Authors note: If you are unfamiliar with what Dtoid writes a Book is; it is an expiremental project that asks the question, "what if a bunch of people on Destructoid tried to write a book one chapter at a time?" Each person is responsible for 1 chapter of roughly 2500 words. This book is about the first colony on Mars and thusly I have named it A Martian Odyseey. So please sit back with your favorite beverage alcoholic or otherwise... and enjoy this beautiful trainwreck of an idea.
“Eeeeeh”, “eeeeh”, “eeeeh”. The rhythmic screeching of the phone alarm sounding off. Almost as soon as it sounded off, a finger skid across the face of the device to silence it. “6:00 am” the device read, though Marco didn't even look. He knew. How could he forget? Today was the day he and eleven other people would make history. He rubbed his eyes simultaneously with his hand eventually resting his fingers in a pinch at the bridge of his nose. He let out a long groan. He hadn't slept. How could he? He was too anxious. All manner of thoughts battling his will to sleep throughout the entire night. Too bad, as he could've used a goodnight's rest. He rolled over to face his wife Melinda, who undoubtedly got about as much sleep as he had. Even in the darkness of their unlit room he could confirm his suspicion. “Sleep well?” Marco inquired sardonically. Melinda eyebrows lowered and she shot him a slanted smirk. “I don't know why we even tried” she replied. They both smiled a bit. There was a moment of silence. The two laid there with their heads on their pillows; as if to hear the beat of their room, their house, their world for one last time. “Last day on Earth” Melinda said half sighing. “yeah” Marco replied his word faded off into nothing. With his lack of sleep it was really all he could muster at this point. “We should probably get going, take off is at noon” he added. “I should probably cancel our lunch reservations then?” Melinda joked. They both let out a slight chuckle which grew to a more substantial laugh. “Hey at least we'll get out of this craphole” Marco said smuggly. “We live in one of the nicest neighborhoods in the entire city.” She said puzzled at Marco's comment. “No, Lin, I meant Earth” Marco clarified with the same delivery as a hack stand up comedian. Lin rolled her eyes and shoved her side of the bedding on top of Marco's head. “Careful you'll mess up my perfect hair” Marco teased. She got up and headed to the bathroom across the hall. Marco followed, but before making it to the door, Lin shut the door behind her and locked it. “I have to use the bathroom too, ya know” he groaned annoyed. “I'm not letting you take a piss while I take a shower” she dictated back. “But Honey, isn't that what true love is?!” he said in an almost nuclear family father figure tone. While he couldn't see her, he could practically hear her eyes rolling. “Fine, I'll go start breakfast” Marco said, semi-defeated, walking away from the door.
Last Earth Breakfast he thought to himself. Mine as well go all out Marco began plotting his final breakfast. Too bad all Marco could make was toast and eggs. Not because Marco didn't possess the cooking finesse, but rather because all they had left was eggs and bread. They didn't even have a toaster. Everything with the exception of one pan and a spatula, that Marco had set aside had been either sold, given away or dumped. Come tomorrow it would be as if nobody had ever lived there. Well, except for the hole in the bedroom wall that still needed patching; but that's another story. Marco turned on the range. Fire sprouted up and Marco applied the pan. He opened his fridge and grabbed the butter and eggs. He tossed some butter in the pan and laid the eggs on the counter next to the range. He then opened the top cupboard to grab some coffee grounds, only to be let down as he did not have any coffee ground nor did he even have a coffee maker. A decision he was now regretting. “Guess we'll have to stop” he muttered under his breath. He then grabbed four slices of bread and two paper plates with the remaining two plastic forks they had. He waited for the butter to melt. Normally this is when Marco's mind began to daydream. However today he was so tired all he could do is space out watching the butter melt. No other thought passed his mind, just butter. It was a bit ironic as his anxiousness had kept him up all night, but now as daylight broke he was so tired that he could even think and thus could easily fall asleep. He needed coffee. Maybe he'd grab an energy drink. Hell it'd be his last chance. They don't make Red Bull on Mars. He could hear the shower turn off from down the hall. Maybe a shower will wake me up. Gonna need it to be extra cold though... he chuckled to himself. The eggs had finished, Marco plated them atop the toast and brought them to the table. He waited for his wife to get dressed and join him.
