Fastrack One We’re now halfway between Earth and the Moon, heading toward the L2 Lagrangian Point where the Fastrack One spaceship is parked, hidden by the lunar mass. Right now we’re just passengers; our real work will begin when we board the craft.
A few days ago we woke at dawn and gathered in the main room of our launch facility. After a pre-launch meal and a final instructional meeting, a team of technicians helped us into our suits (except for me; my mascot costume *is* my spacesuit). A bus carried us to the shuttle, and by mid-morning we were strapped in and ready.


The magic act for the kids went off perfectly; Pam, Feryl and Vince were a big hit with the kids. Those three (a cat, a bird and a mouse) have some interesting experiences ahead of them.
Still, the major news is the upcoming launch of the Mars mission. We’re now less than two weeks away, still hiding out from the media in the dorm. Surprisingly, we’ve yet to be discovered. (The staff did arrange a private screening of “Jedi” for us.)


While we (the Mars crew) hide out in the top floor of the dorm, overseen by a visiting medical staff in preparation for the launch that’s only weeks away, life goes on for other residents. For example, Feryl continues to develop her magic act, all the while coming to terms with the reality of her origins.


Yes, our pre-mission lodgings turned out to be the top floor of the dorm. (It’s still owned by Bambi who leases it to the University, so she was able to make the arrangements.) I have a private room, but the married couples are cohabiting along with their kids.
We’re free to come and go, as long as we don’t arouse suspicion. That’s a tall order for Bambi, so she rarely ventures out. The same goes for Dave, who is still venerated on this campus after his student athlete exploits. As for me, my mascot costume is so recognizable that I’d be spotted immediately. Bambi and I end up playing a lot of cards.


The big introductory event for the Mars Mission concluded with a long speech by the Fastrack, Inc. CEO, Rose Trellis. We were spared watching it, since we were off giving private interviews elsewhere. Not so lucky was project manager Dethany, who had to sit through the whole thing. (It’s been told that Dethany has a long history with the CEO, as her career started as a personal assistant in Trellis’s office.)


The original plan was for the entire crew to convene a few weeks from now, to be sequestered in a controlled environment prior to launch. The mishap with the solar panel moved that up, after it became impossible to keep the mission secret anymore. So, we were all summoned for a big press conference at the local hotel ballroom to be introduced to the world.


Everything had been going so well.
On Fastrack One, the ship that will take us to Mars, all the systems were checking out with no glitches. The test crew was doing everything possible to uncover hidden issues before we left the vicinity of Earth, but all was working perfectly.
Then a rogue meteoroid sheered off one of our solar panels, sending it spinning onto the Moon’s surface. Fortunately no one on the test crew was hurt, and they still have enough power from the remaining arrays for their tasks, but we’ll need more for the actual mission.


It isn’t as if Samantha is never coming back to the Havens U. Genetics Lab; she fully plans to return when the Mars mission is over. It’s just that, for the time being, it will have to run without her for quite some time.
She’s done all she can to ensure that things will continue without her, but the truth is that she’s always been there before. Even now, being officially on sabbatical, she checks in often enough to keep certain individuals in line. That will change when she’s 140 million miles away.