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Spice Force Logic: Mind Games

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Stuck with a headache, Mel just woke up in a hospital room for some reason. Trying to piece together what just happened to her was as difficult as trying to make sense of the technologically yet controversial scientific enhancement since Area 51 was founded in the late 1940s shortly the attacks of Pearl Habor. It was originally an automobile rehabilitation workshop before earning a settlement with the US government. After it was discovered the USSR was bound to cause trouble, NATO founded a series of stations in outer space, exploring a multitude of devices that got their way into civilian hands. Area 51 was able to find a way to travel from Earth to nearby Mars in less than a month, where a station was established. It provided a secure location and ideal for many Earthlings to do their jobs in safety but recruits were needed. Mel remembered reading an advert looking for such, which it’s how she met with the women she was with before blacking out.

Unlike most, many of the technology from Area 51 wasn’t kept from the public as it contributed some important capabilities for those back on Earth. Underground townships were the standard, the same goes for domes despite the terraformation that has finally enabled humans to travel on the Martian surface without uniforms. Still, for Mel, this was all too much for her… at least without giving her a reason. Luckily, Mel was safely back on Earth but continue to understand why she was at the hospital. Mel tried to remember the last moments, back from a mission she was on with her friends when disaster struck. Mel blacked out before she could understand what happened to at least Melanie and Emma, who were nowhere to be found. Victoria was next to her on her bed, waiting on information about Geri, she didn't know where Melanie and Emma went or were taken to. Mel needed someone to talk to.

“Where are they?” Mel asks.

“Geri is still in surgery. Her legs were crushed in the accident, though not as bad as Melanie and Emma.” Victoria said.

“That’s whom I’m asking for, where are they?” Mel asks.

“They didn’t say. All I know, they needed to go to Mars for treatment. What kind I have no clue about. From what I heard, it was like a scene from Treehouse of Horrors .” Victoria said.

“Look, they got into this line of work, they could’ve told us before taking them.” Mel said.

“Well, you know, to be shipped off to Mars, you had to be in those hibernation containers. They often get the temperature extremely freezing.” Victoria said.

“I know, it’s thanks to the hyperspace forces we had to endure. Spare a thought for the two-man crew who has to endure without such a system. After all, it's pretty much a portion of speed, just to get to one of the stops between the Ira and Earth, never mind Mars.” Mel said.

Mel gets up from her bed, walks to the nearest window, and looked at the direction Mars was.

“Can you imagine those stuck where they had no idea where they’re at, let alone in what condition?” Mel asks.

“Well, it had to be serious to be taken to Mars. After all, that’s where the medical staff goes to go Frankenstein, but they do get the outcomes. It’s a shame it can’t be done on Earth despite being an agreement.” Victoria said.

“What classification… oh yeah, something that one fellow tried to do.” Mel said.

“Yeah, that from what I heard. That’s how they found a way to fix the spinal cord and corrected paralysis. Yet, there are some things they won’t do here on Earth.” Victoria said.

“I'm guessing the main reason is…” Mel said.

“Insanity,” Mel and Victoria said together. 

“It’s just much for saner to fix the spinal cord than who knows what those two have to endure, even if it’s for a short time. The second David heard about it, he had to come over, leaving Brooklyn with his mum.” Victoria said.

Geri wheels into the room.

“They’re on Mars, let me guess.” Geri said.

“It had to be that bad.” Victoria said.

“Shit, I mean they can fucking work on robots part by part. Let the second human is subjected…” Geri said.

“We get it. Besides, we don't know what is going on with them until we can connect to them via webcam. It’s one of the several techniques we can communicate with anyone on Mars.” Mel said.

“When will they let us do that?” Geri asks.

“They’ll give us an update. We can decide from there.” Victoria asks.

“I can sense the wisecracks coming in.” Geri said.

“Look, just because what had to be done to them is to save their lives is questionable, we still need to stay focused.” Mel said.

“She’s right. They’ll need a lot of help. I wonder what measure is being done.” Victoria said.

"I'm lucky my mum had Phoenix safely home. She's likely going to wanna call." Mel said.

"I know. She was talking about it after seeing a strange glow in the night's sky." Victoria said.

== On Mars ==

Earlier, the medical team on Mars had been notified about what has happened to Melanie and Emma. They were getting information available for what has to be done, after being given any specifications. The outlook was very severe for the duo, but there was a fundamental part that survived in one piece. The staff knows they have to restart that important system, but the way it had to be done is pretty much questionable. The duo was placed in the chambers Victoria had spoken about for the journey and methods were taken to minimize damage. The room was bustling with the rush of turbulence going through a lot as the race to save them as needed.

“Okay, I got the system running.” Ivan, a technician, explained. 

“Place them in there.” Aja, lead surgeon, ordered.

“They had been placed suspended animation.” Ivan said.

“That’s fine.” Aja said.

Each woman was placed in the chamber to get a sign of their status.

“Okay, what does it read.” Aja said.

The computer gives out the information and where the danger zones were.

“Ah shit, you have got to be fucking kidding me? It’s worse than anyone thought.” Ivan said.

“There’s one section. It may not be pretty but you’ll to rebuild, piece by piece.” Aja said.

“You not talking about…” Ivan said.

“What choice we got!” Aja said.

Ivan understood there wasn't anything else besides what Aja was ordering, with reasons. The surgery they were able to receive had only been performed a few times before but never on a female patient. Aja understood it was the only chance they had, hence why they had to be sent to the Martian base. A device similar to a cervical collar was placed, allowing the substitutes to be injected in the veins and arteries of the cerebral regions as ordered before the all-clear can be given to start the first slice. A heart-lung machine is being hooked up as well.

==Earth==

“Okay, how many you got?” Victoria asks.

“I’m still stuck, you.” Mel said.

Geri looks out the window while Mel and Victoria played some Chess, with music from "Tetris" coming from Geri's GameBoy Color.

“Is she doing all right?” Mel asks.

“Doubt,” Victoria said.

Geri just stayed silent, waiting for any word about what was happening. Geri thought about turning down the volume, but Mel told her to leave it. 

“What do you think is happening with those two? I mean, what’s got to be going through their minds?” Victoria asks.

“It’s what they’re reduced to. I’m still pissed about what happened to them. They need to do something about the lighting on pod 187 if anyone is going to work in peace.” Geri answered.

“Look, I know it happened on the station but they’re doing what they can for them, even if it’s what’s with them.” (She looks.) “I keep forgetting, what it’s called?” Victoria asks.

“From what I heard, it’s called the ‘Brukhonenko’ method. There’s a good reason why it’s fine on Mars, but not on Earth.” Mel said.

“Why is that?” Geri asks.

“A lot wussed out,” Victoria said.

“VICKI” Mel yelled.

“Come on, but seriously they keep running into problems when it comes to Earth how anyone would react. I mean, the public is chilled with limbs being replaced, but what they got to go through… yeah, not many Earth centers would do.” Victoria said.

“Look, why in the fuck would it causes problems on Earth. I mean, it’s a medical breakthrough. If they live, why not allow it on Earth.” Geri said.

“There’s a lot of red tapes. Few nations are willing to go for it, even researchers in Antarctica weren’t allowed thanks to the conditions.” Victoria said.

“Besides, they would’ve told us by now if they’re done.” Mel said.

A knock is heard.

“Are you, women, okay?” Brian asks.

"We heard what happened!" Nick said.

“Except for Geri, pretty much bruised up but can live with it.” Mel said.

“Where’s Melanie and Emma?” Nick asks.

“They’re on Mars.” Geri answered.

“Uh man, that means…” Brian said.

“It was that serious of an injury. Now, times 2!” Geri said.

“I can almost imagine the looks on their faces when they noticed something was missing.” AJ said.

"Apart from seeing Emma going to town with Metal Slug back at the arcade." Geri remarked.

"And, I thought Howie getting owned by Melanie in NBA Jam..." Kevin was about to add.

A guy jumps in.

“Am I late for…” Justin asks.

“SHUT UP!” The room pretty much answered.

“Besides, they’re doing that on Mars. You wondered why it’s been a tough sell on Earth.” Brian said.

“Why do they a planet to perform that. I thought we fixed the artificial gravity during the 1971 project.” Justin said.

“Look, they need a terrestrial location for stability reasons and Mars meets those demands. There are materials on Mars that can allow them to survive. They’ll be given items to investigate the surface a bit more until their bodies recover.” Brian said.

“Why?” Justin asks.

“They’ll need to be able to control their bodies, once reattached. For now, they’ll be given fill-ins that’ll be connected to their brains to control them.” AJ said.

“Keep in mind, those fill-ins are limited to how long they can last.” Mel said.

“Speaking of that, why would someone let that happened on Earth?” Justin asks.

“Well, from what I heard, even if the ethics are dealt with, one can go insane they were to find out about what those going through. There’s something on Mars that seems to help reduce that.” AJ said.

“Still, what the fuck is going on?” Justin asks as he looks where Mars is located.

== Mars ==

“Okay, both made it out.” Brigid explains, removing the gloves.

“Found bad is it, what organs they’ll need to have replaced?” Airmed asks.

“Well, anything neck above is still fine, hence why the team did what needed to be done. I spoke with Miach about the Martian materials needed to rebuild these.” Brigid said.

Brigid hands them a list.

“Shit, that’s nearly the entire circulatory system.” Airmed said.

“I know, that’s just a quarter. Their integumentary, reproductive, and most of the nervous would able to be salvaged.” Brigid said.

“Where have any of what’s left been placed?” Airmed asks.

“Asclepius has explained the cabinet body will takeover mainly the circulatory and respiratory systems, as there’s a separate one for the digestive system, where could act as a power source. They’re starting to respond and would wake up on their own in a while. Inanna has offered to stay on guard just in case. Insanity is a common side-effect, but they’ll be given medication.” Brigid said.

“Can you imagine if word gets out?” Airmed asks.

“Who cares? This commonly happens, which helps them out in some way, both the US and UK were able to get the hands-on similar projects thanks to the help of Soviet Defectors. Back in 1947, when Area 51 aerospace program needed from help with testing first transports death row inmates were given the job. If they lived, they were either given a pardon or a reduced sentence that removes them from death. Word got out but fears were put at ease when health checks had to be done. Of course, the wardens kept their end of the deal. From the period of 1955 until 1973, there was a serious human rights feud going on. Many states and allies, like these ladies’ native of Great Britain, offer to settle the matter. Furthermore, prisoners had been a legal source, though most opts for those who been executed.” Brigid said.

“Then, why their treatment has to be done here on Mars?” Airmand asks.

