The Maretian

by Kris Overstreet

Chapter 155: Sol 258

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AMICITAS: Amicitas calling Baltimare, use suit SG for responses, over.

ESA: Baltimare calling Amicitas, over.

AMICITAS: Need Twilight Sparkle and Queen Chrysalis at once. Mark’s people request direct communication. Long message to follow, over.

ESA: TS on site. QC in Horseton and will be on site in two hours. Proceed with message, over.

AMICITAS: Message begins. We need to consult with you about a serious issue of crew morale. Recent close calls with disaster have left the Mars survivors on edge and at one another’s throats. They report symptoms of depression, unfocused anger, and a general inability to get along with one another. The one crew activity they still undertake together is daily work at the cave farm to supply magic and love to Dragonfly’s cocoon. End paragraph.

AMICITAS: It is our opinion that the core of the problem is personality conflict made worse by mental exhaustion. These conflicts were formerly smoothed over by Dragonfly, whose presence is missed by all members of the crew. We therefore request that the revival of Dragonfly be made the top priority in the hopes that morale will improve. Message ends. Over.

ESA: TS – QC already said changelings in cocoons of that kind can’t be forced out without great danger. Over.

AMICITAS: It will be some time before Mark’s people answer. It takes about an hour to get a response to any message sent. We are translating and retransmitting this entire exchange for their benefit to help make things easier. Over.

ESA: TS – we really don’t know how to get her out. We don’t even know if it’s safe for her to be out, over.

AMICITAS: SG – I want to add we’re embarrassed and ashamed our friendship problems have grown so bad that Mark’s people demanded this. We should all be better than this, over.

ESA: TS – You’re going through very hard times. Friends understand these things. Stand by for Chrysalis, over.

AMICITAS: Standing by, over.

ESA: QC – Let me get this straight. Unfocused anger means angry with each other for no good reason? Over.

AMICITAS: Affirmative, over.

ESA: Depressed means don’t want to do things, or sad? Over.

AMICITAS: Both. Over.

ESA: And you all go together to visit Dragonfly every day? For how long? Over.

AMICITAS: Cave chores and magic field projection takes between one and two hours, not counting travel time, over.

ESA: QC – Understood. Stand by for procedure to revive Dragonfly. Over.

AMICITAS: Just received new message from Mark’s people. Disappointed in news that Dragonfly can’t be revived. Is there anything we can do to speed up her reviving on her own? Standing by, over.

ESA: QC- Procedure for reviving Dragonfly. Take one stick. Apply vigorously to side of cocoon while shouting the following chant: wake up you lazy drone, quit draining people in your sleep, don’t you know larvae are starving in Mareitania? Repeat as needed until desired results are achieved. Over.

AMICITAS: Please confirm Dragonfly draining emotion while she sleeps, over?

ESA: QC- That is what I said. What do you intend to do about it? Answer required. Over.

AMICITAS: Mark just got back from solo cave run. Vote is unanimous: find a stick. Over.

ESA: QC: Okay, don’t do that. If Dragonfly really was draining you in her sleep you would either have denied the possibility or got angry about the stick thing. Please do not beat my subject with a stick more than maybe once or twice, over.

AMICITAS: Once or twice, over?

ESA: QC – I want her back in one piece with all the brains she had when she left. But she deserves a poke. Lazy bug should be out by now.

AMICITAS: SG- But if Dragonfly isn’t the cause, what is? Over.

ESA: QC: Cabin fever. Nerves. Personality conflicts. Maybe Dragonfly a little bit- can’t blame a bug for snacking. In your case, I’m guessing that you’re all angry at the situation and taking it out on each other even if you don’t want to.

AMICITAS: Then what do we do about it? We can’t exactly leave the cabin, but we can’t live like this either.

ESA: QC – Negative emotions breed negative emotions. Positive emotions breed positive ones. Do new things together that you all enjoy. Over.

AMICITAS: Any suggestions? Over.

ESA: QC – what do I look like, a shrink? TS - I think you should begin by remembering you are friends. Friends sometimes get mad at one another, but true friends learn to forgive. Over.

AMICITAS: SF – I still vote for stick.

AMICITAS: SG – We will try to follow your advice. Please stand by for further messages from Mark’s people. Over.

ESA: Standing by, over.

AMICITAS: Message begins: We hadn’t considered the possibility of Dragonfly influencing emotions while asleep. Good to know this doesn’t seem to be a major problem. But we still need advice on how to revive her. Paragraph ends.

AMICITAS: As for crew activities, our psychologist has some ideas on that front which we can implement. Why does your program not have crew psychologists? Message ends, over.

ESA: QC – We don’t have psychologists because they would have at least half of us committed in a week. As for Dragonfly, the last report we have was of a magic drain powerful enough to create un-light. Current condition, over?

AMICITAS: Still true, though the cocoon merely looks dimly lit and not lost to vision, over.

ESA: QC – So long as you see a difference between her and everything else, she’s too sick to come out. Get her more magic, I don’t care how. TS – I do care how, be careful.

AMICITAS: Roger. Do you have any further information, or any questions for Mark’s people? Over.

ESA: Provided beacon signal is being broadcast as requested, no message. Starlight, let us know before your next big spell so we can try to refine our trace. Baltimare out.

Author's Notes:

I postponed what I was going to write about in favor of a direct response to last chapter's reader comments. Unfortunately I was uncomfortable at the con and then tired when I got away, so this is all I could do.

Expect a chapter mid-afternoon tomorrow. I'm going to try to get home all on one shot tomorrow night through early morning. This show just isn't paying enough for a Sunday night hotel room.

Next Chapter: Sol 259 Estimated time remaining: 13 Hours, 50 Minutes
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