Star date 3300.5.21
This is nuts!
The wind is pounding against the cliff the lab is built into like a hammer on a nail. Thwam! Thwam! Every gust is dislodging ice and rock, sending it tumbling into the forest below. Even with the heat running at full, it's only 40 degrees inside and I can see my breath. Outside, it's almost 100 below zero. I didn’t know it could get that cold!
This is the first time in the few years I have been on this planet that I have had to wear my thermal suit indoors, an indictment of this planet’s icy cruelty. I’m… I’m a little scared that the heat will fail, leaving me to die inside this metal tomb.
Stop cowering under the bed and make me something hot. I need to keep my insides warm.
I started recording because, well, I’m not sure what will happen. If the generators fail, all that will keep me from freezing is the thermal suit. The thing is, it only works in temperatures negative 50 and above. At negative 100, I’ll be dead within an hour.
No. No. I’m not going to think about that. Just keep talking. Just keep talking.
“B-brewing complete. P-please remove the mug from the receptacle. BEEP!”
Thank you, Bean.
“Bean is returning to his hiding place. BLORP!”
It’s times like these you start to gain clarity on all your past decisions. Everything you thought was important slips away and reality comes into focus. Why did I say that? Why did I do that? You start to realize none of it matters. The guilt, the shame, the social norms, none of it did any good then and it won’t do any good feeling regret for it now. You also start to think about the things you wish you did do.
Things like wishing you could say, “I love you,” one last time to your family. Things like taking a chance and asking that beautiful girl that sat beside you in class out on a date. Things like going for your dream job of writing rather than taking a post at the edge of the galaxy far away from all you have ever known.
And what of all that I’m doing on this planet? Is it really so important to find a cure for this disease? Isn’t that fighting nature? It kills us because we aren’t strong enough to defend ourselves. Like a wolf hunting a rabbit, that’s the way of the universe, isn’t it?
I don’t know… Maybe it's just the fear talking. Maybe I should shut up.
My mother used to tell us, “Don’t speak when angry, sad, or afraid. You never mean anything that comes out of your mouth and always comes back to hurt you.”
I’m inclined to think she was right. Humans always do a 180 when experiencing a near-death moment but then they go right back to their old ways when the adrenalin wears off.
What? What’s happening, computer?
“Secondary generator has frozen. Heat is running at half capacity.”
No, no, no! Computer, reroute all available power to the main generator. Don’t let those pipes freeze! I’ll get the secondary generator going again.
[Tools clack against metal]
Ow! That pipe is cold!
“Direct contact with the frozen pipes is inadvisable. Instant frost burn may occur.”
Thanks, computer. Thanks for that timely reminder…
There’s no liquid left in the heating coils. No wonder the generator froze. Computer, flush the system, and add antifreeze to the secondary system.
“System has been flushed and antifreeze has been added. Temperature is now forty-one point one degrees and rising.”
Oh, thank goodness. Whew!
Ah! What now?
“Secondary generators antifreeze reserves are falling faster than expected. Line leak is detected.”
Will we have enough to ride out the storm?
“Estimates imply yes.”
Then I’ll just have to wait until the storm passes to go outside and check the line.
Yes?! What is it now?!
“Main generator antifreeze is draining at an accelerated rate. Line leak is also the suspected culprit”
“Estimates chance of survival now lowered to forty percent. All secondary systems are offline. The recording will be terminated in less than five seconds.”