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Chapter 06

      Jeremy was drawing on a piece of paper, he knew he wasn't suppose to, he had a schematic program on his datapad, but he always felt more at ease with paper, and he didn't want to put anything on his pad until he knew he had the circuits right. The commander had the authority to access the information on there, it would be just like him to be in a hurry, and get what ever was on there. When the researchers came back complaining that it was incorrect, Jeremy would be blamed.

      The room's com beeped. "Incoming message packet," said the southing voice. "From Earth, Gabriella Krommer, voice only. Do you want to save the message, or play the message?"

      Jeremy smiled. "Play it, please."

      "Message start."

      "Hi Jeremy," said his mother, "I hope you're doing okay, we're all doing well here. The flower bed I planted last month is growing well, I did tell you about that in my last message, didn't I? Your father had to stay home from work for a few days last week. He had an accident, he broke his back, I keep telling him to be careful. I didn't mind having him here, it was nice to have someone to dote on, even if he was cranky the whole time. He's back at work, but they have him on light duty until the end of the week. It looks like Byron finally found the girl for him, I didn't mention her before, because I wasn't sure he was serious, but he surprised all of us by announcing they were engaged. They are thinking of having the weeding in the winter, but they haven't settled on the date yet. I hope you manage to make it. I know your work is important, but we miss you. Marco's going to be starting university in the fall, he finally decided he was going to be a doctor. Bethany just found out she's pregnant. I'm so happy for her, having a child is so wonderful. I guess I should watch how long I'm talking, I don't want this to get too expensive, but I was wondering how it was going with you and Kathy, have you asked her out yet? You really need to find someone special, it can't be easy being single so far from Earth. Well, I'm going to say goodbye now. I can't wait to hear from you."

      "End message."

      Jeremy looked at what he was drawing, circles, and triangles, all around a half finished circuit. He shouldn't keep his pen to paper when he was distracted. He dropped the pen and lay down on the bed. "Record message, voice only."

      "Recording message."

      "Hi mom. I'm glad your flower bed is coming along, I try to go to the arboretum at least once a week. I know you want me to have a few plants in my room, but after what happened to the ones from the seeds you sent me a few years ago, I don't think it's a good idea. Kathy's just a friend mom, there isn't anything going on between the two of us, and I'm not going to ask her out, she's nice and everything, but I just don't feel that way toward her, and anyway, I'm too busy with work for a relationship. I'm currently helping repair the generator on a kelsirian ship. Kelsirians are the ones that look like . . . well, like cats, some have faces that look like house cats, while other's faces look like those big cats, from that book you bought me when I was younger. I got to meet their captain, he's a merchant, but he looks nothing like I expected, he's tall, taller than I am, and muscular. Mom, you should have seen his large shoulder, sculpted chest and piercing amber eyes. He kind of makes me nervous, I mean, he hasn't done anything, but he watches me like a hawk at times. I think he's afraid I'm going to break something. I also met their ambassador, who has been on the station for a few years now, he helped me with my stomach pain, and it's actually getting better, I haven't had to take any pills for a few days now. Let me know when they have settled on a date, I'll see what I can do, but I don't know if they'll be able to spare me this year, the work we're doing here is important to our future, give Byron my congratulations, and to Beth too. Tell dad to be more careful, I don't care how good our doctors are, it isn't an excuse to be careless. Okay. Well, you take care. End message"

      "Message ended. Please specify what you wish to do with the message."

      "Send as a reply to the previous message, normal transmission rate."

      "The normal transmission rate for your message to Earth, Gabriella Krommer is one hundred twenty-two dollars and fifteen cents. Please confirm you wish to send the message."

      "I confirm."

      "Message has been sent. The amount of one hundred twenty-two dollars and fifteen cents has been deducted from your account. Do you wish to get your current balance?"


      The system gave the beep, indicating it had gone on standby. He looked at the time, eight thirty. Too early for bed, and he didn't feel like getting back to the schematics. He grabbed his pad off the table, and called Kathy.

      "Jeremy? Oh my God, you're still alive!"

      "Very funny. You know I've been busy."

      "So I hear, you've been keeping company with the furballs."

      "They're kelserians, Kathy, calling them furballs is insulting."

      "I remember you calling them that a while back."

      Jeremy blushed slightly. "That was before I worked with them. They aren't just characters in a movie anymore. Anyway, I was wondering if you wanted to meet up, I don't feel like staying cooped up. I was thinking of calling Pat, and Erik, see if we can setup a poker game, you interested?"

      "Sure, you know I love taking your money."

      "That's not how I remember the last game going," Jeremy chuckled. "I'll see you in our usual room."


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