News From Home

As he approached the faulty pod, Adrik noticed the rapidly flashing red lights on the information panel.  The defense array was pinging a target for verification.  Looking up, he saw the underside of the 200 kilo-ton delivery truck as it passed directly overhead.  They made stops twice per solar cycle when the asteroid belt orbit was cotangent with the solar orbit back home.  He vaguely remembered that they were due today.  Apparently satisfied with the response code, cannons sixteen and eighteen returned to scanning the skies for larger chunks of rock and ice. Adrik likewise, returned his attention to the mechanical repairs.  As he was working, a small translucent symbol in the shape of an envelope appeared about a foot in front of his face.  He focused on it momentarily, and  it morphed into the words '21 new messages.'  Mail from home.  Adrik smiled.  He would save most of them for later, but he couldn't help checking one. He focused again on the notification text, and the first message crossed his mind. 

It was his sister, Mil.  He was at their parents house in the kitchen.  The smell of fresh-baked cookies was overwhelming.  "Hi Bubba!  Happy birthday!  I'm sorry I missed it!  She was leaning on the counter, next to a mess of flower and mixing bowls.  "Every body's doing great.  We all miss you." Adrik heard his mother yelling from the other room.  "Oh, mom says hi!" Mil laughed as she walked over to the oven.  "Here, I've got a surprise for you..." She took a hot cookie out of the oven and took a bite.  The taste of chocolate and almonds filled Adrik's mouth causing him to salivate.  "We love ya! Take care of yourself!"  Her voice trailed off in his ears as the message ended.  He took a peek at the next one. 

It was Jame, his Earth-side liaison with the company.  "Adrik" Jame started, "Some very interesting stuff in those unclassified samples you sent me.  I haven't reported anything, I'm not even sure what to make of it yet, but it could be big.  Let me know when you can meet me in your shop.  See you soon."  What was he talking about? Adrik wondered.  He doesn't mean he came out here does he?  He looked back past the array and could see the truck just touching down in a haze of dust beyond some low hills of rubble.

The End

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