The day Morgan was asked to apply for a position that had become available on the new international space station located on the moon, it was a dream come true. He was one of several scientists that had been asked to apply for this position with the station. After three interviews, several psych evaluations, and numerous bouts of physical testing, Morgan was cleared to be put on a short list to serve at the station. He however wasn't the first of his class but he was listed as a backup who would step up should the person chosen wasn't able to take part in the mission for whatever reason. It was still an honor just to make it this far, which is exactly what he told his friends and family. The truth was this was like being tackled on the three yard line while trying to score a touchdown that would have taken your team to the Superbowl. Heartbreaking just didn't seem to do the moment justice as far as Morgan Taylor was concerned. It was something he would have to live with, but at the moment he needed time to just mourn the idea of what could have been. He had only told a few friends and his family what he was doing, and even then he regretted telling that many people. He felt like such an ass for not only teasing his family with the idea that their son could be an astronaut living on the moon, but letting himself think that this could be a possibility.
After breaking the news to his parents, Morgan decided to stay home and lick his wounds rather than go out that Friday night. He hit a liquor store on the way home from talking to his parents and picked up more than a few bottles of vodka, a bottle of kalula to go with each one of those and a few pitchers of milk as well. Morgan also picked up potato chips, cheese doodles and even some pork rinds to go with the alcohol. Just before getting home, Morgan even took the time to hit a local fast food taco joint and order about a dozen tacos from the drive in. He wanted as little human contact as possible. About twenty minutes later, he was home and ready to shelter himself for the weekend and not interact with a single person all weekend. He needed time to himself to get over the news he had gotten today and think about his next move.
Morgan spent Friday night watching the baseball game while slamming down White Russians with his numerous tacos. After sticking to a strict diet while training with NASA, it felt good to eat something terrible for him and it was his way of flipping off the people who had just told him to take a hike. It felt rebellious, which was the whole point.
The next day Morgan decided to stay in all day and once again avoid all human contact. He let all messages go to his voice mail, and then ordered a slab pizza to supply him with the day's nourishment and watched some of his on demand to catch up what he had missed while doing the redundant training for the position he was just denied. Since he wasn't expecting any company, Morgan ordered his favorite slab which consisted of several items he couldn't even get near when in training. The massive party sized pizza smelt amazing though the driver didn't seem too impressed with the aroma when he arrived at his door. Morgan tipped the man generously for putting up with it and returned to watch television and drink a little bit more booze while slamming down a few slices. He wasn't even halfway through his first slice when the door bell rang again. Frustrated, Morgan jumped up and ran up to the door, thinking that the pizza man was back again for whatever reason. It couldn't have been the tip, and it wasn't because it wasn't the pizza dude: it was Commander Jackson Rogers, the man who would have lead his mission had he been selected for the it.
"Oh, hello Rogers." Morgan said.
"Morgan." Rogers said, as he paused for a moment. "I've got some great news for you..." He was about to say something but then he sniffed the air. "Is that pizza?"
"Maybe." Morgan softly replied.
"You know Rick, our mission commander, would kick your ass if he knew you were eating that." Rogers said as he smelled again. "Green olives, onions, sausage and..." he took one more deep breath. "I never took you for the anchovy type."
"Come inside." Morgan said as he stepped aside.
As Rogers walked inside, he noticed the empty vodka bottles as well as the several containers from the taco hut. "I get the impression you took command's decision rather poorly."
"Kind of." Morgan said as he returned to the couch and took another bite of his slice. "Wouldn't you if you were in my shoes."
"I might," Rogers admitted, "But I'd wait until after the shuttle was in the sky. A lot can happen between now and launch time."
"Rubbish," Morgan retorted, "I'm out of the picture."
"That's what you think," Rogers corrected him, as he sat himself down on the couch across from him. He handed over a file folder. "Consider yourself back in the picture. Davis had his appendix removed last night."
Morgan dropped his slice back onto the plate and grabbed the file folder. He could hardly believe it. Davis' appendix burst six days before a launch. There was no way he'd recover in time which meant he was going to take his place.
"I can't believe it!" Morgan exclaimed with a big smile on his face.
"Believe it," Rogers said, taking the White Russian away from him. "And sober up. You have to be back on base in a few hours!"
Morgan looked around at the mess and then back at Rogers. "You're not going to tell them what ... you know... about all this... are ya?"
Rogers laughed. "I'll keep quiet, if I can have a slice."
Morgan gestured towards the slab. "Help yourself!"
"Thank you," Rogers said as he grabbed the biggest slice he could find took a mighty bite out of it. After being given healthy food for the past several weeks, he couldn't blame Morgan for wanting to dive back into the bad stuff, especially after being kicked to the curb. Wherever the little bugger ordered the slab from, it was amazing and by far the best food Rogers had consumed in at least six months.
"Damn," Rogers said, "That's almost as good as sex."
Morgan disregarded the comment and raced back into his room to repack for his return to base. He had started to unpack earlier that day but didn't really get that far. A part of him was having trouble getting stuff out as it was hard to accept that he was back home after being so close to getting out into space but now he was going back out again. This time there was no stopping him: he was going to the stars and the moon. He could only imagine how the others would respond to seeing him again. Jessica could hardly tolerate his blabbering but Jason was all right to speak with since they had so much in common. Out of all the people to catch a bad break so close to launch time, he was sure Davis wasn't going to be missed. He as a royal stiff ass and Morgan was pretty sure that several occupants on the moon were secretly popping the bubbly, or whatever it is they use to celebrate up there. The moon base was only in operation for the past several years and now occupied as many as twelve people. It started off no larger than the space station that used to orbit the planet, but was not the same the size of a large mansion. It had several bedrooms, a few laboratories and even a kitchen that they used to scientific experiments to see how certain foods respond and what not. As Morgan packed, he couldn't believe he was back in the picture. He was going to live on the moon, be a resident of the first off world human colony for half a year. That's how long astronauts were allowed to stay up there as any longer would endanger their health and bone structure. As he hurried to pack, he began to panic.
"How much time to I have to repack?" Morgan called out.
"Take your time," Rogers called back. "There's no rush. I can say traffic was bad on our way back."
Rogers has other reasonsfor not rushing Morgan as he grabbed a second slice and started to drink what wasleft of Morgan's White Russian. Even though he was about to fly to the moon inless than a week, at that moment Rogers was in heaven.