Friday, May 22, 2015

Truth in Space, Part 4

Hello, everyone! Here’s the fourth part of my short story, Truth in Space. Catch up with Parts 1, 2, and 3.

Truth in Space Part 4

Warpagram: In flight toward Leos. Will contact upon landing.

Return Warpagram: Stay on target.

October 13, 3021

I agonized over today’s warpagram forever. What was I supposed to say? That I’m feeling nauseous, which I never do in space? That I’ve picked up an extra passenger? Yeah, that would go over well: “Oh, by the way, I’ve picked up the last scientist you sent on this mission. He’s not too happy with you; hope you’re excited to see him!” Despite my sarcasm, I don’t find that the least bit funny. I’m in so much trouble. And then that return warpagram… I’m feeling legitimately ill right now.

Fergus watched me pace for the better part of an hour before he finally asked what was wrong. I think telling me his story the other night wore him out, because he hasn’t said much else to me. Of course, I suppose it would be strange to talk if you’ve gone the past five years without human contact. I find him staring into space sometimes. Other times he looks like he’s seen a ghost. But he doesn’t explain these moments, and I’m not sure I want to ask.

When he asked about my pacing, I gave him my dilemma: the base at Konachi will be expecting a report, but what can I possibly say? After marveling that warpagrams have progressed so far, he suggested I give the minimum facts. After all, they can hardly fault me for brevity when I only have ten words available. Though sending it gave me some breathing room for today (I can only send one per day), it didn’t make me feel any better.

We’re heading toward the planet Leos, which, by all preliminary research, is similar to Earth. No water that we can tell, but with the ability to create water in the lab on a large scale, I doubt the NCSP will be concerned by that. As long as the temperature is manageable and the planet’s surface is solid, they can easily create a protected city. Their biggest requirement is magnetic interference so the base will be hidden from the eastern countries’ instruments.

Fergus hasn’t spoken since he helped me with the warpagram. He knows where we’re headed, and I doubt he approves. Yet he says nothing. I can’t decide if his attention is fully here or not. He sleeps a lot; that’s what he’s doing now, actually. I don’t journal when he’s out here. Even though he’s part of the reason I haven’t burned the pages yet, I’m not sure I want him to know about them. Knowledge is power and that kind of power could get my family and I killed. The journal is a huge liability, but part of me wants to keep it. I feel like Fergus’ story should be told, and I don’t think he’s going to get to tell it himself. I know how these people work. He won’t make it back to civilian life. His mission doesn’t exist publicly; soon enough, neither will he. Having been the one to find him, I may not make it either. And I’m scared.

I just threw up in the sink, violently enough that I was briefly disoriented afterward. But then my situation came rushing back at me in a wave. I don’t know what to do other than complete the mission. And then maybe I can get this story to the right people. And, somehow, maybe it will make up for the destruction I’m enabling.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey, there! I love comments, and I'm always quick to respond. Got something to say?