No Response from Monitor 23

Topics: Licensed Professional Counselor, Knitting, Stress Pages: 5 (1647 words) Published: November 7, 2013
Case 9.1: No Response from Monitor 23 (assignment source article). LOUDSPEAKER: IGNITION MINUS 45 MINUTES...
Paul Keller tripped the sequence switches at control monitor 23 in accordance with the countdown instruction just to his left. All hydraulic systems were functioniing normally in the second stage of the spacecraft booster point 1 minus 45. Keller automatically snapped master control switch to GREEN and knew that his electronic impulse along with hundreds of others from similar consoles within the Cape Canaveral complex signaled continuation of the countdown.

Free momentarily from data input, Keller leaned back in his chair, stretched his arms above his head, and then rubbed the back of his neck. The monitor lights on console 23 glowed routinely.
It used to be an incredible challenge, fantastically interesting work at the very fringe of man's knowledge about hmself and his universe. Keller recalled his first day in Brevard County, Florida, with his wife and young daughter. How happy they were that day. Here was the future, the good life... forever. And Keller was going to be part of that fantastic, utopian future. LOUDSPEAKER: IGNITION MINUS 35 MINUTES...

Keller panicked! His mind had wandered momentarily, and he lost his place in the countdown instructions. Seconds later he found the correct place and tripped the proper sequence of switches for checkpoint 1 minus 35. No problem. Keller snapped master control to GREEN and wiped his brow. He knew he was late reporting and would hear about it later.

Damn! he thought, I used to know countdown cold for seven systems monitors without countdown instructions. But now... you're slipping keller... you're slipping, he thought. Shaking his head, Keller reassured himself that he was overly tired today... just tired. LOUDSPEAKER: IGNITION MINUS 30 MINUTES...

Keller completed the reporting sequence for checkpoint 1 minus 30, took one long last drag on his cigarette, and squashed it out in the crowded ashtray. Utopia? Hell, it was one big rat race and getting bigger all the time. Keller recalled how he once naively felt that his problems with Naomi would disappear after they left Minneapolis and came to the Cape with the space program. Now, 10,000 arguments later, Keller knew there was no escape.

Only one can of beer left, Naomi? One stinking lousy can of beer, cold lunchmeat, and potato salad? Is that all a man gets after 12 hours of mental exhaustion?
Oh, shut up, Paul! I'm so sick of you playing Mr. Important. You get leftovers because I never know when you're coming home... your daughter hardly knows you... and you treat us like nobodies... incidental to your great personal contribution to the Space Age.

Don't knock it, Naomi. That job is plenty important to me, to the Team, and it gets you everything you've ever wanted... more! Between this house and the boat, we're up to our ears in debt.
Not don't try to pin our money problems on me, Paul Keller. You're the one who has to have all the same goodies as the scientists earning twice your salary. Face it, Paul. You're just a button-pushing technician regardless of how fancy a title they give you. You can be replaced, Paul. You can be replaced by any S.O.B. who can read and punch buttons. LOUDSPEAKER: IGNITION MINUS 25 MINUTES...

A red light blinked ominously indicating a potential hydraulic fluid leak in subsystem seven of stage two. Keller felt his heartbeat and pulse rate increase. Rule 1... report malfunction immediately and stop the count. Keller punched POTENTIAL ABORT on the master control. LOUDSPEAKER: THE COUNT IS STOPPED AT IGNITION MINUS 24 MINUTES 17 SECONDS... Keller fumbled with the countdown instructions. Any POTENTIAL ABORT required a cross-check to separate an actual malfunction from sporadic signal error. Keller began to perspire nervously as he initiated standard cross-check procedures.

"Monitor 23, this is Control. Have you got an actual abort, Paul?" The voice in the headset was cool, but...
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