~In Another Time~
“How many days has it been?” Ponzer asked.
Andin glared at him. “One more than when you asked yesterday.”
Ponzer thought for a moment, running his fingers through a thick crop of brown hair. “One thousand five hundred and twenty-two, then.”
“Bad enough we gotta sit in this little box for four years straight without you asking every day how long we’ve been here.”
Ponzer stared down at the village a few miles away. Their long-viewers made it appear just as clear and detailed as if they were standing right at the outskirts. There’d been a great commotion just a few weeks ago, but nothing of interest had happened since then. Normally, it would merely be frustrating, but a few other odd occurrences contributed an air of tension to their situation, as well. Something glinted metallically at the edge of Ponzer’s vision. He turned slightly and tried to pick it up on the long-viewer, but found nothing. He turned back to the village.
“They’re still not doing anything, Andin,” he said.
“Good, makes our job a lot easier, then, doesn’t it?”
Andin took out their massive logbook, turned to page one thousand five hundred twenty-two, and wrote down “Nothing” in large, bold letters, which he then underlined several times. He put the logbook away and turned his attention back to the display on the south wall, which showed temperature and wind speed for their area.
If they could just go outside for a few minutes, smell the air and feel the warmth of the sun against their bare skin. That’s how Ponzer had imagined this whole experiment when he’d volunteered, not ten years in a cramped, little box. Ponzer caught himself staring at the exterior door, which neither of the two men had even so much as touched during the past four years, and turned back to the bank of computers in front of him.
“Have you heard from station nine today?” Ponzer asked.
“You’d know if I had,” Andin replied idly, much of his attention now being tied up in watching something on his personal vidscreen. Most likely a movie, though he had the screen turned so Ponzer couldn’t see. “I sent out a communique to the other stations, but they can’t get through either.”
“They could have gotten pulled early,” Ponzer said, sounding hopeful.
“I doubt it, we’d have heard if that was the case.”
“You got any suggestions, then?”
“There are a lot of things that could have happened,” Andin said. “This place is practically savage, you know.”
“You think they got found out?” Ponzer asked.
“It could happen,” Andin said, glancing up from his movie momentarily, before letting his gaze drop again, “but it’s not too likely. The stations are all well camouflaged, after all. And I doubt the locals could even figure out a way in if they did find it.”
One more excerpt before the collection finally gets released. Depending on how things go this week, I should probably be ready for the Amazon and Smashwords version by Friday.