubbers (lithium hydroxide or
potassium superoxide), bottled 02, water, emergency rations, medical
kits, etc. There are probably "rescue balls" or similar emergency
spacesuits in each module, but probably not enough in each module for
the entire crew complement. These modules remain in orbit around Mars
and some, may return to Earth following the landing aspect of the
mission. It may be necessary for one or two of the Affies to remain
on-orbit with the two non-landing Hab stacks. (Think Michael Collins.)
CON or BRIDGE: This is the module depicted in the original
illustration. It is an inflatable module similar to the HAB modules
with a significant difference: it includes a main docking node and
large-format airlock on an axis perpendicular to the long axis of the
Stack on one side, and on the opposite side it hosts the Solar Power
Array and equipment for communications, astronomical observation and
navigation. There are astronomical or other scientific "hardpoints" on
the other Hab modules as well, but the Bridge/Command Center module is
unique in its configuration. This module remains in orbit around Mars
but is intended to return to Earth.
CRV/SERVICE MODULE: This is the last of the inhabitable spaces on
the Stack. It consists of a Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) that resembles
the Apollo or Constellation reentry vehicle, designed to survive entry
interface and capable of carrying twelve Affies or their equivalent in
samples, and a Service Module similar to those on Apollo or
Constellation. This module remains in orbit around Mars, but will
return to Earth.
PROPULSION MODULE: This unmanned stage will perform the Mars Orbital
Insertion burn and will (hopefully) restart to perform the Trans-Earth
Insertion burn. It is the equivalent of the Apollo S-IV-B and Service
Module combined, a disposable stage will insert the stacks into
Trans-Martian orbital transfer. The PM will brake the Stack into Mars
orbit and boost the Stack to return to Earth, it will not be utilized
until it reaches Mars.
APHELION ONE: Leading vessel of two manned expeditionary
spacecraft en route to the first manned mission to Mars (separated from
sister ship, on average, by nine light-seconds or 1.68 million miles)
-- Nicknamed "Bus" by Lt. Chang. Aphelion One will arrive at Mars one
week ahead of Two.
Curtis, Alexander, Captain (UK Royal Navy) -- Mission Commander
Smith, Harry "Doc", M.D., Major (US Marine Corps) -- Flight Surgeon
Wei, Chang, Lieutenant (Chinese People's Liberation Army) -- Co-pilot/Comm Officer
Zwelitini, Godlumathakathi "Gode", Sergeant, South African Army -- Chief Engineer
Jones, Penny (USA/NASA) – Botanist
Ivanova, Archana (Moldova/ESA) -- Geologist
APHELION TWO: Trailing vessel of two manned expeditionary
spacecraft en route to the first manned mission to Mars (separated from
sister ship, on average, by nine light-seconds or 1.68 million miles)
-- Nicknamed "Trailer" by Lt. Chang.
Macridin, Peter "Mac", Commander (Royal Canadian Navy) -- Ship Commander, Pilot
Dunsirn, Ophelia, Lt. Commander (U.S. Navy) -- Co-Pilot/Comm Officer
Jandrain, Chandra M.D., Lieutenant (Indian Army) – Physician
Macridin, Helga, Sergeant (German Army) -- Botanist (Spouse to ship commander)
Watanabe, Takuya, Airman 1C (Japanese Air Defense Force) -- Chief Engineer
Barnes, Sidney, (U.S.) -- Civilian Geologist
BARNES, SIDNEY: A2, U.S. Mission Specialist (Geology, Surface
Exploration) Nerdy and unsure of himself, but fancies himself a ladies
man. Does not get along with Helga. Longtime friend of Ophelia and
father of her child, he continued to have strong feelings for her.
Favors casual jeans (complete with holes) & tee shirt (frequently
dirty). Murdered on Day 95.
His spirit made an invisible appearance on Day 175 when the crew was
trapped in a radiation shelter. Wears round eyeglasses which, even in
zero gee, manage to slip "down" his nose. Not a fighter. Thinning
blonde hair, slight (almost gaunt) build. Wrote his doctoral thesis on
cancelling the effects of alcohol before it is absorbed by the
bloodstream. His birthday fell on Mission Day 175, which Ophelia
remembered, but he did not live to actually see it. However, he was there in spirit.
