“Samantha?” Dr. Jones gently raps her knuckles against the cracked bedroom door before pushing it open. Samantha is lying face down on the bed, on top of the blankets and sheets, still wearing her dirty clothes from the previous day.
Dr. Jones sighs quietly as she approaches. She leans down, takes Samantha’s wrist, and slowly rolls her over. The new mother mutters quietly under her breath as Dr. Jones pulls at her shoulders to sit her upright.
“Come, you need to get clean and change your clothes,” Dr. Jones says, pulling Samantha to her feet and directing her to the shower.
An hour later Samantha is sitting at the table in a fresh powder blue jumper. The letters H and T are printed on the left breast, nestled inside a yellow circle. The words “HabiTech; Humanity’s Future” run around the border of the logo.
“Thank you, Doctor,” Samantha says as she gathers another spoonful of the stew Dr. Jones had brought with her.
“Please, call me Nysha,” the doctor replies. “We’re going to be getting to know each other rather well, I imagine; only about 30 people responded to the call. All either employed by HabiTech, or related to an employee.”
“Is there a-,” Samantha takes a deep breath and releases a heavy sigh. “Is there anyone here who can-,” he stops herself again. It’s been less than 24 hours since Sean died and she can’t bring herself to use the words ‘replaced’ for his position in the Habitat.
“For Sean?” Nysha asks, catching Samantha’s intent. Samantha nods, and Nysha nods in turn as she answers. “Yes. There is one other who made it inside with enough experience to run things.”
“Do I know him?” Samantha asks. “What’s his name?”
“Nysha Jones,” Nysha replies with a wry smile.
Samantha smirks, lowering her gaze to her stew.
“Well, congratulations on the promotion,” Samantha says. She rises from her seat and moves to the pantry. “Would you like some tea?”
“I would love some tea,” Nyasha replies.
“So you will be the resident doctor and the curator? Are you going to have enough time for that?” Samantha asks.
“I do not intend to maintain both positions. My first order as curator was to find someone else. I have no desire to be in charge. As it is, I am the only doctor who made it inside and that is going to keep my hands full. I am going to need to find someone I can train to take my place in case I ever fall ill.”
“If you need help,” Samantha says as she retrieves two coffee mugs from the upper cabinet. “I have a medical background. I was a field physician in the war.”
“I know,” Nysha says with a nod. “I saw your file. Thank you,” she takes the mug of hot water and reaches for a teabag as Samantha sets the box on the table.
Samantha sits back in her seat and grabs a teabag of her own.
“Have you decided on a name for him?” Nysha asks.
“I’m giving him his father’s name. Sheehan. Sheehan O’Donovan.” Samantha pauses briefly, then adds; “Junior.”
“Sheehan?” Nysha repeats. She repeats it a few more times, allowing her tongue to become familiar with it “Is that what Sean was short for?” Nysha tenses briefly as she mentions the recently deceased father of Samantha’s son. She had wanted to avoid the topic for now.
Samantha takes a deep breath, sighs heavily, and sips her tea. She nods.
“Will you be calling him Sean as well?”
Samantha shakes her head.
“No. I don’t want him to feel any pressure to live up to his father’s name. He should have something of his own. Maybe we can call him Junior.”
“What about,” Nysha taps her finger to her chin as she considers alternatives. “What about Shay? That’s a pretty cute nickname for a kid.”
“Shay?” Samantha repeats. She sips her tea as she considers the name. “I think I like that.”