Aphelion Issue 294, Volume 28
May 2024
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

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 membership.)

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 of Mars.

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 are common.

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 functions.


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 to prepare.


"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 surface elements.

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 shoulder injury.

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, Penny's mother.



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 commanders.

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 recyclable items.

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 day-to-day activities.

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 F/100C.)


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 Buddha.

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 intelligence-gathering organization.

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 personal effects.


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 "Affies'" garments.


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 shelter.

Return to the Aphelion Project Index page.

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.