“I had to ask about during my medical training in the 1980s, and they explain that the Martian environment was better suited for the kinds of treatment these ladies had to be given. This was discovered during the Apollo missions as teams from Turkey, France, and Iceland helped out with scouting missions to make sure the Warsaw Pact wasn’t plotting hijinx. They had to settle on a location to check out if there’s a chance to look into a fail-safe in case of a nuclear war, at least their people would have a safe location.” Brigid said.

“Did the French government had much of anything once they abandon their method of the death penalty before it being to ironically save lives. I mean, one can imagine what had to have gone into their heads when that was the option to save them.” Airmand asks. 

“I know. Many still have shivered at the thought of what had to be done. Still, what could be done? I’m going to see the degree of the damages and see how we can amend them.” Brigid said.

“What about any member of their family?” Airmand asks.

“Well, there’s no use of covering it. I’ll make arrangements if they’re ready to see the process so far.” Brigid said.

As Brigid leaves to do her rounds, Melanie and Emma were both at the recovery infirmary, still asleep from the medicine that was provided. There was no telling what will become of them once they get a look at their substitute bodies. They had gone through a lot but still, something was on their minds about the circumstances leading to the disaster. As explained, a word about what has happened to Earth, which most of the public was horrified to hear but respect what is being done.

Chapter Text

The only thing on the minds of those involved were the final moments that led to Melanie and Emma being sent to Mars for treatment. The women were among the highly skilled astronauts and maths in their profession. Yet, they were reminded that just in a split second, their lives end up changing. Like many of the others, they got many of their abilities from their parents but some areas were better than others. Melanie surpasses in agriculture and physics was simple for Emma. They were in the middle of fixing one of the stations when disaster struck them, leading to their current conditions. 

== Hours Before Disaster ==

Among the many spacecraft greenhouses, as a botanist, Melanie was working her rounds on mapping the current genetic system on the plant seeds, with the chance to produce variations that can be grown on the Martian surface. The main problem was the space radiation often common on Mars, requiring most grown in green shelters. Melanie often had thoughts about what life on to be like on such a planet that once seemed to be hostile, while Emma was working with the liquids, allowing waste to be reused as fuel. So far, Emma had been able to convert most of the Martian methane into solid blocks that help with transportation. 

Onboard the Ira, the ladies had been on their 6 month-period on board with the British Aerospace Commission. A portion of the crew they’re with was doing work on one of the Martian moons, Phobos, after being able to increase the native oxygen and magnetic field levels. While it seems hopeful, it was still safer to live in the domes or underground thanks to pressurization in the areas. After her rounds, Melanie went to the lounge, getting a cup of Earl Grey tea, and looked out one of the windows, aiming at Olympus Mons. Melanie often marveled at the beauty on the planet, but she was interrupted with a request asking for her...

Yet… it starts to fade

== Back at the Ward ==

Melanie was waking up after what she was trying to remember moments before ending up being placed in what is often called ‘cabinet’. Melanie had heard about the cabinet, being given to those who had to undergo the guillotine, once a killing device until the cabinet with created. At first, Melanie wasn’t sure where she was and what happened, all she knew something was wrong. Melanie remembers being present when the cabinet was being used, but it was done on Mars thanks to the condition on the planet. She jokingly called it a fish tank, thanks to the technoscientific liquid chemical compounds used. However, Melanie thought it wouldn’t happen, until she noticed that she was in some kind of tank, similar to what she often had to wear during spacewalks, thanks to being used to PFC. Melanie looked around but something was off, while she was breathing, looking at a set connected to the base on her neck. 

A device on the base of her neck was often called ‘larynx plate’, as it enables the user to speak despite being guillotined yet living. It was often connected to the base of the skull after the removal of part of the spinal cord for the rest of the headless body. The ‘larynx plate’ took over the person’s lungs as it was connected to the base of the trachea below the larynx, enabling communication as it was designed to reproduce the user's original voice, right to emotions. An orthopedic pillow was given to provide support and acts as an absorber of sudden movement. 

Melanie felt something was off, despite being interested in the Victorian style setting. Melanie noticed a medical assistant, asked him to tell her where she was. The assistant explained that she was indeed on Mars, but the condition she was in required it. Melanie looked around her, trying to understand what was going on, looking at the filter systems within her cabinet. Melanie noticed some devices were hooked up, one side to eliminate waste, used to power her cabinet while the other one provided blood substitutes like plasma and perfluorocarbons. This was all new to Melanie as she tries to make sense of what was happening to her. Needing someone to talk to, Melanie had to the assistant in the room.

“Hello, is anyone there?” Melanie asks.

“You’re awake.” The assistant said.

“Can I have something to drink?” Melanie said.

“Sure, I’ll see if I could. The opening the gullet might need to be looked at as the larynx plate often has to provide such as nutrients that have to be refilled. A pack was required to keep it self-contained, though those tubes help with the drainage. Lens was needed to see in the solution.” The assistant said.

The assistant went to go get the charts.

“You and Emma were in a serious accident, forcing the current condition. I can give you a mirror if you want, but I have to warn you about your cabinet.” The assistant said. 

“Is it that… was I” Melanie said, stopping short from saying execution.

“I’m afraid so. Your head was one of the few that were left untouched, prompting the surgery.” The assistant said.

“How did that happened? What about Emma? Is she…” Melanie said.

“The same story, she had to go through the same process. She seems to be a little calmer after she got news about what happened.” The assistant said.

“Did she freak out?” Melanie asks. 

“I wasn’t there when she woke up, but I had heard she was quite shocked to see the results but wasn’t surprise on why?” The assistant said. 

The assistant tried to help Melanie with her cabinet, reviewing to see what will be ended to recharge the system since they were needed for maintenance. Melanie wasn’t sure how Emma was taking the news, but she needed to see how she was holding out. Melanie tried to check what was connected to her brain that was taking over her system, but each time, she didn’t seem at ease. Finally, she was able to be transferred to another area, where Emma was just wondering about what had happened to her.

“Stuck being ahead, I couldn’t resist,” Emma said.

“Well, at least, they haven’t seen the full results.” Melanie said.

“Well, I wasn’t too surprised by what they did. Just bummed out that the others didn’t get a chance to see what happened to leave for Earth.” Emma said.

“Wait, they didn’t even get to…” Melanie said.

“I don’t think so. I’m trying to figure out what went wrong. I mean, we had been sent to handle a similar leak before, but this one was another story.” Emma said.

“What about those boys that were there?” Melanie asks.

“They suffered minor injuries, but they were asking about us.” Emma said.

The assistant entered the room.

“Sorry for the delay, I had to check what was available and what was recommended diet changes. They’re also looking to see if any visitors are coming.” The assistant said.

“Wait… what?” Emma asks.

“That’s what I asked. I explained if a video conference would be all right, but they said it wasn’t enough.” The assistant said.

“I don't think they would wanna take a look.” Melanie said.

“Yeah, can you image PJ’s reaction?” Emma asks.

“I was talking about my mum. She’ll freak out.” Melanie said.

“Don’t worry, they’re being given details on your current condition. I get a mirror if you would like.” The assistant said.

“Well, it’ll be kinda interesting.” Emma said.

“Still, gonna warn ya. It’s not going to be pretty.” The assistant said.

The assistant went to obtain the mirrors, as requested. They were rather nervous about what they were in for.

== Earth ==

At the ground-based in Brussels, the other three were in a conference room, getting ready for a meeting with the media. Geri was confined to a wheelchair as her legs had to heal. Both Mel and Victoria were medically cleared to resume work, but they’re still asking themselves if they could see Melanie and Emma at some point. They scheduled a doctor’s check-up to allow travel to Mars in person, otherwise, they would have to settle with a video conference call. Gert was still under medical orders thanks to her, leaving Victoria to fill in her electromagnetism section. However, Victoria had some second thoughts as such an accident in the area did end with the situation they were in, same with Mel as she has to fill in for Emma. Still, they had to remain professional as the public would like to know what happened. 

“I can almost imagine what those two have got to be going through after having been forced to have their heads placed in those tanks.” Mel said, holding Phoenix as her mum left for a moment.

“Their bodies were badly damaged from the burns of radiation that busted through, not to mention the loud pop ended being heard. To be fair, Geri tried to intervene the second she heard that alarm.” Victoria said, calming Brooklyn down.

“It was rather too loud for those ladies to hear, but the second they felt the shock wave… it was clear that disaster was going to strike.” Mel said.

“I was surprised that they took one for the team and shielded the camera set that they were required to bring for security reasons.” Victoria said.

“Thanks to them, the footage from the black boxes there were left unharmed. Geri is viewing the footage, it’s not good. I’m surprised Melanie’s tattoos somehow survived intact.” Mel said.

“Well, she often had to be her a guinea pig when it comes to trying new inking tactics.” Victoria said.

Brian and AJ enter.

“Are you ladies ready?” AJ asks.

“Almost, we’re checking over the images, looking for which ones can be allowed on the telly when we have to be interviewed. My mum is on her way, she'll help with Phoenix.” Mel said.

“Any of them contain the moment of impact?” Brian asks.

“At least, one or two of them. Still, some got us asking the fuck.” Mel said.

Mel shows the moment she was talking about.

“I thought their heads would’ve blown off from there.” Brian said.

“They were wearing those pressurized dry suits, which reduced that from happening but they were still blown a few distances. That tsunami of a combo of amorphous ice, dry ice, asphalt, and unknown alloys. It wasn’t clear what started that explosion, but they knew… they were in some serious shit.” Mel said.

“Don’t get me going on the force Geri endured. We blacked out after that.” Victoria said. 

“I know, I can hear those sounds.” AJ said.

Someone came into the room, explaining that the reporting is getting ready. Mel's mum returned after using the restroom, taking over of caring for since Mel had to go to the press. David was alongside Victora, being given Brooklyn. Brooklyn got a little fuzzy, but Victoria explained to him what mum had to do. Mel opted to only show pictures that didn’t involve Melanie and Emma suffering the worst. Mel and Victoria felt showing the moments Melanie and Emma were hit by the disaster were too graphic. They also weren’t ready to talk about what they had to undergo and why it was done on Mars. They felt they needed to see it the results for themselves as they didn't have seen the surgery done either. Yet, they still lost about caused the explosion, as there was were some dangerous chemicals that could've been behind it.

== Mars ==

At the hospital on the Marian base, surgeons were still analyzing the damages that Melanie and Emma had suffered and it was worse than think. While certain parts, like where the tattoos were, were able to be salvaged but there was still more to go. The parts that were salvaged were placed in specialized jars that kept items from decaying, and each form to be marked out. Many were also getting ready for the video news conference for an update on the disaster. Both the US and British governments were informed about the disaster and how serious it was. A forensic team headed to the Ira to help out on the investigation, trying to figure out what reacted with the alloys. The section where the disaster took place was closed off and plans were ongoing to bring the section to Earth for further repairs. This was critical, despite the fact, there were little reports of any EMP incidents, as far as Earth is concerned. Melanie and Emma were still in the ward, as they too waited for the conference but weren’t aware some of their family members were planning on seeing them.

