“I’ll say it one more time. Johnson and Carmike are not coming back!” the Director said. “They left the space agency. It’s over. Why are we even having this conversation about them? I can’t believe I will spend my Saturday making a case for us to try luring back two malcontents that have no desire to be part of our mission. What conceivable use do we have for them?”
The Assistant Director said, “They have flight experience and are qualified. They’ve both been to the Moon and done all the things we asked of them.”
“The decision is out of our hands. They left.”
“We need to get them back.”
“I don’t see how,” said the Director.
“Yeah, I know it’s impossible.”
“How does that impact us?”
“To get the crews ready after Mission 7, we must slow down our pace.”
“How slow?” The Director asked.
“We must extend our schedule for Mission 7 by a year.”
“That’s not possible. We must keep flying.”
“I have a solution.”
“What?” asked the Director.
“Change Mission 7 to the Tycho crater, with Jellison and Conner.”
“What about the next mission at the Lunar south pole?”
“We have Annie and Cy MacInturner fly it,” said the Assistant Director.
“You’re suggesting that we put a husband-and-wife team as crew for a Lunar mission?”
“Yeah. They’re the only ones with the experience needed to handle that tough mission.”
“The Assistant Secretary will kill us,” the Director said.
“Then we need Johnson and Carmike back.”
“They’re not coming back.”