There's a tingling in my spine as we come in to view of Eris properly for the first time; I figure it's awe but it lasts a little too long and I realise I haven't taken my pill in sixteen hours. I pop one of the gravy coloured things in my mouth and it burns like sulphuric acid going down, but it's preferable to losing motor control.
"Beautiful, ain't she?" Cam asks. He places his hands on his hips triumphantly as if he flew us here on his back. "Xena, the largest dwarf planet." He always calls her Xena, despite her official designation of 136199 Eris.
"Cam, Xena is a character from a TV show." I remind him for what seems like the hundredth time.
"And Pluto is a cartoon dog. What's your point?" He strains himself to put his hand on my shoulder. "Now, Drew, we'd better go buckle up, hadn't we?"
I'm surprised to see the control room empty when we get there; I had expected everyone to be in here for the landing. In the far corner I spot Ember, hidden behind his control panel. He's already strapped himself in and is mumbling something under his breath as he clutches his cross. Men of science and men of God: that was a Venn diagram that didn't have much of an intersection these days. I sit down at my bay and fumble with the straps.
"Here, allow me." Grace says, suddenly standing over me. He's got the hair of a rock star and the five o'clock shadow of an alcoholic but he's a nice enough guy. He effortlessly does my straps.
"Something tells me you have way too much practice at this." I say with a smile; he gives me a knowing wink and walks over to his bay. The large display which acts as the ships front windscreen finally flickers into life and my vision is full of the grey mass that is Eris.
It would be easy enough for a layman to mistake the image for Earth's moon, the place our little ship set off from, considering the colour and many craters. However, the surface of Eris isn't rock, but methane which is lucky for us considering we don't have enough fuel for a return journey.
"Hey, what are you doing? You figure since we're closer to him, God might answer you for once?" Cam asks when he finally notices Ember praying. I questioned the logic of a mission involving a Christian geologist and a militant atheist rocket pilot but the powers that be overruled me. I think they did it deliberately just to mess with us.
"If you must know I was praying to God for us to land safely." Ember says softly.
"There's only one God aboard this ship and that's me." Cam replies, attaching his harness to his suit. Unlike everyone else in the history of the space program, Cam Prone was the only person who stood up during lift off and touchdown, using harnesses which held him in place. If I were medically inclined I could probably point out just how bad that must be for his spine, but I'm not so I can only guess.
There was a low rumble, that's how re-entry always started. No, not re-entry, entry; we are the first people to ever land here. A hundred and fifty years since our first probe landed successfully on mars in 1971 we're finally exploring further out into our poorly defined solar system.
"We're just sailors of the universe, making land on unknown shores." Grace said in wonder.
"Land ahoy!" Cam bellowed and the ship shook violently.