He would be one of the first on Mars. As his ship landed, he reminded himself of why he was here. He was here to relieve the crew of New Venice, a colony of the EU on mars. He himself was a German, who had left Austria, but he felt closer to Europe than Austria.
“You ready mate?” asked Mick, his real name was Michael, but he had been called Mick since first grade. For some reason unbeknownst to the two, they were constantly confused for one another.
“Ya, just a little nervous.” he responded.
“Well Maris, we’re only here for six months.” As much as he understood Mick’s sentiment, six months is a long time. He was not fully ready for the challenges ahead. As he wouldn’t live to see his Earth again.
“DOCKING WITH ORBITAL PLATFORM ‘ERICKSON’, FOLLOW THE DOCKING PROCEDURES. PLEASE GO TO THE SEATING AREA.” blared the ships on-board computer through the many speakers present in the hallway that both Mick and Maris were floating in.
They quickly made it to the seating area. It was only 40 metres away.
“Strap in.” said their commander, her name was Nicole, she was from France
“Yes sir” replied both Mick and Maris in near unison.
“DOCKING IN T MINUS TEN SECONDS” said the ships computer. A figure dashed down the halls, they came bolting down the hallway. Flying to their seats they strapped themself in right next to Mick and Nicole.
“Ah, Æland, how nice of you to show up.” said Nicole
“Hey, I was,” Æland paused for a second, as if to design an excuse for not listening to the computer “designing a robot, with music blasting in my ears”
“Since when did you design robots?” asked Maris
“What, I’ve always designed robots. I made that drone swarm a couple months ago.” responded Æland
“The one that exploded and nearly killed me, and also nearly blew the hull open, exposing us all to the vacuum of space, and all the micro debris.” responded Mick
“Yep, that’s the one.”
“DOCKING WITH ERICKSON COMPLETED. WE HAVE REFUELLED. NOW PROCEEDING TO MARS FROM ERICKSON PLATFORM IN ORBIT OF PHOBOS. WILL LAND ON MARS IN THREE HOURS. YOU MAY GO BACK TO WORK”
They then proceeded to making the final preparation, making sure the new habitats they would be installing we’re in shape. Checking the containment for the nuclear reactor they were bringing to power those new habitats. Maris’ job was a simple one, they had brought along an experimental suit, one that could put the user in stasis if it detects danger.
He checked it, the metallic plates forming the exterior of the suit were black as the void surrounding their ship. He couldn’t shake the feeling of unease that the helmet of the suit caused. Its visor, as big as his face, a deep blackish blue. Almost like the pupils of his own eyes. It felt as though the suit was watching him from behind the massive visor. But no time for dilly dally, he checked it’s structural integrity and he found no holes in the metal plates. When he took it out of its locker, it stood.
Creepy, why did they design this to be so alien. He knew why, it was so that, while in stasis, the metal could absorb as much heat from the user as possible, and it would insulate better in the martian cold deserts. Its caused so many sleepless nights for me, I wish I hadn’t been on the same mission as this one. Why did they even need to bring this to Mars? I’ll ask Nicole later.
“ENTERING THE MARTIAN ATMOSPHERE IN TEN MINUTES, PLEASE RETURN TO YOU SEAT.”
Time flies when you’re having fun, or in horror, I guess. He made his way to the central seating area. Nicole was already there, no shock, she had been checking the habitats, and since they were in the ship’s airlock, there was an elevator to the central seating area.
“If you don't mind me asking, what’s up with the stasis suit? Like, why did they have us bring it to mars?” asked Maris
“Technically, its simply to test it in a low gravity setting, and against the perchlorate salts in the martian soil. Really I think they brought it here with us since they aren’t sure if the stasis mechanism won’t just be a bomb. New Venice is less important to them then real Venice, so if it is just a bomb, then only four people die.”
“ENTERING MARTIAN ATMOSPHERE IN TWO MINUTES. ALL CREW, FASTEN ENTRY VESTS IN THE SEATING AREA.”
