2016, astronauts, counseling, Counselor, crew morale, death, Earth, Earth Space Exploration Program, ESEP, ESS Carl Sagan, Ian, Jenna Wade, Joseph Volkov, Mars, Mars Mission 2016, Mars time, Noctis Labyrinthus, Noctis Standard Time, NST, Paige Flores, physician, Russia, Russian, space, space travel, spacecraft, Wendy Stevens
- Mars Date/Time: Year 001, Sur Two, Friday, Sol 30 (001.2.30) 19:38 NST
- Earth Date/Time: Monday, 4 April 2016 2:00 PM PDT
- Distance traveled: 137,887,272 kilometers Time Delay: 4 mins 06 secs
- Distance to Mars Rendezvous: 254,522,480 kilometers
Wendy, like many other ESEP employees, was in shock. She was a professional. She had a doctorate in Psychology. She always felt confident she could read people. Now she discovered that the person who she reported to in ESEP, the Director of Counseling and Evaluation, was a Russian FSB agent.
She never questioned his requirement to report all significant issues to him immediately. She felt he respected her when she challenged his assessment of a situation. Even when he stood with the engineers behind the management coup, she believed he had the best interest of ESEP in mind.
But he didn’t. He was just manipulating her, and she didn’t see it. It didn’t help that it was Jenna that caught it. When they learned that ESEP had been infiltrated with FSB agents, Jenna had told her and Ken to keep it between them.
But the first thing Wendy did was send a text to her boss. Had he received that text, he would have warned all the other FSB agents in ESEP, and they would have all disappeared, taking vital information about the infiltration with them. Wendy could never be sure of her ability to read other people again.
It was about 7:30 in the evening, and Jenna came to Wendy’s door. Wendy invited her in, and Jenna could see the cloud hanging over her. Jenna said, “You remember when I was feeling self-pity about losing Nick?” Wendy replied, “When I told you that was a side of you that I didn’t need to see?” Jenna said, “Exactly. Everyone has a blind spot. Your’s was your boss. He couldn’t be using you, because he was a professional. Well, he was a professional, but not the one you thought. He was good, and he knew how to play you, and everyone else around him. Accept the fact that a professional spy is an expert in deception….and then get over it. We need you back, especially now. You can relate to what many of our people are going through because it happened to you. If I need to make this an order, I will.”
Wendy smiled, “Don’t sugarcoat it.” Jenna smiled, “Seriously. I’m amazed at how easy we were all sucked in by it….and even now, even when it is completely exposed, I still have some jackass in the brig that thinks he’s still in the game.”
Wendy said, “What are you going to do with him?” Jenna said, “I don’t know. I’m hoping he gets off this, ‘I’m-doing-it-for-my-country’ bit. He was suckered by sex and now he thinks he a born again Russian patriot. What do you think? Will he come back to reality?” Wendy started regaining her professional composure. She knew his type, and had too many strikes against him. Wendy replied, “It was the girlfriend who restored his dignity, and now he finds that was a lie. If he gives up on her, he returns to his failure as a person. I think he has to stick with the lie and pretend he’s a Russian patriot. He actually is more dangerous than a Russian agent, because he needs to prove himself. He is the perfect model of a terrorist.”
Jenna said, “Tomorrow, would you talk to him, and try to confirm your prognosis. I need to decide his fate, and if we can’t reach him, then my options are limited.”
They continued to chat for a while, then Jenna headed back to her quarters. Jenna dealt with some texts and emails, checked in with the Command deck, and then sent a message to Paige. Tonight she just needed someone close and her relationship with Paige was moving to a place where they didn’t have to have sex every time they were together.
In the morning Jenna woke up first and quietly worked while Paige slept. Jenna decided she would shower and then wake up Paige. Jenna was almost finished when Paige came in and said, “Jenna, there is an urgent message from Ian.” Jenna rinsed off and grabbed a towel, then used her tablet to call him. Jenna said, “Ian, what’s wrong?” Ian said, “Director, Joseph is dead. I called Dr. Summers and she just got here.” Jenna said, “Dammit, I thought we had him on suicide protocols!” Kayla broke in, “Director, this isn’t suicide. He was murdered.”