CH. 65 «Words on Parting Mars»

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Lo there! For those of you just tuning into this netlog, my name is Klay Lane and I’m a homeless, unemployed twenty-three year-old Earthling.

I’m currently stuck on Mars and trying as desperately as I can to get off this red, desert world with the few material items which I still possess. I don’t care if I go back to Earth, or stop short when I visit Luna, or if I end up on some other planet. Even if it’s not the bet season to visit Venus and Jupiter’s moons will be packed with other tourists. I’d make do on any planet. Just as long as it’s not here; I’ll go anywhere but Mars.

Now, cool your jets, it doesn’t mean I necessarily hate it here. I realize that’s a problem with this correspondence that I keep. For almost three years I’ve noticed myself express a great deal of emotion about Mars both positively and negatively. I don’t know what portion of my transmissions have actually made it across the Solar System to your feeds, so I can’t be sure what opinion of mars you think I hold. You could have read my exalted appraisal or my doomed depiction depending on what you received. It’s been a long love-hate relationships after all.

There are so many pros and cons to the whole living on Mars thing. Dozens of great reasons to compel one to remain, and many more even better arguments against living here which really should be addressed before anyone begins thinking it’s a good idea to buy a rocket ticket. But I have to present it fairly; though it may be ridiculously expensive to actually maintain a residence, hard to find steady employment, and even more difficult to fit in with the crowd unless you have something undeniably useful to offer them, there are still upsides to being an Amazonian.

You get to behold the nightly spectacle of the sunset and buoy along its beautiful beaches. The women of your world are unique and on an entirely different level; why else would they remain so praised in song and movi if they weren’t one of the prime attractions? You’re afforded the convenience to acquire whatever dinner, drink or drug you could want vended to you any hour imaginable. Instant gratification is a right on Mars.

It isn’t all succulent life, sandy shores and sunshine around here, though. It wasn’t very long ago that Mars was still universally deemed uninhabitable, and it’s important to remember how fragile the mechanisms are that allow us to live comfortably now, no matter how safe and controlled the new settlements of man seem. The vastly unbridled and unforgiving world still calls the shots and one has to take into account the real hazards afoot in the wasteland.

The blistering heat and mostly moistureless air are unrelenting to anyone exposed to them for too long; one needs air conditioning and a constant supply of refrigerated plastic water bottles to keep from drying up when they’re not in direct view of that evil, pinkish eye. The sun’s rays beat down uninhibited upon the surface for hours on end. There probably aren’t many trees or hills to offer shade to you. You’d fry unless you’re indoors or safe under the cover of tinted UV screens.

And watch out! Wildfires, dust storms, waterspouts, rogue asteroids, very large lizards and regularly occurring Marsquakes are some of the more natural risks of this planet; the more manmade perils being smog inhalation, Martian drivers and falling space junk from any ships departing and entering the atmosphere, or the risk of any one of the many machines flying at any given moment suddenly losing its lift and plummeting downwards at anything more populated than patch of dry scrub.

Residents of Mars need to invest in as many products to protect them and their families from the elements as anyone living on any of Sol’s other less hospitable worlds. It hardly seems like a paradise at all when you have to keep climate controlling machines maintaining conditions inside your sealed home through the nicest seasons of the year. Or when you need to apply liberal amounts of sunscreen to any exposed skin just to drive to the convenience store or get some fast food, or need sunshades to see during most days of the year, or need to check the weather for UV and air quality advisories before stepping outside.

This isn’t a place filled exclusively with natural dangers; we have to take precautions here like shredding important documents to prevent identity theft from the trash diggers, or taking out extensive, mandatory insurance policies on all our precious belongings and vehicles in case of accident, or bringing a communicator or some other digital assistant with us everywhere we go to tell us how to get there, or in case we disappear. It’s more than I’d care to have to deal with on a daily basis, but these are just facets of life in this territory.

It’s not like I particularly despise this desolate excuse for a colonized world, I’ve just had it with Amazonia and its lies. They should be ashamed for the terrible trick they’ve played on us all, convincing the whole solar system they’ve tamed the wild beast into a bountiful, pleasant paradise, and that anyone can experience and share in the majesty of it. No one mentions the price, or any of the other fine print that goes along with partaking in the benefits of becoming a local. My problem isn’t with Mars, but with whoever propagated the idea to profit off the place.

To be fair I haven’t heard great things about the southern hemisphere either. Our neighboring nation of Martia is renowned to be replete with a terrible economy, weak healthcare, nearly non-existing public infrastructure, incredibly corrupt law enforcement departments and a scandal-ridden government. Its territories aren’t portrayed as a safe place for tourists and locals alike. Most people don’t envision good things when you mention going south of the border.

Doesn’t mean I don’t still want to visit Martia. Half the greatest wonders of Mars lay in their rocky territories; the gorgeous tropical biome around the Hellas Sea with the historically lush jungles of the Isidis Penninsula and most of the endless chasms of Valles Marineris, to name a couple. And what world traveler’s photoset doesn’t include a few selfies from the top of an ancient Martian pyramid? I won’t get a chance to add any to mine before I move. Maybe I never will.

There are so many planets I’d dreamt about visiting for ages and moons I just knew I’d have to inhabit in order to gain some important life perspective. The Solar System is so grand and rich with experience. If I really had the means to travel to any world why would I ever come back to Mars? I might not ever want to. The only thing that’s going to bring my back to this crazy crimson place is a great-paying job or the availability of a career that will enable me to travel the worlds. If I come back my intentions is still to get as far away as I can. But does that have to mean I hate it?

I think I love it too much, actually. I love it so much that I know if I don’t try to do something responsible with my life in order to deserve the indulgences found daily on the planet of plenty it will ruin me forever. It could possibly stop me from living the life I eventually want to if I don’t employ some prudence now. And if I don’t earn a keep and prove my self-worth in a place without as much temptation and self-rewarding I’ll never be disciplined enough. More importantly: if I take advantage of all paradise has to offer without having the monetary force, or investments to secure my future, I won’t have the possibility of that future to look forward to.

Simply: if I hang around Mars wasting all my credits on good times, I won’t be able to retire to it or them at the end of my life. I have to exhibit some self-restraint. I can’t have my pre-fabricated post-meal treat square and eat it too.

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PREV: CH. 64 «Really Going to Miss this Place»

PREV: CH. 64 «Really Going to Miss this Place»

NEXT: CH. 66 «But Where To?»

NEXT: CH. 66 «But Where To?»


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