CHILE V

2/27/2022    

The only scientific station the group was allowed into was the Chilean location. The Russian and Chinese facilities were off limits as they were probably plotting something against America, and the Polish station was locked down. They only come down here in the winter, and the Polish astronauts only travel to the sun at night. They carry a Polish flag made out of asbestos. The group was escorted to the gravel beach to observe sociable Weddell seals and chinstrap penguins. The seals were humorous and large, meaning they were well-fed, which might have explained the lack of any penguins. The mother from Pittsburg fell down while walking, and it was clearly evident that she was too old to endure this physically. Roy whispered to Henry that the group should throw the old woman to the seals. Pennsylvanian citizens harbor no loyalty. As the day progressed, each person mixed in with another to share bragging rights, and when the stories were thoroughly saturated with pride and embellishment, moved on to the next. Humans can build the stoutest pedestals to stand on. The only 2 that Henry remembers were Carl, the oil engineer, who also worked on the Alaskan pipeline like Henry and Roy, the alcoholic from Philly with a dark sense of humor. Go figure. It was now time to depart for their separate homes starting with the King Air. On the way back, a complimentary bottle of champagne was brought out to celebrate this once in a lifetime experience. Roy was all smiles. Henry was subtlety signaling to the co-pilot that ice was building up on the wings leading edge. Not good. The Spanish speaking, 2nd in command directed bleed heat and compressed air into the boot at the leading edges. The ice soon fractured and was blown off into the atmosphere. The krill of the Southern Ocean would go hungry that night. As the plane touched down in Punta Arenas around 10 PM, it was a long day for everyone. With final handshakes and smiles, the group left, never to see each other again. Sonder.

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