Final story in this compendium. 497 words excluding title.
As before this bears no connection to any preceding story other than the title theme.
All dialogue guaranteed 100% non authentic
Images In a Fractured Mirror X
"Houston, we have a problem"
"We copy you, Shuttle. Go ahead Jim."
"Helena reports a problem deploying the mirror: possible manoeuvring error giving distortion on opening. What course do you recommend?"
Over the chatter of voices conferring, a faint but distinct comment made itself heard, "Spank her ass!"
"Houston, this is COMMANDER Helena Vaizey. For the information of you smartasses, Crewman Bailey was engaged on the deployment. I have, however, noted your advice. Shuttle out."
Hubbub ensued at mission control. The Prototype Advanced Hubble Detector Line had stung the taxpayers for some hundreds of millions of dollars and one malfunctioning mirror unit could blow the whole project. If this hardware gave them red on the bottom line it would be the absolute end for all of them.
"Shuttle, this is Houston, we have you on visual only in the load bay command centre, come in Commander Vaizey. Are you planning to effect a repair with that section of plastic conduit? How does Crewman Bailey view your proposed course of action? He appears rather agitated."
"Shuttle, this is Houston. We have lost visual: something is obstructing the load bay camera. Please check your audio line for feedback we have a high pitched howling coming over"
"Shuttle, this is Houston. We have reestablished full audio-visual. Where is Crewman Bailey, Commander?"
"We are not quite following you, Commander. What do you mean you sent Crewman Bailey to stand in the corner? There are no corners in the shuttle."
"He's out in the YARD? Don't be rid... Commander, let Crewman Bailey back in at once."
"Commander Vaizey, this is Houston. We have spoken with the base psychologists team and they agree that Crewman Bailey will certainly have learned his lesson by now. If you could just let him back in we can discuss things with them when you get back."
"Bailey! This is the Commander. Have you fixed it yet you little worm? ....Damn good job too, or you'd really regret it."
"Crewman Bailey, this is Houston being patched through from the shuttle. Now could you just let us know how very, very sorry you are....and you won't ever make such a silly mistake again...and an especially big sorry to Commander Vaizey. Thank you, Crewman."
"Commander, this is Houston, now pleeease let him in, return manoeuvring begins in 15 minutes."
"Houston, this is Chief Engineer Hollis reporting mirror fully deployed. Beginning burn in five minutes and counting."
"Houston, this is Commander Vaizey. On final glide approach and all systems normal."
"Commander, this is Houston, we have a urgent message for you. Go ahead, Colonel Vaizey."
"Helena, is that you?"
"Um, yes Dad, mission accomplished, you know."
"So I gather, but there's such a thing as procedure, my girl. We'll have a little talk when you're back..refresh your memory of standing orders. Remember them? Yes I though you might."
"Well carry on, Commander, and I'll speak with you later. And there's one other thing... when you land, you're grounded."
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