"Then we can just leave the atmosphere and send a message," Standish said, "on our way home."
This touched off another round of arguing.
"We're not leaving," Anna said, quieting the others.
She sat at the head of the table, feeling very out of place in Chang's seat.
"We don't have time. Those EVA suits our missing crew are wearing only have enough oxygen for ten more hours. We're going to spend every minute of that ten hours searching for them. After that, we'll have all the time in the world for going home. Before that, every minute is precious, and I want every member of the crew involved."
"But some of my crew aren't trained for EVA activity," Hidalgo protested.
"I want them all out there," Anna said.
She wouldn't put it past Hidalgo to take the ship up while they were out searching.
"Those who aren't trained can use breathers. The atmosphere's safe for them and we don't have enough EVA suits anyway."
"That violates protocol."
"Losing forty-five people violates protocol too. Look, I'm going to use a breather myself. They're perfectly safe."
To avoid further argument, she changed the subject.
"Razor, have you been able to get any additional information from the ship's scanners?"
"There are still no life signs and no beacons showing, but I am reading an energy source of some kind from the cave site where you were today."
"I'm not going back into those caves," Favorito yelled.
"Dr. Favorito," Anna said.
"If you're suffering from claustrophobia, I'll put you in another group."
Favorito went to rub his forehead and knocked the reading glasses from his head. He was ready to crack, and Anna couldn't let that happen. If the others knew there were living natives on the planet, it would very likely