BATTERIES: A generic term for electrical storage equipment, these may include traditional batteries and capacitor-style units.
BLOG: Traditional "web logs", the Aphelion crew maintain or
contribute to blogs to share their adventures with a public we can only
assume are eagerly following the mission.
CCD: Charged Couple Device, these ultra-miniaturized cameras
are strategically spotted all over the interior and exterior of the
Aphelion spacecraft to provide visual coverage of activities to the
crew and the audience back on Earth.
CHANG WEI: A1, Lieutenant (Zhong), Chinese People's
Liberation Army - Space Command. Trained from birth to occupy a
position in the PLA. Co-pilot and Communications Officer. Described as
a quiet (but not shy) and dependable young officer, Wei has an uncanny
knowledge of everything happening on the ship at any given moment. He
has a slender body with close-cropped jet black hair and favors his
military D-7 desert-style fatigues, albeit in a color scheme suitable
to Mars. He is neat, orderly and efficient, and thinks in English as
well as Chinese (a fact that was instrumental in his selection to the
Aphelion mission). Skilled at the Japanese art of Origami. Birthday
fell on Mission Day 150.
CLIPS: Handy and ubiquitous for securing miscellaneous
objects conveniently, varied sizes. Velcro, magnetic, and double ended
CME: Coronal Mass Ejections -- massive storms of energetic
ionized particles blasted from the Sun from active sunspots. These
events force the crews of the Aphelion stacks to retreat to radiation
shelters after securing and covering sensitive electronic equipment
(particularly the communications platform and solar panels) with
protective charged metallic mesh shrouds.
CURTIS, ALEXANDER: A1, Mission Commander. Captain, British
Royal Navy. Married with two grown sons. Known as a no-nonsense spit
& polish traditionalist. Enjoys Bonsai and owns a mylar blanket
imprinted with the Union Jack. He wears his graying hair in a
military-style crew cut and remains clean-shaven during the outbound
trip, although he is considering allowing his moustache to grow out
again during the eighteen months of surface operations on Mars. His
clothing of choice is usually military-style uniform items, including a
favorite Mars-red beret. Insists that all personnel not actually on
duty assemble for meals together.
DEXTRAN: One of the medications administered to Ophelia Dunsirn when she was injured on Day 43.
DISH(ES) : Communications or radar antennas, generically.
DRONES: Unmanned vehicles in a variety of sizes to perform
numerous diverse functions, such as reconnaissance. A flying recon
drone awaits them on the surface, as do two large robotic roving
vehicles. Also, both stacks carry a large bag full of
billiard-ball-sized "Rover Balls".
DUNSIRN, OPHELIA: A2, Lieutenant Commander U.S.N..
Co-pilot (First Officer) and Communications officer, Ophelia is an
exotic brown-eyed beauty of Pakistani and African descent (her father
was black). On Mission Day 43, she was nearly killed by an explosion
while performing an EVA, which left the right side of her face scarred
and left her paralyzed from the neck down until Day 71. A graduate of
the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. While at the Academy, she gave
birth to a boy fathered by Sidney Barnes and gave the baby (named
Achmed after her grandfather) up for adoption to her sister and
brother-in-law. Ophelia was raised in the "Little Pakistan" section of
Brooklyn, NY. She harbors unhappy thoughts that her place in history
(the second in command of the second ship) will be insignificant and
largely forgotten. Favors navy blue camouflage uniform. Has combat
experience, having made kills in dogfights and dropping ordnance on
Islamabad, and is a deadly hand-to-hand combatant. May have harbored covetous
thoughts for ship commander "Mac" Macridin before the mission started,
and if present, her jealous and frankly hateful attitude toward Helga was not allayed by
the fact that Helga was responsible for the explosion that scarred and
almost killed her. On the other hand, it was because Helga was aware of
these feelings that she was able to arouse such anger in Ophelia as to
cause her to strike Helga, thereby sparking her recovery of her motor
ENVIRONMENT/LIFE SUPPORT: Shipboard temperature in habitable spaces averages 22 degrees C. Part of the air purification system utilizes algae.
