Personal Log: Renee Zucker
The launch was successful! I was completely terrified. But, our ship, Phobos XII, made it into space in as many pieces it’s supposed to have (I hope). Time to go look out the window and throw up a little.
It’s my first mission to the Martian Colonies and I wound up as Inspector Jarret’s personal assistant. Inspector Jarret! I was only supposed to be an intern for school, but the assistant wound up with the flu the week of the launch. There are only two colonies currently. We are supposed to check in on both and make sure safety protocols meet Earth standards. We’re also touring the site where they’re building Gamma Colony.
Day # 37
We’ve been doing a ridiculous amount of paperwork for not being anywhere near the planet. Jarret has been insisting that I, “practice,” my inspection skills by sending me on diagnostic runs throughout the ship. I think he’s actually just bored. I’m pretty sure, “scanner fluid,” is not a real thing. If it is, I have no idea where to check its levels.
Jarret has been drilling me on the layouts of each of the colonies for the past couple of months. We just received an updated blueprint of the changes Alpha Colony made and we’re still waiting to hear back from Beta. I could probably do a faster cross-reference if he’d let me use my tablet. I had no idea regulation books could be so tall! I have a feeling we’re gonna be at this for weeks.
Someone messed with the oxygen and gravity levels on the ship. Now we are 23 bouncing, giggling messes instead of serious scientists and inspectors on a mission. (You’ll just have to fill that in with a stern voice… and maybe a mustache? I think it would sound better with a mustache.) Jarrett can’t say my name right at all now. I now go by, “Reinette von Zuccalimaglios.” I don’t know how that’s any easier to say than my name, but this is my life now. Wee!
It’s been a while since I’ve kept up my log. I swear, I’m better at keeping track of work things! It just gets so repetitive that I feel like there’s nothing new to say. The stars seem so out of reach and home feels even father. Being accepted for this mission felt like an honor at first, but now I’m just homesick and scared. We’ve made it this far with only a few minor hiccups. I even got to help repair a bulkhead outside the ship the other day. That was terrifying! The rest has just been paperwork, mock inspections, and reciting regulations from memory. Those books don’t seem so tall now. It’s like we’re old friends.
It’s landing day at Alpha Colony! Fingers crossed we make it to the ground safely.
Jarret and I have spent the last couple of days inspecting the habitation zone. Nevermind the fact I haven’t acclimated to the gravity or the artificial atmos. Although, I have to admit, it’s a lot less stuffy than the ship. No one told me there were kids here! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, the colonists have been arriving for the past fifteen years. After inspecting a few of their homes, Jarret decided we’d cover more ground if we went separately. The kids were curious and asked a million questions while I toured their homes, “Where are you from?” “What’s Kansas?” “Are there meerkats?” “Do sunflowers really eat you?” “My dad fought a tornado once…What’s a tornado?”
I’ve just overheard the kids call me the, “Prairie Spy.” They keep sneaking around corners and shooting their toy guns at me. I started shooting back. You can tuck and roll a lot easier in this gravity.
Day #303 continued
Inspector Jarret told me to stop playing with the children and do my job. I think I’ll mess with the oxygen levels in his quarters. There have only been minor infractions anyway. Ooh! I finally get to use the comms relay to talk to my parents tonight! I haven’t seen them since we launched!
We’ve concluded the inspection of Alpha and are gearing up the MR3800 (Massive Rover 3800, who names these things?) so we go to Beta Colony. We finally received their blueprints five days ago. I guess we’ll figure out why when we get there.
Wow. It’s a mess out here. The blueprint we received was sent three months ago! Half of their colony was wiped out by a storm shortly after they’d sent us the file. They’re down to eight colonists. Jarret is taking a team to Alpha for emergency supplies and to amend the intra-colony communication procedures. In the meantime, I’m supposed to proceed with my inspection to make sure everything else is at least running acceptably.
I’d really like to know how someone snuck a dog out here. Really. There has got to be at least two because this one is very pregnant.
To hell with the no-pet rule. I’m going to inform Jarret that the dogs have greatly improved morale. We have enough food to spare for the dog and her pups and it has given everyone a distraction from the loss of their friends. They seem to have adapted well enough, I think we would do well to include some kind of menagerie for Gamma Colony.
Still no word from Jarret or Alpha. We had to move into the greenhouse because a storm took out the last of our oxygen tanks. If I survive this, I’ll suggest we redesign the compounds. If we’re capable of building tornado-resistant homes on Earth, we should be able to build them here. This is just ridiculous.
Oxygen levels are low and we are all at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. We’re in our suits now, but we only have limited air. The poor pups were the first to go. We just buried their mom yesterday.