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Chapter 2 preview

25.04. Day 86 on SS GG. 12:07 UTC.

The capsule drifted in silence towards the station. It’s RTS thrusters fired automatically to help match the space station’s orbit. Once matched, it could align with the docking port. Little by little, it adjusted until its sensors reported a match to what it was aiming for and it began to communicate more thoroughly with the station to bring itself in. An arm extended to attach itself to a station docking arm, and together they brought in the payload. Secured and safe, the arms pulled themselves away, and the airlock began its work.

Leah threw herself away from the controls and sped towards the airlock. She was itching to get this payload. Why did Markus have to drop stupid hints? Idiot. She pressed herself up to the window and saw the capsule door. A panel beeped next to her to let her know everything was pressurised and she flew into the room once open. The capsule door had no window. She had no idea what was inside. Taking a deep breath, she opened it. The lights were on inside. Weird. And a noise. A strange noise. What was that? Kind of squeaky, and whiny. It didn’t sound like a machine. And it wouldn’t stop either. She pulled herself in and took a look. The usual boxes of food and supplies, but right in the centre, strapped to a seat, was a more unusual box. It had a door. A caged door. And staring back at her were two bright blue eyes. It was also growling and whining.

“Holy crap. They’ve sent me a cat.”

Sat in the box that was harnessed to the seat, a cat mewed, growled, and whined. Its eyes were wide, and ears pressed back. Leah ignored the rest of the cargo, leaving the computer to get on with it autonomously, and went straight for the cat secured inside the box. Instinct had kicked in and nothing else was important right now. There was another beating heart on the station which changed everything. Swiftly, but carefully, she headed to a communication terminal.

“What the fuck was Markus thinking?!” Leah furiously pulled up comms. The cat was scrabbling about in its box, knocking it about. She quickly secured it in place on a wall as the cat meowed at her. Leah had never owned a cat before. She’d never had a pet for that matter. How do you even look after one? And in space just makes things even more complicated. Leah tapped the screen briskly and the comms began to ring through. A minute or two passed. Leah waited. The cat was slowly calming down, or at least becoming quieter. She highly doubted the cat was currently content, just putting up with the situation.

“MARKUS!” Leah grabbed the screen and stared at Markus, her eyes wide with anger and confusion. The cat jumped and hissed inside it’s little box. Things were a bit calmer before it been taken out of the dark pod, and it grumbled and growled at Leah.
“Ah. Hello Leah,” said Markus, sheepishly, “Cargo okay?”
“Is the cargo okay?”
“Yes.” Markus grinned. “Happy Birthday!”
“Okay. Calm down.”
Leah dropped her head, and breathed out heavily. “Okay. Fine. But you need to explain all this.” The cat growled a little bit as Leah looked at it. “Why, Markus, did you think it would be a good idea to send me a cat?”
“Glad you asked!”
She glared at him. He was being too happy about this and continued to grin stupidly at her.
“You know how you’re all alone up there?”
“Yes?” Leah said sharply through pursed lips.
“We thought—“
“You thought.”
Markus sighed. “Okay, I thought that you could do with a friend.”
Leah tapped her fingers on the wall impatiently. “Really? So a cat was your grand idea?”
“It’s brilliant isn’t it?”
“Consult me next time you decide to do something utterly stupid!” She smacked the camera. Markus ducked, even though he was in no danger.
“Chill out! You’ll freak out Pangur Ban!”
“Pangur who?”
“The cat!”
“It’s already named?!”
“Is that really important?”
The cat, Pangur Ban, seemed less than content. Its ears were back, tail was twitching. Leah stared at it. It was a pure black cat with bright green eyes. Then she noticed something.
“Did you get the guys to make it a freaking space suit?”
“… yes…”
“… okay I’ll admit that’s actually pretty cute.”