CH. 02 «A Tlogger in Olympus»

Listen to Transmission Audio:

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Lo there, internets! Aren’t these new social media tools the ultimest invention since the micro-fusion reactor? Just when I thought I was alone in the universe, I’m able to connect to all my old classmates so we can keep in touch as we venture out into the worlds. Having a rolling feed of moments and memories from dear friends provided by apps and widgets which I can program to display on any surface at home that has a screen. Everyone’s lives brought within my fingertips.

With our social networks I can get my own thoughts out there amongst the crowd. Just like everyone else on sites like Spacebook I could use simple status updates to describe my most momentary feelings and post images depicting where/what/whom-ever I want to tag. But now that I’m a tlogger I have my very own feed where can express myself limitlessly; embedding within my transmissions any vids, images or links that I want to share with my followers. I can write on and on for pages if I so wish and everything I include in my entry will be condensed down into a tiny parcel your feed aggregators will pick up as soon as I post it. You receive a pretty imagegram of someone’s lunch or a character-limited rant in a Rippler post most times you have a notification. Any updates you get from me could contain a whole world of emotion and information thanks to my new tlog.

What better topic for a tlog than a charismatic Earthling chronicling their life on Mars? I feel like plenty of people could relate to the experience or find interest in learning more about my journey. After all it’s not too unusual a set of circumstances that brought me to the rust covered world; you would have done the same in my situation. You see, I moved to Mars for love.

I came to the 4th planet of Sol the same way everyone else does: by commercial rocket. After an arduous security screening and six nerve-racking-hour flight from the capital of Earth—complete with requisite layover and change of ships on the Moon—I’d arrived on the world of red beaches and palm trees. I knew Southern Amazonia would be a pleasant change the moment I stepped onto the landing pad. Immediately met by some of that nice weather everyone’s always posting about, I admired my surroundings now that I was on Mars.

The blazing sun was a sweltering pink disc in a vast scarlet sky. Endless and cloudless, not a drop of moisture could be detected in the air. The crimson canopy could make one feel miniscule. It seemed to stretch on for an eternity, coming to a stop only for the summit of mighty Olympus Mons. The iconic volcanic mountain rises 26 miles into the heavens and is visible from space…as well as half the territory of Amazonia. It’s the picturesque backdrop of Novus Angelicas, the uncredited character cast in every film shot at the home of the movi industry. Olympus was the only identifiable object in the skyline amongst all the square cement buildings of the urban sprawl surrounding the spaceport.

This is every scene taking place in NA. This is it everywhere you go. There are no other hills or ridges, or other features on the horizon. Just miles and miles of cement shapes with some palm trees and powerlines thrown in. Something like 4,000 sq miles to be more accurate, all laid out in square grids with squat square units seated along every street and squared corner as far as you can scan. With a population of over 10 million fit snuggly inside the county lines of this entirely incorporated supercity it’s more densely populated than a good number of moons. Every single person living here gets to play out their dramas on the very same set; all part of the Novus Angelicas experience.

My first footsteps on Martian pavement felt like a homecoming. This was surely the place I was meant to be all my life, I was more certain with each tread across the tarmac. Slipping into the airlock of the small spaceport’s terminal building I was greeted by a couple hundred curious faces. Loitering around an out-of-date lobby, with far too few retro-styled seats to accommodate modern passenger load, all of the travelers looked up from their comms and tablets for a moment to evaluate me. The expressions of the first Martians I met at Porro Beach Spaceport seemed to say: Who’s that? Do I know them from somewhere? Are they in movis? Look, who is that? Did you get a good look? Don’t look like you’re looking! Equally alarmed and flattered at first, I’d learn its normal behavior in Novus Angelicas; where the celebrities walk amongst us.

