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Sometimes you just can't hold it in anymore


The following is an archived copy of the Westmont High School Shuttle Mission Disaster of 1998. It was originally written by Branden Frederick and has been reprinted with permission.

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Missing Control - a WMHS Disaster

It's now 6:30, just 1 hour after the 3-day shuttle mission ended. Following is my thoughts and a general idea of what happened to us. First I think I'll start with a description of all the key players. Or you could just cut to the chase. (note: I will refer to Mission Control as Missing Control).


In The Shuttle
-Steve. Hooboy. From fart-fest '98 to 'jettisoning' himself from the shuttle to 'take a crap the size of Carl,' Steve had a lot of things happen to him. First, he was being productive and doing his work. Then (the first night I think) everyone was in the cockpit of the shuttle, and Steve was playing with the sautering iron. He melted some plastic or something, almost burnt the shuttle down, and the fumes made everyone loony. Then him and Rodney started ejecting mass amounts of methane. That was the beginning of the fart-fest. Near the end of the second day, Steve went ballistic for reasons we are still not quite sure of. The following events were not quite clear to us at Missing Control. Steve tore the wires from the TV, so we lost video, then Mandi started weeping because she thought Steve would kill her. Steve was finally calmed later that evening. The next morning at the decent hour of 4:30, Steve opens the shuttle door and leaves. Then basically we just sit around until later. After, he just slept then went home.
-Mandi. She was probably the most sane person in the shuttle. She was in charge of the medical stuff, so she had to meet with the others something like 3 times a day. She almost shitted in her pants (figure of speech) when Steve lost it, and other than that, did her work and didn't make much noise.
-Carl and Ben. I put these two together because they are partners in crime. They started with general subordination: refusing orders, making obscene gestures in the cameras, and turning off various communication devices. Then, by the end of the first night, we get someone in the shuttle telling us at Missing Control that Carl and Ben have eaten all but enough food for one more meal. On the TV monitor, Carl turned the camera towards a cabinet filled with Pop Tarts, and slowly starts eating ALL of them. He had Pop Tart sandwiches, Pop Tart toast, and Pop Tart bathroom utensil. While this is happening, Ben is telling us that there is no food left in the shuttle. By the end of the second night, I came to Missing Control to find that a log, 2 pages long, had been kept of what Carl and Ben had done to Missing Control. When Steve started his antics, we eventually lost all communications to the shuttle. The cockpit TV had its wires torn/cut, the bay TV Carl put the lens cap on, the radio Carl chucked at the counter and smashed, and the computer was not using the Internet in a productive manner. They definitely made the mission much more interesting.
-Rebekha(sp?). We rarely saw Rebekha. Or at least I did. All I know of her is that she did her work most of the time, and didn't cause much trouble for Missing Control. Near the end of the mission, I ended up sneaking food into the shuttle so she could eat because Carl and Ben ate everything else.
-Rodney. The captain of the mission was Rodney. He didn't and couldn't do much to keep his crew in check, and the mission ran amuck. Although not directly defying our orders, his incompetence led to many hours of unproductive screwiness. Among the things he lost: vital components to a fifty dollar robot, his food supply, his vanity, control of his crew, parts of the satellite, and a connection to the outside world.

At Missing Control:
-Justin. He was CapCom for the bulk of the mission. Besides the occasional (very occasional) witty remark, he was boring and did everything according to the book. He was also one of the few people who never really lost it.
-Melissa (with hope she never reads this). Although she seemed to know what she was doing, she seemed to know this a little too well, and there was no thought in her mind that she might ever be wrong. Besides threatening Missing Control with removal of sexual organs in not-so-pretty ways, she was also loud, obnoxious, and controlling.
-Brad. The first night, Brad was okay. But then, everyone was okay with the exception of Lindsey. But the second night, Brad, in his sleep deprived self, lost it. He repeatedly wapped me with a pillow. For those of you who don't know Brad very well, he wears teal shirts 360 days a year, he has a blonde fro, and he can BS a lot when he is tired. You'll here more about Brad when I get to the log.
-Lindsey. This might take a while. I first saw Lindsey working Missing Control at 2:00 Friday morning. Although technically awake, I have my doubts about her being 100% there. I think part of the reason she was like this was because she never left school for the entire shuttle mission. She stayed in the teacher lounge to sleep, and the shuttle room the rest of the time, except for when she went outside. Which was after Steve went ballistic. I think those two are related: I think she blamed herself (explanation later), but Adrian, who has known her 6 years, says it was something else. When she went outside, it was from 2:00 Saturday morning to about 3:30. Apparently, she was thinking (about what?) and wanted to be left alone. At least when she lost it, she did it away from others.
-Jeff. Goodness. Uh, I think the only reason Jeff was there was to get out of class, but that is my opinion. He eventually ended up working, but during the beginning, I think he slept for most of the time.
-Adrian (male). I did not see much of Adrian the first night, but the second night, he was up constantly. He was trying to console Lindsey went she lost it (?), and after that, we just ended walking around the school talking about something that I do not remember because it was a 3:00 in the morning.
-Matt (not Clark). Near the end of the mission he lost it when I used his backpack as a sponge to clean up some coffee on the ground. He didn't get along to good with: Adrian, Lindsey, Rick, Justin, Brad, Jeff, and Melissa. That left me, and he wasn't too happy with me after the coffee incident.
-Rick. He is a veteran of the space shuttle program at our school, and says this year is the worst it has ever been. He knew what he was doing, and didn't get on anyone's nerves. He also was one of the few who didn't lose it. But then, he wasn't there the first day.
-Ms. Carter. She was in charge of the whole thing, and got fed up with Carl and Ben's antics. Other that that, she was cool because she bought Missing Control food.
-Mr. Wilson. He was also in charge of the shuttle, and I don't think he would of cared if we tore the shuttle down. No matter what we did, he just nodded. That was cool, because he woke up in the middle of a food toss between the shuttle and Missing Control.
-Sugar and Caffeine. The core of the whole program.

