Author’s Note: Sorry about the short scene. The next one is really long.
It was two days before my father stopped by my quarters to welcome me to the base. I had started to think I was going to have to wait out the quarantine and find him myself.
My dad walked into my room unannounced, not even bothering to knock. “Sorry Ryan, I couldn’t get out of the lab.” His white, full-length, linen coat was crisp, like it had just been laundered. The dimly remembered scent of his cologne filled the room.
“It’s okay dad. You’re here now.” I wanted him to think I wasn’t bothered by his absence. “When are they going to let me out of here? I’m going crazy with nothing to do.”
“I’ve spoken to the commander,” his disdain for Zeek was evident by his tone, “he is willing to release you from his power-trip of a quarantine as soon as I can find you a suitable chaperon.”
“What do I need a chaperon for? I’m not a child.”
“You’re sixteen; you are a child.” He turned away from me and looked out the window. “I hear that you’ve been quite interested in the androids. Is this true?”
“Absolutely. I’ve been trying to get my hands on one since the transfer station. Is it true that they’re complete AIs?”
“Not exactly. They are a bit of a disappointment to be honest. The commander hates them-”
I interrupted, aghast that anyone could hate an android: “why?”
“If you would be so kind as to let me finish.” My dad turned back toward me, staring into my eyes. “The commander feels that they are a threat to the mission. He thinks that they were sent by Elon to spy on us.”
“What? Why would Mr. Musk need to spy on us?”
“The commander doesn’t always make sense. He is threatened by anything he doesn’t understand — which is pretty much everything.”
“So what does this have to do with me needing a chaperon?”
“The commander may see it as a particular kind of poetic justice if I were to assign one my lab androids to you as a chaperon. It would effectively limit the number of spying eyes in my lab as well as take care of you without having to pull a crew member from their duties. Two birds with one stone you might say.”
“That would be awesome!” The idea of having my own android to experiment on made my heart race with excitement. My very own android! The possibilities made a future on Mars thrilling. I had something to look forward to for the first time since my mom had passed.
“A new android came in on your launch. A prototype model that no one has been looking forward to field testing. I’ll speak with the commander and see if I can assign it as your chaperon.”
“That would be amazing.” I nearly hugged my dad before realizing that he wasn’t exactly the hugging type. “When will I be able to leave this room?”
“I’ll talk to him in the afternoon briefing. If everything goes well, you should be able to go out this evening for dinner.” He turned to leave, “try not to cause any trouble Ryan. I’ll visit you when I can.”