Lin sat down at the table. She was dressed in her flight jumpsuit. “Oh right, we gotta wear that thing don't we?” Marco slightly groaned under his breath. Obviously he was going to have to eventually wear it, however today they'd need to wear it going in to work instead of changing there. It was a publicity move. Much like the black SUV that would come and drive them into the base. This event was going to be huge and the media was soaking it up. Although upon reflection Marco figured it was actually a huge deal. First colony on Mars. This could eventually spark colonization of the galaxy, and who knows maybe even the Starship Enterprise. “Highly illogical, Captain” he could hear Spock say in his head. Perhaps Marco was getting too far ahead of himself. Star Trek seemed a bit of a stretch for the future considering they hadn't even found live on other planets. Although Zeta 7 looked promising it'd be another decade or so before the probe had even arrived. Definitely would've been faster with the Enterprise. For some reason Star Trek was on his mind a lot lately. Perhaps it was due to the fact that he felt a strong connection with Kirk. He was only 32. Extremely young to be captain of this mission. Especially when they had started training just over 5 years ago. He would need to be the leader for the rest of his life, or at least until the next generation could take over. While they had extensively explored and tested Mars; relatively little was known of the planet. Really they had only cleared a small section of the planet. The area they had cleared was only about 16 square miles. However it was built to be expanded upon as the colony grew in the decades that would pass. While at first they'd lack the man power to build the expansions themselves, eventually the colony would become completely self-sufficient. For now there was plenty of forestry, livestock, water and even atmosphere to keep everyone alive for generations. It had taken over twelve years, hundreds of missions, and an entire nation's worth of income to complete, but there was a finally a habitable area of Mars. Of coarse this project was not financed by any government. Rather it was a mostly private funded venture. Although there were nations that chipped in. The United States being the largest of the national contributors. As a result NASA was tasked with heading up the entire operation. However they weren't the only operatives. The RKA ran a fair amount of missions as well as some other smaller space programs. They had even received broadcasting deals to basically keep a daily video journal; that would be cut into a sort of reality show. The TV deals really helped fund the project. Overall, it was really a global effort to make this happen and as a result the entire globe would be watching. The was a lot of pressure on Marco especially considering he'd be held responsible for not only the lives of the colonists, but the trillions of dollars invested in this mission. While Marco tried to keep his devil may care persona, he did indeed feel the enormous pressure. Of coarse Marco's ego was about twice the size of that pressure, or so Lin would say.
Lin was responsible for all the medical needs of the colony. She was the only medical doctor going up. She actually had to learn dentistry as well. On top of that she also already had a doctorate in psychology. So Lin was certainly the most educated to be lifting off. She was 34 and had always been a bit of an overachiever. Although she had always loved learning and the challenges of schooling. Her IQ was incredibly high even at a young age, and she read everything she could get her hands on. She was a bit of a hermit growing up, preferring books to people; however she came out of her shell in college, if only a bit. That where she had met Marco. To be honest she couldn't believe that Marco had been interested in her. Not that she was ugly, but she wasn't extraordinarily attractive either. although her friends would say that her thick framed glasses held her back. However Marco had been very attractive and quite popular. He'd played Soccer in college, which while not as big as Football, had certainly gained quite a following in America, especially proceeding the United States victory in the World Cup. They had met at a party Lin had reluctantly agreed to go to. A mutual friend had introduced them, and they clicked immediately. Marco found her cute, quarky, and there was something attractive about how smart she was. Being a scientist, you could say Marco found her fascinating, intriguing and a bit of a mystery. Lin found Marco to be surprisingly polite and charming... and obviously hot. They dated for five years before they married. Marco wanted to get married before then but Lin wanted to finish her education before that. Of coarse Marco wanted to start a family too, however by the time they had gotten married Marco was in his doctorate program and wanted to wait till he had finished to begin that chapter in their