Here is a scene that’s been floating around in my mind for a couple of years. It’s completely unconnected to anything else and I don’t think I will ever turn it into a complete story. That said, I think can be a fun exercise to actually write it down, and perhaps someone out there will enjoy reading it.

Lieutenant Wakefield entered the control room and took up her position at the communications station. From her position she could overview the entire room, and as she let her eyes sweep from left to right she could that the rest of her team was already in position at their designated stations. She checked her watch, it showed 6:51 am. “Alright people, nine minutes until go time,” she announced, “beginning pre-startup checks.” She looked up from her terminal to the two large monitors in front of her, both were completely black. She called out to Sergeant Hicks and the two specialists sitting in front of them.
“Camera team report.”
“Camera team ready ma’am.”
“Good. Camera one, status?”
“Camera one, shutter closed, system nominal.”
“Camera two, status?”
“Camera two, shutter closed, system nominal.”
“Camera synch, status?”
“Cameras are synched on black, all readings nominal.”

She noted the camera status as ‘ready’ in her checklist then turned to her left and addressed the man wearing big headphones sitting in front of a computer terminal.
“Corporal Johnston, report.”
“Microphones ready ma’am”
“Left side microphone, status?”
“Microphone is running, currently only picking up white noise at less than 30 decibel”

Wakefield made a quick note in her checklist then turned to the woman sitting at a computer terminal on the right side of the room.
“Specialist Bakhshi?”
“Yes ma’am?”
“Right side microphone status?”
“Same as left side ma’am, microphone is running and picking up white noise at 30 decibel.”
“Thank you.”

She checked off microphones on the list then turned around to face the woman behind her.
“Corporal Huang, chemical sensor status?”
“Primary sensor is nominal. Airborne sensor is running but one of the intakes is blocked.”
“Can we get it fixed?”
“No ma’am, clearing the obstruction requires manual intervention which is only possible after full system startup.”

Lieutenant Wakefield noted down obstructed air intake in her checklist then picked up the phone and pressed the button for contacting central command.
“Central, this is Sensor Cluster.”
“Go ahead sensor cluster.”
“Sensor checklist complete. Cameras and microphones are nominal and ready for startup. Chemical sensors are running but air intake for secondary sensor is obstructed. My team informs me that the obstruction can only be removed after full system startup. Over.”
“Obstruction is noted. We will add clearing of air intakes into post startup routine. Full system startup in three minutes and counting, be ready for audio signal. Over.”
“Roger that, sensor cluster out.”
“Central out.”

She put down the phone and looked around the room, everybody in her team looked ready. “Two minutes until full startup,” she announced, “Johnston and Bakhshi, be ready for the audio signal” The two microphone operators replied in the affirmative. The whole team waited in silence until Johnston announced “I have a loud repetitive beeping ma’am.” “That’s the signal,” Wakefield answered, “route it straight to central command. Sergeant Hicks, open the shutters.” “Yes ma’am,” came the answer and a moment later both monitors at the front of the room showed a large field of dark grey with a few streaks of light across it. The whole room lurched and Wakefield had to hold on to her console to not fall over, then the blurry image of a hand holding a smartphone showed up across the screens. “Hicks, get that image fixed,” Wakefield commanded. “Working on it,” he replied, “camera two refocus.” The operator for camera two made some adjustment and the image became clear. They could see a finger sweeping across the phone screen and a moment later Bakhshi reported that the beeping had stopped.

Wakefield’s telephone buzzed and she picked it up with “Sensor Cluster here, send it.” She listened for a couple of seconds, replied “Roger, Sensor Cluster out,” then put the phone down. “Hicks, reroute the feed straight to piloting,” she called out and Sergeant Hicks replied with a quick “Roger.” There was another lurch as the room moved, the outside world seeping past on the two screens, before everything stabilized. They could then see through the cameras, the images much smoother now, how they were moving through a dark room and into a corridor. “We’ve got footsteps, sounds like our own” Corporal Johnston reported. Wakefield noted it down without further comment. “How the hell do the pilots navigate in this,” Hicks commented, “There’s barely any light at all.” “Dead reckoning,” Wakefield replied, “Central has the complete map recorded in the memory banks.” They briefly saw a hand come up on the screens, reach out and turn a door handle. “We’ve go a click,” Johnston reported. Moments later the room filled with a bright light that made everyone’s eyes hurt. “Compensate!” Sergeant Hicks shouted and a moment later the light diminished to an acceptable level.

A giant face suddenly loomed in front of the screens. “Holy shit!” one of the camera operators exclaimed. “Relax,” the other operator said, pointing to a laminated instruction card, “that’s just us, we must be right in front of a mirror.” Wakefield’s telephone buzzed again and she picked up the receiver. “Sensor Cluster, this is Central,” came the voice on the line.
“Go ahead Central.”
“Prepare for face wash, over.”
She signaled Hicks to close the shutters and when the screens went black she replied “preparation complete, over.” A couple of seconds passed then the voice came back saying “Face wash complete, Central out.” She once again signaled Hicks to reopen the shutters and the screens came back to life. She then lifted the phone receiver again.
“Motor Control, this is Sensor Cluster.”
“Send it.”
“We have an obstruction on the chemical sensor air intake. Requesting your help to clear it, over.”
“Request granted, Motor Control out.”
They saw a large hand coming up towards the cameras but it landed just below at the edge of the screen. There was a short pause then specialist Bakhshi reported a loud rush of air. Wakefield made a note of it then turned to Corporal Huang. “Is the obstruction cleared?” “Yes ma’am,” Huang replied, “all readings nominal.” Wakefield lifted the phone receiver once more.
“Central, this is Sensor Cluster.”
“Go ahead sensor cluster.”
“Obstruction in Chemical sensor air intake has been clear, all readings nominal. Sensor cluster out.”
“Understood, Central out.”

When she put the phone down Sergeant Hicks turned to her. “Ma’am, there seems to be some kind of slime on the right side lens.” She looked up at the right side screen, “I can’t see anything.” “It’s nearly transparent,” he replied, “It’s fine for the most part but we won’t get a 100% clear image unless it’s cleared.” She took a couple of steps forward and looked more closely. “I can see it now, alright, we’ll get that sorted out.” She stepped back to her console then picked up the phone again.
“Motor Control, this is Sensor Cluster.”
“Send it.”
“Requesting your help with some more sensor maintenance, over.”
“Interrogative, what can we do for you?”
“There is some kind of slime on the right side camera lens. We need you to clear it, over.”
“Sounds like precision work, we will need access to the image feed, over.”
“Roger that, Sensor Cluster out.”
She put down the phone then turned to Hicks and told him to route the feed straight to motion control. Some moments later the room started moving forward until both cameras were zoomed in on the the right eye of the giant face in the mirror. A finger came up and the right screen went black but they could see on the left side how the finger pulled the slime down to the edge of the eye. “Slime cleared, image quality 100%,” the operator for the right side camera announced.

By now I think it’s clear to anyone reading this that I’m trying to describe a person’s morning routine as if he/she is a giant robot operated by little soldiers. It was a fun little scenario to write but there’s not much more to the concept and I feel it will get boring if I keep going so I’m ending it here.