FOOD: In addition to a huge variety of MREs, foodstuffs
aboard the Aphelion spacecraft include split peas, beef jerky,
freeze-dried broccoli, reconstituted chicken, dumplings, reconstituted
shrimp cocktail, rehydrated bacon, a birthday cupcake with 'spearmint'
icing (or other frozen cake-like substances). Other cooking supplies
exist for use after they reach the surface, presumably needing gravity
"GOOD MORNING AMERICA": one of many TV programs that hold long-distance interviews with the Aphelion crew.
HEAD: The primary heads (toilet facilities) on both
Aphelion spacecraft are designed to function only in microgravity.
Presumably, a different design is installed on the landers and other
HYPERBARIC TREATMENT/THERAPY: High-pressure oxygen-rich
environment used to promote healing and reduce shock in critical trauma
cases. The crew of Aphelion 2 used the airlock as a hyperbaric chamber
when Ophelia Dunsirn was injured on Day 43.
ISS: The International Space Station. Doubtless
considerably changed from its early configuration and still in
operation, "Tak" Watanabe plays virtual-reality karate with its
communications chief, albeit a strange permutation that allows for the
time delay between the Aphelions and the ISS.
IVANOVA, ARCHANA: A1, Ostensibly, an ESA cosmonaut from
the Moldovan Republic and born in Balti, and a geologist specializing
in surface exploration, Mission Specialist Archana Ivanova is an
intelligence operative (read "spy") for an as-yet unidentified European
or Asian government, a fact deduced only by Mission Commander Alexander
Curtis. Her "official" background includes education at the Institute
of Geology and Seismology at Chisinau from age 16, specializing in
exogeology and remote electronics; parents killed in a bus accident
when she was 17, no other close living relatives; selected to represent
Moldovia as a gymnast in the Summer Olympics but withdrew because of a
In point of fact, the real Archana Ivanova was killed (accidentally? doubtful) and the Aphelion 1 crewmember
(whose real name is Mahai Lucinschi) replaced her at the Olympics
Facility. Her "handler" was a Colonel Petrolescue, whom she fears and
obeys. She frequently "pushes Curtis's buttons" and uses her feminine
wiles and charms (of which she has plenty) as a tool to achieve her
goals -- whatever they are.
She is usually late for mess call. She has jet black hair,
often disheveled, brown eyes, and wears provocative clothing
(short-shorts, purple sweats, e.g.) which were all selected by
Petrolescue for their alluring qualities. Her complexion is pale enough
to suggest the mythical vampires of her regional homeland, something
her thick Slavic accent does little to discourage the comparison. She
has dark nipples, and sometimes allows her pubic hair to grow and has
to select clothing that will conceal it. Her 31st birthday fell on
Mission Day 41. Her grandmother died ten years or so prior to launch,
the rest of her real family was told by Petrolescue's organization that
she had died on the day she replaced the real Ivanova. Was born and
raised in a Ukrainian town called Serata Mereseni, where her lover,
Petru, had proposed to her on her 15th birthday. Her parents (whom she
hated) were old-school, hard-line Communist holdovers who, she had no
doubt, would be proud of her now, working as she was for the Communist
Resurgence -- but, of course, they didn't know she was still alive.
JANDRAIN, CHANDRA, M.D. : A2, Lieutenant, Indian Army.
Flight physician, specializing in life support, Chandra is not as adept
at treatment of major trauma as "Doc" Smith but a competent medico.
Chandra is usually quiet, but occasionally spouts a Buddhist platitude
or proverb that takes everyone by surprise, either for the
insightfulness of the saying or its incomprehensible non-sequitur
quality. Wears a plain OD uniform.
JONES, PENNY: A1, An American botanist and civilian
NASA astronaut, Penny is bubbly and energetic and sensitive to strife
among the crew. She is busy even as the mission progresses with
experiments in recombinant genetics to develop plants that might thrive
in the Martian environment. (See "SPEARMINT") Athletic and tall, she
suffers from space-sickness that developed after the mission departed
unless she can anchor her velcroed or magnetic footwear to a "logical"
floor. She usually prefers to wear a white one-piece jumpsuit which,
considering her function as a botanist, she manages against all odds to
largely keep spotlessly clean. She has an attractive and athletic
figure, a fact that her choice in attire tends to accentuate, and some
suspect she wears a size too small to further advance this effect.
