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Jake smiled. "Tell Harry Myers, I finally figured out why mission planning was so imperative about splitting the genders on each flight. I first thought it was some political statement, but now I understand the logic of their decision. The first five months weren't that bad. It was tough to figure out how to survive in this ecosystem, but at least we weren't alone. We had each other."
He removed his mother's medallion from his pocket and rubbed the smooth surface in the amber light of the glowworms. The heirloom was the only thing he kept. When she died, there was no one to leave behind, no reason not to join the deep probe mission group. Jake remembered when he gave Mary the memento as a gift for her birthday, three months after they crashed. It was the first time Mary kissed him.
He picked up the microphone and continued. "When that thing took Mary, it was like I was thrown into some dark abyss. I walked around with no purpose for a long time. I never imagined it was possible to be this lonely, especially at night. The nights are unbearable. I still haven't adapted to all the noises, the gut wrenching screams as some prey loses its life."
Jake glanced at the closest cross of the three in the makeshift graveyard. "Mary and I really got close in those five months we struggled to survive. We never clicked back on earth, but here, we really bonded. We talked about how lucky we were to end up together, even if it was all the way out here. We even discussed starting a family."
He gazed out at the pink clouds reflecting sunlight from below the mountain, "I tried to save her, but by the time I got there, the eight foot segmented centipede had injected too much digestivefluid. It took two days before she finally died. I had to watch her slowly dissolve, listen to her suffer. I'll never forget it, never. I considered stopping her pain, bringing it to an end, but I just couldn't do it. God forgive me, but I lacked the courage."