Great news! They have a viable candidate to replace Xi as soon as we've made our trip into the Yellow Zone. Sergei told them to prepare the relief for immediate dispatch; we'll go out as soon as we complete our preparations. Xi could be on a plane home by the end of next week.
She's trying not to raise her hopes after what happened last time, but I can tell she's excited. None of us expected them to organise a replacement so quickly. I think the promise of escape is helping her tolerate the current situation. I wouldn't say she's positive about the trip out, but she raised the topic herself for the first time, which is a step in the right direction. Sergei is hopeful that he'll be replaced soon, too.
He opened up to us about his worries. He feels like he's been here too long, that it can't be good for a human body to have this much exposure. He isn't recovering from his injuries as quickly as he'd expect; he thinks The Sick Land might be interfering with the healing process. He doesn't want to go back to the university covered in scars. He showed me a paper he thought might be relevant. It covers some research on mitosis in mal cells. Seeing the paper upset me, as one of the coauthors was Bob.