“Well, how bad is it?” Eir asks.

“Worse than we thought. Some of the bones in their limbs took some of the blow, but it’s around the chest and abdomen that got the worst. While metal alloy is recommended for the limbs as reinforcement, the area of the chest and abdomen will have to be rebuilt.” Miach said.

“Anything about any organs?” Eir asks.

“Just as bad, but the restoration of the Central Nervous System seems to be easier than thought thanks to the nerves recovered. Brigid is going to look into xenotransplantation, for now, some police officers on Earth have often to ship some organs from some wolves. They were injured in an accident, forcing the officers to kill them on the spot to end their pain. Some of the farmers in their native England has offered some animal blood to help out.” Miach said.

“It’s all we got to go with. What kind of materials are recommended for their new axial skeleton and lower appendicular?” Eir asks.

“A mixture of metal alloy and the bone tissues, they need to see what ones are safe and can be found easily. A team is exploring the Martian surfaces to collect the amount needed.” Miach said.

A knock is heard.

“Sorry to bother, but the press conference is about to start in a few. Brigid needs to know who’ll be there for a video conference.” The messenger explained. 

“Aja and Menrva are on their way. They’re there shortly.” Eir said.

The messenger leaves.

“I ought to go there. I’m sure their friends and family back on Earth on likely asking.” Eir said.

“Understand… say, is it all right to let the folks at the ward that two men, Alan and Trevor, are requesting to see their daughters in person?” Miach asks.

“Sure, they have to go through a medical exam before they arrive. I’ll let them know.” Eir said.

Eir leaves to go check up on the ladies, who were getting a medical check-up. They needed to be tested to see what metal alloy would be safe for them, as they were going to receive Martian based materials to rebuild their bodies. Eir informed about the likelihood of having some visitors in person, and the time they’ll stay on Mars if they want to see the whole rebuilding process. Melanie heard parts of the meeting, learning about her biological dad wanted to see her. It was something Melanie was rather uneasy with because she didn’t want any of her family in such a mess. Melanie knew, there wasn’t anything she could do, knowing what she was in for.

Chapter Text

Back on Earth, in the City of Brussels in Belgium, the journalists were meeting in the conference room, while a team on Mars were setting up at the same time, to ask any question coming their way. It was clear that the public was demanded to know what happened, and if those injured were going to be all right. A person was elected to address the press center, as the room was asking questions, walking to the stand to begin.

“Those who are here, thank you for coming during this time of hardship. As you know about now, a serious accident had occurred on board the Ira, British Aerospace station, working alongside the United States for the Martian locations. While most of the injuries were minor, three personals, all British Nationals, suffered the worst. While one was safely brought on Earth and is currently treated, two of them were gravely injured… forcing the ‘Brukhonenko’ surgery.” Deputy Chief. Sally Demeter explained. 

A gasp was heard in the room, possibly those attending as well. It was one of the first times anyone had heard of such measures in awhile.

“You mean like those series of films that had those dogs hooked up to machines. We had to look up the film in question to get an idea of the circumstances upon discovering this disaster onboard.” One reporter wondered.

“I’m afraid so. There was no other alternative, as you understand the definition of death had to be changed over time despite the declaration, even if they're alive. Because parts in question managed to survive, it had to be performed. As you understand, it’s being done on Mars due to the resources needed that aren’t readily found on Earth in such short notice. It was developed after the Apollo lunar mission, in the event of a disaster that would’ve resulted in death. Of course, that resulted in a medical station among the Martian surfaces. This event led to a series of medical discoveries with materials that could only be on there.” Demeter said.

“Any time soon, we’ll be able to see some of the footages of the Ira ?” Another asked.

“We had gone through and, as requested by those involved, could show the damages onboard as it could lead to a known cause. It’s too early to reveal the cause as we’re getting much information from France, Germany, and Denmark about the strange lighting from the night’s sky during the time of the explosion. It’s simply still too early, not even NATO was given all of the reports. A team has been sent over to analyzes the ladies who were involved.” Demeter said.

Demeter shows parts of the Ira station, it was lucky someone somehow survived. Demeter also presented a diagram of where areas were damaged and repaired.

“Is it plausible to see those involved? Would there an opportunity they’re able to return to Earth?” A third asks.

“For now, they have asked for privacy as family members are being informed. Officials in the injured native of England has offered support for the reconstruction effects, as we had been informed of the number of damages. Essentially, it has to do with the bone structure, and the Martian landscape has materials needed.” Demeter said.

“Are we going to have a statement with the Martian base?” A fourth asks.

“We’re waiting for those handling the reconstruction. Many have required privacy for the women that had to undergo the surgery, along with their families. It will be respected.” Demeter said.

“What about any organ or tissue?” Firth one asks.

Demeter had to respond to more questions than she assumed but kept her commitment to giving women their privacy despite a series of questions. Many wanted to know if anyone of them is going to be okay. It was time for the Martian organization, and they were just as stern with their findings. The press was astounded to see each detail of each section of the body that was either damaged or destroyed. The others were a different region, not wanting to talk about what had happened to their friends on Mars for treatment. A team of medical professions was en route to the Martian base where they were staying. The two men were also getting a medical screen to see if they can see their daughters in person, but they were just as shocked by what happened.

== Mars ==

The women were watching the news just like their colleagues back on Earth. They were just learning how serious their situation, as the information on how long was still unknown. They were also informed about a team arriving over to see them, as this was all new to them as information about them was going around. They would have to be exam one by one, in a way the teams can get a closer examination. They were given their routine cleansing, as it was needed before they can look in a special kind of tank. The news of any visitors in person was just nerve-wracking for them. 

“I never thought I would like this. Have to admit, the wiring plugged into my brain does hurt a bit” Melanie said.

“I didn’t think a team was coming over, let alone our parents.” Emma said.

“I’m still unsure if I should let my dad anywhere near right now.” Melanie said.

Melaine tried to see if she could control her cabinet, likely move around but wasn’t getting anywhere.

“If you’re trying to get away, it’s not happening. I’ve yet to see what this looks like from a mirror.” Emma said.

“Well, I haven’t seen it for myself, either.” Melanie explained.

A sound is heard.

“They’re here. They would like to see.” The assistant said. 

“Any idea who they are?” Melanie asks.

“They’re from various fields of medical departments. I’ll have the transportations ready.” The assistant said.

“I’m a little nervous about that. It almost reminds me of a scene in The Simpsons where Homer was trying to guess Selma’s date.” Emma said.

“Never thought I hear you say that. If we did have to meet with a Homer, it’ll be the day.” Melanie said.

The transportations arrived for each.

“Ready, we just got to get a few things.” The assistant said.

Each lady is placed in the transport tank, which had the PFC-mixed fluid, equipped with an IV drip with similar substances. 

“Okay, that should be all set. They’re going to run a series of examinations, to investigate which materials would be in the safe range. I also gotta warn ya, they might secure you up to another installation to control the artificial heart and lung system. They’re likely would want to ask a series of questions. You may feel a stinging sensation but that’s normal.” The assistant said.

“Any of my family members be there, cause she a little worried.” Emma said.

“Emma,” Melanie said.

“While they’re currently going through some medical examination to even see if they are being allowed on the Ira, or what dodged disaster. The parts in need of repairs had to be sent to a shop here on Mars.” The assistant said.

“How long is that?” Melanie asks.

“Ordinarily, about 72 hours for the results before they can go over to the station. From there, they’re having another round before heading over to space.” The assistant said.

“Say, I did notice some night lights a few moments. Not sure where they were from.” Emma said.

“I noticed, too. I was wondering if they had something to do with that explosion.” Melanie said.

“While the meeting is going, I have to check to see what can be consumed that would help with the functions of the cabinets. I know movement isn’t practicable, but they’ll look into matters to keep your brain active for the time being. It had to be hell stay in one place for a long time.” The assistant said.

As they were transported, the ladies tried to remain calm as they were meeting a group for the first time.

“I didn’t expect this kind of tension.” Melanie said.

“They’re here.” One of the personals said.

Finally, they found themselves in a room with a gathering of medical professions. 

“I have seen, operation setting like this but like this…” Melanie thought.

“I know these things can be quite nervous to get into, but that’s normal.” Another person said.

Each lady was placed on the examination board, which looked like a glove box used in several labs they were used to. An oxygen system was hooked up to allowed them to breathe inside the normally air-tight dry box, with an ergonomic pillow was placed to provide support. A member of the medical profession examines each part that they were left and had a series of questions for them. It was one of the parts that we weren’t sure about but answer as much as they could, the same story with that accident that resulted in the mess they were in. Thanks to being in the containers for a while, they were rather cold to the touch but it was needed. Though it doesn’t hurt that radio was left on in the next room, playing classic R&B.

== Earth ==

The very identical song was playing where Timberland was relaxing in a cafe near the NATO quarters, trying to make sense of what was going on. Timberland worked in the astrophysics discipline and was working was caused by the explosion that injured one of his colleagues, Emma. Most of the populace at the cafe were glued to the TV set behind the cafe, where the owner was often done. TImberland was given a list of likely chemicals that had been known to cause a dangerous effect. As he reviewed any space weather that was happening during the time of the incident, TImberland noticed something had happened in France during that moment. This was puzzling else similar cases had interfered with before, but this one was strange. At that moment, his friend, Sean, a mechanical engineer from New York, had to have a word with Timberland as he was going to be among the team with the task of repairing the Ira, demanding answers.

“Another word, me and the fella are checking out if there was any external damage.” Sean said.

“Yeah, why else I would need to have a meeting with folks back at NASA. They going over what they noticed on the two Voyagers. Something had to be that serious to reach over there. It almost looks like what happened in 1957. The Soviets tried to hide but got caught following Chernobyl. They knew they screwed up and couldn’t keep that shit to themselves.” Timberland said.

“Saying that those ladies obtaining mutant abilities to go Wolverine or Fantastic Four.” Sean joked.

“Funny, but what I’m getting raises some eyebrows.” Timberland said as he reviews the information he got on his laptop. 

Timberland shows Sean what he was talking about.

“Fuck, that some serious levels of protons in one location in such a short amount of time.” Sean said.

“That’s not all. For the last few months, many countries in Europe had been reporting strange lights over the skies. This was before, the team spends to the Ira days before this disaster.” Timberland said.

“Well, it was a final chance to have some fun before their tour of duty.” Sean said.

“I’m not sure if either NASA or NATO was informed of the issues. They were to check out a leakage, where the explosion happened. We’ll need to know which one had to be the trigger and what causes it. There’s a chance of human error, but not sure what form.” Timberland said.

