Doctor Johnathan Harker fastened the couplings on the government issue gloves he had been given. There was a subtle hiss as the suit pressurized. He sat still and inhaled slowly, as he had been taught, to avoid oxygen deprivation while the suit switched over to its internal supply.
Harker made a conscious effort to avoid looking out the twin portholes on either side of him. It was ironic. He had counseled dozens of men on the stresses of space-agoraphobia and yet he had somehow developed an acute fear of it himself. It all boiled down to a fear of the unknown.
That’s a healthy fear, Harker thought as he thumbed at the screen mounted on the back of his glove. The ISA logo illuminated within the polished black surface. Government jobs tended to pay the best. They also tended to be the most full of bureaucracy and bullshit.
The logo on the glove display faded and was replaced with the message: Please key in your employee ID. Harker fumbled the 12 digit number twice on the tiny keypad, and got it right the third time.
The display faded and then provided another message: IMPORTANT: Do not use this interface device while in motion (REG 1.34.5542.3)
Obviously. He tapped the 'OK' button.
Harker waited while his wrist-con registered with the central mainframe to authorise his sojourn outside.
IMPORTANT: You training records indicate you are authorised to undertake class 1, 2 or 5 maintenance work only (Reg 1.34.8854.5823).
This was a class 2 job. Simple. 'OK'.
Harker double-checked his tool belt.
Downloading work instructions...
Pages of text and diagrams scrolled across the tiny screen. Although he'd undergone hours of intensive training for this task, it was deemed important to have the manual to hand.
Ready to Proceed.
Please confirm the airlock door is clear on both sides before opening (Reg 1.34.9981.4334).
Requesting lock release. Please stand by.
Yeah, yeah. Standing by.
Lock release authorisation granted per Reg 1.34.5542.5549.
Ready to activate door release mechanism. Please ensure once more access area is clear.
Duh, it's clear. Still. 'OK'.
NOTE: You are responsible for the safety of yourself and others when carrying out external maintenance work (Reg 1.34.7769.0112). Remember: Safety First! (Reg 1.34.7769.0113)
WARNING: Suit oxygen supply dangerously low! Aborting mission!
Opening: Nick Berggreen.....Continuation: Anon.