. I get in a good fifteen before a gentle tone and a green blinking light on our instrument panel wakes me up. A quick look at the screen tells me our ship is docked at the second largest of Earth’s space stations.
“Hey Sally,” I nudge my sleeping co-pilot until her sleepy blue eyes show up.
“Are we there?” she asks while looking around the cabin for clues.
“We’re there. We’d better get straightened up for the walk.” The walk is one of the most important parts of our job. Our two hundred and five passengers need to see two, well dressed, obviously competent and alert pilots exit the cockpit. The hardest, and most important part is, of course, the looking alert part. We splash our faces at the sink in the pilot’s restroom and straighten each other’s ties.
“It’s Showtime!” Sally steps out of our private exit and onto a conveyance ribbon reserved for pilots. We are “on display” but kept apart from the mere humans. Our ribbon takes us directly to the pilot’s transporter while the passengers are dumped off with the options of several transporter rooms or a view of Earth from the observation deck, all but a few of the two hundred and five crowd into the transporter rooms.