Good morning, all! Look what I found in my inbox this morning. I got a message from Dr. Marcus Gilpin, whose story Gaea’s Chosen: Event Horizon by Cara Michaels, released today. Squee!
Have you read Gaea’s Chosen: The Mayday Directive? Now’s your chance. Cara is providing the first installment free from Smashwords this whole week. The code is: RE100 and it expires on March 10th 2012. But let’s get to my Audio Message from Dr. Gilpin.
“Voice print identification, Gilpin, Dr. Marcus James. Transmission authorization, Gilpin-nine-nine-seven-zero.”
|Voice print confirmed, Dr. Gilpin. Begin recording.|
I should have showered first. Maybe put on some nice clothes. It didn’t matter, the transmission would be voice only. We were already too far from home for a video feed. But I felt grubby. I scratched the stubble on my cheeks and jaw.
“Gaea, we can edit this before it sends, right? In case I totally screw up?”
|Yes, Dr. Gilpin.|
I pressed the heels of my hands against my eyes.
“Hey, Siobhan. It’s me, Marcus. Gilpin. Just in case you don’t recognize my voice.”
I sounded like an idiot. I paced the tiny recording room, only two steps in any direction, and made myself dizzy. The soundproof space provided privacy for us to record messages, journals, and other sentimental crap I really didn’t have the stomach for. I didn’t have any family to say goodbye to, and I’d said my farewells to friends already.
The silly greeting card that brought me here hardly cared if I got this right.
The person who’d sent it, though—
“Scratch that, Gaea. Let me start over.”
“Hi, Siobhan. This is Marcus Gilpin. I got your card.”
The message still made me laugh. Have a great time in the place I can’t remember you’re traveling to.
“Thanks for the sendoff present. I don’t know how well scotch ages in space, but I’ll be happy to be the first to find out.”
The urge to tell Siobhan the truth broke through the cheery façade. We’d been friends since grad school, maintaining a straight-talking, no-bull relationship.
“Listen,” I said. “About the canceled wedding. I know Tegan and I told everyone we wanted to get married out here.”
We’d spun a great fable for the friends and family we left behind.
“But that’s not the truth. EASA came up with some insane idea to pair crewmembers on the basis of pheremonal compatibility. And Tegan and I—well, we didn’t make it as one of the pairs. It’s really—awkward.”
My partner—Commander Gemma Bryant—was a military wild child. A beautiful warmonger. She assessed everyone and everything with her unnerving, pale eyes. I didn’t miss the carefully banked interest in her watchful gaze. She knew I didn’t want her.
She didn’t know I hated myself for even seeing her as a woman, never mind desirable.
Tegan’s partner, astrophysicist Zane Myers, seemed nice enough. When I didn’t want to beat his face in for staring at my Tegan.
“This whole thing is such a mess,” I muttered.
|Dr. Gilpin. Your allotted recording time is nearly up.|
And this was the last hurrah before stasis.
“Damn it. Okay.” Deep breath. “Don’t worry about what I said. I just needed to get it off my chest. I don’t know what will happen when we wake up, but I doubt it will go according to EASA’s sterile plans. Anyway, we’re just about to reach Jupiter, so by the time you get this, I’ll be snoozing away in stasis. They tell us it’s like no time at all passes. I think the Lieutenant Commander has even been in stasis before. If he’s coming back for seconds, I guess it can’t be so bad.”
|Two minutes, Dr. Gilpin.|
“Don’t forget, Gaea’s data library will be updated in monthly bursts from EASA. Make sure your books get included. I expect to have your complete works waiting for me when I wake up.”
“This is it for me, then. I’ll send you a postcard when we get to the Gliese system.”
Or at least, I’d send one to the grandkids ten thousand or so times removed. Yeah, best not to go there. What had Tegan said to me? There’s nothing left for you here, Marc. She’d meant professionally, but it suddenly hit me I did have personal connections to leave behind.
“I didn’t think I would miss Earth, but now—I’m not so sure. Take care of yourself, Siobhan.”
Awww. *Sniff, sniff* I miss you, too, Marc. :( Be safe. I hope it all works out for you.
If you’d like to have the chance to win a copy of Gaea’s Chosen: Event Horizon, just leave a comment (just say hi to Cara Michaels or offer her a congratulations, real easy) and a viable email address or Twitter handle. The contest will run from March 7th through 9:00 pm PST March 10th and the winner will be announced on Six Sentence Sunday post March 11th.
If you can't wait that long to get your hands on Dr. Marc's story, Gaea's Chosen: Event Horizon by Cara Michaels is available at Smashwords.