I saw the film first, so I’ll be looking forward to recognizing any similarities, and whether I agree with the back-of-book reviews comparing this to Robinson Crusoe (hopefully not) or Mysterious Island.
Log Entry: Sol 6 – Mark has lost hope, after almost a week into a couple months start of what should’ve been a wonderful trip, having turned south. He supposes who would even get his journal, perhaps a century into the future someone would get the chance to read it. Mark then declares, despite what the crew had believed, he hadn’t died on Sol 6, he going back to describe the Ares Program, the first crew having completed their mission successfully and returning as courageous celebrities. Same for Ares 2, and Ares 3 was the assignment Mark had been a part of, he the lowest ranked. He considers whether anyone would discover his log before the crew died of octeganarianism and doesn’t hold a grudge against them. He goes into details of how missions to Mars are done, the crew arriving by a ship called Hermes, and when they were on the ship, care packages being sent to them by auto-piloted mini-ships, they arriving at Mars in time, Hermes only getting slight speed, a nuclear reactor helping them get there, so they reach Mars after a little over four months, then taking a specialized vehicle to go to the surface, the crew’s belongings already waiting for them. Fourteen auto-piloted ships deliver all items required for their task, then sends the crew when it’s confirmed all had arrived safely, this taking nearly three years.
When the second crew had been on their way back, supplies for the third crew had already been sent out, he then going on about how awesome the MAV (Mars ascent vehicle) was, and how let down he was when it wasn’t there when he’d woken. Mark states how his almost being killed and his subsequent survival had occurred through absurd circumstances. The mission is made to withstand sandstorms up to a 150 kph degree, but they’d gotten hit with 175 wind speed. After they’d taken shelter for an hour with no decreased change, they receive word from NASA to pack it in, everyone having to leave for the MAV before the wind destroyed it, Mark getting stabbed in the side when an antenna array came loose and hit him, one of his crew-mates reaching for him helplessly (this part, sensibly was, of course in the film). He survives because he’d landed face down, and his blood had helped seal the hole in his suit, and then being awoken by the incessant beeping of the oxygen alarm in his suit being tripped. He explains how his suit had used the CO2 to equalize his breathable air, but when it ran out, the suit switched to using oxygen, he now risking death of breathing too much (having to love the unusual possibility due to being on an oxygen-less planet).
Fortunately, his copious amount of training left him with how to handle this, he needing to remove the antenna before sealing the tear, which pained him, but was able to slap the breach kit successfully, now having to return to shelter the Hab, since his suits oxygen level being at a hefty 85%, he glad to see the Hab was whole, but the MAV no longer on planet, quite a blow. Which was when he realizes his situation being hopeless, but soldiering on, getting to the Hab and removing his suit, and inspecting the damage he’d taken. It wasn’t pretty, but the Hab had exceptional medical supplies, so he applies anesthetic, cleans the puncture, sews 9 stitches, and voila! Healed-a-roony. He even had the antibiotics necessary for definite recovery. After this, he checks to make certain he didn’t have any means of contact, he relating how due to each suit showing the status of all crew members bio levels, he understood why they hadn’t recovered him. Considering all of this, the summation of Mark’s problems included: no communicado, no one knowing his status of life, the Hab being built to last about a month, and if the machine which made oxygen failed, or his water supplier malfunctioned, or if the Hab received a tear, Mark be daid; which he would be anyways when his food ran out.
Log Entry: Sol 7 – After Mark wakes, his mood has improved, he goes over his inventory, the food available reasonably lasting him almost a year, he still having plenty of EVA suits, and whilst the satellite had been wind-swept, the Hab had stood strong. The MDV had been knocked about, but had potential use for scrapping parts, he also still had two rovers, only needing to be unearthed, and the use of the solar power cells needing only minimal easy maintenance. He also had a temporary back up to the oxygenator, both working properly, as well as the water source, but no back up available, he also having plenty of vitamins (Yay!), morphine his back up plan if escaping becomes improbable. The next mission, if not postponed would happen in four years, he needing to discover a way to transmit a message, his main goal being to repair the radio.