The log. (good God).
The Launch. All ran smoothly, because no one was cranky, tired, dirty, or angered. The only disturbing thing was the class in session made fun of us (boohoo). No one really knew each other that well, do we pretty much minded our own business.
Thursday day. I wasn't there, but I was told that this was the first report of massive amount of food missing.
Thursday night/Friday morning. This night was serene. I was in charge of Missing Control's computer. Of course, the others had hell with Carl and Ben. I just typed up the schedules and did my work. At about 1:00, my cohorts finally got Carl asleep. Damn. Carl's snoring sounded like jet liners flying overhead, and when he inhaled, we thought they were playing with the B'naca because we heard a loud aerosol container-like sound. Sort of a hissing. But at least he wasn't eating the food. At about 2:00, Lindsey came into shift 2 hours late. She was still tired, but couldn't sleep because of Carl. So she sat in the corner and mumbled occasionally. I just sat at the computer and downloaded warez on the school's partial T1! (Don't worry, it was for educational purposes, and then I deleted most of it). Everything was normal, so I went home and slept at 8:00 am.
Friday night/Saturday day a.k.a. The Chaos Begins. I get in 40 minutes late, and am handed a 1.5 page log of Carl and Ben's antics. Various things on it were the Carl chucked the radio at the counter and smashed it, Carl flipped off Missing Control, Carl mooned Missing Control, Ben and Carl ate all of the food and Rebekha had no food to take with her (allergy?) pill, and so on. Then I walk into the Missing Control HQ and Adrian tells me the motherboard on the computer was smoking earlier. But they called in Brad and now everything was okay. I asked where Brad was, and Adrian told me. I looked, and saw that he and Lindsey were stroking and caressing each other. I intended to ask him about that at the time, but another crisis emerged: Justin had lost any control over what was happing in the shuttle, and he called some sort of meeting for Missing Control. Basically, it was 'decided' that Justin and Rick would enter the HQ with Rebekha's mom and talk to Rebekha in Spanish to try to work against Carl and Ben. We then discovered that Ben could understand Spanish. Mandi and Rebekha were told to hide all the remaining food from Carl and Ben.
Later, Steve emerged from his bunk and told us he couldn't sleep. He started calling Lindsey fuzzy monkey. (Note: Steve has still not seen Brad and Lindsey together and does not know about this). This continued for a while, and I got bored so I focused his camera on Brad and Lindsey stroking each other. He said several rude remarks about Lindsey and Brad, then just Lindsey, and then Freshmen in general. Adrian and Matt took offense at that and started taunting Steve. Steve said he was "this close to tearing out the TV" connection which he had just worked several hours to fix. Adrian said "I dare you to" and Steve did. And thus, the chaos began.
Melissa said that maybe Steve was acting this way because he was jealous of Brad. This did nothing except made Lindsey feel guilty, and eventually she went to be with herself for quite a while. Adrian and Matt felt guilty because they taunted him, and I thought I might be the reason indirectly for fooling around and turning the camera on Brad and Lindsey's carress-fest.
(note at this point: the exact events are sort of murky in my head and they may not be in chronological order. They are also through my perspective from now on, so...)
At this point, Lindsey went outside in the total black, the sky was covered with clouds, the school lights were out, the moon was down, and there was extremely little light. Lindsey had the only flashlight. Adrian followed and I went to the bathroom after having enough of Missing Control. At the bench next to the bathroom, Adrian was consoling a crying Lindsey. Back at Missing Control, I sat in one of the chairs. Matt, Brad and Justin were trying to sleep so I started humming. Brad whapped me with the pillow, so I started wandering around elsewhere. During my hour or so of wandering, I meandered around, talking to a delirious Steve on the headset, looking to see who was sleeping, and just basically keeping tab on everyone else because there was nothing else to do. After that, Adrian and I talked outside the Missing Control room about Lindsey, and Jeff interrupted. Then we all went inside to decide what to do about Steve. The meeting go boring, so I went outside.
Outside, I saw Lindsey walking back to Missing Control. She was maybe about 20 or 30 feet behind me, so I went in to tell the others. I told them, and after she didn't walk in in 3 minutes, we went outside again to see where she was. We looked around, and could not find her. Matt, Jeff, and Adrian accused me of seeing ghosts, but after a 10 minute search I saw Lindsey's silhouette(sp?) against the glow from the streetlamp. Adrian went to talk to her again, and the rest of wandered back inside. Adrian came back inside after a few minutes, and we just sat there with nothing to do.