Penny has curly auburn hair that she wears in a short, low-maintenance
style. Her eyes are green, her complexion fair, and her ever-ready
smile is warm and honest. Her favorite time of day is dinner, when the
crew assembles to watch "Ryan's Children". On Mission Day 85, it was
revealed that her motion sickness is not always in effect. Her birthday
fell on Mission Day 164. She has some dark secret haunting her past but
feels cautiously optimistic that no one will uncover it. Has a distinct
dislike for Vanilla. Her mother drowned when she was very young.
JONES, JAMES DAVID : Major, Father to Penny. A Marine
intelligence officer stationed in Hawaii during Penny's youth. Privy to
secret operations and reported directly to the Commander-In-Chief,
Pacific Fleet. Widowed following the drowning death of his wife,
LASERLINK: One of many communications tools aboard the
Aphelion stacks, "Tak" Watanabe built one specifically to support the
"schoolroom initiative". One provides a secure link between A1 and A2
for, among other things, privileged communications between the ship
LEATHERMAN MULTITOOL: A popular mid-20th century
invention, the Leatherman combines pliers, cutting tools, screwdrivers,
and many other useful gizmos into a single compact kit that easily fits
into a shirt pocket or clips to a belt. "Tak" carries one all the time.
LIGHT STICK: A common chemical light source even in the
20th century for use in emergency situations. These are not reusable or
LITTLE PAKISTAN: A section of Brooklyn, NYC, NY, USA where Ophelia Dunsirn grew up.
MACRIDIN, HELGA: A2, Sergeant, German Army, botanist
and mechanical engineering support. Married (at the "last minute" prior
to launch) to ship commander Peter "Mac" Macridin, she is uncomfortable
and jealous of the attention paid Ophelia by the other members of the
crew. Known as a "no-nonsense" type, Helga has less space experience
than anyone else on the mission, and, in Ophelia's opinion, fewer
skills and "big boobs." Favors sand-colored fatigues, she has blonde
hair and blue eyes.
MACRIDIN, PETER, "MAC": A2, Commander, Royal Canadian
Navy, ship commander and pilot. He has a heavy-handed Canadian dialect
and accent, eh? (How do you spell "Canada"? C, eh? N, eh? D. eh?) His
wife is shipmate Helga Macridin. On Mission Day 95, Macridin murdered
shipmate Sidney Barnes, a fact known onboard only by First Officer
Ophelia Dunsirn, and which fact may not be revealed in any story in the
series. Usual "uniform" consists of black trousers and blue denim or
chambray shirts with epaulettes. Has an eight year old niece.
MARS MISSION CONTROL (MMC) : A decentralized
cooperative supporting the Aphelion expedition, comprised of members
from several national space agencies (ESA, NASA, Japan, China, Canada,
etc.) It is Earthbound and serves the function of the Johnson Manned
Spaceflight Control Center in Houston for NASA, although the time delay
in communicating from Earth to Mars limits its effectiveness in
MESS: The galley and crew meal spaces aboard A1 and A2.
The main table is round with a ring of velcro surrounding it where the
crew sits on the deck.
MRE: "Meal Ready to Eat" These are fairly standard
military-style ration packs similar to those in use today. A far cry
from old-fashioned "K-Rations", MREs come in a wide variety of
delicious offerings, many with sealed chemical heat packs to cook the
food built in, and some of these are robust enough to boil water
(which, given the reduced atmospheric pressure inside the A1 and A2
spacecraft and the Martian HABs, need not necessarily be 212 degrees
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: At least the televised versions of this venerable organ still exist.
NEOMIDRODINE: A medication considered by "Doc" Smith for treatment of potential orthostatic intolerance in Penny Jones.
NPR: National Public Radio. Apparently quality entertainment is still alive and well in 2035.
NET / NETTING: Ubiquitous "cargo" meshes to secure crew
or equipment in freefall. (Not to be confused with Internet, which I
assume will still be extant at the time of the mission.) Some,
particularly sleeping restraints, automatically retract to conserve
space when no longer in use. See also "WEB".
OXYRIA DIGYNA: One of Penny Jones's modified edible
leafy plants. Similar in some respects to Inuit scurvy grass, it is
high in vitamin C and grows well in cold mountainous regions. While
Penny suggests it would be good in salads, Doc Smith opined on tasting
it that he'd prefer scurvy.