Log Entry: Sol 10 – Mark has attempted to locate the satellite dish three times with no luck, and the dish was hopelessly messed up. Fortunately, he still had plenty of CO2 filters, but needed to use them wisely as he cleaned up the solar array. Besides this, he also began considering starting his attempt at growing plants, the seeds brought not edible, but the Earth soil possible to use with the dirt on Mars.
Log Entry: Sol 14 – Mark mentions where he’d acquired his botany degree, interested because of the science, as opposed to the “hippies” around him, he stating of now saving and recovering all bowel movements and leftover uneaten food for future use, already concocting his manure, he then planning how he’d make more usable soil, and dedicating all floor space to the garden.
Log Entry: Sol 15 – Mark is realizing what a task he’s set for himself, making small progress, but not bothered by the time involved. His next goal is to begin joining the bacteria to the dirt, treating himself to a full meal for his hard work.
Log Entry: Sol 16 – Mark has now remembered the need for water, and the amount necessary not quite equaling the amount he had available, but decides to relinquish with some to test. Upon mixing the manure was the difficult part, it massively stinky business. Changing the subject, he relates of this being Turkey day, and how his family had most likely gotten through his funeral recently and must not be having a great time, he realizing they were his reason to get through, to make up for the mourning they were dealing with.
Log Entry: Sol 22 – Mark has made ample progress with the soil, but his mood takes a dive after his meal and listening to his crew mate’s Beatles collection. He’d calculated his work not alleviating his starvation, figuring the potatoes would be his salvation, but the work not leaving him with too many days of healthy caloric intake. He’d make it to Sol 490, but had to reach 1,420 when the next crew would arrive. So, now he was without ideas for how to cover the food needed to survive throughout the time necessary.
Log Entry: Sol 25 – Mark relays how the old math word problems was exactly how he planned to survive. He states how he was attempting to discover enough ways to get calories for 1,425 days, a sol being 39 minutes longer, and he having to figure out how to make at least 1100 calories daily. He walks through how much all extra space could give him for planting purposes, besides all of the Hab, he calculating he’d nearly survive the time needed, but he still also requiring water he didn’t have.
Log Entry: Sol 26 – To keep from over thinking, Mark shovels more dirt inside, he then having to go back out to clean off the solar cells due to a sandstorm passing through, and then afterward bringing more dirt in rather than wait, deciding after, a portion of his real estate was ready for an attempt at planting, readying the potatoes for submersion, and comforted in knowing the project should have him working with more potatoes in 40 days, he then treating himself to a full meal and having exhausted the Beatles collection, moving on to another crew-mate’s entertainment, reluctantly choosing Three’s Company (not a terrible choice).
Log Entry: Sol 29 – A new problem came in the form of the pop tents airlocks being a different size from the ones for the Hab, and if he wanted the plants he planned on putting inside the tents to grow, he needed to uncover a way of getting to them which would save as much air as possible, but decides he had to risk it, setting up the dirt within them both. He shares of having used to be a Dungeons and Dragons player in high school, fessing up to his nerdy roots, and not having used a magic power involving water which would be perfect in his situation, now. Then he gives up the issue for the evening to finish an episode where the landlord misconstrues a situation (the formula).
Log Entry: Sol 30 – Mark considers a life-threatening plan to obtain water he required, but the time coming where he’d be applying new soil, and if he didn’t water his crop, the plant’s would die. What he debated to remedy the problem, was to make the water himself, first stating how using the O2 tanks wouldn’t be great if he required them later as a back up in some way, he then describing the MAV platform which was able to gather CO2 in the atmosphere, the real problem stemming from the hydrogen, which the fuel cells had a bit of, but they giving so much more as they were as opposed to how little water it would make, he then bringing up the MDV and how their pilot had left him with plenty of fuel to get the hydrogen for the water, the problem laying with how to get it out safely, and if he did, how he’d contain the hydrogen, he moving on to how Three’s Company would survive with the replacement of Chrissy.
