The radio crackled in response. Gaeia pushed her knuckles into her forehead, trying not to cry.
This was day forty one. Forty one days of no response from the base down below.
“Anything?” Hua asked behind her, floating upside down outside the cockpit door. He liked to do that, showing off his gravity genetics.
“Nothing,” Gaeia replied, putting the radio back into the holder. Out of the window she could see the grey-yellow clouds of home swirling in the sky. They had been there for forty one days too, appearing overnight following the solar storm.
“It’ll be alright,” Hua replied. He reached out, gently placing a hand on her shoulder. He had as much as Gaeia to lose if they couldn’t get back in contact – a young family, their homes, their livelihoods.
Without contact, no one would come and pick them up from their orbital craft. If they stayed out of contact for fifty days, they would be declared dead.
“The storm is too strong for the signal to break through, if we power up the signal-”
“We lose more oxygen,” Hua said.
Gaeia sighed. They had tried that on day ten, to no avail. The oxygen sickness had put Gaeia on bedrest for a week.
“Okay, we wait for another day,” Gaeia said, “then we try the signal booster again. If it fails…”
She let the silence do the talking. If they didn’t make contact before day fifty, they would be left here until they died of starvation.
“It will work,” Hua said, “it has to work.”
Gaeia nodded, wishing she could believe him.
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