Day 303 – Jupiter’s Children – Part 9

Ran out of time on this one! Definitely writing this one as a novel. I’m really enjoying writing it!

Word count:1007 (Oooo James Bond!)

“Computer, search my father’s files for research on extra-terrestrial life.”
Henry surveyed the fossil cautiously, as if it could be reborn at any second. What had his father meant, why cannot this exist? He took the fossil from the diary. It felt odd, not like stone at all. Flicking through the next few pages all he found were scribbled notes scored out far too well to be deciphered. What had happened to his father’s research? What had he found out?

“No files found, Henry,” the computer reported back.
“Can you find the last modified file of my father’s?”
Henry checked the pages before this entry in the diary more carefully.
…. The cold is more than I can bear at times. I cannot wait until they bring the generators, these small scale versions are like throwaway barbeques…. Can’t wait to get back home. I miss Henry so much. I miss Anne…. Looking out this window I can see why I came here. It’s beautiful – immeasurably beautiful – but it’s harsh. The terraforming hasn’t completed here yet. It will take at least another decade. There is no way to describe how seeing Jupiter in the evening makes me feel. As the light from the sun fades and the closest companion you have left is unfathomably huge… there is nothing to match this. I am the first to see this. Every day I am here I feel like the first human to discover a new place, to climb the highest mountains, to venture across new seas and oceans. I am the first, there is no doubt about it. I am here, Fiona is here with me, but between me, the solar system and the galaxy, I am quite alone….

Fiona? Not the same Fiona? Surely not? But Henry knew it to be true. He knew they had worked with each other before he had died; but surely she would have known about his discovery? Why wait two more decades to discover it again? Why hide it? What was going on?

“Last modified file found, playing….Henry, this is for you. This is all for you.”
“Is that it?”
“That completes the modified extract.”
“Modified extract? When was it modified? What did it say previously?”
“Extract modified eight years and four months, two weeks and five days ago. Previous extract read: Fiona, this is for you. This is all for you.”
“Fiona?” Henry was immensely puzzled, “Computer, call Doctor Fiona Norman.”
The dial tone rang throughout the house. Henry didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t even figure out what exactly it was that he was going to ask her.
“Hey Henry, feeling a bit drunk?”
“No, I’ve sobered up.”
“Well best get drinking more!”
“Fiona, did you work closely with my dad?”
“Yeah sometimes, it depended what the project was. Why?”
“I found something. In a diary. You were with him. You were with him at the glacier site.”
“What? I’ve never been to the glacier site – you ordered in the rock samples, remember?”
“It says in the diary – he says you were there.”
“I’m sorry Henry, I wasn’t there. I might not have been the only Fiona around at the time, though.”
This didn’t comfort Henry and he was certainly not comforted by Fiona’s reaction, either.
“My dad found something Fiona. I think you should come over.”
“Listen Henry, it’s kinda late…”
“It’s important.”
Fiona sighed, “In the morning, yeah? Just get some rest, forget about your dad for now. I know how much pain it brings you. Think of the happy times for now.”
Henry conceded that she was not going to be persuaded, “Alright. I’ll call you in the morning.”
The call ended. From her reaction, Henry could tell he had annoyed Fiona. He had not wanted that at all, but her idea of another Fiona at the time bugged him.
“Computer, search the last created file of my father’s.”
“File found,” the computer reported, rather quickly.
“I am being recalled home. It is difficult. I do not want to leave Little Henry. I do not want to leave this place. I do not want to go back home. The grave I left there cuts a wound too deep and I fear that it will open up to draw me in. I wish more than anything to be back with her again, but not like this: not how I think it will end. The council have already decided. My work on Europa will come to an end. Its fate was laid out the second I went to that damned glacier. What lies in there I cannot tell. It is not something human, it is not something alien. It is quite different. It is quite…. Unnatural. It cannot exist. It cannot exist. I have to go now. It is my last night with Henry. I leave in the morning. I do not expect I will see him again.”
Henry felt sick. His throat had seized up at the end. Tears began trickling from his eyes. His dad knew he was going to die. How could he? The ship crashed? It was a malfunction? Why had he not heard this file before? He’d often search up his father’s files and listen to them.
“Computer, why has this file only just been found?”
“This file was created with a time-lock mechanism. It was designed to be hidden and untraceable until twenty-two years after its creation.”
“So that’s the first time it’s been heard, since my father wrote it?”
“That’s correct.”
Henry was replaying the words in his mind. His father visited the glacier, he found a fossil and soon after it seems he was dead, killed by the council, it seemed. Henry couldn’t understand any of it. He couldn’t grasp what his father was trying to tell him. It was all vague. Why couldn’t life on another planet exist, what was in that glacier that made him so terrified as to describe it unnatural and why would the council try and stop him from publishing his work?

~ by S.G. Mark on August 5, 2012.

One Response to “Day 303 – Jupiter’s Children – Part 9”

  1. Wow… you’ve definitely got a good one with this… enjoying it from this end.

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