Log Entry: Sol 32 – Mark has discovered many problems with how he was going to synthesize more water, he walking through what he’d have to do to make it happen. For instance, the process of acquiring O2 and waiting for it to be turned into H2O would take a little under a month, which is a bit of a wait. The space needed to keep the hydrogen was also an issue, so he decided to skip the little steps and go straight to discovering a way to store it as water (first editing issue “what’s what” should’ve been ‘that’s what’, tsk! Hopefully it was addressed in a newer edition I’m unaware of and don’t care to research), the way he had to proceed being delicate, the chances of explosive death, quite probable, but if successful, all he’d have to be aware of is making certain not to use up all the O2. So, to end his day of brainstorming, he sets up the MAV to have available CO2, prepared himself a half ration meal, and finished Three’s Company, he preferring Mr. Furley to the Ropers (which, if I remember correctly, I agree with).
Log Entry: Sol 33 – Mark is writing as if this could be his last time to journal, he starting the hydrazine releasing process, taking them all into the Hab, he ending the entry and then restarting another as Sol 33(2) to inform of still kicking, he explaining how he dressed and the steps he took to slowly extract the hydrazine, he then building a small, make-shift tent with NASA expensive bags and duct tape, to keep his science project safe, the bag see-through for more convenient looky-loo ability, then attaching a space-suit hose to it, which he rigged with string from some clothing to attach near the top of the Hab, so he’d have a flue for smoke. He then had to discover a way to ignite fire in his fire-retardant environment, he locating a wooden cross among one of his crew-mates possessions, he using oxygen to ignite it with an electrical spark, he then able to burn up the hydrazine which escaped, Mark now able to add fifty more liters of water to his reserve.
Log Entry: Sol 34 – Mark updates of the hydrazine process consuming his night, but the task now complete, he commenting on erring on the side of carefulness rather than speed. The humidity jumped up quite a bit, and the constant alarms for fire, oxygen level, and humidity were becoming a normal background noise for him, the fire alarm stopping first, and he expecting the humidity alarm to take the longest to cease its song. Mark also had the good news of his water tank being full, he depositing some in a space-suit, readying to pass out, and stating of this being the first time since Sol 6, of being in great spirits, his hope for survival being uplifted.
Log Entry: Sol 37 – …And then dropped as he states of how screwed he was, currently transcribing from Rover 2, he having escaped the Hab. He details of having gone through his conversion of hydrogen a few times, and then realizing he hadn’t been able to burn up the extra inside the Hab, and after analyzing how much was inside by containing some of the air in a plastic bag and going to a rover to list what was most prevalent in his air, hydrogen being way too high. So, he stays in the rover where he would remain for a couple of days and attempt to plan out how to de-bomb the Hab.
Log Entry: Sol 38 still has Mark within the rover, except he’s calmed enough to figure out how to dissipate the hydrogen. He explains his plan involving the atmospheric regulator upon messing with its ability to gauge when to stop accumulating oxygen, this way the hydrogen on its own was as dangerous as an eraser. Mark describes how he’d slowly burn the hydrogen until it was gone, the only problem being his dirt would be useless, he partially satisfied with his plan, and giving his brain a rest, discovering the commander’s USB and protein bar in the rover, Mark having made a second part to Sol 38 to complain of the music she’d brought, not saying what it was (most likely disco).
Log Entry: Sol 39 brings Mark’s eureka moment, he saving the bacteria through forced hibernation, which happens on Earth at winter, but this requiring he bag up the potato plants and settle them in a rover temporarily. Then, he runs through the order in which he’d go about his plan: plants moving first, the 1°C temperature in the Hab next, after which getting the O2 to 1%, then whipping up some fire for the hydrogen to die. Mark ends by not feeling quite satisfied with his plan, but off he would go to try it!
