Grandmama’s First Human, Part 3

Noticing the glazed eyes on her tiny audience, she sighed. So much she needed to tell them and they were still so little. They were far too young to understand the toll on her health her pregnancy, escape and acclimatization to this strange little wet rock of a planet had taken. Normally, a Cy-et her age could easily expect to live more than long enough to see her 350th of this planet’s years. But would she even see these two become adults? Who could say?

No matter. She couldn’t rush them so for tonight, she skipped all the boring details of hibernation and how many times she’d awakened to perform various necessary functions – all important things for a variety of reasons far more important than 1W-7’s insistence on getting the details right.  For now, they just wanted a funny story from their grandmama. So be it.

“Well, I finally came out of hibernation to see a much changed view – and an open pod hatch. The air was strange – so many things I’d never scented before. And the trees that had been barren and snowy were vibrant with greenery. Much improved, I must say.”

“I climbed out of the pod and spent a few hours getting used to the rock’s gravity and convincing my legs to once again bear my weight. 1W-7 will tell you I stumbled about for three point six hours but never you mind, I got my planet legs back quickly enough. It had been five years since I’d last stood up on a planet – not so easy a transition as you might think.”

Grandmama’s First Human, Part 2

“Mind you, once we came to rest, 1W-7 was absolutely beside herself, prattling on about the pod condition, my condition and any other condition she could think of. We were both in one piece which was enough for me right then. We argued a bit, but she finally admitted it was a solid landing, we weren’t in immediate danger and it was too bloody dark outside to do anything about it even if we were.”

She paused, smiling, “I got a very good night’s sleep, once all the excitement was over. It was light out once my sleep cycle was over. I could see well enough to tell what I already knew – we were in a hole in the ground. I couldn’t see and 1W-7 couldn’t find any apparent artificial habitations. What I could see were miles of frozen water vapor covering absolutely everything. I did have to admit she was right about this planet being a wet rock.”

“We did some more bandying about but 1W-7 had already completed all her EVA assessments – we’d landed in the planet’s northernmost hemisphere during its coldest phase. There was nothing for it really but for us both to go into hibernation mode for then time 1W-7 estimated it would take for the phase to end. The temperature was within my survival range, but her blasted escape hatch was frozen shut.”

Grandmama sighed, “My lovely landing had super heated the frozen water vapor which had immediately cooled to water, splashed all over the pod and promptly froze solid. Tiny little one seater – should have taken the big one, I suppose.”

Grandmama’s First Human

“So, what story shall Grandmama tell her poppets tonight?” the voice on the other end of the video call asked pleasantly.

The boy turned shyly away but spoke loudly, “The funny one!”

“Ah, a wise choice indeed, my little Tom. Now, where shall I begin?” The prim English didn’t match the slight Russian accent anymore than the youthful face fit the title grandmother, but neither child would have cared even if they could have noticed. “Best to start at the beginning…”

The girl shook her head, “We know that part!”

“Oh, do you now? Well, do tell.”

“You ran away from the evil queen and came here. ‘The big, sopping wet rock flinging around a dinky little star hiding in the outer spiral arm so no one would notice it’.”

“My, my, Tammy, you were paying attention. Alright then…” she cleared her throat slightly then picked up the story. “The pod’s AI, 1W-7, was a bit of what you would call ‘snarky’, but it was correct. I’d been to many worlds, but none like this one. So full of life and resources yet so far from civilization. 1W-7 hated it, but to me, it was perfect.”

“Tonight, I shan’t bore you with the trivial details of successfully landing a pod never intended to go dirt side – a fair bit of piloting and only a tiny crater if I do say so myself – stop wrinkling you nose, Tom…”

The children dutifully lay on their tummies, pillows under their chins and tucked in their little blankets. Tom smiled shyly and their grandmother continued.