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  • Mars Date/Time:  Year 1, Sur Two, Tuesday, Sol 13 (001.2.13)  07:12 NST
  • Earth Date/Time:  Thursday, 17 March 2016  2:00 PM PDT
  • Distance traveled:  72,999,144 kilometers   Time Delay:  3 mins 16 secs
  • Distance to Mars Rendezvous:  319,410,608 kilometers

The core of the ESS Sagan consists of a Command section, a Communications section, three Hab Sections, three cargo sections, an engineering section, a fuel storage section, and the Impulse Cycle Propulsion or ICP Drive section. Most of the core sections look like 50-meter hexagonal tubes; however, from outside the ship it is difficult to see the Hab and cargo core sections because the Quill sections extend out from each side of the core section.

Almost all of the Quills have at least four 30-meter sections, with the crew Quills extending to seven quills away from the core to provide near-Earth simulated gravity in the crew quarters in the sixth and seventh sections. The Hab One core section has 60 Quill sections attached. The Science division occupies two Quills each with seven sections.

The Command team has access to all areas; however, since Jenna had agreed to accepting a secret cargo, one of the labs in the sixth section had been off-limits to every crew member except Alexander Rivera. Now Jenna and Lanny had been asked to come to that lab by Alexander.

As Jenna, Ken, and Lanny climbed down into the sixth section they saw Alexander standing outside the door of Lab 6Cb, three decks down. When they reached him he said, “I know this was supposed to remain secret, but now that Mr. Castillo is gone, I think you should know what the secret project is that was put aboard just before we undocked.”

Alexander unlocked the door and all four entered. He then crossed over to a work bench to a clear plexiglas chamber lit with appeared to be ultraviolet light. Inside we’re what appeared to be eggs in individual cradles. Jenna spoke first, “Eggs?”

“Chicken eggs…fertile chicken eggs, “Alexander replied, “I began the incubation process a little less than a week after we received them and they should start hatching next week. I don’t know how many of them will be successful.”

Lanny said, “We were not supposed to have live animals. Why did they send this up?” Alexander said, “This is an expendable experiment. If there are any problems, I’m to dump it.”

Ken asked, “Why the secrecy?” Alexander replied, “Earthside was concerned that the crew may develop expectations of fresh eggs and meat, only to be disappointed. They wanted it to be a happy surprise, but if not, they wanted no one to know.”

Jenna said, “We have to develop a plan in case they survive. We can’t just let them run around on Mars. They will have to have a hab unit…and preferable one with its own atmosphere.” They laughed. Alexander said, “I know, which is part of why I wanted to talk to you about it. I was the wrong person to handle this. I don’t even like pets; however, Zeke was mentioning that his family raised chickens. I want to ask him about making this his graduate project.”

Lanny thought for a moment, “It has to be an option. We can’t force him to do it.” Jenna touched her tablet and Zeke’s voice said, “Yes, Director?” Jenna smiled and said, “Zeke, could you come to Lab 6Cb?” Zeke said, “On my way, Ma’am.”

A few minutes later Zeke walked in the door, saw everyone standing around, then saw the eggs. All he said was, “WE’VE GOT CHICKENS!”

Zeke Jackson, Chicken Wrangler of Mars.