Log Entry: Sol 40 shows he wasn’t entirely able to pull it off, the first hiccup coming from the regulator’s programming withstanding Mark’s tinkering to unhinge its ability to replenish the O2, it only gong down to 15%, so he turns to some vents to tape all but one so he could finish tricking the regulator to pull out more O2, and then shuts down the regulator when it reached his goal. He even was able to begin forcing out the hydrogen, up until blowing himself across the room and knocking his oxygen mask off, fortunately a spacesuit was close by and he was able to put on the helmet before losing consciousness, he then determining he’d forgotten to release the air vents again upon burning the hydrogen. He then turns the regulator back on and notices he’d been smart to triple layer his clothes, the top layer gone, second layer holey, and bottom layer in fair quality, he not able to come up with the cause for the explosion, so spends the night in the rover again, eating well, and listening to music, the next day filled with equipment checks.
Log Entry: Sol 41 – Mark begrudgingly goes about testing all the systems to decipher how the explosion came about, and from where. The first handful he tested bolstered his hope, he then testing his dirt, which luckily survived, as well. As he tidied the place, he considered how the explosion occurred, his idea involving oxygen having somehow gotten in, believing it had been because of his decision not to wear a spacesuit, and the mask he’d been breathing through had been the culprit, since he was blowing out the oxygen. He gives himself a hard time for not realizing this sooner, but besides his nearly fatal breath taking, his water production was right on schedule. He rewarded his day of hard labor with a full meal and began the TV show, Dukes of Hazzard.
Log Entry: Sol 42 has Mark relating how he’d also decided to give himself some sleep-in time, what with almost a handful of crap nights in the rover. When he did get up, he finished more clean-up work and re-planted the potatoes. His days playing with hydrazine also being decided in not being quite over, since he still had a ways to go before reaching his required water goal, he having a safer idea so he wouldn’t have to relive, or possibly die in another explosion. Mark states of watching TV whilst he waited for the process to complete, he already believing General Lee can totally run faster than a cop car, and also wondered why Rosco didn’t arrest the guys when they were on their farm? (Fair idea.)
Venkat Kapoor is then followed to his office in the Johnson Space Center, seeing he had almost fifty emails to wade through, but wouldn’t deal with yet, for this day being Mark’s memorial service, the President making a speech, his crew-mates each saying a few words from the space ship, they still ten months from getting back, and Venkat, the director of Mars operations, having passed. He is then visited by Teddy Sanders, Venkat wanting approval for satellite images to estimate the damage from the storm, thinking a new mission could still be planned for what remained on Mars. Teddy understood his reasons, but didn’t want to give permission because the pictures would be viewable to the public, Mark’s body still possible to see, Teddy informing they would have to bide their time for twelve months, Venkat suggesting they put out a statement where the next mission sent out would also be to retrieve the body, this making the satellite images more palatable and possibly allowed sooner.
Mindy Park keeps tabs on satellite images and sends them off, this time she getting a request from Venkat, when she realized what the images would be for, she looks through them to satisfy her interest, she then seeing something which gave her pause, immediately calling security to send her the emergency number for Venkat. He arrives dressed casually, due to the early hour, Mindy stuttering and pointing out the image she was viewing, Venkat not understanding, she explaining how the pop-tents were up, how they were placed and the logs not mentioning them, she then becoming upset when she asks about the solar cells and how they weren’t covered in sand, she concluding by confiding not having noticed a body, fully breaking down, and Venkat shocked. He then shares the findings with Teddy and the director of media relations, Annie, she freaking out. Teddy goes through all the same motions of denial Venkat had, but the clincher being how the rover had been found along with the damage done to the MAV, Teddy then deciding they’d hold back the images for twenty-four hours so Annie could work on a statement to accompany the pictures, he then giving Venkat full reign of who he wanted to help get communication to Mark, this now his main duty, Teddy readying for a personal trip to Mark’s parents, needing to deliver the news in person, Annie being informed of the chat being a bittersweet one, since Mark had a good chance of dying on his wait for a rescue.
