CHAPTER 70

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Sarah watched Wolf walk with a weary eye. It wasn't so much that she was tired as she was bored. She let him get a few steps ahead of her before she paused, stooped down and stirred her finger in the liquid methane splashing up on the shoreline. An oily sheen glistened on her glove. They were standing in front of Kraken Mare, or Kraken Sea in English. The gigantic body of methane stretched as far as the eye could see. Tiny ripples flowed in and rolled up on the carbon sand, originating from deep in the sea.

"This is like two of the Great Lakes put together. It's huge," Sarah said with a hollow reverence in her voice. The barren moon left her feeling small in an infinite universe. "It was named after the mythological sea monster...the kraken."

Wolf glanced up at Sarah. Behind the face plate of his helmet his gaze narrowed into skeptical slits. "I doubt there's an enormous octopus out there, but if all life needs is a liquid to flourish, then there's plenty of it right here."

"First, it wasn't an octopus."

"Whatever."

"And second, what kind of life could survive here?" Sarah stood and faced Wolf.

"You're a marine biologist, you tell me."

"I haven't been on a dive in sixty years, and I don't count our adventure in the North Atlantic off the coast of Iceland. Those sea cycles don't quality as scuba diving, even by today's standards."

"No, I guess not," Wolf said.

"Ever since they became aware of my abnormality, I've been couped up in a lab, or on the run. For years, I was nothing more than a specimen to study."

That skeptical gaze returned to Wolf's eyes. "Even though I've seen it for myself, it's still hard to believe how old you are."

Sarah felt her dimples surface in her smooth, youthful cheeks. "Based on our five year sleep in a cryo chamber, I'm ninety-five years old. Sounds crazy to my own ears."

"You don't look a day over twenty."

"You know what else I find mind boggling?"

"What's that?" Wolf replied.

"How you got on the ship?"

"Simple. After you went nighty-night in the sleep chamber, Admiral Jax had me put into cryo and my unit loaded on the Titan X spacecraft."

"Why did the admiral think he needed to be sneaky with you on the mission?"

"Would you have been okay with me coming along otherwise?"

"No," Sarah said. "It was my mission, my husband I had to go rescue. You didn't have any business tagging along."

"That's precisely why the admiral snuck me aboard. He wanted me to supervise you and your rag-tag group of astronauts...once we made it to Titan, of course. I didn't want anything to do with that Sergov monster thing. Figured I'd let you guys dispatch of him."

Sarah wagged her head and sighed. She wanted to change the subject. The truth was, they were here together and there was no use arguing about it.

"According to the map, the others are making their way to Habitat One." Sarah brought up the display on her wrist. "As a matter of fact, I don't know if it's Callisto and Luna, or Phoenix and Dr. Fairhaven, but we should be crossing paths with one of the pairs of dots on my screen before too long...somewhere beyond the eastern edge of Kraken Mare."

Sarah was a scientist and Wolf was the admiral's henchman. Just being around him was wearing her patience, but she'd get over it.

Like Wolf said, her forte was marine biology, and ever since the brain downloads, she had another specialty as well, a neurosurgeon. But even with her background of protecting the ocean and scuba diving, for some reason staring at the methane soup disturbed her.

She started walking again and so did Wolf. "We're not getting any closer to the habitat by playing in the water. We need to move."

"Aren't you at least curious if life could exist here?" Wolf asked.

"I'm intrigued, but I'm more interested in reaching the habitat. That's where we can regroup and open up these cases that you seem to know nothing about." Sarah carried the gray metallic case while looking back at Wolf.

"I'm not holding out on you," he replied. "I told you before, some things are classified. The admiral planned everything down to the last detail."

"Right," Sarah said. "Like Admiral Jax can do anything about our present situation anyway."

"He has his ways. Trust me, we'll know what we need to know when we need to know it."

Sarah stopped again and got in Wolf's face. "What happened to the ship? No one flew the ship while we slept, so that means they controlled it from Earth."

"That's right. You knew that."

"What happened then? If they were steering the ship from Site B, they did a piss-poor job with their remote controls."

"Do you think it's easy doing things from seven hundred and fifty million miles away? Any number of things could've went wrong. Maybe when we reach Habitat One, we'll find some answers?"

Sarah groaned and turned away, started walking again, leaving Wolf standing there. It didn't take him long to fall in line behind her. As they left their footprints on the carbon sand next to the shoreline, she couldn't help but think that something was out there in the Kraken Sea, following them and watching them. The thought made a shiver run down her spine.

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