Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Martian Solitude

I am the hero (obviously), and am fit in a man-next-door way, not too beefy. I had taken off from Earth in a spacecraft 7 years ago. I have been living for the last four years, on the planet Mars in a habitat module. It's a lonely life, living on this arid, dry, unfriendly planet which needs a spacesuit whenever I step out of my tiny living area. I carry out sampling for scientific experiments done remotely from Earth, and keep the lab instruments functional. I keep trying to reverse the atmosphere's effects on my muscles. I get to speak to Mission Control, smart kids, family of other NASA astronauts-to-be... and plenty of important people who mean nothing to me in the here and now.

There has been a hitch in my ride back home. My mission was meant to have ended a year ago. NASA keeps saying that they want me to do "just a few more" tasks while the vehicle is on its way to pick me up, that I'm important as the pioneer, etc. I think the vehicle just had a botched launch, and remember, a launch window to Mars won't open until 26 months later. Every once in a while, one of the Mars Orbiters drop off supplies, tugged back to me by an autonomous Rover.

In a quest to do more today, I am traveling much farther than usual. Far out in the Martian red-sand deserts, I see... GATES and a roadway. Positive that we from Earth hadn't set up a gate or any kind of real-estate property up here, in curiosity and trepidation I walk on. Every few metres, on both sides of the road, at waist-level height, are thick poles with rotund heads that didn't quite glow at present. I see a cluster of apartments, water pools with recreational fun rides, and humans enjoying a gala time with plenty of noise and shouts. There was this cute girl who seemed oddly familiar, in a way I couldn't place. I pinch myself, but no this is no desert mirage.

I pick up my communications device. In my shock, I break protocol and talk not to NASA Mission Control, but go over their head by 3 levels. I make a secret call to the Space Secretary herself. I tell her what I found, and that these people on Mars may be unauthorized in their use of NASA's resources.
[no idea why I said that, could they be from a Cold War military project?]

[cut to next shot]

The Space Secretary is a professional official in the administration, and knows of some other things being out of place too. She walks over to the President's office, and greets him. The big chair turns 180° towards the desk, and Will Smith's big ears twitch in an unearthly manner, when he tells Secret Service to "leave us alone."

[cut to next shot]

Paranoid about a hot pursuit, I now find myself in a small Martian railroad town. I am on the platform, after buying my ticket. To my horror, I recognize somebody, a colleague from back when we were in low-grav training. Just as I take my seat and the train moves, he meets my gaze, breaking into a friendly smile, naïve and oblivious to what I fear is about to happen. He will need strength.

I blurt, "Have your lunch" ... No reaction, he hasn't understood the urgency.
The message needs conveying, so I mouth a screaming, "KHAANA KHAALEY!"

This is where I woke up in the morning, so it stops here.
For non-Hindi readers: "khaana khaley" means eat food.

Hastily typed it all before I forget, because I dreamt it up in my sleep. The plot seemed like something that had to be shared with the world. From memory, I recognize that the above story intersects multiple plot devices I have read and seen.
*wood, you're welcome to build it into a more interesting story, just retain Will Smith!

*Disclosure: I had been watching an ISS documentary last evening.

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