Thursday, 15 March 2018
“What else do you want to know? In the centre of the ship is a bit we call the core or “storm cellar”. This is where you want to be if there is a solar flare or some devil is shooting a particle gun at you. It is the most shielded part of the living areas. Usually you find the control room, medical centre and primary sleeping area here. On the Armax these are configured as a bundle, so each one directly contacts the other two. What? Microgravity, remember. Hatches can be in what you think of as floors and ceilings.
“Command is pretty much as you would expect. Lots of panels and displays and VR goggles. Medical is not that different, now I think about it. More surgical stations and beds, of course. Even in microG you may need to strap a patient to something.
“Sleeping quarters? They are sort of a cylinder and there are alcoves down most of the walls. Walls also being floor and ceiling. Each alcove is about a metre square by two metres. Has a little curtain for privacy. Half of your alcove you sleep in, the other half is for your stuff. There are storage lockers and nets, and on one wall there is a screen and terminal. That is pretty up to date, so you can access tons of music, video or books with it. It has a fold-down keyboard and cywriter but I seldom used those myself. Actually, I tended to use the mouse to input Morse. Quite easy after a day or so. More private than the microphone, less hassle than waving your arms about in zeroG to use the holographic keyboard.
“You sleep in a sleeping bag. It is attached to one of the short sides of the alcove. There is no mattress, no pillow, you just float there. The alcove has a little air vent that you can never fully turn off. There is always a gentle little breeze that stops carbon dioxide building up around your head while you sleep. On the Armax each alcove had three such bags, rolled up. A red, a white and a blue. Most of the time you get an alcove to yourself. When the ship is carrying a lot of personnel and there is a radiation threat as many people as possible will cram into the storm shelter. Some of those alcoves are filled up with ration packs in case we have to spend a couple of days in the storm shelter. When it is crowded you end up “hot bunking”. You share your alcove with two other guys. One sleeps while the other two work. On the Armax each guy got his own bag, colour coded. That was a lot nicer arrangement than on many ships”