@thelettersfromnoone mentioned something about space!mail order bride Odesta, and while this isn’t exactly that, it did cause my hand to slip.
“I’ve got here that the mission will take four years all together. Is that a daunting prospect?”
“Of course.” Annie Cresta cocked her head just a tad off to one side. “It’ll actually be closer to three and a half years, nineteen months in transit each way and then four on Mars’ surface. It’s very exciting, of course, but I think anyone would be a little nervous at the idea of sending that long away from home.”
“Really far from home,” the interviewer added, and Annie laughed. Times like this, it was obvious why Dr. Cresta was making the rounds on the morning talk shows without her four Mockingjay crewmates. She was pretty, sure – petite, curly dark hair, a face that looked too young to have both a doctorate and five years at NASA under her belt – but the woman also had a kind of charm that was impossible to put into words. Watching her talk about the upcoming Mars mission, you couldn’t help but get excited too.
So excited, in fact, that Finnick, who until a couple weeks ago had only been vaguely aware of the Mockingjay project’s existence, now followed any news about it with an almost religious passion.
“Your crewmates are all lucky enough to be able to go up with their spouses.”
“Or unlucky, depending on how you look at it,” Annie cut in.
The interviewer chuckled. “Good point. This one’s a two-parter. First, how do you think it’ll be to be the only single person on board?”
She thought about that for a moment. “We’re all professionals, and we’ve talked a lot in training about keeping our private lives as private as we can given how physically close we’re going to be for these next couple years. I’m sure that for me it won’t be much different than a mission with four other single people.”
“And for the second part: if you could bring anyone up with you, who would you choose?”
Her grin faltered at that, and he couldn’t blame her. It wasn’t appropriate, and it should bring up serious questions of whether a man in Annie’s position would be asked the same kind of questions. Finnick always felt like interviewers were talking down to him when they asked shit like that, and unlike Annie, he hadn’t come anywhere close to graduating with honors from Stanford.
It took her less than a second to recover. “You know, if it’s absolutely anyone, I guess I’m going with Finnick Odair.” The couch might as well have dropped out from underneath him.
The interviewer turned back to his female cohost. “You hear that, Julie? Annie’s heading to space with People’s Sexiest Man Alive!”
“I like the way you think,” Julie congratulated Annie.
Annie wasted no time in getting the interview back on track. “The shuttle is actually big enough to accommodate seven people. The living quarters are reusable, and the engineers wanted to build in some extra room in case future missions had larger crews.”
It took him a while to realize that his mouth was hanging open. Finnick closed it with his index finger and reached for his phone, which was already lighting up with alerts. He dialed a number from memory, and it was answered before the first ring finished. “Hey Mags.”
Since the stroke, almost all strangers had an impossible time understanding his manager’s garbled speech. Finnick barely heard it anymore. “Yeah, I saw the interview. Listen, can you get me a meeting with Annie Cresta? Maybe book me on something she’s also appearing on? I’d love to meet her.”
He heard the words ‘lovesick teenager’ before she hung up, but that didn’t bother Finnick. Mags would come through for him. She always did.