PETECHIAL HEMORRHAGE: The bloodshot appearance of the whites of a person's eyes when exposed to vacuum is an example
PORT ARTHUR, MARS: The name of the destination
colony of the Aphelion Project. Named in honor of Sir Arthur C. Clarke
by its inhabitants, it is an assemblage of the Aphelion 1 and 2 landers
and several vehicles that were landed robotically in advance of the
manned expedition, including one emergency orbit-capable launch vehicle
capable of carrying all twelve crewmembers from Aphelion 1 and 2, as
well as an as-yet unspecified number of supply and support elements
including inflatable HAB modules and other infrastructure.
It is possible (probable) that some of these pre-landed
elements are some distance from what will eventually be the "town
proper", but can be moved by the Large Rover or the pair of Small
Rovers in tandem. Some of these waiting elements may have been damaged
or destroyed on landing and offer opportunities for salvage or
makeshift shelter from the elements (solar CMEs, dust storms, etc.)
However, the manned mission would not have launched unless it was
confirmed that at least one inflatable HAB, one supply ship with
consumables such as water, air and food, and the emergency return
ascent vehicle were intact. (Note that this does not necessarily
preclude the possibility that something becomes damaged after the
manned expedition is committed to the voyage.) There may also be
orbital elements awaiting the manned ships, including observation and
communications satellites and perhaps supplies for orbital operations
(exploration of Phobos and Deimos, e.g.) and the return voyage.
(The actual location of Port Arthur has yet to be established in the stories.)
PROPENTOFYLLINE: One of the medicines administered to Ophelia Dunsirn when she was injured during an EVA on Day 43.
PUPULE: Hawaiian term meaning a crazy person. Used by Penny and her father.
RADAR WATCH: Ostensibly a "vital function", Radar
Watch is a shipboard duty that consists of sitting (velcroed or
strapped) in front of a screen that mostly never changes, a
mind-numbing task. In addition to being the human backup should more
sensitive computer equipment fail to automatically notify and/or course
correct, the person on "Radar Watch" also monitors the operations and
communications onboard the vessel during their shift.
RADIATION SHELTER: A "storm cellar" in the Power and
Communications Module, nestled in the midst of six massive battery
tanks that between electromagnetic fields and the density of chemicals
contained within, provide adequate protection for the entire crew of
that stack from all but the most devastating solar storms or CMEs. It
is at least 2.5 meters in length with a small flatscreen video panel
and other contingency equipment (CO2 scrubbers, e.g.) and supplies (O2,
adult diapers, light sticks, etc.) to weather the emergency. That is,
at least for eighteen man-days or so. The hatch is secured with pins
that must be retracted to open or close it. It has been described as
being not much larger than a closet. Its hatch is solid and sturdy,
capable of holding air in against vacuum or resisting fire or
explosions, but sensitive to damage to the locking pins. The shelter is
a "dead end" -- the only way in or out is through the hatch.
RELIGION: Penny Jones prayed for Ophelia Dunsirn
when she was injured on Day 43 and thanked God when it appeared her
condition had been stabilized. Chandra Jandrain frequently quotes
ROVER BALL: Black, billiard-ball-sized remote
reconnaissance drones equipped to take still shots or video. Each stack
carries a large bag full. They are designed to roll on the Martian
surface, sending back images of their journeys until their batteries
are depleted. The mechanism of the Rover Ball rolls inside a windowed
shell. At least some of them have enough magnetic pull to attach
themselves to a metal surface (bulkhead, hull, etc.) and roll along it,
but these are not standard equipment: they were surreptitiously
smuggled aboard by Archana Ivanova and others from her
ROVER VEHICLES: There are, in addition to the two
Light Rovers and single Heavy Rover stowed in the descent stages of the
two Aphelion stacks, two robotic (unmanned) rovers awaiting the crew on
the surface, as well as a special Exploration Vehicle.
"RYAN'S CHILDREN": A long-running soap opera which
many of the crew of the mission (or at least aboard Aphelion One)
avidly follow. This serves as a social gathering time and has developed
into an unofficially recognized ritual which includes dinner.
