Characters: Dr. Kim Matsumoto, Margaret Morgan

Quietly the shuttle comes to life around Morgan, powering up under her fingertips. Automatically she sets the comm station to scanning the channels for incoming messages. She leans back heavily in the seat, her anger-fueled strength fading quickly. Clinging to consciousness she recites under her breath. “Rann romh urnuigh…

Kim jogs down the corridor to an airlock. Through the tiny viewports along the way she had seen the billowing dust of the shuttle landing in the distance. With practiced skill she seals her EVA suit. Checking her helmet on last time, keys open a channel to Morgan.

“Shuttle, you receive?” Kim transmits.

A moment’s pause, then: “Loud and clear,” Morgan’s voice fills Kim’s helmet. “I…. Hold on. I’m picking up something else…. It’s a coded message on another channel.” Kim hears a distant tapping through the line and waits. “It’s one of mine. Can you wait a bit? Is it safe enough for you?”

“Understood. Yes, I can hold,” Kim replies. Tensely she watches the corridor behind her, but it is unnecessary. She would know…

Morgan’s numbing fingers fumble over the controls. Lost too much. “Dammit! There.”

The little coded burst unravels into a short message. “Between moons. One hour. R.”

Morgan grins weakly. “Heads up, cyfeilles. Our ride is on it’s way.”

A sigh of relief hisses over the comm from Kim, and then her voice follows it over the channel “Read you, shuttle. I’m going out.”

“Be careful. You’ve got less than an hour.”

“Understood,” Kim replies. She enters the air lock, closing the door behind her, then cracks the seal to the outside. A quick glance to either side and then she is off across the red sands.

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