I'm fleshing these scenes out with details drawn from the Navy and/or NASA, but there are a few things I haven't been able to find out, so I would be incredibly grateful for any help you can offer.
1) What does the captain of a ship do on the day it's set to depart?
- If this was the Navy in modern times, would he already be on the ship, or would he have slept at home if he lives nearby?
- If he's not already aboard, how long before they leave would he go aboard? Does he need to talk to anyone before he goes aboard? Security? Senior officers?
- What happens when he boards? Who would he meet first? Where would he go next?
- What are his responsibilities on this day? Does he have to make sure that everything is ready, or would he have done that the night before, or would that be the executive officer's job?
2) Would there be any sort of pomp and circumstance at the start of this sort of mission? Well wishes? Involvement of admiralty/polticians via video link, etc.? Or would they just get underway without too much fuss, except for the swarms of media crews covering the event from a safe vantage point?
Search terms: First I looked up as many different ways of saying 'ship leaving port', 'captain's duties' and 'what a captain does on the day his ship is leaving port' as I could think of. Then I started browsing through military sites and clicking links. I found plenty of info about what enlisted crew would do, but nothing that would really help me with this. I've also looked for information on media coverage of the Apollo missions, Apollo 11, Space Shutttle etc. Then in despair I googled Captain Cook to try and come at it from a completely different angle. I've literally been looking for weeks before I found this wonderful community.
Thank you in advance!
Edit: Thanks everyone! You're awesome. I now have exactly what I needed.