Chapter 9: Lily

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591st sol- 21:00

I walked into the communications room and found Rachel sitting in front of a computer. She had been there, as far as I knew, all day. I had tried many times to get her to come with me and drop it but she was convinced it was from John. I wasn't sure.

"Hey." I said as I walked into the room.

"Hey." Was all she mumbled, I'm pretty sure she didn't even realize it was me.

"How's the transmission?" I asked.

"Great, how was your day?" She asked. I was thoroughly confused.

"Rachel?" I asked as I tapped her shoulder.

"No, I'm not hungry." She said in a very disconnected and distracted voice.

I grabbed the chair and turned her around. "Rachel!" I said with a lot more force.

"Oh hey Lily, when'd you get here?" She asked in a cheery voice which confused me.

"Why're you so happy?" I asked, almost suspicious.

"I think I figured out the message!!!" She practically screamed in an excited tone.

"Really?!" I asked, "What's it say?!" I asked now with more excitement.

"Here, you can read it."

The Exos are here on Pluto and I am the only survivor. I don't think the Exos have figured out light speed yet but they have figured out how to cloak their ships from radar. Do NOT send help for me, fortify Ceres and alert the other outposts. I counted about ten cruisers, maybe more, and too many fighters to count. Have no doubt, the Exos are Heading for Ceres.

-John

I looked at Rachel shocked. "How did you figure this out?" I asked her.

"John always loved codes and he especially enjoyed old codes. This particular one is called Morse code or something stupid like that." She said this with a huge grin on her face.

"We should get the others." I said as I called into my arm band. "Panthers, Rachel found something. Meet us in the communications room." It only took about three minutes.

"What've you got?"  Asked Seth as he, Tom, and Matt entered the room.

"I decoded the message!!!" She replied with a triumphant grin on her face. Her grin turred into a full on smile when their jaws dropped.

"What'd it say?!" Asked Seth.

"Have you told anyone?!" Replied Matt.

"How'd you do it?!" Questioned Tom.

"You can read it for your self Seth. No, no one other than you guys Matt. And Tom, you helped me! It was Morse code. That's why I asked you for a key." Rachel answered.

"Ugh, sneaky bastard!" Said Tom with a grin that rivaled Rachel's. "Glad I helped a little."

"Well, read it slow pokes!" I said impatiently.

As they read it, their grins turned into worried looks. Matt finished first.

"We should tell the Commander." He said.

"I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with Matt." Replied Seth with a half-hearted grin.

"No." Said Rachel firmly. "We should go after him."

"I agree." Said Tom. "He's one of us, we should go after him!"

"No, you saw the message! The Exos are coming and we need to be ready!" Said Matt.

"The Commander should know about this." Seth said in an almost desperate voice.

"We can't! He'll leave John there to die and we'll never see him again!" Said Tom.

"Lily, you're being awfully quiet, what do you think?" Asked Rachel. I had indeed been very quiet throughout this whole argument. I had been thinking about what to do.

"I have an idea that might work for everyone. What if we left for Pluto and then once we are on our way, we send the message translation to the Commander with our plan and what we're doing?" Everyone just stopped and looked at me.

"I think that's a great idea!" Chimed Tom and Seth.

"Let's do it!" Rachel said.

"I guess that my vote doesn't matter." Matt added.

"When do we leave?" I asked.'

"Well, we need a ship, probably one with fighters if what John said is true. We'll also need provisions and weapons." Said Seth.

"I can get a MV-11. It's six fighters that lock together and can detach from one another." Said Rachel.

"And we've already made prototype railguns that are in commons." Said Tom.

"I'll get the food." Said Matt.

"I'll set up the message for the Commander." Seth said.

"Great," I said, "we'll meet here tomorrow after super."

592nd sol- 19:00

"Everyone ready?" Asked Tom.

"We're really doing this?" Asked Matt.

"Yeah, we are." Replied Rachel. "The ship's all ready, everyone have their pod loaded?" Everyone gave a quick nod. "Then let's go."

We all headed for the ships. the ships were like a spearhead with a flat head. Tom and Seth are our best pilots so they got in front. While the ships are connected, the front two ships control the others. We were just getting ready to take off when someone from the landing crew saw us.

"Hey! What are you doing?!" He inquired.

"Leaving!!" Yelled Tom. "Seth!!! Hit it!!!" And that was it, we were off.

I just watched as we left and listened to Tom and  Seth Chatting about piloting stuff.

"Oxygen levels good, pressure levels good, food supplies good, water levels good, coolant levels good, life support good....." And so it went on for about three more minutes.

"Seth, you better send the message now and then we can jump to light speed." Said Tom.

"Ok, one second." He said and hit a button. "Jumping in three, two, one, jump." He and Tom flipped parallel levers at the same time and we were off.

Stars started streaking by and it was beautiful. There were blue and white streaks. There were also red and orange streaks. "Sit back and relax everyone, we have four hours to burn."  Said Tom as he settled into his seat.

"Let's hope we didn't just make a huge mistake." Said Seth as he too, settled in to rest.

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