Venkat’s task wasn’t starting off well, the two workers he was speaking with unable to discover a way to talk with Mark, his only means of doing so having blown away, or was on the MAV. Annie was hyper-aware of how she’d from then on be perceived in the footage of this ground-breaking news speech, and believed her face betrayed nothing, the media dead silent and then fully cacophonous upon hearing the news. A week later still had NASA bombarded by media frenzy daily, Teddy speaking at the most recent one about how willing all who could, did offer to help, he assuring NASA would be focusing their energies on Mark until he was brought back, dead or alive, and no footage had been caught of him, yet. Venkat goes to Teddy’s office to give positive feedback on the speech and inform of the plan the Ares 4 crew truly wanted to implement, but would be risking six lives in the process, Teddy of course denying the go-ahead, Venkat also updating on not having any ideas to assist Mark’s survival as of yet, they discussing how someone got along all by themselves whilst believing no one was attempting rescue, Teddy wondering what Mark must be thinking of at this moment.
Log Entry: Sol 61 – Mark is pondering how Aquaman could command whales, since they were mammals, this being illogical!
Log Entry: Sol 63 – Everything is working out well for Mark now, he’s acquired enough water and ’70s shows are keeping him content. His concern now involved contacting NASA by getting to Ares 4 and in essence, the MAV. He isn’t in a hurry to think of a solid idea to get there though, due to how many years he had as it was. His preliminary list of what he’d need on the long trip kept him busy, but his main thinker was the power supply required. He planned on adding the power supply from the other rover, and to preserve the power, he’d need to dress in layers, then calculate how much distance and time it’d take to drive to Ares 4, as well as the amount of solar cells he’d have to acquire, he then considering how dull the wait would be for them to soak up the power necessary, he worrying about this when the resolution came to him, and was then able to focus on retrieving the battery for the rover he was taking.
Log Entry: Sol 64 – Mark learns the trouble from the battery didn’t stem from the detaching, but where he’d place it on the other rover. His idea to remedy this came by way of the resin he’d used to patch his suit, and making make-shift “saddlebags” for the rover, and after, testing the durability, which upon satisfaction with his handiwork, decides having both power cells plugged being unnecessary and would attach the fresh one as needed.
Log Entry: Sol 65 – After finishing placing the solar cells on the roof of the rover, he had lunch and readied to gather his potatoes and replant the next bunch, this being about forty Earth days since he’d planted them. The ones he’d grown were mini in comparison to the usual, but would do well as his new potato-plant-growers, he figuring if he could keep this up, he’d survive quite awhile. His next choice of pastime would be some Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot.
Log Entry: Sol 66 – Mark names his rover mission “Sirius” and will be gauging how far a single solar cell will get him, but only as a test, so would be driving a certain distance and then turning back, until the cell dies and would still be in reasonable distance to the Hab, he also preparing with triple layer of clothes.
Log Entry: Sol 67 – With the first mission done, Mark deems it a fail, he at first driving the same route until flattening his ‘road’, then feeling too chilled, the insulation not doing the job after awhile. Mark is bummed and has to consider a better save on cells, he hoping inspiration may come from Poirot, more thinking needing done.
Log Entry: Sol 68 – Mark isn’t proud of his new plan, since it would be putting him in more danger than he’d done so far. His idea involved the “RTG (radioisotope thermoelectric generator)”, which = plutonium – 238 (BttF ref, here), this junk more dangerous then the ‘normal’ kind, it radiating enough heat to cook off of all by its lonesome, so the heat isn’t rescuable, and is used for the MAV whilst there wasn’t a crew to keep it running. So, when the Commander drove off to bury it, Mark had seen the direction she’d taken, and would be able to detect it with the flag she’d planted to keep anyone from accidentally getting close. New task, now was to simultaneously test his hybrid rover and look for the flag, Sirius 2 mission to follow.
