Day 338 – Jupiter’s Children – Part 13

Word count: 714

Henry was stuffing equipment into a bag. Borrowed clothes, outdoor gear, printed files from the lab’s servers. Henry packed as much as he could but as little as he needed.

It was midnight or thereabouts. Henry didn’t have much time though. The sun would be rising soon and Fiona would be awake. Under no circumstances must she be allowed to see what Henry was doing or where he was going. Henry was not sure what would happen if Fiona found out that he was going to the glacier where the fossil was discovered. Perhaps she would try to stop him, maybe even come with him; in either event this was a journey that Henry wanted to make alone.

Transport had already been arranged to take him to the glacier at sunrise. It was a half a day’s journey away from here. Henry had organised it all just after learning of his father’s and Fiona’s affair through old security trackers. As soon as he had learned of that, he needed solid answers. He had had enough of interpretations, old writings and long-forgotten diaries. He needed to know the truth and the only place he envisioned finding it was at this glacier.

Before he left he fired off a message to his wife. It was just a simple text message – he had no idea who might be listening if he had recorded a video. She would be landing on Earth in two days’ time, if all had gone to schedule. Henry could not deny that he was not anxious that he had heard nothing since she left, but the shuttle was frequent. The only worry he had in his mind was that the last crash had turned out to be personally very painful indeed.

Out there in the cold and the ice, Henry had no clue to the truths that were waiting for him. The base itself was largely unmanned. He would be able to enter the base and be able to wander around relatively freely. However, he was certain that someone else would be watching him – through the security systems. Getting around may not be as simple as swiping his access card on the door.

Henry stuffed more things into every available pocket. He stole a few chocolate bars for the journey too. Scared of waking Fiona, he shuffled towards the front door. There was no point in sleeping here tonight. Henry slipped off the lock on the door and slung his backpack over his shoulder, stepping out in the frozen Europan air and gently closing the door behind him.

Making his way through the dark towards the labs was a quiet and solitary journey. There was no one to pass in the streets and there were no lights on in any of the houses along the way. It was eerie. However, as he walked along the road, he started to almost enjoy and feel comfortable with the dark silence. Such was his comfortableness that he was alerted abruptly at the slightest noise; the wind dipping behind and around the buildings; the electrical buzz of a nearby generator and, much later, the curious sound of laughter of a woman and a man running along the street ahead of him. They seemed to appear out of nowhere, but the black engulfed them soon enough. Henry carried on; the lab was not far away now.

He reached it and sat down inside the reception area. No one was going to appear here until morning, by which time he would be gone and no one would be any the wiser that anyone had slept here.
Henry padded a fleece down and made it into a makeshift pillow. He relaxed and lied down on top of it. From here he had a perfect view of the window and the shining stars beyond it. It was a pretty sight to sleep to, even though he had slept underneath these same constellations for all the time he could remember. Tomorrow, though, he would venture to a place few humans could ever say they saw. It was a first for him; to be a discovery of his own home. But other than glaciers and beautiful scenery, Henry knew not of the closely guarded secrets he was likely to discover whilst being there…

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~ by S.G. Mark on September 9, 2012.

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