SMITH, HARRY, M.D. : A1, Major, USMC, 45 or 46 years
old depending upon whom you speak to (born approximately 1989). Surgeon
and mechanically inclined, keeps the life support system tuned
properly. Goes by Doc", which opens possibilities for fun as
comparisons between E.E. "Doc" Smith (author of the science-fiction
"Lensman" series) and the odd "Doctor Smith" in the 20th-century "Lost
In pace" TV series abound. A jokester with a love of food, he is
unfortunately not the best cook on board Aphelion 1 and the crew
quietly dread his turns at galley duty (although some secretly share
the opinion that his meals are designed to give him more patients.) He
is estranged from his wife (light brown hair) and son (blonde, cut in
sharp bangs). He tends to snore -- loudly -- its having been once
described as "... a lorry trying to climb a steep hill." Prefers
digital camouflage fatigue trousers and blouse (shirt sleeves
frequently rolled up), usually with an OD tee shirt and tan boots.
Wears his brown hair in a crew cut. Penny Jones notes that he has "nice
tight buns". Brown eyes. Saw active duty in two wars. Doesn't believe
in "fate" or "karma". Regards Ivanova with the same distrust one feels
about a black widow spider. Birthday fell on Mission Day 100.
SOLAR PANELS: Each of the Aphelion stacks has a
large array of solar power collection panels mounted on the inflatable
Bridge or Con module, opposite the main docking collar/airlock element.
These panels must be retracted and stowed to protect them from solar
CMEs or particle storms.
SPACESUIT: The Aphelion spacesuits have a
self-sealing mechanism or property that can compensate rapidly for even
grievous breaches, such as a damaged faceplate.
SPEARMINT: Generally referred to as, but technically
not, Spearmint (which is its root). Gene-spliced plant features
elements from pyrococcus furiosis and Chlamydonomas nivalis and is a
pungent, hardy, red-rimmed leafy vegetable which is resistant to cold
and botanical stress. According to botanist Penny Jones, it makes an
excellent herbal tea.
STORM CELLAR: See "Radiation Shelter"
UNION JACK: The flag of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland. Mission Commander Alexander Curtis (A1)
has a mylar space blanket imprinted with the Union Jack among his
VELCRO: Handy and ubiquitous, there are hook strips
or buttons on most fixed surfaces to secure "Affies" and their tools in
convenient locations during freefall ops. There are pile pads, strips
or buttons on virtually everything not built in, including the
WAHINE: Hawaiian word for woman. Penny's father often refers to her as "Little wahine."
WATANABE, TAKUYA "TAK": A2, Airman 1C, Japanese
Air Defense Force, Chief Engineer specializing in electronics. Loves
martial arts sparring (hand-to-hand) and video games, and using
virtual-reality gloves, booties and goggles manages to combine the two.
Frequents desert-style camouflage uniforms.
WATER RECLAMATION SYSTEM: Since the Aphelion
spacecraft are essentially "closed ecologies", very little waste is
actually dumped overboard. The water reclamation system is the very
best available at launch, and regardless of the source (exhalation
moisture, urine, perspiration, hygienic, etc.) the WRS processes and
purifies everything and produces pure distilled H2O at a very high
level of efficiency.
WEB/WEBBING: Ubiquitous lightweight cargo and
personnel restraints for a variety of purposes and made from a variety
of materials of varied sizes and elastic properties. They are used for
everything from personal sleep restraints to collecting supplies or
trash, and have numerous built-in anchoring devices such as hooks,
clips, magnets, and/or "bungee"-style cords. See also "NET"
WEI, CHANG: See "Chang Wei"
ZWELITINI, GODLUMATHAKATHI "GODE": A1, Sergeant,
South African Army. Chief Engineer, specializing in Electronics, Gode
is a gourmand with a maddening love for (and seemingly endless supply
of) microwave popcorn. He is adept at improvising almost any repair and
menu item. A large man with a voice to match, he likes to laugh and his
good cheer is contagious among his crewmates. Typical uniform consists
of OD fatigue trousers, brown button-down shirt, mesh web belt and
military-style boots. His parents and grandparents were Zulu, and he
prepares a dish they used to make called "inkuku yasekya nama
geselengwane", or "chicken with mealy dumplings", among others. (He
does, however, admit to having had to make some substitutions to the
recipe, so whether there was actually any chicken involved is
questionable.) He included a quantity of flour in his personal effects
allowance when the mission launched. He sweats -- pungently -- when
nervous. "Enjoyed" his 41st birthday on Mission Day 172 battening the
ship down to weather a solar storm and taking refuge in the radiation
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