Log Entry: Sol 69 – A new realization hits Mark once out of sight of the Hab, his surroundings helping to sober his reality of total isolation, the fact the Hab was his only connection to society making him uneasy, but fortunately, locating the RTG was quite simple, the unnerving bit occurring when picking up the well-encased radiation-supplier. Mark learns with RTG riding shotgun, and without the heater on, kept the interior at 98.6 degrees, mission accomplished. He then tore out the insulation of the rover until the RTG was the main heating source, leaving himself a patch-up amount in case it got too cold, then declaring Sirius 3 would commence the next day.
Log Entry: Sol 70 – This entry is written during the mission and so far going fine, the end amount driven being a little over 50 miles in almost three and a half hours. The time was good, but obviously had much potential for change when he actually got out to the rocky bits, he then setting up the solar cells for recharge and was settling for some Poirot reading during his twelve hour wait, then considering how NASA would’ve reacted to his RTG usage, believing cowering for fear being on the docket.
Log Entry: Sol 71 – The time to recharge was estimated correctly, Mark returning to Hab when done, he then organizing his plan for Sirius 4, thinking it’d be definitely more than one day to accomplish. He goes about acquiring everything necessary for an almost three week outing, then figures the best way to keep his potatoes alive before readying to embark on his journey the next day.
Venkat takes an interview about how they took every opportunity to obtain pictures of Mark’s living area, they receiving help in Europe, as well, he sharing how often they were able to get pictures, and then details his movements so far, regarding his test drives and the possibility of his plan to get to Ares 4, which Venkat hoped Mark would put off what with JPL testing new additions to the MDV, so it could fly after its initial landing, the idea having developed enough to not put everyone at risk. The interviewer asks whether the tests would truly be useful with their current time-frame, Venkat basically alluding to how they’ve surprised themselves before, and whilst they couldn’t speculate on Mark’s likelihood of survival, they aimed to do all they could to get him back whilst breathing and consciousness were intact.
Mindy is then shown feeling quite overwhelmed with all the main leaders of the project in the room, Venkat, Bruce, from JPL, Mitch, flight director for Ares 3, and Annie then joining them, Mindy looking up to her. Venkat asks about how she thought he’d done on his interview as she sits, she informing how he could’ve left out the bit of getting Mark back whilst living, the other possibility occurring to people. She then essentially relays he could fuck off if he couldn’t take the truth when he gets defensive. Bruce then inquires if Teddy was joining them or not, Annie not answering, Mitch then asking whom Mindy was and couldn’t get over how she wasn’t a head of department, Venkat sticking up for her before Teddy walks in asking for updates on Mark, Venkat informing it was unchanged and Annie interjecting with the news of no one having caught on to the RTG when Teddy brings it up.
Venkat describes how Mark would be safe from death as long as it didn’t crack open, Bruce then supplying news on the MDV project, he noting how Teddy hadn’t signed off on their original plan, and Teddy saying his name warningly, Bruce continuing with details on how they planned on making the MDV lighter and were finalizing their data, Teddy then welcoming Mindy, she answering his question about the orbit gaps, and then is instructed to bring it down to under five minutes, she agreeing without knowing how she’d accomplish this. When Teddy brings up Mitch’s email, the man inquires of when they should share with Ares 4 crew of Mark’s survival, he pushing to let them know, but Teddy making final call and believing they should wait until they had a solid plan for his rescue, Mitch not liking the outcome.
