Day 283 – Jupiter’s Children – Part 7

Hello humans, 

 

Steph is still in Switzerland or Germania or somewhere, where they haven’t invented the internet yet. As soon as they get around to inventing it (or she comes home) she will fill in today’s story here. Stand by. 

 

Yours,

Hides His Eyes  -_-

Shouldn’t normally take this long to copy paste!

Henry made his way back to the laboratory through the silent streets. The conference would be taking place soon. He was nervous. He knew that Fiona would be too, but she wouldn’t ever admit it. He got in and they were both sitting glued to a screen.
“Hey guys,” he announced his presence. They both turned around and smiled apprehensively.
“They are dialling in right now,” Tammy said. “This is so weird. What we say is going to be listened to for years to come… it’s going to be in documentaries, taught in schools.”
Henry hadn’t really thought of that. He still getting used to the idea that his name was being associated with this. Now that he thought of it though, he was sure to be labelled as a wannabe trying to get some attention when they find out that he didn’t really have anything much to do with the discovery.
“What are we going to do, say?” Henry asked. It was all so surreal.
“We thought we would host the call here. Right where we made the discovery. The same computer. The same desk.”
“That’s really good,” Henry said, pulling up a chair beside them.
Strange dialling noises and clicking came from the computer.
“They’ve joined.”
Fiona took the lead, “Good evening Houston!”
“Good afternoon Europa! How are you guys holding up?”
“We’re fantastic!”
They had charged up the superfast relays. They were able to speak to each other with only minimal delays.
“We received your report. We cannot tell you how… how monumental this means to the human race. We now know we are no longer alone. We now know that there is something out there – perhaps someone.”
“Thank you sir,” Tammy said.
“We have discussed this with the President and we have already agreed. We are sending a shuttle out immediately to pick you guys up and bring you home to a hero’s welcome. Your names will go down as important as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Alderin.”
“Oh my god, we’re going home!” Tammy screamed with happiness.
Henry’s heart sank. Though that’s exactly where his wife was going to be, that was the one place in the solar system that he didn’t. Nothing on that planet could come to any good. Other than his wife, the only thing he had there was his mother’s grave and he did not want to visit that.
“Guys, there’s not much we can say other than give our massive thanks. There’s going to be a massive solar flare in a few minutes so we can’t keep the relays on for much longer. We’ll be in touch by morning Earth time. Dig out the secret champagne rations and have an excellent night! You guys deserve it! Houston out!”
“Europa out! Thank you guys!”
“We’re going home! I’ll get to see my parents, my sisters!” Tammy squealed. It had been more than a year since her last visit.
Fiona looked like she didn’t know what to do with herself either. She had been here since Henry’s dad was here. They worked together. She remembered him as her bad tempered boss that argued with her about how she wrote her reports.
“I’m going to call them right now – hang on, Fiona. I’ll be back just in time for champagne!”
Tammy ran off in happiness. Henry and Fiona looked at each other.
“It’s been about four years since I was last home,” Fiona began. “Now I’m a divorced old scientist in her forties who has just discovered the first signs of alien life. Fuck you Martin, I did something with my life after all.”
“Martin was always a bastard though.”
“True, but now… what to go back to? Well, you understand, don’t you?”
“I’m not going back. I’m going to stay here. I don’t really belong in the limelight with you guys anyway.”
“I understand, I understand. Even if your wife is there?”
“No. I’m never going back there.”
“Well I guess then we should find this champagne ration that they mentioned? Must be in the logs somewhere! Little buggers in delivery must have been hiding it for themselves!”
“What are you going to do?” Henry asked Fiona. “When you go back I mean?”
“Oh the usual, get drunk in some bar and allow some hunk to take me back to his hotel room.”
Fiona forced herself to laugh, but the sad irony was barely hidden.

It turned out that the delivery boys were stealing the stock of ration champagne. There was however, one bottle which was unearthed and only given willingly when Fiona explained exactly what the occasion was. They returned to the lab and Tammy met them there. The three of them gathered round the window and looked up at Jupiter. Asteroids flew overhead like birds.
“We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?” Fiona began, “First we swam out of the oceans and on to the beaches, then we crawled our way up the trees and swung back down again. Somehow we ventured into cold caves and learned to light fire, make tools, use language, build pyramids, houses, cities, trains, cars and spaceships. Then the light of the stars which had caught our eyes with an auspicious longing crept closer to our hand’s reach and our first steps on the moon were but the first steps to standing here, the first off-world human colony: Europa! What we discovered today is what Europa is all about. So,” she poured each of them a glass of champagne and raised her own, “To this wonderful little impossibility – the next home of mankind… and to our little fossil, Dave, I think we’re going to call him… for showing us that there really is life beyond our self-centred little planet.”
“Europa!” Henry and Tammy chimed together, with Henry silently raising a glass to his father – for all those who didn’t make it all the way…

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~ by S.G. Mark on July 16, 2012.

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