Apollo's Final Farewell: An AH Vignette

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Usili, May 16, 2016.

  1. Usili Carry On Wayward Son

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    If we die, we want people to accept it. We're in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.”-Gus Grissom​

    The white rover drove across the surface, the cabin keeping the pair of astronauts enclosed without the need for an EVA suit. Both Commander Michael J. Smith and Flight Specialist Susan Helm were set upon a task that would never again be repeated in the Hecate Program, heading for a destination that had not seen the feet of man for more than a decade and a half. It had taken slightly more than a day's drive to get there, as they had stopped for some short EVAs to collect samples and slept for some of the way. Now, they were approaching where they had to.

    “There it is, over there,” Helm spoke out, gesturing with her finger to her side of the vehicle.

    Smith slowed the rover down as he started to make a turn, and he could see what the Flight Specialist was clearly gesturing to. The flag stood crisp and unmoving like it had, but the red and blue had found itself gone, the only color a straight white among the crisp surface. Slightly farther away was the Lunar Roving Vehicle, parked and having been left like it was more than fifteen years prior. And then there stood the Lunar Module in all it's glory, the orange foil covering the descent stage, stretching into the dark gray of the ascent stage. She had been the first true spacecraft, and had stood waiting on the moon, her appearance having seemingly been like she had only landed yesterday. “Houston, this is Michael. We have arrived,” the Commander spoke through the comm.

    “Copy that Michael. You have permission to disembark and to make your way to Opportunity. Slayton will be arriving shortly,” the CAPCOM spoke again.

    “I hear you Charles,” Michael replied before addressing to his co-driver, “Guess it's time to do Apollo's final farewell.”

    Susan gave a soft nod as the pair of them walked to the back of the Lunar Exploration Rover to disembark from the rover. Moving into his suit again, Smith began the preparatory steps for a process that he had become well familiar with. Michael pulled himself out of the rover, following behind Susan, and heading off the Lunar Exploration Rover again. “Smith, this is CAPCOM here, Slayton's here and wants to say a couple words to you.”

    “Understand CAPCOM,” Michael spoke as he paused for a moment in getting down the stairs.

    “Commander, I know you might not have known these people, but I did. I'd like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this. Just... bring their stuff back, alright?” Slayton spoke all the way back from Houston.

    “I understand, sir. We'll bring it back,” Michael replied, “While they might not have received their farewell back then, they'll get it now.”

    “Thank you.”

    As Michael walked towards the Lunar Module, he recognized one thought in his mind. While Roosa and England had not gotten the farewell they had, they would get it now. But in truth, it was the final farewell for Apollo. The last mission had never returned back to orbit, but now they would get their farewell and rest.

    'Godspeed to you Stuart Roosa and Tony England, wherever you are. Apollo 20 shall never be forgotten.'
     
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  2. theev Suede-Denim Secret Police

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    May 7, 2015
    Great vignette.
     
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  3. Zioneer Relief Society Bene Gesserit

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    Red Deseret
    Excellent writing, Usili!
     
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  4. NHBL Long Time Member, CMII

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Excellent writing--a great farewell.
     
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  5. Archibald space jockey ! Banned

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    Jan 22, 2008
    Great vignette, kudos to you Usili
     
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  6. Lemon flavoured British Miami Dolphins fan

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    Jun 8, 2010
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    Hucknall, Notts, UK
    Nicely done. I like Vignettes that leave you with just enough questions about what happened to set them up, and this does that nicely.
     
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  7. JonInSpaec1973 Member

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    Feb 2, 2014
    Beautiful. Why Roosa and England though?
     
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  8. Usili Carry On Wayward Son

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    Aug 9, 2012
    For the choice of the Commander, it was because it was expected that Haise and Roosa would respectively command Apollo 19 and 20 if they had flown. For the reason behind Tony England as LMP rather than someone like Don Lind or Jack Lousma, it seems like he would have represented a clear choice for another scientist-astronaut specialized on the moon, considering he was a geochemist. Not to mention, I'd expect similar to Apollo 17, efforts to be made for another scientist-astronaut to walk on the moon, and as mentioned, he was the only one that makes sense.
     
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  9. Apollo 20 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    Very nice work.
     
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