"Space-Ex" by Jason Gong


This document is a transcription of the Fornax 2 flight crew communications as recorded on the command module (CM) data storage equipment (DSE), and subsequently transmitted (dumped) to Manned Flight Network stations upon the shuttle’s exiting of Earth’s orbit.  Magnetic tapes containing dumped voice and onboard-recorded ground elapsed time were forwarded to Space-Z Manned Spacecraft Center, Miles, Ohio.

The Fornax 2 space mission was flown April 23, 2030.  Following the successful Mars settlement mission, Fornax 1, Fornax 2 was the first attempt at flying two humans to Mars for permanent relocation and potential reproduction.  Several missions to introduce more humans to the Mars colony were to follow.  The mission was flown by a volunteer couple selected after completing several applications, winning a lottery among all qualified applicants, and passing rigorous aeronautical training.

This transcription has been edited largely to remove classified information.

                              Speakers in the transcript are identified as follows*:

                              CMP    Command module pilot               Charles A. Brooks
                              LMP    Lunar module pilot                      Megan P. Goodman

                              *Asterisk identifies non-verbal communication from pilots.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4


H     M     S        S

O      I      E        P

U     N      C       E

R     U      O       A

        T      N       K

        E      D       E


12    17    01    LMP    Thrusters ignited, we have motion again.

12    17    04    CMP    Skyrocket’s in flight, how about a little afternoon delight?

12    17    08    LMP    Charles, we need to talk.

12    17    30    CMP    Oh, okay?  What’s up?

12    17    35    LMP    Charles, I’m not sure how to say this but I think we should see other people.

12    17    42    *    Laughter

12    18    10    CMP    That’s a good one.

12    18    14    LMP    I’m serious.

12    18    20    CMP    Wait, what?

12    18    28    LMP    I think that we should see other people.

12    18    37    CMP    There are no other people.  We’re alone on a spaceship.

12    18    45    LMP    There will be other people eventually.

12    18    50    CMP    This is a twenty-three year flight.

12    18    54    LMP    There will be people after that.

12    19    00    CMP    The follow up crew doesn’t launch until two years after us.

12    19    08    LMP    Okay, I’ll see people when they arrive on Mars.

12    19    13    CMP    You’ll be 51.

12    19    19    LMP    I’ll be the first woman on Mars, I don’t think lining up dates will be an issue.

12    19    32    CMP    Hold on…

12    19    34    LMP    But we should still be friends.  And you’ll find someone too.

12    19    45    CMP    Slow down, where is this coming from?

12    19    51    LMP    I just… I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, honestly.  Did you

                                    really not feel something off between us?

12    20    15    CMP    No.  I mean, I was mostly focused on training for this mission.  To space.

12    20    29    LMP    I was focused on the mission too, but I still found time to focus on us.

                                    And whenever I did… I just knew.

12    20    41    CMP    Well, Christ, couldn’t you have said that before we got on this spaceship? 

12    20    55    LMP    I didn’t know what to say.

12    21    09    CMP    Why would you go on a twenty-three year space mission with me if you

                                    wanted to break up?

12    21    21    LMP    I kept telling myself we could make this work.  But honestly, when the shuttle

                                    launched, and I saw the Earth getting further and further away, it put

                                    everything into perspective.  It finally gave me to courage to admit to myself

                                    that I wasn’t happy.

12    21    50    CMP    But what did I do wrong?  Why are you dumping me?

12    22    02    LMP    You didn’t do anything wrong.  I just need some time to figure things out, and

                                    that means a little distance between us.

12    22    23    CMP    So what you’re saying  is you just need some… space?

12    22    29    LMP    This is why I’m dumping you.

12    22    33    CMP    Come on, that was funny.

12    22    37    LMP    It was okay.

12    22    45    CMP    It was good.

12    22    48    LMP    To be honest, I’ve always found your humor to be a little pedestrian.

12    22    58    CMP    Pedestrian?  What does that even mean?

12    23    10    LMP    It means most of your jokes are easy wordplay or repackaged memes from

                                    the front page of Reddit.

12    23    21    CMP    So you’ve never liked my jokes?

12    23    26    LMP    They’re mildly amusing.

12    23    30    CMP    But you always laugh at them.

12    23    37    LMP    I said they were mildly amusing.  And I like memes from the front page of

                                    Reddit, everyone does.

12    23    49    *    Sobbing

12    24    30    LMP    Oh, Charles, please don’t, it will be okay.

12    24    35    CMP    It’s just not fair!

12    24    50    LMP    You know I still care about you.  And I always will.  Please stop crying.

12    25    04    *    Sobbing increases

12    26    00    LMP    Please stop… wait, keep crying.

12    26    07    CMP    W- what?

12    26    10    LMP    Charles look!

12    26    14    *    Sniffling

12    26    30    CMP    Oh.

12    26    40    LMP    It’s kind of beautiful isn’t it?  The way they just float around?

12    26    50    CMP    Tears in Space… that would be a good band name.

12    27    01    *    Heavy sighing.

12    27    30    LMP    You know what.  It would be, Charles.  It sure would be.

Day 5