"Granted." The captain said to Micky. He keyed the intercomm to the medbay.
"Corpsman Long, report to the bridge." he said into the link.
"Corpsman, take the helm. The pilot has requested a short break. Just keep her steady, and Lt. St. George will bring her into the dock at Europa." he said.
"Have any of you made a Jupiter run?" The captain asked. Already the disc of Jupiter dominated the forward holographic display. The planet hung huge and heavy in the sky. The bands of orange, white, and brown all moved slowly, eddies and vortices churning between them, each dwarfing even the most massive terran hurricane.
By three hours to arrival, more than 3/4 of the screen was planet, and the sensors sang with the EM noise generated by the planet. It was a haunting sound reminescent of whalesong and static. The tiny Io was slightly ahead of them, and the Ballard would pass within 100,000 km of the noxious moon. The small moon passed as the auto pilot engaged the braking thrusters to slow the Bally down enough to dock safely.
One of the screens flickered as an arc of lightning jagged from the upper most cloud layer, meeting another jagged flash erupting from the sulpherous moon. If there was an atmosphere, the thunderclap might have crushed buildings, turned unarmored targets into rubble.
"That is why we havent built anything on Io. Everything on that moon develops a charge opposite of Jove. Then the lightning hits. Lost sixteen ships to those strikes, power systems are killed, engines offline, power core shutdown. The wrecks get pulled down by gravity, dont have much time to pull a rescue, and one of the sixteen is a rescue ship, gone." he said. He held his skippers cap over his breast.
He keyed the intercomm again, this time for the whole ship.
"Attention crew, we are entering close jovian space. Anyone who cares to come take a look on the bridge is welcome to. ETA one hour."