At that exact moment Æland and Mick showed up, chatting about the containment procedure for the nuclear fuel and reactor.
“I think we put too much effort into packing as many experiments into the missions, so the containment of the nuclear reactor and its fuel isn’t taken into consideration.” exclaimed Æland
“I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on that point mate.” responded Mick in huff. They both strapped themselves in.
“NOW ENTERING THE ATMOSPHERE OF MARS.” A rush of adrenaline entered the crew. Everyone feared this part. This was easier than the reentry into earth’s atmosphere. No surprise there, Mars’ atmosphere is much thinner than that of Earth.
“Hey the last crew!” said Mick as he pointed out the small window. Everyone turned, but it was to late, their ship had passed.
“ROCKET DECELERATORS ENGAGING” And with that, we were on Mars.
We all sat next to each other, each with a mouse and keyboard. We were digging the newest habitats, The ESA had plans to expand New Venice. So we carried them out
“Æland, go grab the dry ice from the distillery.” exclaimed Nicole. We had just the last one to do, just the last habitat. The habitats had below ground tunnels we had already dug in. from the outside, thest habitats looked like burial mounds, the martian soil covered the Dry ice underneath. When Æland returned we all got to work. The ESA had programmed this as a game, it lightened our spirits.
“Ok, now let’s cover this in soil.” said Mick. It only took a fraction of the time that barining them in had taken. And with that, we had an expansion. We all hurried to the connector between our old facility and the new one. We found among the hallways a School, library, residential areas, and of course a green space. This brought us all relief, none of us had seen a plant in at least seven months.
“Have you checked the mice?” asked Mick
“No, not today, Have you Nicole?” asked Æland
“No, Mick?” said Nicole, she immediately knew her mistake “Sorry I ment Maris”
“Fine, I’ll clean them this week.” responded Maris. He walked past the locker that held the suit, its helmet shone in the light. Unnerving him more than it did back on the ship. He hurried past it. Once he reached the Mice, he noticed something, one of the mice, one nicknamed Mocha, was pregnant. Before telling this to the rest of the crew he cleaned up the feces and put them all in the compost bin. They didn’t need to feed them, or give them water. The Base took care of that.
He jogged back to the rest of the crew.
“Guys, Mocha is pregnant!” A gasp passed the crew.
“The first martian being will be born on my- I mean our mission!” exclaimed Nicole.
“How interesting, is it ethical?” aksed Mick
“What do you mean?” responded Æland
“It’ll definitely have cancer, the radiation here is enough to give a human cancer if they stay here for more than six months is it ethical to allow it into this world?”
“I don’t know.” responded Maris. “Maybe we ask mission control?” They waited and waited,
“MISSION CONTROL: LET THE PUPS BE BORN”
“MISSION FOR MARIS HAFFENSBURG 15/03/2322: TEST THE CAPABILITIES OF THE ST-5 EXTRAHABITABLE MOBILITY UNIT”
“Yes mission control, I hear you loud and clear” He checked the clock
5:30, what the hell mission control, it’s so early. I guess it's an all day mission. He walked over to the suit. Something about the combination of the visor, and the dim light was less creepy to him, maybe it was that he couldn’t see it as well. He suited up, the heads up display roared to life.
“HELLO, MR HAFFENSBURG, PLEASE EXIT THE HABITAT VIA THE AIRLOCK” he followed the instructions.
“PLEASE GO DUE NORTH, TO THE ICE CAPS”
Why would they have me go to the ice caps, maybe samples, it has to be to gather samples. The uneven ground made it difficult to cross. On more than one occasion he slipped, unbeknownst to him, these slips had broken the radio transmitter.
“PLEASE GATHER SAMPLES OF THE ICE CAPS”
We already have samples of these. Why do we need more? This was a question he’d ask the captain.
Bzzrt… Bzzrt…Thump… Lump…Lump…Lump… Thump…Lump…Lump..Lum- The ice caved in. Burying his body in snow and martian rock
“STASIS PROTECTION MEASURES COMMENCING” those words shown on the heads up display. The suit lulled him to sleep