Planets: The Sun

January 3, 3560

Elsa mentioned to me this "morning" that perhaps the log is meant to be more about what happens, here on this ship, rather than what is, meaning a list of static facts.  Only, I don't think there is anything that's been happening.  We stare at instruments in shifts, marking our time by the Earth clock we snuck aboard.  (There's no reason to keep it a secret now.  It's not like anyone can take it away from us.)  Maybe something will happen eventually, but for now, I really think it's more useful to provide some background.  When things do happen, as I'm sure they will, whoever's writing about it can just dive straight in, without having to explain all these things like who we are and why we're here.

So unless you all want a detailed record of what each person eats and how long we sleep, I think I'll go back to profiling my shipmates.

Starting with Elsa DeWitt, of course.

Like I said before, I don't dislike anyone aboard, but I think Elsa and I don't get along very well generally.  She tends to be rather critical of things, in my opinion.  She always has very fixed ideas about the way things should be, and she'll express them freely.  Just like the way she tried to tell me how to write this log.  But she can do it the way she likes, and I'll do it the way I like.  I guess the way we don't get along is because I tend to be rebellious like that.

But Elsa has her good points, too, of course.  Since she has such a clear vision of what she wants, she's good at managing people.  We're all hard-working and know what needs to be done, but she can keep us from colliding, if nothing else.  Sometimes there are disadvantages to the fact that we're all well-trained in the same things.  In some ways, Elsa senses the tiny differences between us and pushes that along so we actually begin to specialize.  I just think she could do it in a less overbearing, more pleasant manner.

You can also tell how vision-driven Elsa is in the way she solves problems.  She starts out with the goal in mind, what she knows is correct or should work, and she'll follow it whereever it leads her without letting go.  Yesterday I said Heinrich just goes straight ahead through any barrier.  Elsa's somewhat different.  In some ways, you could say that Heinrich doesn't really know what problem he's solving until he solves it.  If Elsa finds a difficulty, it's almost as if, by believing it's not supposed to be there, she wills it away or to one side.  Because her idea is meant to work, and thus such an obstacle shouldn't exist.  Maybe you're skeptical of how my analogy actually works in real problem-solving, but I don't know a better way to explain it.

Well, here's a good thing that's come of my writing this log, I guess.  I've discovered that we all have rather different approaches to solving problems.  I wonder if that was an intentional thing that our instructors or supervisors somehow managed to put into us, one way or another.  We don't remember when we were really young, so maybe we haven't always been trained together in a group.  Or maybe it's genetic.  Anyway, I doubt we'll ever have an answer.

So now that I don't have any anecdotes to cue me on who I should talk about next, I guess I'll pick at random.  Let's talk about Carlos Ramirez, maybe because his shift is after mine on the current schedule.

Carlos is very laid back and fun-loving.  I guess sometimes he and Elsa don't get along very well either.  He tends to laugh at her seriousness.  He thinks she's too prim and proper.  Carlos prefers to let things happen or be as they will.  He's good at lightening the mood, and he "works well with others", as our evaluations always said.  Even if Elsa tells him what to do, after he mocks her for it, he'll still shrug and grin and do it.  He just doesn't want to make a big deal out of anything.

Which isn't to say he gives up easily, either.  His problem-solving style is more just to try whatever he can think of.  It's just as non-linear as Pierre's methods, but more haphazard in a way.  It doesn't necessarily work less often, though.  I think it's more that Carlos throws out lots of ideas and tests them through action, whereas Pierre probably comes up with just as many ideas but verifies them in thought before saying anything.  That's why Carlos can be more helpful in a group, too.  He'll brainstorm, and then we can help him sort through the results.  Pierre is more the type to just sit quietly without contributing until he actually has the entire solution by himself.

Anyway, I'm starting to talk more about Pierre than about Carlos.  Since he's so random himself, Carlos is always open to new things and will consider them all carefully.  We all have our crazy ideas once in a while, and Carlos is the one to consult about them.  He's used to them, so he'll immediately see the thin tenuous thread that links it back to whatever problem, and he knows just how to tug on it until we know whether it pulled up anything useful or if it snapped.

Are you sick of my metaphors yet?  Fortunately, I think my time's up again.  Well, including myself, you know half of us now, assuming you didn't already.  We're also half way to Mercury.  It's going to be interesting, to meet people who are probably quite different from those we've grown up with.  I don't know how much of an opportunity we're going to get to explore the colony or anything.  We might just end up talking with a few ambassadors and leaving after our ship has been maintenanced.  But either way, it will be an experience no Solarian has had in over five hundred years.  That will be something to write about, I'm sure.

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