February 07, 2017
TO: Shane Kimbrough, Commander, International Space Station
FROM: Zeb Scoville, Flight Director, Johnson Space Center, Houston
Subject: Upcoming briefing for Andrei Borisenko, Sergey Ryzhikov, Thomas Pesquet, Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy
cc: Robert M. Lightfoot, Acting Administrator, NASA
Shane, I wanted to get the end-of-mission memo out before reveille this a.m. so you would have a heads-up before you get too deep into the colloidal molecule experiment mid-morning. (And by the way, big fat A-plus on that meteor composition determination last Tuesday! They”re still talking about it down at the Brewhouse over in Webster. Yeah yeah yeah, I know, I said I was switching over to Boondoggle’s in El Lago, but the microgravity boys from Geneva were in town and you know how they like Lisa.)
Also, tell Andrei amazing spit-and-bubble-gum job fixing the fuel intake valve on the Soyuz MS-02. I see it’s greenlit and docked up for the trip back home to Baikonur scheduled for 1427 hours on the 9th.
Okay, here’s the deal. Andrei, Sergey, and Oleg won”t be too surprised by the contents of this memo because they”re used to stuff like this. I remember that night with the vodka shots at Khrunichev, they were telling the story about the time nobody could find Yeltsin and so they scrubbed the mission. LOL! Different world, right?
But Peggy might be upset about some of this stuff”so I wanted to tell you first.
Oh yeah, and Thomas”somebody has to tell Thomas. Well, Thomas is French, so who the fuck cares?
I”m gonna be straight with you, Shane. You guys have been up there for a while, and it’s part of our mission to make sure you have a soft landing. You know those orthostatic intolerance tests we do when you come home all wobbly-kneed and you can”t even get up out of your chair to piss and so we pump you up with the super-meds from Walter Reed?
Well, this time it’s worse.
Things have been happening down here, Shane. You”re not ready for it. We don”t have a protocol for it.
On November 8th we had an election, and then January 20th the new guy took over, and the reason you guys had that four-minute gap in the Super Bowl uplink is that we didn”t really want you to be exposed to any of the fallout while you were using the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.
The bottom line is that the new guy writes up these Executive Orders every day. I”ve never really dealt with a Commander-in-Chief who can spit “em out this fast, but as I said, talk to Andrei, Sergey, and Oleg, they know the system. As of yesterday at noon, there were 36,000 new Presidential Executive Orders, so I can”t be specific about every single one, but I wanted you to be aware of just a few that could cause hyperventilation and/or decompression sickness when those nitrogen bubbles start popping in your capillaries.
Let’s start with the easy ones. Executive Order 12347 authorized a 2,000-volt electrified fence to be installed along two miles of the Mexican border near Lukeville, Arizona. The first week after activation it killed 27 feral javelina hogs, angering environmentalists, as well as electrocuting two elderly tourists from Bemidji, Minnesota, who were driving a 1997 Winnebago Rialta towing a 12-foot pop-up camper lift. The dead tourists prompted an outcry from the business council of Puerto PeÃ±asco, Mexico, where RV parks account for 80 percent of the economy, but POTUS responded, “Tired of exporting geriatrics to foreign countries! Madness! Fleeing snowbirds will be fried!” Fortunately the Mexican side of the fence was put to use as a quick-roast blackened-seafood grill serving al fresco diners trucked in from Taqueria Lupita in Sonoyta, Sonora.
You guys actually might like Executive Order 27495. The CIA has been downsized, meaning we”ll have no more of those annoying debriefings every time you cross into Canada to play the slots at Casino Niagara. The ops center at Langley has been moved to Bend, Oregon, to save money, and after massive layoffs, there are a total of 10 agents worldwide. We don”t have to worry about it, because none of them are at Baikonur and the one spook in Houston was sacked for writing an email to Edward Snowden in 2004.
Executive Order 33449 makes the state of Vermont illegal. Current plans are to sell it to the province of Quebec, but that deal is permanently delayed due to disagreements over the sale price. No problem for us as we have no astronauts, cosmonauts, or Euronauts with Ben & Jerry ties.
According to Executive Order 47996, currently being challenged in federal court by the City Council of Hamtramck, Michigan, Muslims are no longer allowed to drive or own pets. This is part of the larger Bomb-Delivery Suppression Initiative that makes it illegal to own a Sony PlayStation 4 unless it includes the government-vetted shooter game Martyr Factory: The New Order.
Now. I want you to take Peggy aside on this next one. Executive Order 23749, further clarified in Executive Orders 23750″23852, makes it illegal for married women to work and/or “shoot off their mouth while I”m talking.” Peggy is from Iowa and went to school in Texas, so she”ll understand the atmosphere, but I want you to let her know that we already went to bat for her. General Borden took it all the way to the NSC, pointing out that she holds the world record for number of hours served in space by a woman, but what he got back was “Right. Number of hours by a woman, hardy har har.” Do me a favor and don”t mention this to her while she’s anywhere near the atomization project in the Japanese Experimental Module because I don”t want any Aliens crap going on up there while I”m in charge.
Okay, Shane, I”m really stalling on this one. What I really need to tell you about is the immediate effect of Executive Order 57999, “Pertaining to the International Space Station Operating Budget.”
I think I need to quote the Executive Order in its entirety:
Climate-change crazies floating around in space? Been there, done that. WHO PAYS? Taking care of it!
Unfortunately, General Borden left office on January 20th, so Acting Administrator Lightfoot had to go puzzle it out with aides to POTUS.
The overall result is that we”ve been privatized.
I quote from the clarification letter:
No United States government funds may be spent on the International Space Station until and unless Roscosmos and the European Space Agency pay an estimated $474 billion in back payments for use of the Johnson Space Center, Cape Canaveral, and other U.S. facilities at a disadvantage to American taxpayers. POTUS believes that all vehicles sent into space should be self-sustaining and profit-oriented. From now on the Space Station must find ways to pay for its own operations, like any other airline.
You probably have the same question that I had when I got this: How much time do we have?
Shane, these guys are different.
I don”t know how to tell you this.
We don”t have any time at all.
No flights until we find a way to sell a product or service or otherwise create income.
You guys aren”t coming home on the 9th.