Later, I decided to take a walk around the dark school. Although at first I was going to take it by myself, Adrian asked if he could join and I said yes, then Jeff joined as well. During the walk Jeff tried to set fire to Adrian's jacket. When we got back, Melissa was escorting Lindsey to bed and Brad was still trying to console Steve. Bored to hell, I sat on top of one of the drafting tables waiting for something to happen. I'm not quite sure what happened next, but the next thing I remember is getting annoyed at Mr. Wilson's snoring. Looking around, I was the only one left in the room; everyone else with the exception of Rick and Jeff were in the teacher lounge next door. I grabbed the last bag of Chex Mix and walked over to the shuttle to see what was happening. I (against the rules) opened the door to the shuttle to talk with whoever was there. Rebekha stuck her head out to see what the commotion was and asked for my bag of Chex Mix. I gave it to her, and came back later with some potato chips to give them. I found Steve packing his bags and asked him what he was doing. He told me he was leaving the shuttle no matter what the teachers said because he was pissed at all of his crew except Mandi. The first thing he did was "take a shit the size of Carl." Steve and I talked for about 1 hour, then Megan and her boyfriend showed up. Others were beginning to wake as well, and we were talking. Then Brad's mom showed up. After, Steve went into the next room to sleep. I followed him. We were only there for a few minutes when the school's fire alarm went off. Everyone except those who were in the shuttle met outside in confusion. We couldn't see any smoke, so we just ended up talking. 10 minutes later, we see 3 fire trucks racing down the street toward our school. Brad's mom, Mr. Wilson, and I went to the firemen to see what they were doing. Apparently, the fire alarm was still on in the portables. We searched for smoke, but couldn't find any.
I got back, and Brad, Lindsey, and Steve were talking along the wall. Melissa was pissed at me after I said she was the opposite of quiet and serenity, so I sat there too. I don't think my presence was very welcome because almost as soon as I sat down, everyone else got up. They went into the Missing Control room so I went into the teacher lounge and was trying to sleep. A short while later I was informed that Ms. Carter was back and was very pissed. I was almost falling asleep when Lindsey came and told me something very insignificant. She asked me to go out of the room, and in a serious tone told me that the shuttle crew was missing a few pieces from the robot arm, but they were looking for them. I gave up on sleeping and went into the Missing Control room. Luckily, she wasn't very pissed at me. Lindsey and Adrian's friend visited, and we started talking too loud and Ms. Carter asked us to leave. Then we went into teacher lounge and talked. I was getting tired, so I went back to the other room to sleep.
After 10 minutes, I remember being asleep and someone calling my name, and me thinking I don't want to wake up. They kept on calling, and I woke up. Then, they asked me in a serious tone if I had any batteries for the walkman. I said no. I was getting pissed. I couldn't get any sleep. I went back to the table and tried to sleep some more to find Steve and Lindsey sleeping were I just was. I probably would of gotten mad, but I was too tired. I went back to the lounge to sleep. After a few minutes of being in there, Adrian and Lindsey come in and sit on the couch next to me and start yakking. I figured: to hell with sleeping, so I joined in their conversation. After they left, I fell asleep.
I was awoken rudely but Brad, Lindsey, and Steve talking loudly. It turns out I had slept for about 4 hours. The first thing I see when I open my eyes is Brad and Lindsey (let's guess...) stroking each other. This confused me because when I fell asleep, Brad and Steve had left. I eventually just got up and went back to Missing Control. Ms. Carter promptly hands me a script and says I am doing the role of Public Affairs Officer. Lindsey is freaking out because she is CapCom and has no idea what to do, so she gets Melissa to help. Help is a strong word. As I sat by the outside of the door, Brad and Lindsey were hanging over me like vultures (still stroking each other) reading the script. Melissa just ended up doing the whole thing for Lindsey. From that point on, I was too tired to do much of anything, let alone remember much.

And this concludes my sloppily written portrayal of the Wastemont Shuttle Mission 98. Overall, I'd say the mission was a failure. But it sure was interesting and fun.

All content copyright (C) 1996-2000 Branden Frederick.