“Either way, my crew are traveling to the Martian Base that’s where they’re bringing the parts of the Ira that was damaged since there were some materials on the planet are found there. Luckily, a backup section was put in place, each section part didn't connect in an all-in-one for situations like this.” Sean said.

“Say, while you’re at it, can you check out the ladies for me?” Timberland asks.

“Sure,” Sean said.

Sean leaves for his trip to Mars to work on the Ira section that needed to be repaired. Timberland sends out some of the information to the Martian stations to check out some of the findings and check if someone in the area had noticed similar events going on. Timberland was also information about how the medical professionals examining the ladies, trying to understand what kind of damage that they had to deal with. Timberland soon left the cafe and back to his hotel room, as he had a meeting with the NATO crew about the results he received so far.

== Mars ==

After a long day, Melanie and Emma were placed back in their cabinets. They were looking at the window, checking out the Martian sky, which includes the blue sunset. They were sealed from the Martian harsh environment by the crystal clear windows, but they still wonder what it would be like to walk on the surface of the planet. Robotic bodies were within the suits inside of the room, should they need that voyage onto the Martian surface. There was some mission they were still needed for, but for now, they need to relax as they got work to do the next morning. It was going to involve some VR equipment, as part of their recovery. For now, they could reflect on what happened.

== Minutes Before Disaster ==

Melanie was on her way over to the section of the Ira where a gas leakage, which required the area to be sealed off from the foundation. It seems like not much of a problem, and Melanie was used to handling such a problem. However, a team was needed as the location of the leakage needed to be investigated, along with the number of damages that needed to be dealt with. With their CBRN uniforms on, a team was ready to check out the area that was causing the problem. Right away, they noticed a strange level of liquid, which didn’t seem to fluster them. The liquid had a slime-like appearance, almost looking at an oil leakage. Still, they went forward, not knowing the danger heading their way.

 

It soon fades.

Chapter Text

As the sun rises on Earth, news about what happened and demanding more questions than anyone could answer. Many of the public was wondering if they’ll be able to see the crew members who had to undergo such operation. Some are still asking if their families were even informed about the matter if anyone from the press bothers questioning. A conference between the doctors on both Earth and Mars was going on to get a better understanding of the situation. The ladies were also asked about their situation, only in voice conference as they still requested some privacy. Mel and Victoria were busy with their kids, wondering if they’ll be able to see how Melanie and Emma again, let alone in the condition they were in. They knew about their dads wanting to come over to visit and likely stay with them for a while as the transport between the planets does a lot. The current wife of one of the men encouraged him to go to Mars, be there for his daughter, even if it means for the whole recovery. Despite the internet, fax machines were still used to transmit some documents due to the security requirements needed. Mel opted to write what to say, as she opted to send to a voicemail to them. Victoria had made sure the kids were napping before checking with Mel.

“Feeling Okay…” Victoria said.

“Still stressed out, but Phoenix helped mum out. She helped me out.” Mel said.

“I know. I was speaking with David and looking after Brooklyn. It helped with the stress. David was looking over the surgery that Melanie and Emma went through. He was kinda grossed out when we watched the video on similar incidents with the dogs. While it’s understandable to save lives, it took time to quiet down.” Victoria said.

“I could almost imagine what had to be going on when they woke up.” Mel said.

“It had to be something.” Victoria said.

“I’m trying to narrow down on what to say. I know it’s early, but they had to be demanding questions.” Mel said.

“I know. I’m having family back home in London wanting to know what is going. Now, Emma’s mum wants to come over to Brussel. It’s one of the last places on Earth Emma was before traveling over to the Ira. She’s not too fond of her ex-husband, Trevor, wanting to see the results in person. She wants to give Emma some space to recovery, let her decide if she wants anyone to look.” Mel said.

“Has any of Melanie’s parents said anything?” Victoria asks.

“We’re just as upset, but they have been asking for. Her mum and stepdad are also coming over to Brussel to meet with the NATO space program. They'll be getting some of the footage of the incident. They also had the remains of their original bodies. Some parts, like Melanie’s tattoos, were able to be salvaged. They’ll likely be given a combo of mechanical and organic upgrades.” Mel said.

“What about Geri?” Victoria asks.

“She’s still at the hospital at the station. She has a lot to go before she’ll give anyone from the journalists who want an interview with her.” Mel said.

“What would you like to say?” Victoria asks.

“I’m trying to keep it simple as I know they might be unable to write back without some help.” Mel said.


Mel went with a few dry runs with Victoria on what should be on the letter and how she should have sent the letters over. Victoria wanted to add in a few words as they’ll be okay with her.


== Mars ==
The very morning on at the Martian hospital, Melanie and Emma were waking up to another day in their cabinets. A robotic arm add-on was installed on the cabinets and trying to control it, Just as long they’re connected to their brains, the robotic arm would be active. The pain was moderately severe, but they just brushed it off as they hastily understand help was needed. It was rather helpful on their path to recovery, it also alleviates the monotony of just being incapable to do anything. It was helpful with maintaining their mental state going, as it was needed. There were other devices where their heads can be plugged into directly, but it wasn’t clear how much what little was left of them could manage. They were also given a specialized diet to keep the cabinets powered since conversion into its power was required.

The team overseeing the care was evaluating the senses, which was once occupied by their original bodies as they need to understand how much is too much. If the levels were too severe, they’ll have to intervene to reduce the damages. A chess game was used as a way to examine the matter, as it required a serious amount of focus was required. It also kept the duo busy before they’ll know what was next for them. They also can hear the meetings being done but opted to leave them alone. They didn’t want to bother them. For now, they were into the board game, which has been helpful to ease their pain. However, the team was also informed that there was a hidden danger that could plague the ladies, which a game of chess could go so far. They understood that since a human is a social creature, that could prove to be a factor as they have a lot of friends and family back on Earth. The ladies could only handle each other for so long, they’ll need some time alone to relax. The team had to figure out how to maintain their sanity in check if their recovery was ever going to happen. They were kept in check with any family member planning on seeing them, wondering how long would they stay on Mars.

“Feeling alright…” The assistant asks while getting the fluid change.

“Still, I’m not sure if I’m ready to let anyone come over.” Melanie said.

“I understand. Yet, sometimes, it helps with the recovery. I’m sure they’ll want to know how things are going, likely asking about what happened on the Ira.” The assistant said.

“From I heard so far, it had something to do with the nitric acid leaking into the phosphorus combo. Not sure who’s the idea was it to store caused such reactivates, but they’ll hear once either of us gets to…” Melanie said.

“How powerful was it?” The assistant asks.

“Enough to our original bodies that for damn sure.” Emma said.

“I see.” The assistant said.

“Have you ever seen what happens after you submerge a cheeseburger into hydrochloric acid? That what it felt like, even with the suits on.” Emma said.

“How about being diving into a hot spring? That was my reaction as it hurt like shit!” Melanie said.

“Well, there were some pictures following the accident that your colleagues didn’t want to show to the media. They felt it would be too much.” The assistant said.

“Can we take a look at them?” Emma asks.

“Sure, but I have to warn you… the pictures were rather disturbing.” The assistant said.

The assistant handed them some of the photos during the removal of the suits, which included some flesh.

“You have got to be fucking kidding me! Was that my original arm?” Emma asks.

“I’m afraid so.” The assistant said.

“I fucking heard of being dropped into a container of alkaline was a hellhole, but this kind of shit.” Melanie said.

Emma was astonished to see her former body was badly damaged, it looked like she was being flayed alive until there wasn’t much skin. Emma noticed how one of her arms was stripped down to the muscle and bone, almost like someone pulling how difficult to deglove it. Melanie was just as horrified as to how the skin of her former body was dealt with. It was like she had been sentenced to death by a thousand cuts, each portion of her skin being sliced off. It was mainly due to the suits they were wearing had pretty much melted onto their skin with no other way to remove them. It was done, the results were disturbing as it looked like a field dressing, mixed with a waist chop. Melanie compared it to the radiation burns of the liquidators following their responses to Chernobyl. The reality of the accident was starting to settle in, but they still know it’ll be a long road before they can be able to return to Earth. Yet, they knew they were going to have to face the media at some point before their new bodies are ready.

While looking over, a fax came over to the region, looking for any clues on what was the likely cause of the disaster on board the Ira. Most of the reports were coming in some France about some strange lights shortly before the explosion, as they were both visible in many French cities including Paris. Melanie and Emma asked if they could look at the finding as they were trying to piece together the disaster. Emma looked through each detail and noticed something bizarre when it came to the reading of the radiation levels reported in the area they were working, but the alarms weren’t as well as they should. Melanie was just as stumped because she never has seen many levels.

One of the medical personnel in the same room as the ladies also looked at the findings, and she too was just as horrified. It was almost like the ladies were getting an X-Ray during the repairs they were doing regardless of the leakage. Yet, there was a need to know what chemical compound interacted with the radiation that was reported. Further investigations were needed, but there had to be some kind of incident that pretty set off the Ira like a bomb was planted. Many of the repair service technicians on Mars were looking through where the damages were and couldn’t find any evidence of some kind of an attack. There was something that had been failing, leading to the explosion. This was alarming as they needed to know what was the cause, fearing that Earth could’ve gotten damaged by some unknown plague.

== Minutes Before Disaster ==
After looking at the leakage, it was concluded to be a standard repair, as Geri had shut off access to the section they were working for safety. Emma and Melanie were getting a few things to patch up the leakage, as more than duct tape would be needed. The light blue mist was an alarming sight but none paid attention. During the repairs, the ladies opted to have a small talk to break the tension.

“Okay, with a serious about wiring and shielding, you would think of adding Polytetrafluoroethylene would obvious.” Melanie complained.

“You tell me, just trying to reach that area is a load of bollocks if you ask me.” (She looks at Geri.) “I need that touch, hand me one.” Emma requested.

Geri gives Emma the strongest flashlight she had, so the light can be shined on the area.

“It looks more like some nitric acid. We’re gonna have to be very careful cleaning this shit. One false move and we got us some TNT.” Emma said.

“Do you need the fire extinguisher?” Geri asks.

“Well, fire needs need oxygen to breathe, so go get the CO2 ones to strive it. Be careful with the oxygen tanks.” Melanie said.

As the ladies began the removal of the damaged areas, they start talking about a case back home in England.

“This better not end up with the King’s Cross Tube Fire.” Emma said.

“What about that?” Melanie asks.

“Well, during the holiday season in the 1980s, a fire broke out. It caught a lot of officers off-guard, resulting depends on the public. They had to recreate the scene in a farming area after getting a likely cause.

It was like a flamethrower on steroids.” Emma said.

