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  • Mars Date/Time:  Year 1, Sur One, Friday, Sol 55 (1.1.55)  19:44 NST
  • Earth Date/Time:  Sunday, 28 February 2016  2:00 PM PST
  • Distance traveled:  9,089,555 kilometers

Anna replied, “Commodore, I can’t bring the lights up in that section.” Ken looked at Jenna and she said, “That rat bastard!……Anna, keep the lights up and Naomi, would you connected me to that section.” The Comm Director tapped a few commands on her tablet and monitor next to the one with Nick’s confused face on it came up black. Naomi said, “You’re patched in, Admiral.”

Jenna then said, “Zeke, what are you doing on my ship?” The black screen started to have patches of light on it, then they could see a gloved hand removing something over the lens. Someone gasped. Finally the monitor showed the bewildered face of Zeke Jackson in a low pressure suit floating in front of the camera. Zeke opened the faceplate of his helmet and you could see his breath in the cold, stagnant air as he said, “Admiral, ah…how did you know?” 

Ken walked away from the group as he was starting to laugh. Everyone else but Jenna was in shock. Jenna said, “JACKSON, I’ll be doing the talking! You are on my ship and that makes you part of my crew! You will report to the hab section in Quill 1C where Anna will assign you quarters! I want you fed and rested and ready for duty at eight AM tomorrow! Is that clear!”

Zeke looked more confused and then a smile began to grow until it looked like it might break his face. He said, “YES Ma’am! Thank you, Ma’am! You won’t regret this!” He then disappeared.

Ken said, “Anna, turn up the life support in Quill 1C and assign quarters to Zeke Jackson.” Nick tried to protest, “But we can’t let him get away with this.” Jenna smiled and said, “That ship has literally already sailed. He’s mine now for the next two years.” Nick said, “ESEP will still want to press charges when he comes back to Earth.” “Nick, I might suggest that ESEP begin looking at it as if it were our plan all along. Otherwise, the public might think we’re so incompetent that we let a stowaway get on board the first mission to Mars.” Nick suddenly realized the public relations disaster waiting for them, and said, “GOOD point. We can credit Mr. Duncan,….for this elaborate test of our security. Oh, this is going to kill him when he finds out.” Jenna laughed.

The Command Team had gathered around Jenna. She looked at Naomi and said, “Naomi, would you raise Earth Prime Actual. I need to talk to Claude.” Jeanna said to Ken, “Can you build duty schedule for Zeke? I’d like to put him under Anna for the time being.” Ken said, “We’ll have him wake up the Sagan for us.” “Good,” Jenna replied, “He’s a good asset and we want him working for us rather than against us.”

Jenna then looked at Wendy and Kayla, “Kayla, he just went through an acceleration that wasn’t designed for humans. You’ll need to check him out when we rendezvous with the Sagan. Wendy, I think I understand Zeke, but I’ll need your assessment to make sure I’m not being influenced by his charm.”

Jenna was now speaking to the entire Command team, “We now have 29 members in our crew. We need to assess what that means for the mission. As far as number 29, Zeke had straight A’s in his engineering minor, but was on a basketball scholarship. He didn’t have a chance for an advanced degree. Everything in his work record indicates he is a brilliant learner. We should consider him as a graduate student and use him as such.”

Jenna was interrupted by Naomi, “Admiral, I have Commodore Dubois.” Jenna said, “On monitor two.” Claude’s image came up on a monitor and he said, “Good evening, Admiral. How can I help you?” Jenna said, “Claude, we found your missing equipment.” Claude looked knowingly, “Yes. My apologies. We’re still not sure how it was left on the Sagan.”

Jenna smiled, “Oh, you’re talking about the pod. Yes, we know how that happened, too.” Claude looked confused.