Thursday, 3 March 2016


“They estimated two months if they were flying the Albatross, but it turns out that they won’t be flying the Albatross. They will be flying a more powerful, technologically superior alien spacecraft they found parked on Mars and learned how to fly. They don’t know the cruising speed of the craft, but Drew told me they wouldn’t be surprised if they were in Earth’s orbit to pick us up in as little time as a month.”
I then sat down with a coffee. The rest of the crew took it to mean that I had finished speaking, and all of them started talking at once. I sat quietly and listened to them. I could not have asked for, or expected, a better reaction from my crew. For the first time since the Nuclear holocaust, I heard tones of excitement, hope, and even optimism in their voices as they spoke. I was truly grateful for that; they were a good crew and they had all become close friends during our time aboard the space station. I marveled at the fact that a small crew we had never met could make such an uplifting difference so quickly to my crew, simply by offering and extending a helping hand across millions of kilometers of space. When I had finished my coffee I stood up and leaned forward to rest on the table with my hands. The crew fell quiet and waited for me to speak. I straightened and started pacing again.
“We will need a twenty-four-hour radio watch in place immediately for when the Albatross calls again. I will stand the first watch; Yelena will spell me in four hours’ time. By then I will have worked out the rest of the schedule and will let the rest of you know when your shifts will take place. In the mean time, you’d better start packing your bags and any of the supplies and other sundries you think we should take with us. This is a full space station evacuation—you all know the drill.”
They quickly left the room to start packing, except Yelena, who remained behind and put her arms around me and hugged me. “I cannot believe it; how on earth did you arrange it?”
“I didn’t have anything to do with it; it was Drew who came up with the idea and pushed for it.”
“What is he like, this Drew?”
“He seems very capable; I’ll bet a pound to a pinch of salt that he was the one who convinced the rest of the Mars crew that a rescue attempt was worth the risk and insisted that he lead it. I’ll bet a year’s salary that he’s the commander of the Mars crew. He is definitely a man who is used to getting his own way.”
“Hmm! I think I know someone like that,” Yelena teased.
I laughed and kissed her,
“Go get some sleep, my love. I’ll see you in four hours.”
I then headed back to the radio room.