July 3, 2192

I've been up here alone at the Botanical Laboratory for nearly two days. All of the research is slightly behind schedule, but only a little. The most dramatic change has been in the sea cucumber - they seem to have adapted nicely to the hydroponics and are growing about 20% larger than normal. Dr. McCorkey will be pleased.

July 8, 2192

When they first asked me about this, I said no - I was hesitant to be so secluded; if something went wrong, no one would be able to reach me in time. They said that was, of course, an acceptable explanation, but it was a very minor risk, and there would be some of the best first aid available to me along with detailed instructions. I asked about not seeing Dad, and they said that visual contact was just a button push away. Dr. McCorkey had put his arm around my shoulder: "Gina, it's just going to study abroad. Way, waaaaaay abroad," he laughed as he made a melodramatic gesture towards the heavens.

So I had agreed (I needed the money to take care of Dad's dialysis bills) and here I was, one of the first researchers in space. The astronaut training had been grueling - when they told me they had "taken it down a notch" I was shocked - but the whole experience had been fun. Now I could say with certainty: the honeymoon was over.

It was frightfully dull up here (6,000 channels and nothing on, you know how that goes) and the plants were hardly company. Heck, even most of the research was automated, sensors recording weights and heights and soil acidity and all kinds of other asinine stats. I was just a repair technician, and I felt kind of like that old guy from those dishwasher commercials.

Sigh. Only 143 142 days to go.

July 10, 2192

I heard something. I don't know what the hell it was, but it was definitely something. I've gotten pretty used to the rocket boosters every night turning on and giving that sputtering whirring noise before they give that gentle roar and re-adjust our trajectory.

This was different. It was clicking, like metal on metal. It was very quiet - far away from where I was, sitting in the Reading Room - but I could hear it. My heart froze. I ran out of the room to the source of the sound, but it stopped before I got anywhere close.

Probably just a fried circuit or some small hatch door being blown by the AC, but when you're alone, that kind of stuff gets to your head.

July 11, 2192

I heard it again. The light clicking. There is undoubtedly something alive here. I called down to the center - Raoul, the guy who was supposed to be on duty, was nowhere to be found. I kept calling, every 10 minutes for an hour ... no Raoul. That lousy bastard. The sound would come and go. I waited for it to come to me, but it just stayed in the distance.

Finally, I sent a voice message to Dr. McCorkey to check all of the video tapes when he got in. Then I went to my room and locked the door. And sat. and waited. With the door shut, I couldn't hear a thing.

It was terrifying.

July 14, 2192

The noises are everywhere. My ears have become highly trained to spot it. First it was over the kitchen. Then in the laboratory, I heard a scratching sound by the hatch. I'm convinced there's more than one. I got a call back from Dr. McCorkey: nothing on the video. Of course. They probably think I've got cabin fever. But it's there, it really is.

July 15, 2192

I want to go home. What kind of sickness is this? The clicking is everywhere. Something is walking around. Above me. Below me. Behind me. I haven't recorded any of the research vitals since Thursday. This is HELL. Dr. McCorkey promised to relieve me as soon as they found a replacement, but that could take weeks.

Every time I hear a click, I jump. But the real horror - it's the silence. Knowing there's something here, something close. Something waiting in the wings. Every time I go around a corner, I peek first. (What if it's there? What if I'm dinner on whatever strange planet it's from?) Whenever I'm in a room, I stand in the corner. It's the only way to be sure.

Hours of silence and then a click.

I can't sleep.

God, let me go home.

July 17, 2192

There's a certain silence driving me mad. I think the silence is alive, and when it is broken, it only becomes stronger. It is deafening. Even the tiniest sounds get my attention now. My rubber soles squeaking along the ground. The lazy drip of the water supply. I ran into a desk the other day, knocked off a box, and screamed bloody murder. The hair on the back of my neck is constantly raised. The hum is rising endlessly. And the echoes! The lights are harsh, I'm so tired, I can't think - there's not even an escape pod from this place! Trapped. Like a rat in a cage.

I can't take much more of this. Raoul, where the FUCK are you!!?!?

Dr. McCorkey stared at the video feed on the screen. Gina was laying on the floor in the bathroom. The empty bottle of ativan was in her hand, and she was foaming at the mouth. She was most definitely dead.

He turned to Dr. Perchansky. "Her father?"

"We informed him this morning."

"Good. Was the case study to your satisfaction?"

"Yes, thank you very much, Dr. McCorkey. The patient showed extreme signs of insomnia, dementia, and depression. Even after we had stopped piping in the sounds, she continued to hear them for three days. Psychosis and suicide were the imminent conclusion. I would say the case study went marvelously well."

Dr. McCorkey turned one final time to the screen and shut it off.

"Well, I guess we should go find us another experiment..."

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