An important part of the NA Experience: the chance to watch movistars walking their squogs down the streets or catching musicians nomming at late night diners. It seems like every actor and artist who’s anything in the Solar System makes their residence in Novus Angelicas. It’s a most integral industry town and at its heart lays the heart of entertainment itself: Polywood. Birthplace of modern movis and home to the fabled golden era of cinema, all the greats came to live somewhere in Novus Angelicas. This city’s name is synonymous with stardom and fame. It’s also often mentioned in the same sentence as false hope and trap. NA is a city in the business of dreams, whether they come true or not.

It was my turn to claim my fame and get my face on the 3D screen. The two travel cases I retrieved from the baggage carousel, the clothes on my back and my determination were all I felt like I needed. Along with my good looks, talent at acquiring skills and boarder-line genius intelligence I was certainly a shoe-in for success. I waited impatiently on the curbside in front of the spaceport for my ride. The Martian Dream was out there somewhere and it surely wouldn’t be waiting for me. This city didn’t seem like the waiting type.

It really is a fast-paced metropolis, its residents anxiously rushing about all day and night. At any given time half of them are overhead, zipping across the skylanes in aircars, shuttles and skipper transports. The bright LCD panels from billboards impart quick slogans simple enough for drivers to absorb as they zoom on by. Their images flash and dance and distract and loop over again, repeating for days before being updated or cycled out. They make up a constantly shifting background and at night assist a billion street LEDs in illuminating the city that never sleeps.

During the day you’ll find the other half of the population roaming the dusty surface. A good portion might work meaningless office jobs and remain crushed under the indomitable weight of their cubicles. Many could be stuck in their crawlers and rovers, cursing NA traffic as they sit bumper-to-bumper on one of the massive five-lane freeways. Others tramping along cosmopolitan crosswalks and strutting across star-studded walk-of-fames. And every single one of them with their eyes permanently affixed to a screen somewhere: their computers, workstation terminals or registers; their HUDs or dashboard and headrest telis; their comms, droids or their 3D-projector COGs; their BlueEye devices and even optical-nerve augs. The more portable your screen is the better in a lightspeed metropolis like NA.

Its sights sped past the passenger hatch of Leucosia MyLock’s rover until they became an orange blur. My lovi was giving me a ride from the spaceport, providing a place to crash and helping me get on my feet. My journey to Mars would have never been possible if I hadn’t started dating her. I was so grateful to have met this beautiful blond girl from Southern Amazonia, let alone maintain a long-distance relationship and be loved by her; I knew the stars were on our side. When the opportunity had presented itself I wasted no time in ditching my home on Earth for the high life on Mars. Leucosia wasted no time in ditching the surface streets and merging onto the elevated freeway.

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Downtown Novus Angelicas #mars #na #martian living #thebigcity #finallymadeit

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Beyond scuffed guard rails I could see over the flat rooftops, comm towers and palm trees. The scene shimmered slightly in the afternoon’s red heat, looking just like something I’d seen in a movi. A maroon Olympus Mons loomed over the tall shapes of the skyscrapers downtown. After we’d passed by them, weaving along at a hundred miles an hour, the enormous commercial structures seemed to get swallowed up by the urban sprawl. They disappeared into the horizon as we continued on our course away from the city center. We cruised towards the great mountain’s purple silhouette onwards to Olympus County… Further and further from Novus Angelicas.

You see, Olympus County is not the same as NA County. Not even remotely close. The industry’s nearly nonexistent and the famous don’t hang out down here; it’s just the synthetics. OC is opulent, but the most conservative county in all of SoAm. The teli shows and movis that gave it popularity over the past few years surely made it appear nothing but glamorous and lavish. That’s just movi magic: polishing up a heap of slag to sell you a pretty illusion. But it’s no Novus Angelicas.

They still play along every day pretending it is. Granted, their portrayal of NA might be closer to the movi version than the real one. In OC they believe decadence is a value and nothing is as important as status. Everyone has to look as if they’re living like a movistar: driving the fanciest rides, wearing the trendiest fashions and sporting the newest gadgets. Everyone stays slim on a diet of cigis and coffee. Everyone thinks whatever business they’re up to is the most important kind imaginable and the universe should bend to assist their needs. Everyone struts and cuts around as sharp as they can, vidchatting away on an eyepiece with a smartcomm in one hand and a jumbo-sized latte in the other. The OC is a soulless clone of Novus Angelicas…which might be saying a lot if you’ve found NA was a depraved and desperate being to begin with.

The town of Fender isn’t so bad, though. I ended up moving to one of OC’s oldest settlements, a nice little city with a bit of history. It boomed up when the first maglev rails passed through and used to export more oranges than any other municipality in the whole Union. It became the site of some of SoAm’s earliest oil wells. When gas-powered rovers became available and started showing up on Mars you could find the first corner filling station here. Fender was home to the oldest community college still operating on the planet. It was well established, conveniently located and a seemingly pleasant place to raise a family; a lot like my hometown, Vine. And just as boring. One of the first settlers called it ‘the most desolate and lonesome place in Sol’ which is a description I could agree with.

It turned out to be a bit too remote for me. Before I became a resident of Fender I had no idea how far away I would be from NA. I couldn’t imagine how long it would take to sit through traffic to get to a gig. And without my own set of wheels I couldn’t just bum 4-hour rides to make an audition. Was I seriously going to try to use public transportation to attend my acting classes? My dream of ending up on the screen would have to wait.

I was stuck on the wrong part of Mars. So close, but so far. At least I had Leucosia by my side, she was my starmate. I’d moved to this town so I could be closer to her; I figured I might as well make the most of living in Fender. I enrolled at the community college, found an apartment unit on the desert side of town, took a job at a mediastore in Nuport and got myself a new 3-hatched crawler. After a year I’d officially become a resident of Amazonia, the last thing I needed to acquire in order to feel like I was ready to take on my dream. But that’s when the slag hit the turbine.

If you hadn’t heard already, Leucosia and I broke up back in October. That’s putting it nicely, though. My first real love, the girl I left my homeworld for, my starmate… broke my heart and dumped me on Mars. I was devastated for months, it really shook up my reality. It’s been awkward for me to talk about it publicly because I’d hoped we could just get back together and put it behind us. She’s the only person I know on this planet and she had taken care of me, she wouldn’t abandon me now, right? It’s been so long since there was a chance of anything working romantic reconciliation here. She wrote herself out of the story before it even began.

At least I still had my mediastore gig to keep me occupied and my coworkers to keep me company… for a while anyway. I lost that recently as well. Blame it on workplace depression; Leucosia and I had jobs in the same shopping mall. You try starting every day you’re scheduled by being reminded you used to access the express lanes when you carpooled together. You used to take your breaks together in that food court, and used check out the cute animals at that pet shop after your shifts, and you’ve waited for her to try on clothes in all those stores and you never would have applied for the job or visited Style Isle if it hadn’t been for her.

You walk past all those memories on your way in to your underpaid, overburdened and immeasurably meaningless occupation; where you’re penned into the soon to be obsolete movi/music section and forced to hopelessly pedal media discs that everyone’s just downloading for free nowadays. How long would it take before you lose it and get terminated for misconduct?

I’m better off without the dead-end nine-to-five and the flighty Amazonian bird. I’ve still got everything I need to make my dreams possible; no one can strip me of my passion. And I still have you, all of you linked-up and receiving my feed. I’ve got the most useful tools to connect and communicate in this age of instantaneous information exchange and I’m going to utilize them to report my findings on Mars. If you follow my transmissions you’ll hopefully be imparted with the wisdoms of this harsh world I’ve had learn the hard way.

Sync ya later, folks. Take care until my next transmission, signing off from sunny Olympus County.



Prev Chapter: CH. 01 «Not of This World»

PREV: CH. 01 «Not of This World»

NEXT CHAPTER: CH. 03 «Additive-Free Lungs»

NEXT: CH. 03 «Additive-Free Lungs»


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