Here we are with the letter S in the A to Z Challenge. This time, a little bit of a trip away from the main colony. And not everyone is happy. And not all is going well with the colony. Something isn’t right. Find out what it is in this installment.
New Brasilia site
Seventeenth day, twelfth month, third year after colonisation, Ariadne Era (12/17/03 AE)
Hoots and whistles filled the rainforest with a cacophony of sounds as the group of twelve men and women stood around the VTOL aircraft in a small clearing. James Kipchumba shifted his weight from foot to foot while he waited for the team leader to give them instructions. Frank Garner stepped up onto the VTOL stairs and raised his hand to quiet the group.
“Your task here is pretty simple,” said Frank. “We’re going to fan out around a kilometre square area and measure the topography. You have your assigned areas with your partner. There will be six groups. Make sure you coordinate your figures with the data block in the plane. If you run into any wild animals, remember your training. I’ve heard there’s a giant herbivore around here, but it’s rather gentle. But it’s better to be safe. You know what to do.”
Frank stepped down and James turned to his partner, Felicia Gomez. “Well, we have the waterfront,” said James. “Want to check out the beach?”
“Probably more like a swamp there,” said Felicia.
“You’re probably right.”
They ambled through the trees to the west. James found it impossible to see the tops of the tallest trees. The canopy blocked the view of the sky. The darkness didn’t cool the air. It was humid. But as they approached the shore of the great inland sea, a light breeze helped change the atmosphere. It no longer felt like a sauna.
“James,” said Felicia. “Do you ever wonder what happened to the second ship?”
“Why are you asking me now?” he answered.
“Well, it was supposed to arrive by now. It’s kind of strange that we’re doing this after it was supposed to have landed.”
“I guess so. From what I heard, they were going to be delayed, so I think that’s why.”
“My sister is on that ship. I talked to her before we left, and she heard nothing about any delay.” Felicia looked out to the sea which was now coming into view through the mangrove-like swamp. “I don’t think they’re telling us everything.”
“Maybe not, but moping around about it isn’t going to help us get our job done faster. Let’s just get this done and worry about that later, okay?” said James. He put his hand on Felicia’s shoulder. “Look, I’m sorry you haven’t been able to see your sister in so long. I have friends on the other ship, too. But I keep saying to myself that I will see them again. It may not be this year, it may not be next year, but they will come.” He looked Felicia in the eyes. “You’ll see your sister again.”
“Thanks, James.” She sighed. “I wish I could be as optimistic as you.”