“Of course, we wanted to start the day with a nice breakfast, but Abby was very suspicious of all the greens the bipeds offered us and insisted we couldn't touch anything until we were entirely sure they were not contaminated. We took samples from the cart and put them in a freezer. The lot, strangely enough, turned out to be clean. We found a few bugs and snails here and there, but one would expect that. Indeed, the gift of greens appeared to be just a gift of greens.
We processed the food in a sanitizer, and we had a wonderful feast. After all, we didn't expect much from picnic grub, but it turned out so delicious and exceeded our greatest expectations. After the grazing, we talked about what effect the previous day's show might have on the locals. 'If the bipeds start perceiving the divinity of local hares, I'm fine with that. Who knows, they could make the same connection with the rest of the creatures here,' said Abby. Molly flashed a hopeful look but then shook her head in silence. She grabbed one more stock of dill, nomed it nervously, and turned her attention back to Hopmeric. She took a break from sitting next to him but would not take her eyes off the infirmary monitor. The guy was still out but breathing steadily.
By late morning, we started arranging the stone slabs around the faulty landing skid. Joey would grab each of the pieces and set it upright. He arranged them in a circle around the skid following Molly's markings on the ground. It was a slow and painstaking process because he had to be very careful not to hit any parts of the ship, especially the skid. Abby again had to relieve him when he got tired. They switched places once more before the job was done. The hardest part of it involved placing some of the stones like cross beams on top of the upright slabs. Those had to be handled in a horizontal orientation, and that pushed the loading dolly to its limits. So we had to be careful. We only had one dolly and no spare parts for it.
At last, we were done by midnight, and we were mentally exhausted. Some of us slept in the next morning. Ava and Penny were up at the usual time and were kind enough to fix a big, fresh breakfast salad. Joey had a double serving and then went back for another nap. Abby wasn't doing much better. She grimaced from a sore neck and shoulder pain. Pancake looked her over but didn't find reasons to be alarmed. It had to be tension related to yesterday's work. Abby put a heat pack around her neck and relaxed in a couch on the flight deck.
Pancake switched places with Molly on the Hopmeric watch, and now Molly and Penny prepared the landing skids to be manually controlled. We retracted them very slowly until the ship contacted the stones slabs as it got closer to the ground. Then Molly disabled the retracting mechanism for all the skids except the damaged one. And this one we raised very slowly, so the weight of the ship could be transferred to the stones. As we held our breath, Ava kept raising the skid centimeter by centimeter. We heard one of the stones shatter, then another as the ship begun putting pressure on the slabs. I was getting worried that all this work might have been for naught. Alas, the rest of the stones held. Ava finished raising the skid off the ground, and then we waited.
The slabs held, and we didn't hear any more explosions. We waited most of the day to see if the ship would settle or not. We had to be sure this stone support was stable. It would be an awful shame to go out there and get smashed if the support had collapsed. We watched and watched the instruments for signs of shifting attitude, but the indicators didn't budge. Finally, Joey volunteered to go out and have a look under the skid. His nap had to have done wonders because he was as rested and giddy as ever. He hopped out in the full EBA suit with the helmet on so he could stream the video. We had our eyes glued to the screen.
And there it was. A gash in the bottom of the skid the size of Joey! Not only that, there was something wedged in that deep wound. 'Yeah, we're gonna need a bucket or something to collect this rubbish,' mumbled Joey. 'What are you talking about?' snapped Abby. 'This stuff wedged in the gash. Don't you want to know what this is? We'll have to chisel it out from the skid. I bet it's compacted in there pretty badly... Yep, looks like it,' Joey carried on.
He got on the hover-stand to get closer to the bottom of the skid. Joey grabbed the little hammer and chisel I used to take samples of the stones, and proceeded to chip off a piece of that substance. He struck the stuff once, and a chunk of it broke loose, bounced off the hover-stand, and fell to the ground. Joey got back down, picked it up, and showed it to the camera. He looked at the gush again and shook his head. It was getting late, and Joey went on board the ship.
He came up to the flight deck and put the sample in front of Abby. Molly checked it for radiation, but the sample was cold. Abby looked at it and exclaimed, 'I think this is our lucky break!'”