0231: Finding Phobos
“He’s working on the…I think he called them ‘subgravity inversion nodes.’ If you hook a left and head into the bowels, you’ll probably run into him eventually.”
Ed stalked away, his hunched shoulders clearly communicating that it would be unwise for Lamont to continue following him. Glancing through the large windows that looked out into the corridor, he noticed the distinctive horn-rimmed glasses worn by Penelope Lane. He jogged out into the corridor to intercept her.
“Mr. Townsend!” The young engineer greeted him enthusiastically. The pressing circumstances didn’t appear to have put a damper on her unwavering cheerfulness. “Did Rosemary come back with you?”
“Rosemary’s back,” Lamont confirmed. “She’s alright, but exhausted. She’s back in her quarters now, getting some rest. At least, presumably it’s her quarters.”
The smile on Penelope’s face remained steadfast, but her eyes momentarily went blank with perplexity. “What do you mean?” She asked.
“Forget it,” Lamont said, waving his hand. “Talking to Spratt made me feel uncharitable in the extreme. Look, do you know where I can find Phobos?”
“You bet,” nodded Penelope, who pushed her glasses up on the bridge of her nose before pointing her finger toward the starboard end of the corridor. “He’s working on the…I think he called them ‘subgravity inversion nodes.’ If you hook a left and head into the bowels, you’ll probably run into him eventually.”
“The bowels,” Lamont grumbled to himself as he followed the engineer’s instructions and headed down the corridor. At the end of it was the starboard lift, an emergency access ladder, and a door to his right, in the direction of the ship’s fore. On his left was an open threshold kitty-cornered behind the ladder that had a non-rectangular shape, tapering toward the top. There was a set of stairs beyond it that curved aft before disappearing from view. Beside the door was a label consisting of a single symbol—a geometric motif of an optical illusion, a shape that could be drawn in two dimensions but not actually modeled in three. This indicated an area of the ship that was all but exclusively the domain of Phobos, a place where a human crew member would rarely have occasion to visit, unless they wanted to speak to the Martian. Lamont took a deep breath and straightened his suspenders. He had only been in the bowels twice during his time on Westward, and it wasn’t an enjoyable prospect. The place was disorienting enough when he was well-rested.
Ducking around the access ladder, he began to descend the staircase, hoping that Phobos wasn’t too far inside.