We continue to apologize for the delay

Yeah… Sorry about Thursday. It’s just a lot of uni stuff happening right now. If at all possible the next two chapters will come out on Saturday and Sunday, but that’s not a certainty, with the degree show coming up so…

See you when I see you.

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Chapter 5-1

Autumn on Mars

A science fiction novelette by Matthew Crane.

A Modern Odyssey, Chapter 5: The Low Road

I think the hardest part of the journey had to be when we got to the Blackshear desert. Cool name. I have no idea what it’s named after, and I don’t think the people who named it had actually seen the colour of the dust in it when they named it, but I like it.
This was while we were driving the 3rd leg of the journey, about half an hour after lunch. We started slowing down. The needle in the speedometer kept on going down sneakily and slowly. I knew something was wrong, it just took me a little time to figure out what.

“Mika” I said, “we’re slowing down”
She looked up
“That’s not good” she smiled, “It could be something going wrong in the power plant”
“Yes that’s… wait… no. I’ve been staring at that thing forever, and we’re not losing Amps. It’s been at… There’s more of them?” I said, surprised that I hadn’t noticed it.
“Well that’s strange, are we…”
“It’s not the volts”
“That’s good. If it were the voltage going down and it was going down quick enough for you to notice, things would be bad”
“No duh”
I’m not a complete airhead.
“What I wanted to ask is if we’re going up a hill”
“The Ball says we’re tilted down a little. That’s weird…”
“So that means it’s not because of what’s on the outside” she concluded.
With that I looked over the view screens just to check there wasn’t anything going on outside. It was the same dusty terrain we’d always been on.
“Wait” I exclaimed, “It is!”
“It is?”
“I think I can remember something”

It was about 2 years ago. Dad had been given a month out, just for us to spend together, and we went along with a cargo hopper to Nelemy Range.
Nelemy Range, if you don’t know, is where they land all of the new stuff that SC Mars has shipped out here. It’s supposed to be where they land stuff to test it, but it’s this whole city now and that’s great. It’s still a testing range though and back then I just spent ages outside watching them kick up dust in the new rovers they’d brought in. I didn’t see anything up close, because fences always have to get in my way, but seeing those big ass dust plumes far away stuck in my head. I was young, and I was stupid, so back then I thought that meant that they were going super fast, but it’s really because we live on a volcano and the ground, it’s mostly solid.

“It’s the dust!” I said, triumphantly
“Oh, ok?” Mika nodded. (she’s very frustrating like this sometimes)
“Yeah! Our rover is a mountain rover, That out there is dust. That’s not good.”
“Huh” that look flashed across her face, “Two brave explorers, out beyond society. But are they prepared to clean… Their Motors.”
“Good idea” I smiled, “but that would be too easy. It’s more about the tyres”
Mika sat, expectantly quiet. I sighed.
“The tyres are made for driving on mountains. This is dust. They’re just spinning out there, doing… nothing.”
“That makes sense” she nodded and reached for her tablet, “maybe there’s a way around it?”

“15km 900m North it looks like the valley of sand gets to the thinnest bit” Mika said.
“That’s ages away!”
“We could also go across it here and it’s only 5km to the other side”
“That’s great.  But we might not keep going.”
“That would be too much dust?”
“I don’t know” I admitted, “I don’t know, we could start sinking now… Can that happen”
“I-I don’t know” Mika replied.

So, I could either waste our time or risk our lives. Safe, responsible, or me.

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Autumn on Mars: 1 Week Hiatus

Unfortunately, and with much regret, I am going to have to put Autumn on Mars on a 1 week hiatus. I put a lot of time and care into writing and rewriting each chapter and editing each post for web display, but because I’m coming close to the end of term for my university, I don’t really have as much free time to spend as I normally do, and nowhere near enough to keep things up to the standard I’ve been holding myself to.

In light of this Autumn on Mars will be returning on Monday the 6th of May, Same Earth time, Same Earth channel. I thank you all for reading along with me and I’m itching to get back into the swing of things once i can.

-Matt

Chapter 4-3

Autumn on Mars

A science fiction novelette by Matthew Crane.

Coldbrook Citizen 127-b J.P. Clarke – Seismologist
VOIP Session Transcript 3075
Recipient: Mackenzie Hogan, Secretary Director-General, Olympia Base.

Begins:

Hello, Olympia Director’s office...
Mr...
Clarke?
Um...
Hi?
Hello. Yes?
...
I’m afraid you’ve been terribly vague with your urgent audience request form...
You’re lucky it’s a slow day
Huh?
I’m sorry, what did you want?
...
Uh... well...
Ok. It’s
Well, you see. It’s...
It’s my... My kids. They’ve...
That was you?
Oh.
...
Listen sir, can I call you sir?
Sir
Your family have created a very difficult situation, and we are dealing with it as best as we can.
Oh... Oh good.
It’s just, I’ve been feeling, just a bit out of the loop and uh,
Well, I just want to know what’s being done, and how...
How can I help?
...
...
Um?
Your family have made a very Difficult situation, we are Dealing with It, as best as we can.
Yes. I’m sure you’re doing a great...
I mean, I’ve heard stuff from, uh... Dan.
Um, Administrator Andrey, that you were thinking about redirecting a Hopper?
And...
Mr. Clarke. The hoops we have to jump through to reschedule a surface operation, even for a couple days, are many.
Oh...
We have to negotiate with our clients back on Earth. You know how long it takes to talk to home?
Ohh...
I’m sorry.
...
...
...
When can I find out when you’re... done?
We’ll contact you.
OK
...
If it makes you feel any less... worried, we’re obligated to rescue your daughters as soon as possible under the “Eagle’s Clutch” directive.
The Red Tape could be much worse.
That does make me feel better, kinda.
I’m Glad to hear that, Mr. Clarke.
Well, I’m sorry for bothering you, Thanks sir.
Don’t call again.

