Stels woke up from the morning song played by the clock. She stretched herself, got up from the fold-up bed to go to the toilet first and then splashed her face with cool water from the retractible sink. She stepped out of her shuttle in just her loose pants and took a moment to enjoy the warm morning breeze on her skin. She checked her arms to see if the time so far on this planet had changed her brown tan but she hadn’t noticed any difference.
She looked up at the maze of vines and the light and shadows playing between them and listened to the sounds of this world. A small flock of winged creatures took off when a cat-like creature with six legs wasn’t silent enough sneaking up at them. The occasional insect buzzed around looking for food among the flowers and leaves growing all over the vines.
She looked at the empty plate on one of the chests with supplies and smirked.
‘I knew you’d like cookies.’ she said eyeing a six legged creature at the other side of the clearing which looked like a rat with a large fluffy tail.
The creature sniffed the air and continued to watch her.
She went back inside checking the latest news from the other scientists around this world. The autonomous probes had mapped more of the world. She turned on the wireframe view of the current map. So far nothing else suggested that this planet wasn’t anything more than a giant plant with interconnected vines growing out of a core of water. Mkumba and Cho Wan would launch the probe today that could at least withstand the water pressure halfway down the water core. Everyone was curious to see if they’d find rock at that depth or still just the same water and vines.
She checked the videofeeds of the cameras surrounding the shuttle and all were alive. She could start cataloging anything caught on camera after breakfast.
She stepped outside again and walked up to a bunch of fruit, yellow, twice as large on average as an Earth orange and the skin of a mellon. The taste was bittersweet and biologists cleared it for consumption. She was glad they’d found plenty of local plants and animals which were edible. She’d hate to have to rely on the standard rations to survive the time here studying wildlife. Now she could stay here longer and she even contemplated just growing old here, never to return to Earth.
The open structure of the plant planet meant the equivalent winter season wouldn’t be as cold as on solid planets. She would have to dress more warmer than during this summer season but she didn’t mind having to miss snow and ice for the rest of her life. She figured this would become a popular vacation spot in the future, but also hoped they’d not mess up the environment by building too much tourist facilities.
Back inside having the fruit for breakfast she heard a noise at the entrance and found the rodent creature at the door, sniffing and looking around.
‘Well, well. Look who’s dropping in.’ she said to it. ‘Looking for more cookies, eh?’
She pulled one out of the box on the desk and held it up. ‘Do realise that I only have so much cookies, and I won’t get any soon from Earth.’
The rodent watched her twitching its whiskers.
She swung her arm slowly at first to not scare the creature, then tossed the cookie behind it.
It jumped away, watched the cookie, then Stels.
‘Go ahead. It’s yours.’ she said smiling.
It moved slowly to the cookie, sniffed it, then started eating while keeping an eye on her.
She took a picture of the videofeed and posted it to the communication board boasting she was the first to make friends with the inhabitants of the planet.
Mirror, mirror on the wall..
What have you done for me lately?
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