Sunday August 9th, 2015

The exercise:

Before we get too far into August we should probably check in on The Colony, yes? Okay.

Did not get much done today, as I was feeling pretty tired for most of it. I did manage to make a small dent in the mountain of comments I need to respond to here on the blog, so I suppose that's something.


Robbie and I stare at each other in a shocked, confused silence. The conversation in Vassily's quarters continues on, as though nothing has changed. But here, in my quarters, everything has changed.

Betrayed. The word is on repeat inside my skull. More than two hundred million kilometers from home and we have been betrayed by members of our own crew. Who seem to be working with others who have arrived on the Red Planet before us, though they seem to have lost contact with each other.

What does that mean? That we have more time to do something? Less? Will the others come here, take our base over by force? Or will Vassily and Melina abandon us in order to locate the Russian base?

I'm not sure Robbie understands what's going on. Not fully, anyway. Maybe it would be for the best if I keep things that way. Maybe I sho-

"Do you think it's just Vassily and Melina?" he asks.

"What?" I'm caught so off guard that I can't even put the question into context.

"Or are other members of our crew in on this as well?" Robbie's face scrunches up, like he's thinking hard. "I guess what I'm asking is... who can we trust?"

The answer that comes immediately to mind is: no one. But that's not really true, is it? We're not completely without hope. Not yet. So I shrug and give him the most honest reply that I can.

"Each other."

"And the computer," he says after a brief pause.


"The, uh... the computer? It seems to be on our side?" He squirms in his seat a little before pointing a finger at the speakers in my quarters, which are continuing to relay the conversation between Commander Vassily and Melina. "I mean, at least it's doing what we ask it to. That's something, right?"

"Robbie," I say as a smile appears on my lips for the first time in what feels like a very long time, "that's a whole lot more than just something."


Greg said...

Well done on the comments! Your efforts are appreciated :)
And it's nice to see our heroes have managed to get some air back into the cabin and aren't going to be asphyxiated to death by Vassily and Melina (well, at least not this way!) though it's less reassuring to realise that they might be the only people in the crew not intent on helping the other people here on Mars. Still, they have the computer on their side, and that's got to be good for something!
I particularly like the feelings that Eliza has going through her mind at the start, and that she realises that Robbie might not quite understand what's going on. I suspect that the computer might have an easier time of communicating once Eliza realises how useful it is!

Eliza's told me to stay here and fidget a lot, which I don't really understand. At least it's easy to do. She asked the computer if it could replay old footage on a loop, which I also didn't really understand, but the computer seemed to know what she wanted it to do because it said yes. And now she's gone off out of the cabin, and I'm just to keep staying in here and playing with stuff.
It sounds like it should be fun, but it got boring really quickly, even after I restyled my hair a couple of times, just to see what it looked best as.
Someone's banging on the door, but it's not opening. I think about opening it, but I'm a bit worried about who might be out there, and I think Eliza would probably be able to get back in.
"Open this door!" It's Patrick, I'd recognise that yell anyway. He sounds unhappy.
"Why?" I ask. Eliza didn't say anything about not talking to people, and while talking to Vassily and Melina might be silly, this is only Patrick.
"Because I said so!" His voice drops to a whisper that I'm not supposed to be able to hear, but the computer clearly thinks I should as it amplifies the sound. "Why's Eliza letting him do the talking?"
"Maybe she's unconcious already. He should be too, we turned the oxygen down to 8%. But he's feeble-minded, he's probably only needs 8% at the best of times."
That's Meanie talking, being as mean as ever. I am not feeble-minded, even if I don't know what the percentages are about.
"I can't," I say. "Eliza's blocking the door.
"Tell her to move." says Patrick. His voice starts loud, but then gets normal again as the computer compensates.
"I can't, she's asleep."
More whispering: "See, I told you. He's just too dumb to know when to lie down and die. Let's just force the door and kill him; no-one will miss him anyway."
"No, we want both alive. We can ransom them then, and while they'll probably pay to get Eliza back, we might have to kill him to express the seriousness of our threats."
"Hah, they'll more likely pay us to kill him for them!"
"Computer, show me visuals for the inside of this room." There's a pause then, and when Patrick whispers again he sounds angry. "Stupid thing keeps breaking just when we need it. How hard is it to show a video feed?" He raises his voice.
"Robbie, pull Eliza away from the door and let us in. We need to help her."
I'm feeling a bit annoyed about all the mean things Meanie's been saying, so I decide it's time to have some fun of my own.
"I can't," I said. "She's too heavy. I mean, it's not like she's as fat as Melina, and she's got much better skin, but she's still too heavy."
The hiss of suppressed rage from Melina sounds like I'd have been able to hear it without the computer's augmentation.

morganna said...

Suddenly I can't hear Patrick and Meanie. Then there are two soft thumps, like the noise Vassily's nephew made hitting the floor when he broke his arm.

The computer display changes. It says ROBBIE PUT ON A BREATHING MASK.

So I get one out of the emergency chamber (it makes a loud noise that hurts my ears) and put it on. Then the computer says OPEN THE DOOR AND COME OUT.

So I do and there are Patrick and Meanie lying on the floor, asleep.

Marc said...

Greg - glad to hear it. Still feel terrible that I've let things slide so badly. Doing my best to get caught up again though.

Ah, dear me, I seem to be enjoying Robbie's character more and more with each passing month. You've done wonders with him. Those final few lines are delightful :)

Morganna - the tables, it would seem, have turned on Patrick and Melina. I am rather terribly pleased by this.

Now... what next? September has arrived, so I guess it's time for me to figure that out. Only four more installments remain...