The hours pass by slowly, but eventually Wendy falls asleep. Though as suddenly as she is asleep she is awakened “Wendy, it is time to wake.”
“What?” She asks, voice muffled by her pillow.
“It is time to wake.”
“What time is it?” Wendy turns over covering her eyes with her arm.
“It is 0700.”
“Why do I need to get up right now?” she groans.
“You must right your sleep schedule, you must awaken. I have prepared breakfast for you.” Wendy sighs and rolls out of bed before padding out to the table and eating the warm mush.
“What do I need to do today?” She asks as she slowly wakes up more and more.
“Today you need to repair the generator shed, examine plant life, and collect samples to send back to command.” Jenny rattles off the list while Wendy just hears “you get to walk on the surface of the planet without all the dust clogging your suit.”
“Wait, how do I collect samples when Jared said not to bring in samples?” Something akin to a laugh comes from the terminal.
“You must get samples on slides or in air tight containers. The plants have been show to wither and die when brought into our air.” Wendy makes a silent oh and finishes eating.
“Well I should get out there.” Jenny hums and Wendy just stares at the terminal for a moment. “What are you doing?”
“Attempting to seem more human, to be a better companion for you.”
“Oh, Ok.” Wendy goes to the air lock and pulls her suit on before closing it. The air is vented and the outer door opens, she steps out and looks around. In an odd way the barren waste land tinted orange is beautiful, though the black plants are still a bit off putting. Carefully she walks to the generator shed with its wrecked wall, she pushes the dirt aside and pulls the door open to inspect the damage; dirt fills part of the small space but the wall held up alright. Slowly she pulls all the dirt out and piles it outside the door, then she pulls the wall panel out and props it up against the wall on the outside.
“I recommend using rocks both inside and out.” Jenny’s voice cuts through the silence, reminding Wendy that the AI is there but trying to be less invasive as per her wishes.
“Thank you Jenny, I’ll do that.” Silence greets her and its more off-putting then it should be. Wendy gathers a multitude of flat rocks and begins stacking them inside the wall then outside, sandwiching the metal between the two piles of rocks. With that done she stands straight and stretches her back making it pop and her groan. “Alright Jenny, I’m moving onto plant life examination.” Wendy looks around and finds a plant close by.
“I am ready to record.” Slowly she walks toward the plant and leans close to it.
“Record, day two. Outside close examination of plant life. Coloring is not black at it appears to be from afar, the color is closer to brown, still dark enough to absorb the light from the star though. From what I can feel through my suit the outside is rough, it appears to be very sturdy with the trunk measuring roughly-” She pulls out a small measuring tape and wraps it around the widest part of the plant “21 inches at the widest point, and-” She slides it up to the narrowest point just under the leaves “10 inches at the narrowest located under its black leaves. The leaves hang loosely from the top, fluttering in the breeze, they feel almost like silk and the tops are matte while the underside is glossy. I will now attempt to gather samples from both trunk and leaves.” She puts the tape away before patting down her suit. “Jenny, do I have the supplies I need out here or do I need to get back inside for the slides and knife?”
“They are located on the outside of the station. Please go toward the air lock, on the other side of the control panel is a storage box, you will find what you need in there.” Wendy smiles and makes her way over there, sure enough the storage cube contains everything she needs in an easy to carry box. She grabs it and returns to the plant; first she pulls out a jar and pulls off one of the large leaves, closing it tightly in the container before pulling out another and stripping off bask and sealing it away as well. The next one is a thin strip of leaf carefully set on a slide and placed in an air tight box, before closing the box she takes another sample of the bark and places it on a slide.
“There, research is done for the moment, what time is it Jenny?”
“It is currently 1050. Do you wish for me to make lunch?”
“No not yet. I’ll seal these up and head in for a shower, after that we can have lunch.” Wendy yawns “And a nap.”
“No nap, you must remain awake today to right your sleep.” She sighs.
“Fine, no nap but reading. How about that?”
“That will be fine.” Wendy seals up the box and places the containers back in the carrier before heading back to the air lock. It seals behind her, air is vented in and the inner door opens, Wendy strips off the suit and then her clothing, she leans into her room and grabs clean clothes before going to the shower. Half way through her relaxing shower Jenny interrupts. “Wendy you have a message from command.”
“Ok, hold on.” She rushes through her shower, dresses and goes to the main terminal bringing up the message and reading it while a meal is prepared for her.
Wendy, great news, Darbi remembers you. She wants to talk to you, you’ll get her message soon! We are setting up a video message for her as I write this. I’m sorry we still don’t have live feed set up but we’ll get that done soon. Just hold on a moment and her message will appear.
Just as she finishes reading the message from Jared a video message comes up, without hesitation she hits play. Darbi appears on screen, pale and thin with eyes sunk in, but smiling none the less. “Hey Wendy, I read your message. Thanks for being so concerned. I’m ok, I’m happy to hear from you though, Director said they weren’t sure if you made it or if you were lost in space. I’m still recovering but I think they’ll be trying again in a few weeks, just hang on till then. I’ll see you soon, love you.” Darbi kisses her middle and index fingers and holds them up to the camera lens, Wendy smiles and copies her.
“See you soon Darbi.” The message closes and Wendy sighs.
“Lunch is ready, Wendy. Do you want to respond to her first?”
“No, I’ll eat and then respond. She’s probably resting anyway.” Wendy moves to the small table and quietly eats her food, still bland but filling and that is all that matters at the moment, when she is done she looks at her terminal and sighs.
“What is it Wendy?” Jenny asks.
“I want to talk with Darbi, I hope they set up the live feed soon.” The AI does not acknowledge her statement in anyway, not that Wendy really cares about that. She stands and goes to the terminal, the video recording system already set up. “Send to Darbi Wilkinson.” The information box fills in with needed details.
“Hey Darbs, its good to see you. Get plenty of rest and I hope to see you real soon either in person or in live feed. Things are rough out here all alone though we weren’t going to be close, but the point is every time I venture a little further out I know I’m the first person to stand there. Its weird. I want to share this place with the team soon, just so its not so lonely. The plant life is interesting, I haven’t seen any animals but I’m not really looking for them either. Talk to you see. Love you.”
“Message sent.” Wendy stands up and stretches.
“It is currently 1200.”
“Awesome, reading time.”
“Enjoy your book, I will be shut down for updates.”
“Thank you, talk to you soon.” The blue sound wave vanishes and Wendy goes to her bedroom to grab her book. She reads quietly while Jenny updates, most of the terminals having a blue loading circle spinning for what seems like hours before Jenny returns, blue sound wave now a teal and her voice softer.
“I am back, Wendy.”
“I like your voice, and the color is nice.” Wendy smiles at the terminal.
“I am happy to hear that. The current time is 1600, would you like me to start dinner?”
“Not yet, what do we have in the garden?”
“No edible greenery, some carrots, and a few potatoes.”
“Oh, then yes, please start dinner. If you can manage could you make meatloaf?”
“We have the rations needed for that, yes.”
“Thank you.” Wendy yawns and sets the book aside while Jenny quickly makes the needed meal portions. When it is done Wendy eats at the table and then returns to quietly reading till the sun has vanished beyond the horizon.
“It is now 2100, I recommend you rest now.” Wendy closes the book and stretches.
“Thank goodness, night Jenny.”
“Good night Wendy. I will wake you again tomorrow.” Wendy waves her acknowledgment and goes to bed, flopping down and letting the covers envelope her in warmth and safety before falling into a restful sleep.