“Oh yeah, that forced many to adopt metal since it’s harder to burn, along with routine cleaning.” Melanie said.

As the ladies work on the source of the leakage, one of the pipes, something catches their eye.

“Say, what’s going on?” Emma asks.

“What’s with the lights going at it?” Melanie asks.

“Hey Geri, are you seeing this?” Emma asks.

Geri looks where the ladies were talking about.

“What the fuck is that?” Geri asks.

“Where the fuck are they coming from?” Melanie asks.

Geri looks at the Geiger counter by her side.

“Say, are you getting this reading?” Geri asks.

Melanie takes out her portable Geiger counter and notices the levels rising.

“What’s the safe range?” Melanie asks.

“Less than 100 rads, if you were you, ladies, I start leaving the area.” Geri said.

“No shit,” Melanie said.

Understanding the warning, both Melanie and Emma began to leave the area until the levels lower to a safer point. While there was a leakage to deal with, they had to place a temporary filling for a moment while getting the rest of the equipment, holding off for a few minutes due to the radiation levels are at the safe zones.
It fades as the moments go down.

== Earth ==
Many of the media were trying to request a meeting with those involved, but they were still reminded that their request for privacy is to be respected. Yet, there was one group so far granted access to visit the planet in person. They had already arrived on the red planet, along with the fathers of the ladies, which wasn’t what was anticipated. Arrangements on the hotel area on Mars were being done to allow the permitted media and the fathers of the ladies. They would be given a tour on the location, likely staying for a long journey as there’s no telling how long the recovery would take. The ladies were going to be given some of their limbs back during the week, but a separate set will be needed to control them remotely.

Chapter Text

The following morning on Mars, the ladies were still in shock about seeing the damage that was done, while trying to piece together the moments leading to the incident. The arms were still being rebuilt, as parts of the skins from their former arms were being placed on them. They were mostly tattoos, but a tattoo specialist had shown up to correct any of the damages done. Yet, that was the simple part. Still, there was going to be some questions they’ll have to manage. For now, they were checking out some letters they had gotten back on Earth, mostly from their friends wanting to know how they were doing. However, they weren’t anticipating on getting a visit from their dads, who have eventually arrived on Mars after going all of the basics to be allowed. Because of the lengthy journeys, the men will likely stay with their daughters for a while until they’re clear to return to Earth. Sean and his crew have also arrived to look at the damages on the Ira, checking for possible causes. Some of his crew members went to go see the results of the recovery process while trying to find out the cause of the disaster with the vent pipes being a clue on what happened. 

Some of the populace looking at each limb being re-conducted and noticed how the parts were coming along. The animal parts had arrived and were being cleared out, ready for the transplantation. There was an issue about the nerves being connected to a new set of systems, which explains the wiring system. The examination was being done to check how the bodies would respond without their heads. The practice dates back to the early days of electricity, but it had been adjusted to help out those who require such. The ladies noticed a separate room next to theirs was getting ready for long-term guests but weren’t aware among them would be their dads.

“What’s that?” Melanie asks.

“The maintenance crew just got here. A place is needed during the repairs.” Emma said.

“Say, has anyone figure out what those lights were? Let alone, where were they coming from?” Melanie asks.

“I’m still just as stumped. They were very bright… hurting my eyes, either with the shades.” Emma said.

“I gotta see this!” A voice is heard from the hallway.

“What was that?” Emma asks.

“Wasn’t me” Melanie replied.

“Look, Tommy! I heard about the Aidini situation.” Another said.

“Nikki, you mean, that dude who made a body come back and left folks in shock.” Third said.

“Yeah, that one, Vince.” Tommy said.

“Gotta admit, that was funny.” Nikki said.

“Got the tool kit!” Tommy said.

“Uh, I’m no doctor, but I’m sure you’ll need something else for organs.” Vince said.

“So, that’s what the wolves hearts are for.” Nikki said.

“Well, the cops weren't going to let it go to waste.” Vince said.

The trio checks out where the ladies were.

“I checked out the work ‘...And I must scream’, yet this is a first.” Tommy said.

“I read that short and not at one point I saw our situation.” Emma said.

“That’s what he gets after going for the Metroid games.” Vince said.

“If they weren’t tethered by those tubes, we will be looking at human fish.” Tommy said.

A frightful silence reverberated the room.

“What?” Tommy asks.

“Look, this sounds kinda strange, even for this, but did anyone of you saw any kind of lights…” Emma attempted to ask.

“Like that ‘Light Show’!” Tommy said.

This got on Melanie’s nerves if any was left.

“He’s lucky I don’t have my body, otherwise I would be choking him right now.” Melanie whimpered to Emma about Tommy.

“Nah Tommy, she’s talking about those stars growing in the sky back on Earth, just before that airburst.” Nikki said.

“You did!” Melanie said.

“Yeah, it almost looked like a nova or something. Suddenly, I was getting messages about some lights in France.” Nikki said.

“How intense was it?” Emma asks.

“Ever brighter! It was like something called an aurora, either that or those French were on drugs.” Nikki said.

“Almost like an LSD trip,” Tommy said.

“Yeah, but there were a lot of parties going on for something called Bastille Day.” Nikki said.

The ladies continue to speak with the guys, as they look back to the moments leading up to the disasters. The details had to go down to what they must go through, causing them to reflect on the days before. 

== Days Before On Earth ==

Just before onboarding the Ira transport, the ladies had to undergo a battery of examinations to ensure any damage is dealt with. Separated by sex, the populace chosen is brought into the examination station at a field camp in Brussel. Already dealing with jet lag just from traveling to Belgium, the ladies were allowed to rest for a while. This gave the ladies a chance to go over what they would be working during their time onboard the Ira. Mel and Victoria were still talking about their children, while Melanie, Emma, and Geri were getting ready for the examination. However, this required them to stripped-down, though allowed to keep their knickers and bras. It was mostly due to health reasons, though it gave them a chance to talk about what they were getting into.

“I’m not even a lesbian and already I’m finding myself thinking of Victoria going topless.” Melanie said.

“They need to know each detail.” (She looks at Melanie.) “I figure you be wearing boyshorts and bra to match.” Geri said.

“Well, at least I wasn’t the only one who came prepared.” Melanie responded, pointing at Geri for wearing a pair of tangas she was wearing, along with a full-cup bra.

“We did have to wash up down there.” Emma said.

Melanie and Geri looked at Emma, who was wearing a bikini cheeky bottom and a bralette.

“What?” Emma asks.

“Next,” A voice said.

Emma enters the examining room. 

“Was she wearing what I thought?” Melanie asks.

“And, I expect that from Mel. She’ll likely go for a full-blown thong.” Geri said.

A team inside had a series of questions.

“State Name”

“Emma Lee” She responded.

“Country”

“England” She answered

“City”

“London” She answered.

After Emma was done and sent to the exam room, Melanie was given the same questions, except with Liverpool when asked for the city while Geri entered with Watford. Each lady was placed on a table to be measured, every centimeter written down. Each was to look at each organ, without cutting open of course. A device that looked like a tanning bed was used to take the X-Ray of their internal organs, without the usage of radiation. It was designed as a response to the Castle Bravo incident, which forced the NATO nations to research into any repeat cases. Melanie was getting hers done, but she hears some echoes… calling for her. A bright light flashes in front of her.

== Mars ==

“Melanie, what’s wrong?” Tommy asks.

Melanie looked, finding herself in a cylinder-like tank, without her body.

“Nothing,” Melanie said.

“Well, the boys are investigating the root cause. Say, maybe you can explain that during the press meeting when you ladies get the chance.” Vince explained.

“I did explain what I saw during the examination. It was a somewhat surreal experience, similar to a post-execution by guillotine.” Melanie said.

“Did they show you ladies what you looked like during that?” Nikki asks.

“We did ask. Be careful what you wish!” Emma said.

== Earth ==

Geri was still in a military hospital in Brussel, unable to walk thanks to her injuries. Geri was trying to recall the final moments before disaster struck, but the thoughts about her friends on Mars was still fresh on her mind as she waits for any word. Geri looked out her window, in the direction where Mars was likely was as she was writing down to say if she’s asked to give an interview. It was harder than she thought as she was trying to find the right words to say since it could be likely televised and shown on Mars. However, Geri was checking on the telly when reports of some strange lights appearing in the French skies around the same time as the disaster on the Ira. There were also reports about a strange mist entering the Martian moon of Phobos, soaking the moon. Luckily, a crew working there had left, leaving measuring sensors on the lunar surface. The levels of the acidity had reduced down to the safe range, but it did come from the Ira. For some reason, there were some values onboard to allow the release of poisonous levels of gas or liquid, making the sludge inert. This works by expelling at a certain level of oxygen to starve the flames, just in case, but this was dangerous as it puts one at risk decompression. To reduce the chance, the opening values are as small as a coin and have shut off after a moment but this leaves the section with dangerously low levels of oxygen. It got Geri thinking on the three of them somehow avoid joining three Soviet men of fatalities in space. Still, Geri had a lot on her mind, knowing she’ll have to take. First, Geri has a visitor.

“I figure you’ll have to stay extra.” Max said.

“How did you manage to get here?” Geri asks.

“Mum told what happened. I had to take the next flight I could take to arrive here.” Max said.

“At least, you didn’t see what happened to Melanie and Emma.” Geri said.

“I heard about it. I can’t believe we’re not allowed to check it out.” Max said.

“Look, they would rather not have anyone look. I mean it.” Geri said.

“Yeah, but how long do you think the earth would be kept out of this?” Max asks.

“It has to depend on the two request. Don’t blame them if they don’t want anyone to look, PERIOD.” Geri said.

“What about the parts of the damages their bodies took?” Max asks.

“Same goes with those.” Geri said.

“Unlike these…” Max said, holding some pictures he got.

“Where did you get those?” Geri asks.

“Someone was able to break into one of the computers onboard the Ira following the explosion. He wanted to give them to you if you wanna check out them.” Max said.

Max shows Geri the interior damage of the Ira section, where Melanie and Emma were at.

“They were from a black box that was fused with one of them.” Max said.

Geri was shocked to see the images, moments before impact and noticed something.

“Say, did you hear about the solar flare in France?” Max asks.

“Solar Flare! What makes to come up with that?” Geri asks.

“I was in Paris during the event while on holiday. I even took pictures.” Max said.

Max showed the pictures to Geri.

“Max, this is very important. NATO is still looking for a cause of the disaster.” Geri said.

“Why is that?” Max asks.

With the information on hand, Geri explained to Max that they’ll need to hand over the pictures of the solar flares, as there was a chance it could be the reasons behind the explosion. Yet, they’ll also need to check out information about the mist that followed afterward, checking the levels. Geri knew there was something about the pictures and the events surrounding the explosion. Geri requested an emergency meeting with the members on the Marian base, to look into the mist seeing and the flare. Geri wasn’t aware that she was going to be the first person on earth to see the results of what Melanie and Emma had to go through.

