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Jonathan Parker woke with a start. As of today, he had been on board the OSIRIS space station for exactly three hundred and sixty-five days. A handful of years ago being in space was just a dream in the mind of a young football failure. Now, he was the captain on a small, but important, space station. He had never expected to feel the weightlessness of zero gravity, but here he was, one-hundred percent accustomed to it.
He also kind of hated the feeling. Especially when you wake up, as Jon has now, flattened against an air filter in the ceiling. Below him, he heard the chuckles of one of his acquaintances - Rex Calvin. Rex and Jon hadn't met before they began their training, but one year aboard the OSIRIS has basically made them brothers. They also had completely opposing appearances: while John had a wide frame, soft peach skin and spiky blonde hair; Rex has a thin frame, dark skin and short, almost non-existent black hair. Their third wheel, Amanda Ryder, nicknamed the group "Neapolitan", since Jon had pale skin and blonde hair (vanilla), Rex dark skin and black hair (chocolate), and Amanda slightly tanned skin and red hair (strawberry).
"Ha ha laugh it up." Jon pushed away from the air filter, spinning wildly until he somehow managed to regain some sense of direction. In space, there is no 'up' or 'down', it just doesn't exist; so becoming disoriented is incredibly easy. "It's not like you get stuck up there too." Even though his words carried a sense of anger or annoyance, Jon had a huge smile plastered across his face. "Now come on, let's get ready."
After a year on the OSIRIS, the three astronauts knew that they would never get used to their "morning" routines. On Earth, you'd wake up, stumble around, maybe brush your teeth and take a shower before getting dressed and eating. Not in space. On a space station, you wipe yourself down using a wet towel before sliding into disposable clothes that you'll throw out in a few days. It was a lot faster, but also felt a lot less fun.
"Today we're going back to Earth!" Rex said, as he slid into his disgusting jumpsuit. "It's been, what, five months? Too long for me!" he let out a laugh at that, and Jon wanted to join in with him, but his mind was troubled. He hadn't had a great time on Earth last time; spending most of his too-short vacation in a hospital after breaking his ankle upon entry. He didn't even get to see his family. Meanwhile Rex and Amanda went home and partied like nobody's business. While Jon thought back, Rex continued to go on and on about how excited he was to return to Earth, and Jon occasionally grunted a "yeah" or "cool" in response.
"Hello!? Command, this is Amanda Ryder on the OSIRIS space station. Do you read me!?"
They both looked up as that sound reverberated through the sound of the space station, nearly drowned out by the large fans and air filters puncturing.... well, right now it was the ceiling. "Dude, that doesn't sound good at all." Rex remarked, climbing out of their room and towards the command bay a short hallway away. Movies made space stations look way more interesting than the boring white-yellow of every surface, but Jon gets to see fifteen dawns everyday, and gaze - with his own eyes - at the moon and the planets near his location. So, he didn't complain. But now he might; especially if Command wasn't answering Amanda.
He quickly scrambled through the doorway (an amazing feat when you're still half-asleep) and floated towards command, where he quickly grabbed a tube of, what he like to call, Dark Matter (or astronaut food). "What flavour today?" he grumbled, looking for the small print, just to get his mind off Earth and his family. Then he turned to Amanda. "So what's wrong now?"
Amanda put down the microphone and took off her headphones, dropping them into the air, where the simply floated around as if lost and confused. The wires connecting them to the desk on what was now the wall trying to drag them back in. "Command's not responding. I'm not getting static or anything. It's just silent."
Rex grabbed the transmission set and spoke really quickly into the microphone. "Hello!? People at Command? Houston we have a problem!?" Then he through the headphones off his head and towards their floor, where they just floated around.
"That's definitely not good."
"What do we do?" Jon asked. "Could we run through the landing procedure ourselves? We've done it before and we have EKs just for these situations."
"I guess we'll have to." Amanda sighed, brushing hair from her eyes. "Let's get suited up."