This is a special guest post because it’s the first time I’m hosting a short story by a fellow author, LT Wulf, on my blog. This is also the first post of a series written by the members of the Mars Science Fiction group on Facebook, a group dedicated to science fiction set on Mars or about the Red Planet. Enjoy!
--- Warning: Simplified spelling ahed! ---
Gary found Lucinda in the bubble room staring out at Mars. The bubble room was atop the Environmental Control and Life Support System module. The ECLSS was the tallest module on the ship which itself was rooted on the Nautilus-X design that NASA never got off the drawing board. As such, it afforded the best overall sight of the ship. It was also the backup bridg should sumthing happen to the main bridg.
“I knew I’d find you here.”
She kept staring at the red world hanging in the welkin, “Isn’t it awsum? I can hardly believ that we made it.”
Gary grinnd at the sheer joy on her face as she gaz'd thru the bubble. Her face was a pretty, soft nebb to gaze upon. Lucinda, like the two other wimmen in the crew, had cut her silky black hair short before they had left Earth itself. The short hair only highlighted the high cheekbones, dark eyen, and broad smile. The sleevless skinsuit highlighted the curves of her body.
“They gave high odds that we wouldn’t.”
She at last broke her gaze to look at him, “I gess you’re a rich man now. How much did you bet?”
“Pretty much my whole 401k.”
Her eyes widen a bit, “Your whole 401k? You bet your whole retirement on this?”
“Well, I reckond that we’d either make it or we wouldn’t. In the latter befall, we’d likely be dead and the gelt wouldn’t matter anyway.”
“We might hav aborted and gone back.”
“I know this crew. We would hav only aborted if it were life threatening … and I mean truly life threatening. We weren’t going back for a glitch.”
She simper'd, “So how much did you win?”
“I won’t hav to work when we get back, that’s for sure.” He grinnd, “What? Now that I’m rich, you’re going to take a liking to me?”
“Your books hav sold well so it’s not like you had to worry about that anyway. The money won’t do you any good here. Besides, unlike someone else in this bubble, I’v committed to staying at least until the next team gets here. I might not go back even then.”
Unlike the living ring of the ship, which had weight made by the centrifugal force of the spin, the rest of the ship was weightless. In the zero-g he drifted nearer to her. In a low steven he said, “So giv me a reason to stay.”
He was near enuff to smell her fairness. He could almost feel the tuch of her lips on his. Then he found himself drifting away as she shuvd him with a finger.
“Dog! We all know that you hav a crush on Fawn.”
Fawn was the life science specialist and crew medic. She stood 5'8" (173 cm) with green eyen. Gary had been drawn to her from the first. She had flirted with him but seemd bent on keeping him at arm’s length.
“Fawn has a boyfrend back dirtside on Earth.”
“And you hav your own harem of wimmen dirtside on Earth. I hav no intention of being another notch on your belt.”
“Maybe I haven’t met the right woman yet.” He challeng'd her, “You don’t think you’re up to it? I think you’re selling yourself short. No pun meant.” Lucinda wasn’t short at 5'6" (168 cm) but she was the shortest of the crew.
“Gawd! What a player you are. What about Birgit? Wasn’t she the right woman? I think you said that yourself.”
“Ouch!” The bad thing about being on the first Mars crew, the whole world knew your life … good and bad. “She likely was. She was a good woman but I was yung and dumb. She’s has another life now … without me.”
She star'd sternly at him, “I’m a good woman too. I wouldn’t want to go thru what she did. Besides, Fawn could hav you anytime she wanted and where would that leav me?”
“Do you truly think so little of me?”
She lafft, “Do you think we wimmen don’t talk amongst ourselves. I know she told you that and what you answer'd.” Before he could answer she went on, “Likely the only reason you haven’t hit on Suzanne is owing to she is Doug’s girlfrend and he’s your frend. Maybe there are sum lines you won’t cross.”
Suzanne was the third woman on the crew of six. She was the tallest of the wimmen, a sumwhat lanky 5'11" (180 cm) blonde. She had a little bit of the naughty librarian look going for her. Lucinda held his eyes. Hers were sparkling. She was having fun with him and he knew it.
“Well thanks for the scrap of goodness in my character. Do I hav any mor redeeming qualities that might break thru your stubbornness?”
She had come nearer him. She put her hand lightly on his chest, “There are a lot of things I like about you. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not wary of your smooth words. After all, you’re a writer. You’re good with words. That’s what got you on this errand. You’re our chronicler.”
He started to say sumthing when she put her finger on her lips and said, “We need to focus on this errand we’re on. I know the oddsmaker put the highest odds on us just getting here … maybe they were right. We did cobbl together a lot of not-well-tested skillcraft that made all the government space agencies of the world blanch. But we both know that the truly hard part is only beginning. You’ll hav mor than enuff time to woo me. Hav you checkt on the lifter for the site?”
The “lifter” was the LFTR, the liquid flouride thorium reactor. It was a molten salt reactor like that one that was powering their ship. Not only was it to afford them power while on Mars, it had servd as a backup for the ship’s drive. The LFTR module had been made in such a way that there was piping to the ships drive. If it had been needed, a bunch of switches would hav to hav been thrown but it would hav power'd the ship.
She still had her finger on his lips. He softly took her finger away and kisst it, “We running off it now as per the plan. When we’re reddy. I’ll shut it down, secure it, and fly the module down. All per the plan which you well know.”
“The first man on Mars.”
“I’ll giv it my best shot to make wis that I’m the first live man on Mars and set up the homing beacon for Doug to remotely fly the other modules down … and then the rest of y'all in the crew lander.”
“I know. I know. I’m angsty. We’re so near.” She sqweezd his hand, “I’ll be on pins and needls until you giv us the okeh.”
He lightly sqweezd back, “Careful. I’ll begin to think that you’ll be worry'd about me.”
She slowly pull'd her hand away and smirkt, “I worry about all my crewmates … and about that reactor. If you bang it up, we hav no power. No power means we abort and go back.”
The communicaters that each wore chirpt with a broadcast tone, “Lu? Gary? Wherever you two are, supper is reddy.”
Gary tucht his mic, “Roger, Doug. We’re on the way.”
LT WULF has a broad scope of experience. He was in the US Army and held three MOS's (Military Occupational Specialty)—Military Intelligence, Armor, Engineer. He was lawman, a business owner, and workt for a transportation corporation.
He has a pilot’s license (SEL certificate); is a certified diver (NAUI); has skydiv'd and was qualified as a paratrooper in the Army (Airborne!).
Bachelor’s in Finance; minor in Economics
Masters of Aeronautical Sciences
He is a strong backer of spelling reform for English.LT has written a novel, The World King, which may be found on Lulu.com and Apple's iTunes. He blogs on the “fettle” of the English tung at http://anwulf.blogspot.com/.