==Mars==

As Melanie and Emma were expecting to see anymore they knew, the word was getting around that they were to be interviewed. They just looked at each other, not sure what they were going to say, let alone what kind of interview would it. They weren’t ready to explain what happened as they were left in the dark on the cause. However, they also weren’t that Geri had found a likely cause, thanks to some pictures taken during the time. Still, the same goes for the maintenance crew who had arrived on Mars to repair the damages to the section of the Ira. Yet, Sean noticed the run-off remains in one of the values, suggesting that some kind of atomic attack took place. However, Sean was aware many devices could harm the Earth and Mars, yet traces of the mist were still there. Luckily, the levels were in the safe range. However, there was more to come.

Chapter Text

As they waited to see their guests, Melanie and Emma knew there wasn’t much they can do to keep them out. They opted for a radio interview as they still didn’t want anyone to look at their current situation, which was understood. However, they still figure out what to say when it comes to the questions, knowing they’ll likely to asked a multitude of questions. Still, they needed to know what was those flashes of lights they saw moments before disaster. Where did they come from? What were they? Knowing they couldn’t write down, for now, they had to use the robotic add-on as an arm, which often left them in serious pain thanks to the wiring to their brains. They also opted for a mock interview to go for a dry-run, just to be sure. They still weren’t that their dads had arrived and were being given a review of their medical cases. 

“Okay, we’re still puzzled about what happened, right.” Melanie said.

“You can say that again. I’m trying to obtain any causes of this mess. Geri did say something space radiation levels.” Emma said.

“Was it a gramma way burst?” Melanie asks.

“Given the reading, doubtful as the levels would’ve been higher than what we were hit with. Besides, we would’ve been dead given those kinds of levels.” Emma said.

“Did they check what levels were they?” Melanie asks.

“Pretty much too low of levels to have nothing than a light show.” Emma said.

A knock is heard.

“Sorry to bother, I just to see if all set for the radio interview.” The assistant said.

“How many are expected?” Emma asks.

“I haven’t got the entire list, but it’s mostly from NPR and the BBC. They had been made clear on what was to be requested.” The assistant said.

“We just not ready to let anyone on Earth see what happened. Don’t wanna scare anyone on Earth.” Melanie said.

“Of course, many are asking questions. It’s understandable as this was a scarcity.” The assistant said.

“Say, was there any reports back on Earth? Did they noticed the lights?” Melanie asks.

“There have been reports coming out of France about some strange lights during an event.” The assistant said.

This got the ladies’ attention.

“There was?” Emma asks.

“Yep, it was similar to an event that happened in Canada years ago.” The assistant said.

“I remember hearing something about that. It was compared to an event back in 1859, which messed up the early telegraph systems.” Emma said.

“Are they saying a solar flare did this?” Melanie asks.

“It seems to be the likely cause. Still, it’s too early to be sure.” The assistant said.

This was quite a clue on the causes of the events that led to their current situation. Despite it, they still kept their calm, trying to stay professional during the interview. They were later presented, it was a video-telephone since they couldn’t get to Mars but kept their word about leaving it a radio interview. A translator was provided, along with a transcript.

== Earth ==

Mel and Victoria were heading to visit Geri at the hospital, as they turned to the station where the interview was going to take place. Geri had a radio with included text coming over the air, so it can be easier for people with hearing issues could understand. Some of the people back on Earth had some kind of recording device, like cassettes and CD-Rs, so they can check out what they missed. One such item was in an Internet cafe, where a 16-year-old, Sara, was listening in. Yet, Sara’s friend, Marie, who’s 17, was just as curious, but she was ready to work on an iMac, which was like CRT tv set, at the computer labs. Grifted in computers, Marie often tries to see how far her skills can go, which would make many spy agents blushed. However, Marie had no idea she was able to hack into the video chat, but she was able to cover her tracks. Marie couldn’t believe her luck and wanted to show Sara what she had found. Marie got the recording devices going, in case someone missed out on the ‘radio’ interview and can listen at a different time. 

“Hey Sara, check this out.” Marie calls out.

Sara goes to the computer that Marie was working on.

“What is that.” Sara said.

“I got the live feed on what’s going on with the Maritan meeting.” Marie said.

“You mean, where they perform…” Sara said.

“Yeah, that’s the one. Just those out.” Marie said.

Marie showed Sara the cabinets.

“That’s insane. It looks like straight out of Magic the Gathering .” Sara said.

“I know right. Got the network on record.” Marie said, looking at her clam-laptop.

“Do they know they can see or hear us?” Sara asks.

“I’m not sure. I was able to get the angle with we can get a look.” Marie said.

“Is this any legal?” Sara asks.

“Just as long as you don’t get caught.” Marie said, after hitting record upon the beginning of the meeting.

“It’s gotta be kinda weird. Floating like that in some clear fluid.” Sara said.

“Don’t worry, they’re anchored.” Marie said.

As the girls were checking out the live feed, they failed to notice one of their male friends, Dhani, had walked by. Dhani stood for a good 5 minutes before leaving before telling his buddy, Amit, on what he had seen. Amit was listening to the radio interview when Dhani grabbed him to bring him to the computer labs to see what was going on. They paid attention to both ladies were going through and mentioned. A few others have begun to look at what was going on, especially Rachel, a friend of Emma’s back on earth. Sara and Marie only found out what was going on when Rachel let out a yelp. Suddenly, the room went quiet for the rest of the interview, unclear if the audio was picked up. 

== Mars ==

After the interview, Melanie and Emma were able to calm down believing only a few people back on Earth had seen them in their current condition, unaware of the break-in. Yet, they were still wasn’t sure if they should like their dads in, not knowing they had been watching during the interview. They only found out when they were returning to their rooms, waiting for their next rounds of treatments. They didn’t realize that they had arrived, let alone knew they were visiting. Despite not being able to be held, the ladies had to handle some family time with their dads. Yet, they weren’t aware, back on Earth, there was more than just the team of medical researchers.

== Earth ==

Later that night, a comedy nightclub, talks about what was seen was still being talked about. Rachel, rather than thinking about her works with the field of aerospace engineering, just keeps having the images of seeing of her buddies, back from their native of England, in such a condition. Rachel wasn’t sure of what she had seen as she didn’t have many ways to speak with Emma, apart from a teleconference. Joanne, a thermal engineer, noticed Rachel with Tina, a biomedical engineer. Joanne can tell on the look on Rachel on how distressed she was, despite being reinsured that Emma is going to be all right since she and Melanie did live. Joanne figure that she tries to help Rachel with the situation, while Tina goes over how the long term impact would likely have. 

“I know boars had been used for such, but each other animal could become a donor. Of course, it’s kinda strict on the matter of death, it’s to make sure it’s all clear. Still, we have to be mindful of how long they could last with animal organs.” Tina said.

“I know that it takes a lot. Still, that’s what I’m worried about the day she’ll have to show herself back on Earth.” Rachel said.

“Well, they’re still trying to figure out the cause of the explosion. I looked over the recent reports on the process, it was very serious. Not sure about the intestines, theirs are smaller than an average human when you compare them. They’ll need more than one.” Tina said.

“Well, there have been cases reported about some strange lights in the sky over France, along with the mist between the Ira and Mars.” Joanne said.

Rachel and Tina noticed.

“What gives?” Rachel asks.

“Look, I saw what had happened to Emma and Melanie, but…” Joanne said.

“No, I mean. Why hasn’t the theory of a solar storm been looked at?” Rachel asks.

“Say, a solar storm in space can affect. I mean, I don’t often people at the A&E arrived thanks to solar storms.” Tina said. 

“In most cases, the magnetic fields reduce the bulk of it. There are exceptions, but most were mild on Earth. Space is a different ball game, thanks to the senors warning of such.” Rachel said.

“Wait a minute… one of the charts noticed an increased dose of natural radiation. An alert was sent out, which prompted them to delay the system repairs thanks to the risks.” Tina said.

Rachel had a thought enter her mind.

“Wait… DEAR. It was likely one.” Rachel said.

“Uh… Rachel” Joanne said.

“GIRLS TO THE COMPUTER LABS! NOW!” Rachel said.

The trio landed over to the nearest computer labs in the area, where Rachel entered the codes to one of the systems. Rachel requested information of any similar incidents that she can compare the solar storm reported in France, which resulted in three incidents: 1859, 1972, and 1989. The first of the three was quite alarming as it was similar to the event in France, yet the rate was surprisingly less damaging than expected when looking over the 1989 incident in Canada. 

“Check this out” Rachel said.

“What was it, a gamma-ray burst?” Tina asks.

“Nah, our sun isn’t strong enough to provide them, and there’s so far no likely star that can go supernova at this time. However, solar flares are another thing altogether since they can do as much hell on Earth.” Rachel said.

“What the fuck is that say, Carrington?” Joanne asks.

“That’s talking about the one in 1859, named after one of the blokes who observe it, Richard Christopher Carrington.” Rachel explained.

“Would've got the cause similar damage back in Canada?” Tina asks.

“Well, when this one happened, the concept of relying on the electrical grid was limited to the machines like the telegrams. Apart from that, most people just went about their day. In 1972, the NATO had ordered the astronauts back onboard the crafts until the danger levels settle down. Back on Earth, marine-mines explodes at random, the same goes for on land. Then, there’s the case in 1989 in Canada. Similar levels as the Carrington event.” Rachel said.

“If so, what about the strange mist also reported?” Joanne asks.

“It seems like that mist likely took most of the solar impact. Had it not, we’re looking at chaos taking over Paris. We’ll need to have a word with the French Aerospace Commission. The lives of countless people were put in the balance.” Rachel said.

With the information, Rachel needed to inform NATO on the findings. Yet, few realized what the ladies’ status and were looking at some heroines. Still, this was questioned about that close call. Where did that mist come from?

==Moments before Disaster ==

As they were preparing to leave for a safe zone, Melanie, Emma, and Geri check out the pressure levels inside of the section they were working at. Yet, it appears there was a cloud of strange smoke caught their attention, causing the pressure to rise. Melanie went to locate one of the values to release the pressure, neutralizing the situation. Despite this, there was also a danger none of them were aware of when it came to the mist and the mixture. However, their footsteps were causing the mixture to become more reactive, and the toxic blew was waiting for the chance to explode. The ladies were in the shaded areas, figuring it was safe, but there was a reason for the radiation alarms going. Through strong, the plexiglass didn’t have enough tint to reduce to the lights not the levels of radiation from a solar storm. As Melanie located and activated the value system, she noticed a strange sting of fluid but thought nothing of it, thinking it was just collect. However, the value was directly in the firing line as the wave of particles rushes though. The three ladies noticed a series of flashes, similar to a strange light show. Geri was the furthest away from Melanie and Emma, waiting for the pressure to reach the safe level to allow her to open the inner door, as the outer door acted as a shield, a level below where Mel and Victoria were. 

