The only issue I have with using written instructions is that it is time consuming for the operator, by the point of space travel I would have thought they would have need/use of quicker input than pen and paper. Keyboard at the very least no?
If you wanted a pen and paper type deal an idea could be to have a mirror image of the monitors below where the operators sit (though this mirror image would be quite a bit smaller) where depending on which “monitor” they wrote on it would affect the actual thing.
At this point I assume they would have their own ‘language’ so to speak in which to write on these ‘pads’.
They don’t even have to show what is on the big monitors, just simple representations of which monitor they are working on.
Or if you still wanted to go the paper route, at the very least have them type out what they want on paper and then feed that in to the machine. Or just have the whole thing automated so to speak.
Where you have your keyboard/type writer type thing, as you type paper is being fed through it and into the monitor (or where ever it goes) So that there is no manual feeding involved, but you can still see what is being fed in to the machines.
Or you could just set it up ATM style, or ABM if you prefer (Automated Banking/Teller Machines) where you have buttons at the side of the screen for whichever action you want to take.
I dunno… Just some ideas. But things are looking quite nice. A question though, would the other pods be filled with liquid still? or rather will they? I ask simply because I would have thought they died because of some error in keeping and/or (as I think you said) the pods broke open, so all the liquid would be drained.
I vote in the next scene being where he would logically go next… The hallway! (seriously though that could be creepy, have some broken paneling and vents and such, maybe with a few skeletons strewn about for good measure)