The days tick by slowly for everyone involved with Wendy Wilkinson and her research station. Command begins to worry for her as Jenny reports weight loss, emotional fits, and the desire for complete silence but the worry eased as she began to eat again, keeps her emotions in check, and Jenny is once again allowed to speak. They send her video messages everyday and it is clear they are at least being opened by her, so they keep the worry down and do not allow the public to see it. Finally after weeks of radio silence from Wendy a message appears, early in the morning just as the sun is starting to peak up over the buildings and Jared is preparing for his morning commute. It waits for a reply for a few hours but when Jared sees it relief washes over him.

Video Message

From: Researcher Wendy Wilkinson, station three

RE: Checking in, sorry for the worry

He quickly sits down and hits play, his screen fills with her image, a thin, pale woman with eyes sunk in and wet hair. He feels bad seeing her in that state.

Hey command, this is Wendy just checking in. Everything is going good here, Jenny’s been keeping me up and running. I may not look the best but I think I’m ready to return to duty. I hope the samples will reach you intact, I sent you several of one plant, all different perhaps you’ll find something interesting. No animal sightings yet, thankfully. When is the rest of the crew coming out? Its awful lonely out here. I’ll message you again tomorrow.” The image freezes and Jared leans back in his chair with a sigh.

The others can’t go out there, Wendy… We’re trying but our best bet is to bring you home.” He is tempted to record himself saying that but decides to leave that news breaking to the Director. Wendy needs to trust command and its ability to bring her home, all news can go through the Director, if she needs to know he’ll tell her. He shoves away from the small desk and goes to the break room making fresh coffee before everyone else gets there, he likes coming in early, gives him time to get some simple stuff done. He waits, with the coffee done he fills his cup and goes back to his desk, forwarding the message to the Director and then sitting back and waiting for the others to file in.

Slowly they come in and one by one watch the message, some smile, others shake their heads in dismay at her current state, but the tension does leave the room. She is alive and more or less ok. The Director is the last into the office, he is the last to watch the message, and his face is grave when he steps out to address Jared. “What do you make of her state?”

Well sir, she is under the impression that the others are going to her, when that is simply not the case. You must break that illusion as soon as possible.”

I already told her we are trying to bring her home.” The Director shoots back.

Tell her again. Make it clear we are coming for her.”