Mel and Victoria were checking out the light show as well, in the safe zones, where it was enforced to handled space radiation. They were amazed by the glowing lights, almost like in a trance. Suddenly, a large blast of noise was heard, it sounded like an explosion and alarms were going off, almost deafening to anyone near. Mel and Victoria were knock off their feet but quickly got up to what was going on. A Code Red alarm was blasting, ordering the CO2 to be released. Mel and Victoria, who already had their suits on, ran to the area where the mayhem was. 

Upon arriving, Mel and Victoria noticed smoke coming from the section that the trio was working at, but that was just the beginning. After activating the venting to remove the smoke, Mel bravely opened the outer door and saw Geri, crying out in pain, with her legs badly damaged. Both Mel and VIctoria got Geri out of the area but to their horror, Melanie and Emma were nowhere in sight. Yet, unbeknown to anyone, they were still alive, and that’s wasn’t the worst of their problems.

Chapter Text

Back on Earth, many were glued to the nearest TV set they could find as the chatroom was regularly jammed back. The news was still talking about the radio interview on the situation regarding the Ira and the crew members. France and England were getting the most attention, thanks to the increase investigations on the causes of the explosion. It was almost similar to the founding of the Marian Medical Base, where the ladies are currently being treated. The incidents were even being talked about in both Neo-Warsaw Pact and the Moscow-Treaty nations, as Soviet president, Vladimir Putin, was informed. Rather rare since the Soviet Civil War of 1990, which resulted from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland (founding members of Neo-Warsaw Pact) breaking free the more oppressive Soviets.

== News Reel ==

“News about the Ira disasters are still being evaluated, as the aerospace commission of NATO, Neo-Warsaw, Sahara Co-Op, Nairobi Alliance, and Moscow-Treaty just been spoken and currently going over the few any safety figures that had malfunctioned. They also go over the mysterious mist and flashes of lights over Paris during the Bastille Day celebration. French President, Jacques Chiracm, is considering sending a team to the Ira to help with further investigation of what many are calling solar flares. Soviet President, Vladimir Putin, has notified British Prime Minister Tony Blair, offering his condolences, upon learning Britain becoming the second for a fatality outside the planet despite the condition. A team of the medical community has interviewed the women involved, regarding their current condition though requests of concealing their identities are to be respected.”

== Mars ==

“Are you sure?” Arimand asks.

“Yes, I’m stilling to believe there was some kind of flare during the mission. We have yet to get the reading, as the black boxes are still being analyzed.” Brigid said.

“Has anyone spoken about this to any of the ladies?” Arimand asks.

“Eir is going to meet with them later today. She has to get some items.” Brigid said.

“Does anyone know, apart from Sol, where the flare was heading?” Arimand asks.

“Well, it’s not very clear. We’re trying to look into a layer of mist that took some of the damages, though we’re trying to figure that out.” Brigid asks.

A telegraph was sent in.

“I better look at this.” Arimand said.

Arimand reads the notice, speaking about someone asking about the ladies.

“Wait, the public back on Earth wasn't supposed to see them in that condition.” Arimand said.

“How did someone outside the meeting got a hold?” Brigid asks.

“Not sure,” Arimand said.

“Curiosity,” Brigid asks.

“Hoping that’s the motive.” Arimand said.

“We should report this.” Brigid said.

Melaine and Emma were getting their routine medical rehab to prepare them for their new bodies. It was going to be a different operation, but they were safe for now. Yet, they weren’t aware that others had noticed them in their cabinets. At the same time, they were being adjusted for their cyber body to allow some improvement in their movement, training them for the day when they’ll be reunited with their bodies. One way was quite strange, and it was the creatures who’ll help them out as part of their cyber bodies. As usual, it required a serious amount of installation, but it was the upper half of the body for now. Again, the pain was severe for them, though they just shrugged it off. 

At the same time, the maintenance crew was going over the section of the Ira, checking the levels when a layer of the strange liquid was discovered. It was brought to the laboratory for further exam after some of the radioactive material found on it. The levels were, fortunately, was in the safe, but it could provide a clue what had to be done when the fire broke out. Considering fire requires some varieties of air to survive, it wasn’t surprised the removal of such was meant to starve the flames. However, one of the windows was found to busted from the air pressure changes, reminding them of a similar incident in Norway. 

“Hey man, get a look at this.” Nikki said.

“What is it?” (He looks.) “Looks, like the time those folks in Norway exploded.” Vince said.

“Was it imploded?” Tommy asks.

“What’s the difference? It’s sucked for any poor slap who had to watch it.” Nikki said.

“Speaking of sucking, it looked like some of the values busted.” Vince said.

“Fuck with the decompression, you’re just fucked!” Tommy said.

Tommy showed the chuck he was talking about.

“Damn, it looked like a lot got through. Check out this shit.” Nikki said.

Nikki places a portion off of the slime into a lead container.

“Should get this to the folks at the base. I bet they’ll want to get out.” Nikki said.

Tommy uses his Geiger-counter to get a closer look.

“Say, how strong can a solar flare go for?” Tommy asks.

“The lethal limit is 300 rem all in one.” Nikki said.

“Those sons of bitches can go as much as twice.” Vince said.

The men handed over the container for further investigation, giving some evidence on what kind of damage was heading towards both Earth and Mars. It looked similar to an incident in 1972 and 1989, two cosmic storms that had effects on the grids on back in Earth. Still, how much damages was inverted was unknown? The ladies were still unaware of more than several scientists seen what they had become, not even ready to let their friends back on Earth to check out it. The ladies were in a lot of pain, but they didn’t seem to bother as they were determined to resume their lives. Nonetheless, the levels could only go so far because anyone passes out. After the training session, it was understood that they needed to relax until levels return to normal. 

== Earth ==

Back on Earth, some of the pictures of the ladies were getting around the limited internet traffic. Rachel was able to get a hold of the French Aerospace Commission to informed them about the likely solar flare and the levels found. They were worse than they thought. The levels were close to the events in 1859, but the mist likely protected the planet from certain damage. The materials of the mist were still being looked through and why was it released. Remembering the values on board and the fire triangle, Rachel knows three elements were needed for fire: heat, fuel, and flammable air source like oxygen. Since parts of the Ira were often sealed off for renovations and often air-tight, Rachel had to assume it likely contained the inferno that broke out. Rachel would need to recreate on a small scale examination to be sure.

At the same time, Geri was given the clearance for an interview in regards to what happened onboard the Ira. Geri still hasn’t seen what happened to Melanie and Emma, let alone see any pictures of their current conditions. Geri tried to write down what she would say during the interview, but she keeps having a thought about what was going on with the duo on Mars. Geri also wondered if she had anything to do with what happened to the duo, leading to the disaster. After all, she had to warn them about the radiation levels, which, as in her field of astroparticle physics, was her job to keep an eye on such. Finally, Geri looked into if she can have a video chat with anyone on Mars, who can give some insights on what was going on. Geri hadn’t seen the results of surgery the duo had to go through, with the reactions still unknown. However, Geri was about to stumble upon what was leaked to a few people who weren’t supposed to see. Two people came over to check up on her.

“Hey, doing all right?” Drew asks.

“Well, not as bad as before. Yet, I have to have a word with whoever conducted the interview.” Geri said.

“What is that?” Jeff question.

“I found some documents I’m sure Melanie and Emma didn’t want anyone to see… At least, not yet.” Geri said.

“I haven’t seen how they looked in those tanks I heard a lot about.” Jeff said.

“I know. Luckily, I was able to find a combo TV.” Geri said.

Geri inserted the tape into the TV.

“I know, Jeffre handed me a copy if I wanted to check it out.” Geri said.

Geri hits the play button, video begun.

“It looks like one of those iron lung machines.” Jeff said.

“Well, they have to be able to talk.” Drew said.

“This goes on for about 30 to 45 minutes, which had to be uncomfortable for any of them.” Geri said.

“How many questions were they asked?” Jeff asks.

“I haven’t bother counting each one, pretty much sure many are asking more than they wanted.” Geri said.

“It has to be hell for them. Has anyone of them bother to look at their reflections?” Jeff asks.

“They likely did. I’m not sure if they’ll let any of us have a one on one interview with them. At least, allowing their friends and families back on Earth get a look at how they’re doing.” Geri said.

“Say, Rachel is working on a theory on what happened onboard. They find some non-newtonian fluid onboard the Ira. It was that substance looked like it was formed during the explosion.” Drew said.

“What kind of fluid was it?” Geri asks.

“Now sure, they just found some remains. It looks like some kind of glue.” Jeff said.

“What they’re talking about it?” Geri asks.

“They looking the matter, same goes with those lights reported in France. They suspected a connection to the substance. It’s not clear about how it was formed and what part it had. It’s likely must’ve taken most of the radiation levels.” Drew said.

“Wait… RADIATION! I had to order Melanie and Emma out of the area because of the levels were going at for some unknown reason.” Geri said.

“Rachel suspects that the substance likely took the blow. She also believes Melanie or Emma had to starve the flames before it could get out of control.” Jeff said.

“Well, those sections are often air locked, with a supply of oxygen supply in each.” Geri said. 

“If I’m not mistaken, is it oxygen flammable.” Jeff wondered.

“Not by itself, but in concentration, it can. It simply oxidizes the flame, keeping it going. As part of the fire triangle, the air is needed just as long it’s oxidized. You need a chain reaction. Temperature is also a factor, which is why the oceans don’t burn.” Geri said.

“What was concentration?” Drew asks.

“It was supposed to be similar to Earth, as you die from an overdose of oxygen. The oxygen was set around 21 percent similar to that on Earth. Reduce that to 5 percent, it would starve the flames. The mixture they were cleaning up had flammable liquid, still…” Geri said.

“Maybe there’s something…” Drew said.

“We got us on our hands.” Jeff said.

“The question is… what happens next.” Drew said.

“I’m not sure, but I would still want to have word the people who were at the interview. I still want to be able to see how the duo is doing. It’s unclear what their status has to be.” Geri said.

Geri was starting to put the pieces of the puzzle, seeing how far her crewmates were willing to go to protect humanity, even if they didn’t know it. Geri, Drew, and Jeff wanted to see if Rachel can prove her hypothesis on what happened onboard the Ira. One of them asks Rachel if she can film her works in the process to show what could’ve happened to both Earth and Mars when it came to that mist. Rachel wanted to check with the status on Mars during the solar storm, what effects it had. Geri wasn’t the only looking into the likelihood of the women's willingness to protect those they care about the most. 

