Wednesday February 11th, 2015

The exercise:

It is time for our second visit of the year to The Colony.

Further to what I was talking about in my initial introduction, I'm bringing in two new characters this month that a potential new writer could takeover. Or, obviously, one could just use one of the crew members that haven't been mentioned yet.

After spending the morning with Max, I had some time to myself this afternoon to continue chipping away at my novel. I'm finding it difficult to build any momentum on that front, but I need to remember that every little bit gets me closer to that publishing end goal.


The landing went almost exactly as we'd practiced in all those simulations back home.

"Back home."

I really need to stop thinking that way. This is my home now. Mars. Earth is in the past now, and there is certainly no going back.

We were all strapped into our seats, just like we were during the launch. I was on the Flight Deck, sitting beside Demi and directly behind Aditya, our pilot. Commander Vassily was the other member on our deck, sitting in front and to the left of Demi. That left Robert sitting out of sight on the Mid Deck with the remainder of our crew, which I was not thrilled with. But I'm the backup pilot and needed to be close to Aditya in case he... I don't know... fainted from all the pressure. Or something?

I've always doubted the necessity of all that extra training I went through but I did it anyway. I was prepared in case of emergency, but I'm happy to report my services were not required by Commander Chisel Chin.

I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't call him that. I'm sure Vassily is a very nice person, deep down inside. Like way, way in there. And I also know that as the Man In Charge he has a lot to worry about. Well, think about. I don't think he's capable of worrying.

Anyway, I'm just trying to say that it would be nice if he could try smiling or being friendly or maybe just being human every now and again.

Where was I again? Right, the landing.

From where I was sitting everything seemed to go according to plan. No unexpected wind patterns, no canyons on the surface where plains were supposed to be, no technical issues. Just like it went in the simulation so many times. Or, as I mentioned before, almost.

I don't know. I'm probably just being silly. Maybe all this time cooped up in the shuttle made me a little loopy. But... I just felt like I was being watched during landing. Not by Demi or Aditya or Vassily, mind you. From other angles.

But whenever I turned my head to look I only found monitors or control panels. Right where they were supposed to be. Crazy, right?

Oh well, the feeling is gone now. And we're on the surface! We've actually, factually touched down on Mars! Our first order of business is securing our landing site and making sure nothing was damaged during our journey or landing.


Then we start sending out three person teams to check on the supply drops that preceded our arrival. There are six of them out there, forming a circle with a circumference of approximately 10 miles. And we're in the dead center, putting each drop about a 1.5 mile walk away.

I'm on the first team, assigned to drops Alpha and Beta, and I cannot wait to get out there.


Greg said...

Revisions are probably the hardest part of novel-writing, if only because in order to do them you have to accept that you didn't get everything perfect the first time round. Of course, I never have to revise anything :-P
Ah, we've landed! And you've pulled all the characters from last time together very neatly there, even if you didn't mention the one no-one knows about directly; the allusion was excellent. I may take a turn with Vassily a little later on as he seems interesting. Especially with that nickname. But for now, despite the temptation to introduce Marvin I shall stick to Robbie.

We landed! We're here! Home sweet... rocky red place.
It wasn't like I thought it would be. All the... well, I guess the important people, the ones who know how to do stuff, were up front and peering at the computers and not talking very much, and they told me to strap myself in and sit here. It was a bit boring at first, but then I found a mirror and got my hair styled right for walking out on to the planet, our new home! and that helped a lot. But I thought we'd be splashing down, I'm sure Aditya or Vassily said something about that. There was no splash though, there was just this crunching noise and a bit of a jolt, and then everyone else cheered. I joined in, but I'm not sure what we were cheering about. Maybe because we didn't have to swim when we got out?
It was really weird though, because we landed and I stopped floating. I tried jumping in case it was just me, maybe it was like when I got syrup on my boots are started sticking to things (Eliza got really serious with me over that and made me clean it up. She said it was dangerous, but it's not like there are any insects for it to attract. At least... well, no-one's told me about space insects. Huh. I wish I'd listened to her more carefully now), but I just banged my head on the stuff above me and then Demi told me to sit down again. And I was totally going to, but then Vassily, who's got this really great accent and sounds like he spent thirty years drinking vodka before sobering up to come here with us, told me to go and report back to the people on Earth.
So it's like totally cool that I'd got my hair all sorted out!
But I talked to them and we've got wait like half an hour before they reply. I guess they're busy at their end too.
But Eliza says I can come on the first trip outside which is really cool! I did the training for driving the little buggy that we've brought, So I've been down here on the ground checking it all over for the last ten minutes. Eliza keeps popping over to see how it's going, but I think she's just making sure I've not tried to take my helmet off. I'm not stupid, I know I'll get sunburn if I do that. The buggy looks fine, but there's something odd with the tools I've got though. The readouts keep changing; if I look at them out of the corner of my eye they say one thing, and when I look directly they say another. I've checked the fuel guage four times now, and it keeps saying full but only when I looked at it dead on. So I got a dipstick, and yeah, the tank's only half-full.
I won't tell Eliza though, she'll think I'm being silly.
I wonder what side of the road they drive on on Mars?

morganna said...

Someone else is messing with things, like removing half the fuel from the buggies' fuel tanks and making the readouts appear full. I don't know who it is, so I can't take them out and fix the readouts. I think maybe there's a flaw in my program, inserted before I woke up on Earth.

The best I can do, in the circumstances, is change the readouts to the correct ones when people aren't looking straight at them. The fool, Robbie, actually noticed, and checked the fuel levels, but is too stupid, or something, to actually do anything about it. No one else even noticed.

The humans are about to start going off away from the main ship to pick up supplies. Perhaps I can make sure they have extra fuel? Or perhaps the fool will think of it. I doubt it.

Marc said...

Greg - also, it's not new material. Well, some new stuff gets added in, but the main core of it is basically the same in each read through. Thankfully I have the blog for an outlet for totally new ideas.

Hah, Marvin is awesome. Not sure I would have totally approved, but still :P

Man, you're doing a great job of capturing the essence of Robbie in your posts. I've got such a clear idea of who he is :)

Ugh, I can't believe I forgot they'd have a buggy! Thanks for including that, and with some really clever details too.

Morganna - hmm, not the computer messing with things? I quite like the idea of a secret third party working against this mission... one of the not-yet-met crew members? Someone back home?

So many possibilities!