Session Terminated.

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Chapter 4-2

Autumn on Mars

A science fiction novelette by Matthew Crane.

Mika’s Martian Travel Guide Cookbook: Chicken Tikka Masala

Ingredients:

  • 1 Chicken Tikka Ready Meal (for 2)
  • 1 packet of rice
  • 3 beakers of dried pasta
  • 3 beakers of water (3 times the mass of the pasta)
  • 2 soup spoons of cream cheese.

How to cook:

  1. Pick one of your sister’s ready meals. In this case a Chicken Tikka Masala was at the top of the pack
  2. Realise that neither of you have brought rice.
  3. Spend ten to fifteen minutes calmly telling Trip that we cannot just eat cereal for every meal of the day. Remind her about the 6 food groups.
  4. Ignore your sister’s sulking and start cooking.
  5. Pour pasta and water into bowl. Program microwave for 5 minutes and place in microwave.
  6. Turn microwave off and on again. Try to program microwave again.
  7. Listen to Trip and cook Pasta in 5 one minute bursts as it “is the only way that works”.
  8. Cook pasta for 2 and a half more minutes. This sadly means pulling it out of microwave half way through a burst
  9. Stab curry lid with fork and slide it into the microwave next to bowl of pasta.
  10. Start microwave again to cook both parts of the meal at the same time.
  11. Stop microwave again to move around curry and bowl so that it still spins
  12. Microwave for another minute and 30 seconds.
  13. Peel back curry lid and stir. Lick fork clean and remember that this one is yours.
  14. Cook again for one final minute. Take curry out to cool.
  15. Try Pasta. Despite Trip saying that it is “Fine” put it back in microwave for 30 seconds to soften more.
  16. Drain foggy pasta grey water into water recycler.
  17. Scrape sticky pasta from bowl into two plate-bowls. Pour what you are hungry for then put other two thirds onto trip’s plate-bowl.
  18. Dollop a spoon of cream cheese on both as it is closest thing to yoghurt you have.
  19. Enjoy

People’s thoughts on “Chicken Tikka Masala”:

“It’s kind of weird with pasta but it kind of also works because it’s tomatoey”

          -Dorothy Madeline Clarke, Intrepid Reporter

“OK Fine. It was better than cereal. I’m not happy we had to go 5 minutes over break time for that. But I needed that”

          -Phillipa Lewis, Big Sister and Space Explorer.

 

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Chapter 4-1

Autumn on Mars

A science fiction novelette by Matthew Crane.

A Modern Odyssey, Chapter 4: I Don’t Mind The Cold

I actually didn’t hate having to stop. It’s weird, and I’m a weird person, but I like being outside. Just me and the suit. No central heating, no noise, I think the oxygen they put into those things makes you unnaturally happy, and I just love being able to move around.

I should probably talk more about the heat thing. It’s because Hot is Warm, and Safe, and Home. It’s good to be home, but I’d much rather be out in the cold. Because I’m weird.

So during our second break, which was frustratingly half a KM short of this cool looking rock formation, well, I walked over to it and I climbed it. I’d got about half way up it before my radio kicked in.
“Trip?”
That made me jump.
“Ahhhh! Mika?” I landed a bit behind, and I’m pretty sure it was Super Graceful, “Oh… I’m sorry”
“What for?”
“Leaving you and just walking… I’m sorry” I sighed.
“I think that would be a faux pas”
“A what?” (well it’s french, how was I supposed to know?)
“A bad idea. Dad wouldn’t like it. But I just wanted to see what you were doing”.
I looked behind me. She was standing there looking up at me from the ground. I did a hop of shame back down.
“I’m sorry. This should have been our trip, but it’s mine”
She smiled
“Trip’s trip”
“no”
“Mika’s Trip?”
“Yes, but no”
“Mika’s trip with Trip” I could hear her grin.
“I’m going to leave you behind again”
No I wasn’t.

“So what are you doing out here?” she asked.
“Well, I had this idea. When we go and climb those things over there”
“They’re over there”
“Yes. And when we get Over There, we should probably know how to climb better”
“But we climb all the time all around home. I think you just thought these rocks looked cool”
“Hey no! these are the most boringest rocks I have ever seen”
“Really?”
“Really”
“Really?”
“Yes. I’m not going to look at them again, because they’re so boring”
“Hmm… well I don’t think you would mind if I See you at the top. bye!”

The only reason she won was because she tricked me into giving her that head start.
Don’t underestimate Mika. She’s smart. Too Smart.

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