== Mars ==

Melanie and Emma, along with their dads, were watching some Disney films, still unaware of being seen on Earth with their cabinets. The pain levels were still too dangerous to resume any training session, but they were still determined to get their lives back. They had wondered if what they went through was truly their deaths, and what does it means once they get their new bodies. Were they living on borrowed time? Still, they weren’t aware back on Earth was looking over their actions onboard resulting in the conditions they were now in. For now, they’re just trying to calm down after a long day on the red planet. The maintenance crew was collecting the samples of the sludge they managed to discover onboard. The personnel working on the situation were astounded to see the compound of the fluid and the viscosity, looking like molasses. The substance's materials were still unknown but it was the least of anyone’s minds for now. It looked like some kind of thixotropy, giving part of it had hardened for some time. The team collected it into some kind of cube to make it easier to store and transport. However, they were quite amazed at the vague radiance it gives off, but they were careful as they weren’t sure what it was. Not sure if it’s dangerous, extra precautions were taken just to be sure.

Chapter Text

The discovery of the substance was among the talks the next morning on Mars before training resumed. The ladies were rather chilled to be able to try out their cyber bodies, giving another try. They were still aware of what was happening back Earth, let alone what was found onboard. They weren’t aware that they would finally get to see their friends back on Earth for a long while. There were plans to finally set up a video conference to speak with love ones back on Earth. It was nerve-racking for them, but they were finally glad to be on the road back to normal. As before, there’s a limit on how far they can go when it comes to their cyber bodies, but that has of course never got the best of them.

== Earth==

Rachel was trying to analyze the information she just was trying to sort out after getting word about the strange lights reported in the night sky over Paris. Rachel wrote down each detail as the lights were talked about while comparing them to reports dating back to 1859. It was clear, it was a massive solar storm that had hit both the Ira and Earth, with the former taking more damage. Rachel had to look at the levels of radiation that was observed, to compare it to what a normal human can take. Rachel also had to take into account the substances that were onboard the Ira , to see if there a reaction. It took her a while to figure something until she had to recreate a minor version. After getting a list of substances that were onboard, Rachel took small simples and tried to recreate the explosion under control condition. Rachel was highly unaware of the risks but also knew Emma would likely want of her own. Rachel had the area closed off, only for her and a select few should something go wrong. 

In the next room, Jo and Timberland were working on the report when they heard a thud like someone had dropped a large object onto the ground. The duo had to check where it was coming from, only to be greeted with the caution area, which they simply got though. There was a slight tap but seemed just fine, as it was in a controlled area. A slight glow echoed across the room, but the levels were safe for humans thanks to the precautions Rachel had to take. After the dust settled and Geiger counter confirmed the levels, Rachel had to show her findings though she would likely have to repeat. Both Jo and Timberland noticed it was similar to what was being reported, though Rachel had it done in a cube for easier transportation. Rachel recorded her experiments while going over the information she was receiving from the Martian hospital base. Knowing this could be vital, Rachel, Jo, and Timberland all brought Rachel’s findings on what was happening and what did onboard the Ira

== Mars==

Melanie looked out the window at her hospital room, while getting used to her cyber-body. She gazes out where Olympus Mons was located, which wasn’t hard given it being the tallest on the planet, let alone solar system. Melanie was aware it was indeed a volcano but couldn’t help looking at its beauty, giving her love for adventure. Melanie had also remembered cases of volcanoes coming to life right in front of the people who lived nearby, even hearing about one that grew in the middle of nowhere. Melanie wondered had to go on in the minds of the people who found themselves witnessing destructive yet beautiful creation of nature. If Mars did once have some kind of life, what did the Ancient Martians were dealing with? Melanie imaged it was likely active as she was had heard, but it would be like an old man smoking his pipe. Melanie almost finding herself daydreaming when Emma checked up on her. 

“What’s going on?” Emma asks.

“Oh… nothing.” Melanie lied.

“You’re up to something I could tell.” Emma said.

“I just wanted to relax for a few moments.” Melanie said.

“Well, the team are talking about what was found onboard.” Emma said.

“What was…” Melanie asks, acting surprised.

“They found some substance near the area you were at during the explosion.” Emma said.

“What kind of substance?” Melanie asks, now finding herself dumbfounded.

“They think it took most of the radiation from the solar flares.” Emma said.

“How much?” Melanie asks.

“Didn’t say, but it looks like it was heading to Earth. It’s almost like we were able to create some kind of shield.” Emma said.

“What kind?” Melanie asks.

“Whatever it was, it had some kind effect on Earth and Mars.” Emma said.

Melanie looked away for a moment, looking at Olympus Mons. Melanie wasn’t quite sure what was going on, let alone if she had saved the lives of others. Still, Melanie found herself daydreaming while looking at the volcano, wondering if one day if she’ll ever get an up-close look. Emma looked at Melanie trying to understand what was found or created onboard but notices something was up with Melanie as she kept looking at the volcano. Suddenly, a call was for at least one of them to be present, which Emma quickly responded as she doesn’t like to bother Melanie. Emma got to the conference room for the phone call, it was coming from Earth… a location in France. It was an official who would like to speak with the team who were aboard any space station during a certain date. Emma confirmed both she and Melanie was indeed on board, along with a few others. Knowing there’s a chance it could be a video conference, Emma had to inform about what was going.

== Earth ==

Mel was checking up on Phoenix when she heard her telephone ringing. Mel pressed the speakerphone selection because she was breastfeeding her daughter and didn’t want to cause a complaint. It was Victoria on the telephone, who was also breastfeeding. The women spoke about the situation they just received from a fax, which included details about what was happening to Melanie and Emma. When they learn that the duo was going to be part of the upcoming video conference, they knew they had to seize the moment. They asked if Geri was likely to join, which she confirmed it. Rachel was also going to be part of the conference. The women got their children to David, for him to watch over them in the next as they have to set up at Victoria’s home office. Both Phoenix and Brooklyn had fallen asleep, so it would be easy for David to care for them.

“Okay, got a new set of clothes are.” Mel said.

“Come on, they’ll understand whatever happened to your boobs.” Victoria said.

“I’m just nervous right now because it has been a while since any of us had seen both Melanie and Emma. I mean, what do they look like without their bodies.” Mel said.

“We need to do a headcount.” Victoria said.

“Tor…” Mel said.

“I couldn’t help but add that one in there.” Victoria said.

“Who’s going to take part in what?” Mel asks.

“Geri is having her at the hospital, in a private room with a few selected doctors. They would like to see how the duo is holding out.” Victoria said.

“I know right. I’m shaking just for a moment.” Mel said.

“Who else is joining?” Victoria asks.

The first monitor is switched on, it was to check with Geri. There was a panel to switch the video mode, but the audio can come from any speaker.

“Hey Geri, how are things?” Mel asks.

“Still, in a load of pain, but I’m getting through. Haven’t got a release date, but they’re going into what form of rehab I’ll likely need.” Geri said.

“Look on the bright side, at least your head is still in place.” Mel said.

“I can’t image what Melanie and Emma have to endure.” Geri said. 

“What kind of management they have had to be placed on?” Victoria asks.

“I can only imagine.” (She sees Rachel coming in.) “Hey, we got someone.” Geri said.

“She was the one who had to look into the lights reported in France during that explosion.” Victoria said.

“Well, we might as well let her in. She’s friends with Emma.” Mel said.

“I wondered how they have to handle dust storms on the planet.” Geri said.

“That’s what the team back in the 1980s thought, there are some walls for this but have bleed holes to reduce the pressure.” Rachel said.

“Say, I have a quick…” Mel said.

“I kind of seen them, thanks to some teenagers.” Rachel said.

“Wait… what” Victoria said.

“You saw what!” Mel said.

“A group of teenagers was able to break into the closed-off conference. I saw what they looked like.” Rachel said.

“What was it?” Mel asks.

“Wait a minute, they’re not supposed to do that. Melanie and Emma weren’t ready for anyone to see them except for a few. They weren’t listed.” Victoria said.

“I’m not sure what can be done about them if we knew why they did what they did.” Rachel said.

“Has anyone back on the Martian base know about it?” Victoria asks.

“I’m not sure. Right now, it’s unclear if anyone is going to have to chase after them.” Rachel said.

“We’ll need to know the location where they hacked into the system and for what.” Mel said.

“I don’t what to scare them into guilt or something.” Rachel said.

Mel noticed the start time.

“Okay ladies, it’s showtime.” Mel said.

“What are we going to tell them about those teenagers?” Rachel asks.

“We can tell them right away. I mean, we’re going to be speaking with them in shortly.” Victoria said.

“What choice we got?” Geri asks.

== Mars ==

“I’m nervous about this. I mean, what do you think they’re going to say once they see us.” Melanie said.

“Say, why was looking outside?” Emma asks.

“I wasn’t doing much,” Melanie said.

“Melanie, every time you stay in a spot for a long time without being told often means something is wrong.” Emma said.

“C’om, that’s pretty ridiculous. You know I have the times I get daze.” Melanie said.

“Liar, you were looking at something at a distance. What is it were you looking at?” Emma asks.

“Hey ladies, the meeting is about to start.” Sean said, coming in.

“Say, what that substance found anyways?” Melanie asks.

“That’s what they’re going to be asking. You also had gotten fangirls.” Sean said.

“What does it suppose to mean?” Emma asks.

“Not sure, that’s what the road is going around.” Sean said.

The ladies arrive in the conference room, where the video chat was set up.

“Okay, this meant be nerve-wracking, but we’re here to help.” Someone explained.

The ladies were ready at another meeting, with Sean bringing in a sample of the substance that was found since he knew it was going to be asked. Sean opted to join as he was indeed the foreman behind the repairs and his team found the substance. Sean had in encase in a box for transport and safety reasons despite the levels being safe for the time beginning. It was the moment of truth as the meeting began, and the nerves were just as high. Finally, the moment of meeting begun, and all that was sense was an eerie sound of both calm and surprised. It was a tense moment, but they had to solider on as they had to answer a fled of questions. 

Then, Rachel brings up about the teenagers who snooped in during the closed meeting that was supposed to be only with the medical staff. The ladies didn’t know someone was able to intersect the video meeting without their knowledge, the same goes for the medical staff on the Martian center. They still remain calm as there was much they could do at least until they can find them and why. However, the meeting had to go on as planned, but they also made a point about the hacking. The teenagers, Marie and Sara, were at the local arcade trying to relax as they hold on to a zip-disk that has a copy of the first meeting they recorded. They weren’t aware of how much trouble they could find themselves into for what they did. For now, they try to just be like other teenagers without knowing someone has reported their activities.