lives. However upon receiving his doctorate they had both met people involved in the Mars colony project. They were a perfect fit. Young, married, highly educated and without children. NASA didn't want to risk having children go up in space, it was far to strenuous on their bodies and NASA was unsure at the time if they'd even be able to train children to go into space. So having no children was vital, but also wanting children was a requirement. As you see, you can't have a colony without children. Of coarse every candidate had been thoroughly tested for fertility. There were a lot more requirements. Family health history, both physical and mental, As well as each individuals personal history were checked. It was vitally important that only good genes were passed on; to ensure the survival of the colony. There were some allegations that the true purpose of this mission was to create or protect some secret elite master class of people; but those are from the kind of folks who wear tin foil hats, think that jet fuel can't melt steel beams and that there are clues to fake tragedies in super hero movies. It was all silly especially considering the diversity of those chosen, as not only were good genes desirable but so were a diverse pool of genes needed. In reality, it was simply to ensure that no medical issues would rise for which they would not have a cure. It'd be impossible to produce something like insulin on Mars, for example. Not only would the cost be enormous to transport, but by the time they could extract the person(s) to bring them back to earth or bring the insulin to them; they'd already be dead. Furthermore there wasn't sufficient materials and people to even begin to produce medicine. There would be some lesser drugs like Acetaminophen, but those were very expensive to transport and would be brought in with less frequent shipments from Earth. Even Steroids and other items necessary for emergency treatment would be included, but they wouldn't be able to supply any medicine for a chronic disease.
The nice thing was that the colony would have access to the internet. This meant that Lin would not only be able to gain substantial knowledge in the pharmaceutical field, but she's be able to train the future generations in it. That would also be her responsibility, training the next generation in the medical field. It would be a little tough without a steady flow of cadavers, but they had some convincing replicas that would make do at least until they could gain access to the real deal. Lin was excited to start her life on Mars. It was certainly a lot less paperwork and it'd be less overall work. She had to maintain some active medical field work while she'd been training as an astronaut. Life on Mars would be a vacation compared to the last decade of her life. In theory at least. Of coarse being isolated in space could become very complicated very quickly, and there was also the strong possibility of failure resulting in early death. Not only with something on Mars but they could end up like The Challenger and poof be gone just like that. Still Lin wasn't all that apprehensive about taking off. She knew that the rocket had been carefully designed and inspected by the worlds top scientists. Her husband included.
The two finished their meal. Marco showered and dressed. As he was finishing up his last button on his jumpsuit he could hear the black SUV honking to let them know they were there. “You ready?” Lin yelled down the hall. Marco took a deep breath in. “yeah” he half halfheartedly let out. Marco was far more nervous about the whole affair. He was always the worrywart between the two of them. He had no reason to be anxious, he had checked the rocket himself. He insisted on it, after all. Still there always a chance, always an anomaly, always some unknown factor that they hadn't calculated for. It also didn't help that he would need to be the leader. He couldn't show weakness to anyone, save for Lin... maybe. As much as Marco hated the idea of being a “macho man” he also knew that if the shit really hit the fan, that he'd really need to keep up appearances... even towards his wife. Although she'd probably see right through him. Last year he couldn't even manage a surprise party for Lin, without her figuring it out. To be honest given the high intelligence of those partaking on this venture, he'd probably have a hard time fooling anyone. Though if there's one thing educated people are good at, it's following directions. So a low chance of panic ending the colony. Overall the rate of survival had been given at 99%, But Marco was just the kind of guy to focus on that one last percent.
Next Chapter is Fuzunga. You have One week to complete it. I realise I kinda posted this late so if you need more time just let me know. Or if for any reason you need more time let me know. I don't think it'll be an issue. :D
Also here is a link to the Google Doc with the turn order and susequent chapters for anyone who would like it.