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Chapter Twenty Four – The Truffle Shuffle

Illustration of Mars.

Back to Chapter Twenty Three

After barking orders at crew members and leaving them to it, Chief Engineer Pence and The Spock stride to the dining area for a snack. “What do you make of that, Spock?”

She cants her head in the classic, thinking about it posture. “One cannot help but wonder what we’re not being told.”

“Hab Seven. A place where research is being done that is too dangerous to be done on Earth, near orbit, or on Luna. What does that tell you?”

Short and sweet. “Bioweapons. Or a more benign view would be bio-technology in general. Something that the powers-that-be didn’t want any chance of introducing to the biosphere.”

“My thinking exactly. They aren’t here for an egg salad recipe.” Pence stops and jabs a finger at The Spock. “What the fuck does a robot AI want to do with a bioweapon? What kind of shit-show are we signing ourselves up for to play along with this?”

“A very good question, Preston. I’m afraid I do not currently have enough data on the subject to draw any conclusions. Perhaps we are best off to play along for now.”

The pair continue walking. “I see the wisdom in that. Wait ‘n’ see as it were. I’m here to make history for the human race, not to make history by wiping out the human race. Let’s see if there’s been any recent communication with Earth.”

Pence throws a glance at The Spock. “Heavy is the head that wears ‘The Ears’.”

Pence pulls out a tablet and taps a few icons.

“The Space Marines were sent to assist with the transport of important scientific equipment and supplies, as well as to ensure the safety and well-being of the colonists on Mars. Our mission is to help in any way we can and to establish a stronger connection between Earth and Mars.”

“Well that tells us exactly nothing other than AWIS isn’t going to tell us why they’re really here and what they’re looking for.”

“Puzzling evidence, indeed. Sounds like we’re stuck playing along with it for now. If it comes down to it, would you prefer to play ‘Good Cop’ or ‘Bad Cop’?”

“I prefer to play ‘Dumb Cop’ and let the perps man-splain themselves into a ditch.”

Pence gives her a knowing wink, “Roger that, Houston. Here we are…” Pence opens the door to the dining area. “I can’t wait until we get some Real Food.”

“Indeed. Space travel is not possible without Chorizo.”

Onward to Chapter Twenty Five