"No, this isn't a prank, Phil. Do you think I would be a person to ever joke about that?" Of course, Earth didn't believe us. Who would? Phil Peterson, the Blue Team CAPCOM, a good friend of mine, obviously startled enough, left his Comm channel open I heard him pour a cup of coffee and mutter about needing coffee to make sure he was hearing what he thought he was hearing. Impatient, and tired of Phils commentary, I made a scream into the microphone before remembering the Earth-Mars communications time lag. A long and unsuccessful conversation came forth. Luckily, at this position in space, it took only 8 minutes to hear a puzzled, "What are you talking about?" response from Earth. I suppose I should have formulated a logical monologue before attempting to convince MCC of something that I myself could not comprehend. Mission Control was buzzing with activity.
While I was convincing Earth that someone had time-travelled onto the station, Tony and Meola were trying to persuade Gaea to put the babel fish universal translator in her ear. It did not seem that Renaissance women liked futuristic "slime serpents" in their ears.
Gaea had a number of problems with the microgravity. Before long, she started to feel queasy, and I have no qualms about that. Many astronauts, though prepared, usually feel a little sick when they experience microgravity for the first time. No matter what kind of training in airplanes, jets, Vomit Comets or centrifuges, nothing prepares the human body for the first taste of micro-g. For me, I was fortunate, being one of those who adjusted quickly. No doubt my prior flight training aided me in that. In Gaeas case, she has never gone faster than a horse cart!
As she exited the space station hub and into one of the tunnels that lead out of the micro-g section, Gaea felt dizzy with the gravity fluctuations. The Mars Space Station is designed to support both Mars gravity and microgravity conditions, so for a rookie the sudden jolt of gravity was a surprise. As Gaea stepped down the ladder making her way down to the outer deck, gravity took hold of her stomach and the nausea almost caused her to let go of the rungs and fall down the tunnel! Anyway, Gaea used the sanitary facilities only a few times before she felt like a veteran member of the crew. She couldnt stop talking about the laws of gravitation and the orbits of planets that the crew had just taught her.
When everything appeared sorted out, we were extremely tired and thought that a long rest was deserved. But that would not come, at least not for now.
Another rumble permeated through the entire station. And again, the rest of us were completely shocked, especially Gaea. To my knowledge, she never said a word for the rest of the night. My crewmates and I searched every module and couldn't see anything out of order. The final module we checked, the Mukai Biomedical Lab, right there in the corner, floating, we saw a tiny figure under a rustic quilt. It was apparently sleeping in a yellow cloak, its furry little feet sticking out of the covers. A female child, I thought, a very odd-looking child. I tapped her on the shoulder.
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