Terra, Earth, a dozen other names for the cradle of humanity, the one safe place in the galaxy. The great blue green marble of the earth hung heavy in the midnight black sky. The moon hung a distant silver orb, much smaller than the Earth, but still breathtaking. Even the stream of sublight traffic to and fro from the planet surface to the mosaic of colony light on the moon didnt detract from the vision.
Captain Johannes Guildenstern, or Cap'n Stern stood in the medical bay, his face towards the viewscreen. It was artificial, ading windows to a deep space rescue and salvage ship structurally weakened the vessel as well as compromised its protection against radiation. Below him, South Africa, and Cape Town, his place of birth swung past in dramatic slow motion. It would be a long time before he returned to earth, but this was to be his last voyage, he would be retiring upon his return.
"Are you ready for your physical Captain?" Doctor Marney asked. She was a short woman, perhaps five foot four inches with a head of curly dark hair and large eyes. She was perhaps in her forties, and was the second in command after himself.
"Is this necessary, Marney?" Stern asked, it was pain to stand in the medbay with his pants dropped, plus it always made things difficult when dealing with a new crew should they chose to be early, rather than the normal late.
"You know protocol. Everyone gets a standard physical before launch, even you captain." She said.
"Fine, lets get this over with." Stern grunted as the chief medical officer used her offical grip and told him to cough. That being done, he gladly replaced his clothing in the proper location. THe rest of the crew should be arriving soon, if they hadnt already and were just taking their time finding the medical bay.
"I'm going to the bridge, we should be casting off within the hour.