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Day 29.
Fidgeting with the communication device of the pod, Wesley was lying on his back. Still there had been no atmosphere in the pod, but to his relief they had successfully turned it back on its belly.
As he had feared that revealed the gruesome fate of Amir Mustafa and Giuseppe D’Aggio. Squished in their seats, they had wanted to return to the stasis chambers upon leaving orbit, because they feared tondie in their sleep.
Twenty nine days after the crash it was clear the pod would never fly again. He had been able to establish two way communication with the Explorer and the Horizon. They had to compensate for time dilation manually, as the computer was too damaged for that task. What data he could he and Linda had transfered onto tablet computers, so they at least wouldn’t lack the information needed.
Sulking in a quiet corner of the mines André kept working on a translation of the newspapers. “Wes?” Anna climbed over a pile of torn out electronics at the entrance to the cockpit. “Yes?”
“We have received disturbing news from Horizon.” Although he was working on the array, mostly to increase signal strength and stability, Anna and Linda were working shifts at the relay station to listen to the received calls, and compensate for time dilation.
“What news?” Awkwardly sitting up in his suit, the rib still caused pain, but by far not as much as a month ago.
“They encountered aliens. Hostile ones.”
The urge to take his helmet off and stare at her intensely was tempting. “You’re shitting me.” He laid back down to inspect the array, whether it showed some defunct that would explain this. If she wasn’t joking, surely either the array was acting up, or the crew of the Horizon was yanking their chain. “According to preliminary data they might have evolved on earth and left it some 65 million years ago.” Wesley almost cracked his helmet as he sat up suddenly.
“Dinosaurs? They must be trying to be funny.” Without saying another word Anna handed him a tablet.
“Jesus.” He gasped. If it was a joke, they must’ve employed every man and woman working in the science departments to work on it. “Scroll to the end of the report. They request some very specific things to be mined.”
Going over the list he raised his eyebrows, unseen by Anna due to the helmet, but she figured that he was doing that. “Well then,” he handed her the tablet back. “input that in the relay station.” Before laying down again he hesitated a moment. “Ring Lindstroem,  have her put it in. I want you to keep a close eye on the algae plant.”
While continuing his tweaking on the communication systems he pondered over the list. Did the Horizon want the Uranium for bombs to fire at the aliens, or to speed up the ship? Iron, and if possible refined steelnto reinforce the structure was clear as glass to him, but he was puzzled over charcoal, sulfur and salpeter. “Boss?” Helga’s voice came through the intercom. “Yes, what’s up?”
“Are we seriously mining for gunpowder?” Ah! That’s what that was. “We’re going to bring everything with us that we can get our hands on.” He replied.

Tired Wesley laid down the tools he had beennusing to tweak the communication systems. With a certain pride he looked at the work he just had finished. With a small comouter that had survived the crash relatively unscathed, tied into the array the time dilation compensation was no longer a manual task. “This is Wes Smith calling the Explorer or Horizon, I have installed a syste, that should compensate time dilation,  please verify.” He ended the transmission and turned away to look after Anna. Even though the dilatation was presumably a thing of the past, the time it ttookfor the call to be received and replied was not to be changed.

Haunched over the device that held multiple tanks and layers of fast growing, non toxic algae for their consumption, Anna studied the slow waves with which they waved in the flowing water of the tanks. “What’s so interesting with that stuff?” Eagerly sucking in the air of the room, the only airtight space left on the pod, Wesley stepped up to the tank too.
“The waves move so peacefully. Calms me down.” With a wicked smile she turned to him. “But other than that, that slow pounding rythm has entranced me.”

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