Saturday, March 1, 2014

Coffeehouse on Mars part 6

The teens descend cold rusty stone stairs toward the airlock. They can see the Martian sky reflected in the glass window just before the door slides open. Once everyone is inside, the door closes, the light, temperature and oxygen are adjusted. Now they see a reflection in the city facing window, a truant officer.

\\ The city facing airlock door slides open. Six teenagers step out with the surface suit helmets still on.

You already know what this is, remove your helmets so I can scan your faces.

\\ A blue vertical line slides across every scared young face the officer grimaces at. His smart glasses pulls data on each child.

Ok, you kids know that going to the surface without an adult is forbidden. All of you are well under eighteen. And you, December Jones, you were due to report to the mechanical shop a full two hours ago. What's your excuse this time? All your vitals are healthy.

"I just don't want to go. I don't like it there. I wanna hangout with my friends."

\\ The other five teenagers braced themselves for a confrontation. This truant officer isn't known for for his patience.

December, you're an idiot and I'll tell your parent so when I take you home. And you kids are idiots for hanging around him. You guys have no clue what's going on do you? You think I wanna be out here chasing kids? Huh?!

You know what us truint officers used to do when we first migrated to this planet? We used to hunt for creatures that might harm humans. We were the first and only security force established here. We never found anything other than frozen microbes. Thats right, there weren't always truant officers. It was only in the last thirty years that society realized that it was our wayward children that are the biggest threat to life on Mars. You lot are killing our culture.

You eat the food, drink the water, you breathe the air, but don't want to contribute anything to the effort make them. You do realized Mars has none of these things - Right?! We had to create all of it from scratch. We can't afford to have a generation of consumers that don't produce what they consume. This is NOT Earth, we don't have the resources, we can't afford it!

\\ The teens whince at this last rant, fear in their faces. The officer sees this and stops himself. May have let some misplaced anger out on these kids. Touches one of the boys shoulder reassuringly

You five, get back to your homes. If I see you loitering again, you'll do a month in the sanitation plant. December, you come with me.

Electra Relay Radio on MAVEN Mission to Mars. NASA's Mars-bound MAVEN spacecraft (for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) carries this relay radio transmitter and receiver to be used for UHF (ultra-high frequency) communication with robots on the surface of Mars. It is MAVEN's Electra UHF Transceiver, which passed an in-flight checkout on the spacecraft on Feb. 19, 2014. - Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech