CH. 14 «Still Stuck on Mars»

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Sitting stifled, watching the ships get to depart. Surface Skimmers, shuttles and starliners take their turns arriving and embarking. And I’m stuck here on Mars still.

I usually make the mistake of partying the night before I take a trip. So of course today I woke up late, hungover and burnt out from another last hurrah. It took more than a nano to realize my alarm was sounding, and that’s what the shrill noise filling the room was. Frantically I threw last night’s clothes back on, and began that last minute dash to make sure everything everything I needed was stuffed in my carry-on. At first I snuck around the bodies lining the floor downstairs, careful not to disturb them before I left. I don’t know what I was thinking, this tip-toeing went on for a good 15 minutes before I remembered they were giving me my ride. So with an hour left before my ship would board I woke everyone up and tried to share with them as much of my panic as possible.

It only took 20 minutes to travel about half the way to Novus Angelicas. Gerund’s lifetime of experience living on Mars gave us the edge to slice through the ground traffic in his sister’s open topped rover. I’d left my sunglasses in the carry-on stuffed it in the tiny boot, so I had the pleasure of my hair cutting at my eyes the whole ride. I was slightly distracted by my decreasing deadline.

Just inside the NA county limits lies a small space port at Porro Beach. I feel attached to it, since it was the first plot of Martian soil I ever set foot on, and it’s the closest port that extends service to my favorite spaceline, Rocket Red. After a negative stigma was affixed to space travel at the end of ‘01 the aeronautics industry took a hit. In its downfall many companies completely went under, opening a niche for start up corporations to get a hold. All the new liners are flashy and bright, years more advanced and aesthetic than the aging fleet of clunky starcraft holding our planets together.

An Oedipus-class ignites it’s reactors and errupts into the atmosphere just as I grudgingly sip my coffee. I’m sitting in a smoking area outside of baggage claim right now, cursing myself for wearing black on a day like this. An unexpected meteor shower passing Luna is the focus of my frustration right now. I was supposed to stop over on my old moon for an hour before catching a connecting shuttle down from Earth orbit. The weather has all departing craft grounded on her surface for the next few days. I didn’t even know that meteor showers could impede space flight.

I was placed on standby for the last flight leaving Mars tonight: A non-stop Perseus straight to Goddard, the spaceport just outside of the capital. I won’t actually leave until about the same time I was supposed to arrive there. With another seven hours to go, I watch another space ship blast off and light myself another cigi.

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I like flying with Rocket Red because it’s new and flashy. You get your very own touch screen in front of you and a pop out controller in your armrest. You can order from the menu and request assistance, play games and watch movies, even chat with folks in other seats…because you’re not stuck traveling on the same rocket with them for the next 6 hours and you can’t just get up and have a conversation with them.

Rocket Red makes magic out of the spaceframes they bought up for their fleet. I’ve traveled within much larger vessels though, the Perseus are a series of mid-size economy liners. Most commonly used for interplanetary commuting, travel to an adjacent planet system. They were designed with the highest passenger yield for minumum size and fuel consumption, and she boasts a capacity almost twice as large as her sister, the Danae-class, a luxury liner of the same length commonly launched by more bougie companies.

The rocket flights with a higher fares would probably book out of a spaceport a little nicer than Porro Beach. There’s hardly enough seating for all the people it sees daily and it’s the only spaceport I’ve been to where you embark your ship directly from the tarmac. No mechanized aerobridge ramp to meet the main hatch from the elevated comfort of the terminal building…just a collapsing stairway to climb to the airlock.

Not looking forward to breathing in all the rocket exhaust, but it will beat sitting in this fragged place.

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I’m finally getting off this wretched rock. The Perseus-class ship I’m boarding is a brand new, top-of-the-line star cruiser. Trimmed to match the rest of the Rocket Red fleet. I love spaceships, but as much as I wanted to stand admiring the vessel from the jetway, I had to push along to my assigned seat with everyone else.

After our slow moving milling of a line made its winding procession among the seats up the whole spacecraft, I found my lot by a window. Putting my carry-on in the overhead compartment, I flopped exhausted in my seat and breathed a long needed sigh of relief. Finally my journey home begins without any further ado, I remember glancing out the window at another ship beginning ignition sequence as my heavy eyes sealed.

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PREV: CH.13 «Visiting Earth»

PREV: CH.13 «Visiting Earth»

NEXT: CH. 15 «Here on Mars»

NEXT: CH. 15 «Here on Mars»


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