THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 77
…Consciousness comes suddenly for Mars’ most beautiful woman. “How long was I out?” …
“Celeste!” He rushes to his wife, who drops like a Mars rock onto the unyielding glossy deck, without outward signs or warning.
The image of all those previous occupants, scattered around like they were stunned by a concussion bomb, is not very reassuring. Only now does he pick up on the well-
aged odor of death, “No not us Cel! Come on baby!”
He is not a doctor but he is the only being, human or otherwise, standing on the Red Planet. It is he who will be checking for a pulse, even with the NASA and United States logos rising and falling across her heaving chest. For one grateful moment, she had not been done in by the same “bug” that had wiped out the previous homeowners.
Her static body slowly begins to writhe, as if awakening from an anesthetic sleep. Sampson leans back, relieved that he did not entice her fate because of his own cavalier lack of caution. She must have fainted, perhaps from the hyper-oxygenated air, yet this is not the first time she has been waylaid by ill winds, the first time coming in Tycho’s airlock.
Consciousness comes suddenly for Mars’ most beautiful woman. “How long was I out?” Has she pinned down the source of her dodgy episodes?
“About 3 Martian Minutes,” he jokes. “You haven’t been your usually steady self lately. Do you have any clues about what is going on, this is starting to scare me?”
Celeste knows enough about her body, an ability that every woman has need of, enough to know that these compounding events are not body-blows or fouled air. Sam’s concern is the outward manifestation of married love, a comfortable yet flattering feeling.
“Are you Sam the Detective or Samuel McKinney M.D.?”
“As a doctor I am a quack, as a detective I am a hack.”
“Well Mister Quack-Hack, I’m going to give both of you a clue: What memorable thing happened on the night of 15 November 2029?”
“In and out of hyper-sleep I guess, about 40 million miles out. Come to think of it, isn’t that when Al the Computer woke us up to tell us that we were passing by some unidentified space probe?”
“Very good,” is her condescending comment to his incomplete recollection, “but what else went on while we were awake?’
“OOOOooooohhh….THAT else! One thing kinda led to another didn’t it?”
“This is your last clue: One thing leads to another and we gave “it” a name.”
THE RETURN TRIP