My Dear Wife,
We’re all a-buzz with the news that we will be departing down to the surface in the next few hours – the weeks of planning, working, training and endless discussions about the various protocols are finally reaching the point where action will replace words. The suface team is composed of crew who’s job will be to land us observers safely, and to return us to the ship on our completion. It sounds straight forward and I’m hoping it will be – if something goes wrong we will be marooned until we are able to effect whatever repair or fulfill the requirements to our safe return. Needless to say I’m trying to pack everything I need for every contingency when I have no idea what those contingencies might be.
I can say only a little of our conveyance from the ship to shore – it is an experimental military vehicle that I have christened ‘Odonata’, however FitzRoy has named it Fiacre, after the saint held as the patron of both taxi drivers and gardens. FitzRoy is making good spirits of the landing, although I know it concerns him. Odonata is a long vehicle, with wings that are held against the body for tavel in an atmosphere-free environment, which open after we enter the atmosphere of Myco. I can say only a little more – it is capable of flight backwards, vertically, and hovering, as well as the more predictable forwards. Room is tight inside the craft, but if necessary we could live on the craft – and this is the expectation that we will use it as our temporary home until we are able to discover the exact nature of the landing site. We have portable dwellings and the equipment we will need – the hope is we will be able to find edible species we can bring to the table – fresh fruit and vegetables is something I believe we are all looking for, and there’s no shortage of envious looks from the crew staying behind.
I will be out communication for some time until we get the commlink uplift installed. I have checked and packed and rechecked and repacked the scanner, scopes, and storage devices, my commlink – the tools. And yes, I have the multifunction knife you gave me, safely on my belt.
My dear, I must go and complete the preparations – we depart in just a few hours. I will write as soon as I am able.
All my love,