Dr. Stanislav Kozik did not
want to hunt toxic, Jupiter Spiders. He was, likewise, disinterested in
pursuing other arthropods from that world, especially Jupiters oversized,
allegedly sentient, lobsters. As per the diamonds, which purportedly formed in
that planets atmosphere, he was sufficiently dispassionate to let the
warrior scientists harvest them in his place.
In truth, Dr. Kozik had
only agreed to board the spacecraft because of Hedvika. She had taken Stanislav
Jr. with her to her mothers house and had threatened to stay there until
either Stanislav became a galactic hero or he found a way to pay their overdue
mortgage. If, in the interim, a cosmic accident or a street thug took his life,
shed be consoled by his insurance payout.
Dr. Caleb Jones had laughed
about the matter while enjoying whiskey sours with his buddy, Stanislav. In Dr.
Jones esteem, Stanislav had no business on the spacecraft since, for all
purposes, he had already lost his wife and child.
Putting his arm around his
tear-shedding friend, Caleb Jones had signposted that Hedvika had used
Stanislav for seed and weed. The former need, as evidenced by their son, had
been met. The latter, could no longer be met because Stanislav was in arrears.
In a warped sort of way, it made sense that Hedvika had discarded her
Stanislav had sobbed harder
upon hearing Calebs revelation; he fit in nowhere. Not only
was he bereft of family, but in his universitys biology department, he
was the lone generalist.
Dr. Kozik was disinterested
in botany and zoologys subfields; his passion was theoretical biology. It
was fine for Caleb to specialize in phytopathology, for Dr. Owen Brownstone to
be an expert in marine biology, for Dr. Donna Weiss to be an authority on
bioinformatics, and for guest lecturers, like Dr. Laura Whitfield, to focus on
chose to focus on broader questions. Namely, he and Harvards Dr. Kevin
Benin had worked together on statistical methods for cancer epigenetics and on
sequencing autism data. Dr. Koziks grandfather had died of throat cancer.
Dr. Benins dear friend, Dr. Davis Totana, had a brother was on the
spectrum. While Benin and Koziks broad studies were highly utilitarian
and much praised, they did nothing to aid Stanislav in feeling as though he had
a professional coterie.
Such sentiments aside,
Caleb warned Stanislav that spaceships were prisons in which people literally
rocketed away from all meaningful relationships. Whether or not astronauts were
popular or Earth didnt matter; space travel eliminated all of their human
connections. In fact, space flights were so psychologically dangerous that no
one, counting from the days of Goliath and Scatback, and discounting Dr.
Whitfields stowaway experience, made solo journeys. It was mad for
Stanislav to want to do so.
Accordingly, on behalf of
Stanislav, Caleb and others of Stanislavs associates had tried, futilely,
to sue: the university, NASA, and additional government agencies - those good
hearts meant to get their adored coworker grounded from intergalactic travel.
They held him in the highest regard and regularly voted, both within their
school and in professional assemblies, to award Stanislav the greatest honors.
Whats more, even Dr. Koziks graduate students lauded him to
administrators and on various online venues. That Stanislav was an unlovable
sort was open to question; only Hedvika had ever believed or said as
The rest of his social
spheres efforts notwithstanding, Stanislav sent himself hurling toward
the Solar Systems cold extremes. Since his mission was privately funded
and since he was a mentally competent, consenting adult, no lawsuit could stop
his trip. Neither he nor his sponsor cared that his rocket carried neither fuel
nor machinery for a return flight. Stanislav figured his sacrifice would make
him a hero to his son. For the time being, little else mattered.
had been designed to create redundancies that could verify other scholars
findings. An hour after he sent communications containing that sought after,
authenticating data, i.e. until the time when those signals were received on
Earth, asphyxiation overtook him; only enough oxygen had been allocated to
enable him to fulfill that single task.
As he died, the generalist
did not think about: his students, his colleagues, his research associate, his
friend Caleb, why an unmanned ship was not sent in his stead, or why
corroborative data were needed at all (Dr. Whitfield had already completed
fieldwork documenting Jupiters fauna. In fact, shed even imported
alien eggs before disappearing from academia. Whats more, Dr. Jhanna
Bithrop, of Princetons Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, had
successfully retrieved gemstones from Jupiters atmosphere.) Rather, he
obsessed over his estranged wifes chrysanthemum-scented breath and
Hed never know that
Hedvika would forgot to tell Stanislav (Hedvika would stop using
the Jr. suffix), that the child had been was conceived within
marriage, to a caring father. The biologist would also never appreciate that he