This is the 8th instalment of a speculative story of our visit to and colonization of the planet Mars. The others, in order, are:
A day after our momentous meeting, I was having lunch in the dining hall, and Sasha joined me. I didn’t know where to begin a personal conversation about the things we had seen and heard . Instead, she broke the ice with a rare smile, and said “I see you’ve been having the odd chat with Oceaxe. She seems to have put you on a pedestal, because it’s not often she says more than a few words.” I said that I had indeed found the girl fascinating, and not a little unsettling, and wondered how she had felt when making her accidental discovery. Sasha said “She is one of a kind, certainly. You should know that I have been her confidant, of sorts, and she has said that you are a person to be trusted. It may not seem like much, coming from a 15 year old, but she is different in this way: Very intuitive, and, I think, a perfect empath. It is a little unsettling that she seems to know what people are thinking, or at least what their strong feelings are. This likely accounts for her withdrawn demeanor. We take her with us on expeditions because some of us feel that she is a good luck charm.”
I asked why Oceaxe had been included on the fateful expedition in question. Sasha said “She, of all the children, came with us because her parents were required, and also because, contrary to what you might think, she is very strong for her size and build.
She is disciplined, will take orders readily, and does not muddy things with unnecessary chatter. Something she has told me in confidence, I will share with you. It has to do with the objects of metal that were found in the cave. As you know, they are very oddly shaped, and we are still speculating as to their purpose. She came to me one day, averted her eyes, and said “They are keys”. I was taken aback for a moment, and the question, of course, was forming in my mind. Before I could get it out, she said “The pieces from the cave. They are keys”. When I asked what she meant, and what these keys would be for, she said she did not know, but that we would find out.”
There was going to be another search expedition within two weeks’ time, and Sasha asked me to attend. I was tempted to say “You couldn’t keep me away”, but just concluded our conversation in a businesslike way, thanking her for the invitation.
To be continued……