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Chapter Three – Making Plans…

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Marigold needs a haircut. Everyone here needs a haircut, thinks José.

“Don’t get too excited José” we hear from Marigold. “Every atom of organic material we generate goes into the bio-recyclers. Your haircut is next month’s lunch.”

“Augh! In this place the snake is actually eating it’s own tail!”

Beth breaks in. “Yeah well let’s focus here men. Focus, focus. What do we know from our time on the Trek Deck?”

José leans over the bar and scratches his head. “They are nuts but say they can get a signal as far as Phobos Base.” He rubs his chin in contemplation. “They also say if we can get someone to Phobos they believe that maybe Bradbury Base can connect with Earth.” He stares into his tiki mug, which looks like it started its life as a tin can of beans. “But, how do we get to Phobos and if we do, then what?”

“Bear up, little monkey. Remember you’re hanging with engineering section. We haven’t used them recently but we do have hoppers that can reach Phobos.”

The Tiki bar isn’t large, there’s a man wearing a helmet two seats down. He’s drinking through a straw. “I know what you do when you hit Phobos.”

Under his breath José asks, “Who is that?”

“He likes to be called ‘Master Chief’.”

¡Hostia! Like the Halo games?”

“Yep. We all break in our own ways.”

José turns towards Mr. Helmet Guy. “Ok, so we get to Phobos, reconnect with Earth. Then what?”

Master Chief carefully maneuvers the straw through his faceplate. “Isn’t it obvious? Place an order with Amazon Prime.”

¡Puta madre! Fuck your mother! Fuck both of your mothers.” José grinds his teeth. “A big enough order and Awis will send another ship. One we can open. One that has chorizo.”

Beth adds, “…and if we get a ship here…”

“… by default Amazon shipping accepts returns. We can get people back to Earth.”

Master Chief: “Are you sure?”

José: “Well, no, but Awis is a computer programmed to follow certain directives. Shipping and returns are just sub-routines it follows. Awis maximizes shareholder value. Huh. Wave money in it’s face and it will ship anywhere…” José is staring into the middle distance.

Master Chief: “So you connect with Amazon Prime…”

José: “…and we place a really, really big order…”

Beth: “…and how do we do that?”

José: “Not on my peanuts account, that’s for sure. Is there a Base account or someone with a high credit limit?”

Beth and Master Chief look at each other.

Beth: “We know someone with a high credit limit.”

On Their Way

Rolling across the Martian plain José just has to ask, “I feel like you are keeping things from me.”

Beth: “Yeah, for your own goddamn sanity. How could I have possibly prepared you for meeting with The Spock?”

“You got me there. So. More Trekkies?”

“No. We are heading into the Heart of Darkness (audio version). You’ve seen the movie Apocalypse Now?”

“Mmmm I think I saw some of it.”

“Huh. We are off to meet with Colonel Kurtz – Elron Muskatel. On Earth he was a billionaire tech bro. Vowed to live and die on Mars so here he is. He’s got the credit card. And he’s also got the Last Steak.”

“What?”
“Tired of cricket bars? He’s got the very last steak on Mars.”

Synapses are firing in José’s brain. “What? A hunk of cow?”

“He’s got the last one – the last hunk of real meat. You’ve only been here two weeks. What’s it like after you’ve been here two years?”

José stares out the dusty ports at the endless dead plains of Mars, grinding his teeth. “I’m ready for a steak.”

“Welcome to the club.”

Continue to Chapter Four