Twins Again by Éric Picholle translated by Sheryl Curtis 1. Ship-time: January 5

Twins Again
by Éric Picholle
translated by Sheryl Curtis
1. Ship-time: January 5, 2033 09:15:00
Earth-time: November 17, 2032 11:23:17
Tara: 16 years old today!
Macha: turning 15 soon
(1)Macha’s clock accelerated. I felt it, even before checking my clock, the one that runs by ship’s time; I’ve spent enough time watching her clock slowly count off the seconds for the better part of two years to know its pace, one second for roughly every ten seconds. One of Macha’s heartbeats for ten of mine—her own twin! But right now, it’s closer to one for eight.
(2)That can only mean one thing: the astronomers have detected a likely planet, and we’ve started to decelerate. I’m probably the first one in the ship to know it, apart from the bridge crew and the engineers, of course. And Tom, maybe. Tom is the only other twin on board the SS Paul Langevin. He has two clocks in his cabin as well—for the stupid psychological study, I guess. I doubt if anyone is seriously considering this far-fetched idea of interstellar telepathy. Tom thinks it’s all about advertising; they did take a lot of shots of us standing next to our clocks, Macha and me, Tara, and Tom and Franck, just before take-off. Two sets of identical twins, two 13-year-old girls and two 14-year-old boys. Twins of the same age, even though it sounds idiotic when you say it like that.
(3)Since then, things have become a little more complicated. Close to Earth, the slippage wasn’t really noticeable; then Macha’s clock seemed to slow. At first, I used to calculate the difference in our ages to the minute. It was almost a game. Then, when we reach cruising speed, with this factor of 10 between our clocks, hers seemed to stop. A year later, I was 14—duh!—and she was still 13. When the astronomers assigned us a new target, and the engines had to be restarted to correct the trajectory to Fomalhaut-7, there was a strange period when her clock suddenly accelerated, catching up to mine. For the briefest moment, we were twins again, normal twins, both 14 years old—then pop! A week later, I was still 14 and Macha was already 15. Yet we weren’t all that far from the Earth. Then the maneuver was over. We returned to cruising speed and I went back to aging faster than she did, until I caught up with her—twins again, again!—and passed her.
(4)Sorry, I’m rambling. But I have a good excuse: today is my birthday. And I find it a little weird that it isn’t Macha’s as well. The first time this happened, I cried. I hope that Fomalhaut-7 will be a nice planet. That would be the best gift ever!
2. S-time: February 3, 2033 03:17:00
E-time: February 3, 2033 03:10:23
Tara & Macha: almost 16 years and 1 month
(5)What am I doing up in the middle of the night? And in a boy’s cabin, of all places? We’re staring at a clock, of course! The clock that tells Franck’s time, his twin’s time, the same time as Macha’s, on Earth. And believe you me, it’s racing ahead: almost 20 seconds for each one of ours. Just a few more, and we’ll all be twins again, for one glorious instant.
(6)We’ve calculated the exact time, obviously. 03:17:33 sharp. Ten seconds. Tom holds me close to him. Five! Four! Three! Two! One! Now!
(7)It all happened too fast. I’m not even sure I really saw the two identical times, on both clocks. I placed my head on Tom’s shoulder for a few extra seconds, just in case. Tom and Tara . . . the time it takes to form a thought, and Macha has already started aging fast. She’s now older than me by four minutes, and counting.
(8)Twenty seconds for each of ours—and it won’t get any better. The scientists have confirmed that F-7 is an Earth-like planet, and the captain announced that we’ll keep on decelerating until we reach a full stop. Neither Tom nor I have dared to calculate how old our twins will be when we arrive in about 10 days.
(9)Right now, I don’t even care what name we’ll give our planet. Tomorrow will be another day. I’m going to bed.
3. S-time: February 14, 2033 10:00:00
E-time: June 7, 2060 01:17:12
Tara: Just over 16 years and 1 month
Macha: 43 and a half
(10)Me again. Sorry, but I haven’t had much time for you guys lately! They say that the final days of a long journey are always frantic. I can vouch for that. Between the workshops on the latest discoveries on our new planet and all the practical details of preparing to disembark, I haven’t had a minute to myself.
(11)F-7 looks so much like Earth that most people wanted to call it “Earth 2,” but the captain vetoed that. There’s only one Earth! So it will be called Einstein, after Albert, of course.
(12)Why is it never the right clock that slows? I bet she thinks I’m leaving her behind. She’s probably furious at me. When deceleration peaked, we could no longer read the Earth minutes, which flew by at more than 20 per second. It’s fine to know that the faster I travel away from my twin, the faster she may age. But it’s quite another matter to see it.
(13)When Macha edged past 40—leaving me behind as well—I turned off her clock. Then Tom managed to make me smile, telling me that my twin might well have children my own age.
(14)I no longer have anything to do with Earth or it with me. Even the news of our safe arrival won’t reach them for another quarter of a century, along with our invitation to join us on Einstein, humankind’s new blue planet.
(15)Tom and I are scheduled to land in just over a month. But we’re already Einsteinians. For real.
-Say what the mood is
-Use two text evidence to back it up
-Explain the text evidence