Thursday, May 19, 2011

Untitled Chapter 9

Pink didn’t realize that he hadn’t heard from Tash all day until he walked into their empty apartment. She should have beaten him home by hours, and she always gave him at least a quick “How you doin’?” when she got home. He checked the bedroom to see if maybe she had gone straight to bed, but she wasn’t there. He checked their vidmail, but Tash was on his list of priority callers. Several messages from some very important people on Earth waited for Tash, all since 1800 that day, but there was nothing from her. A sense of dread suddenly washed over him as he touched his personal ear bud, “Call Tashi.”

“Pete! Oh my God! Honey, I forgot to call you! Are you home yet?! Get over here quick! This is fucking huge! Hurry, hurry, hurry! Love you! Gotta go, bye!” He didn’t get a chance to say a word before she disconnected. He took a moment to enjoy a feeling of relief before we walked over to Tash’s lab.

When he entered the lab, he saw Tash and Jackson setting up a camera and projector. Jackson was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but Tash still had on her dirty red pressure suit. Pink thought about how he didn’t get to see his beautiful wife in a pressure suit often enough. Dr. Cho sat at Tash’s desk watching a message from what looked like the Secretary General of the U.N. saying something about the need for secrecy, but he only caught a snippet before Dr. Cho closed the video.

“Tash? Baby? Is everything alright?” he said as he walked into the room.

She ran over and greeted him with a hug and a kiss, “Oh my God, Pete! You’re never going to believe it!”

“Tashi,” Dr. Cho interrupted, “top secret, remember? I thought you locked the door.”

She looked over at Dr. Cho while still holding onto Pink, “I did, but Pete’s on my exceptions list. You know we don’t have any secrets, not even top secrets. He’s going to find out now or later, Bae, so it might as well be now.”

“I know,” he said as he picked up a data pad from the desk, “That’s why I already have an NDA ready for him to sign. You go change for the presentation, and I’ll get Pink squared away and fill him in on the details. Ok?”

“Ok,” she gave Pink another quick kiss, “I’m burning up in this pressure suit anyway, but I get to break the news to my own husband. Mum’s the word until I get back.” With that she unwrapped herself from Pink and disappeared through the door in a blur.

“Ben, Jackson. Big find, huh?” Pink walked over to the desk and quickly signed the NDA without bothering to read it.

“Hey, Pink,” Jackson said while adjusting the projector, “Huge find. Colossal.”

Dr. Cho quickly cut him off, “But you won’t get a word out of us until Tashi gets back, right, Jackson?”

Jackson looked over his shoulder at Pink, “Not a peep, and don’t bother speculating because you’ll never believe it.”

“What? We’re all descended from Martians?” Bae and Jackson looked stunned. Blood drained from their faces, and their jaws dropped in unison. Jackson tried and failed to keep working. “Bullshit. Come on, guys, seriously? We’re descended from Martians?”

“We, um,” Dr. Cho tried to compose himself, “we should wait for Tash. How are things at the plant?”

“Yeah, uh, good, I guess,” Pink cleared his throat to gather his wits, “We got our last delivery of water today. We should be ready to start generating by the end of the week. I’ll never get used to the idea of designing a plant to maximize pollution, but that’s what we’ve done. Oh, Ben, I haven’t seen you since the concert. Terrific show. What was that new song at the end of the show? That was fantastic. Did you write that yourself?”

Dr. Cho smiled, “I did. Thank you. I’ve been working on that one for a couple of months, and it seemed like a good time to try it out in public.”

“You should be on Earth making the big bucks.”

“There isn’t enough money on Earth to get Dr. Cho to leave Mars,” Jackson chimed in.

“I don’t know about that,” Dr. Cho laughed, “but I doubt the Earth kids are ready for a fifty year old Korean pop star. I’m happy with my wonderful Martian fans.”

Tash came rushing back into the lab still buttoning her blouse and with her seldom used makeup bag tucked under her arm. Her short dark hair dripped onto her blouse as she hurried over to her desk. She pulled a clean rag from a drawer, and dried her face before she started putting on some makeup. “How much time, Jackson?”

“Plenty. Five minutes,” he replied.

Pink looked on in disbelief at his wife applying lipstick, “Makeup. Wow. It really is true?”

“They told you?! Who do I kill? Bae or Jackson?”

“I guessed, I think,” he said, “but…I need you to actually tell me before I can believe it’s really true.”

“Oh, I can do more than tell you,” she smiled.

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