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Despite his familiarity with the engineering and physical principles behind the stasis pods, Commander Andrew Braithwaite’s bladder was always ready to burst upon coming out of the pod. Today was no different, yet today was very different, because today would probably be the last time he ever had to go through the thawing process for the rest of his life.

He sat up in the pod and push-flew his way to the ladder connecting that cargo bay to the centrifuge. He hurried to the head to relieve himself and wash the remaining cryofluid from his skin. The water warmed him bit by bit, and when he was clean, he turned the heat dryer on and basked in the hot air for several minutes. When he stepped out of the shower unit, he could hear some of the other units in use. He smiled to himself. Rick and Charlie were up. Andrew hurried to put his clothes on and get to the modest ship’s mess. There he threw three rations into the cooker and tapped a lively beat on the table while the food was prepared. Soon enough two dark-haired men in their mid-30s strode into the mess. One of them was short and stocky with skin as pale as the stark white décor of the ship. In opposition, the other man’s deep brown skin stood out sharply.

Charles Bell’s teeth contrasted with his face when he smiled. Andrew couldn’t help but smile back when he saw Charlie. His grin was infectious. “Morning, y’all,” Andrew drawled.

“Good morning indeed, sir. We’re this close to real sunlight and fresh wind on our faces,” Charlie replied.

“I’m just glad I’ll finally get to see Katie and the girls. I can already imagine the looks on their little faces when they see real forests for the first time,” Richard Murray said.

Andrew nodded and gave his crewmates their food. “It’s been a long journey. Just be grateful we were asleep for half of it.”

The men finished their food and waited the appropriate amount of time before going to the command module. The command module, like the majority of the ship, was a zero-g area. After running a battery of diagnostics and systems scans, the trio determined their ship was functioning perfectly, and they were right on track for arrival.

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