I have seen many interesting cases since I became a doctor over two decades ago. The case of Eta Shepard remains the most intriguing case I have ever come upon. (For reference, Eta is pronounced with a long e – “Eeta”. As in the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet. )
As for a brief explanation of my background, my full name is Dr. Tess Maria Avrakotos. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Biology and received my doctorate from Johns Hopkins University with a specialization in Family Medicine. I did my residency at Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk, VA and continued to work there after I completed my residency. I started with NASA after the end of the war as part of their physiology department, studying the effects of microgravity and radiation exposure on the human body.
Manned space programs have been indefinitely suspended since the onset of the war but, in an effort to rebuild the international space flight community, research has resumed which is how I came to be at the agency. After about six years with NASA, I came across Eta Shepard.
In an effort to understand her unique physiology, I have done an extensive investigation into Eta’s background through multiple interviews with Eta herself, as well as former NASA staff who would have been familiar with the Delta Space Station and, more interestingly, familiar with Eta’s mother, Millicent Shepard. In addition, and included in this report, are journal entries and transcribed voice entries recovered from the Delta’s primary computer database before the station was destroyed. Finally, Millicent kept detailed medical records using the stations medical testing equipment on both herself and on Eta. Regular medical testing had been the practice on space stations in the past and Millicent kept up with this, well after communication was lost with the ground. Medical records were retrieved from the station and are submitted here as well.
Eta is one of the most significant physiological discoveries of our time in that her case showcases the direct effects of long term space exposure. She kept a detailed verbal log of her life starting at the age of six. This is believed to have been the idea of her mother, Millicent, who, as a scientist herself, certainly understood the importance of keeping a record of such a life.
I have pieced together the logs and included information taken from my own interviews as well as from interviews with the team at NASA that worked with Eta on the station after she was discovered there. Her entire life is interesting, of course, however, the most interesting details begin, coincidentally, on Eta’s 18th birthday.
This is her story.