Sarah hung up the phone and walked out of the meeting room. She yawned as she rolled a chair between Max and the professor. She sat down and placed her elbows on the long, cluttered work surface, her tired head held up by one hand.
“What did they say?” Professor Dillon asked, turning to look at Sarah as he took his glasses off to rub his eyes.
Sarah filled the professor and Max in on her discussion with Jack, then said, “We should hear from them in the morning when they come up with a plan.”
“I’ve got more bad news,” Max said as he ran his thumb and index finger down his mustache, smoothing it out. “Based on emails that I’ve been getting from other stations, the Earth’s ozone layer may be thinning. One report even said there could be less oxygen, not enough to affect our breathing, but enough to let more radiation into the atmosphere. It could have something to do with the red sky and those sparkly particles.”
“I thought the particles were spores,” Sarah said, turning to look at Max, who was staring at her. His eyes seemed three times bigger than normal behind the lenses of his glasses.
“The red dust cloud encompassing Earth was probably a combination of things,” Max said as he yawned. Then in a voice Sarah was better able to understand, he said, “Spores, oxygen-eating substances and who knows what else.”
“Martian red,” Georgie yelled over from the other side of the dome as Dawn shuffled a deck of playing cards. “The red dust cloud was the color of Mars.”
“I think they’re terraforming the Earth,” the professor said, pushing his chair away from the computer. “That makes sense because they are setting themselves up at nuclear power plants. Their species must thrive on higher radiation.”
“I think you’re right,” Sarah said as she stood and walked over to one of the windows in the dome. She looked into the night sky; a fuzzy pink halo circled the full moon. “Before I find someplace to rest my bones, does anyone have an idea where we go from here?”
“Aside from getting sleep,” Max said, setting down his pen. “We need to stop those alien bastards before they do any more damage to our planet, and to us.”