Teddy then inquires of how Mark would survive until Ares 4 came, Venkat detailing the main problem being lack of food, and they usually requiring nine months, Mark needing it in three, Bruce then agreeing it would be handled and Teddy assuring they’d get the funding necessary, Venkat then mentioning how they’d have to borrow a booster from another mission in order to get the fuel required for the trip, since the planets weren’t aligned in such a way to make it easy, Teddy agreeing to it and Bruce reiterating they’d get on it, Teddy replying how Mark’s diet depended on it. Venkat absorbed his early evening caffeine high what with the crazy hours he was pulling, along with all the borrowing he was doing for this project, and was currently typing up a letter to a congressman in regards to his needing to get the votes so they could receive more cash.
Mindy interrupts with news of Mark having driven off with purpose, Venkat staying hopeful it was a test again, but Mindy clarifying how his movements told another story, Venkat becoming serious when thinking how Mark didn’t have a chance making it to Ares 4, Mindy then sharing he wasn’t going in the direction for it anyways and wanted to head home for some shut eye when stating how Mark was charging up the solar cells and how long it normally took, Venkat accepting this. Next, the same interviewer is speaking with a post office worker about the stamps made for Mark and how these would be the first made for someone still alive, the post office attempting to recall them and how due to the amount already sold, wouldn’t become very lucrative, the interviewer then speaking with a psychologist for the Ares missions, the woman describing Mark’s personality which would help his survival, but also how his humor helped his team, which led to discussions of how the crew still didn’t know about Mark, the interviewer then discussing Mark’s current movements suggesting he hadn’t given up, yet, the psychologist posing both possibilities if Mark did decide to give up, as well.
Venkat is then seen typing still, and Bruce on speakerphone, the two talking of how they planned on getting Mark’s attention if getting the food supply there, Bruce stating their idea to use the comm system sent with it to auto broadcast to the Hab and or rovers, as well as a way to get Mark to turn on his comm in the first place, Venkat liking the idea and not stressing at all of this possibly being unnecessary if Mark drives to Ares 4, the two getting off the line and Venkat reading an email from Mindy about Mark moving. When he goes to see her and how Mark was traveling, Venkat has an idea dawn on him, she relaying the latitude and longitude of where he was and of the Hab, he leading her to the map of Mars in their break room and drawing where the two points were and the two deducing he was aiming for Pathfinder, Venkat realizing what Mark had in mind for his attempt to communicate, immediately calling Bruce to update him on the new hope, he designating Bruce the task of rounding up all who worked on the 1997 mission, then giving Mark mad props.
Log Entry: Sol 79 – Mark is now a little over a week on his outing, his regiment for the day falling into a normal schedule, his waste is saved for when he returned, and after doing his ‘bidness’ he checks the solar cells, and then gathers them, continuing to drive almost two hours at 25 kph and switches out the first cell, driving a couple more hours and using the RTG until becoming too hot, switching between it and the duct-taped hole in the rover, so to keep from overheating and becoming too chilled. When he uses up the cells, he’d taken to dumping them closely around the rover instead of setting them up, since doing so became tedious work, but what truly sucked is his twelve hour wait, he now wishing he was back at the Hab looking after his taters, realizing how messed up it was to want to be ‘home’ in the Hab. During his long idle time, he’s plagued with the questions of how he’d get the required gear to make the long trip to Ares 4, the ’70s music and TV along with Poirot, helping and when sleepy, bunking down amongst his shit, literally and passing out.
Log Entry: Sol 80 – 100 km from Pathfinder or Carl Sagan Memorial Station, Mark notes how due to his status as “King of Mars”, he could refer to it however he so pleased, he was still in the thick of the trip, and his directions were a challenge, his idea to use the maps available to determine landmarks had failed, since not recognizing any marks, so he follows Phobos, which circles Mars twice daily, it being good enough as a guide. By Sol 75, his route had become more simple, he naming the valley after his commander, since she loved geology. After passing the valley though, he was back to following Phobos, reading into the god it was named after and considering it could be bad juju, but then he recognized a small depression in the land letting him know how close he was to his destination, stopping there, and knowing where he’d be hitting next and getting settled for his twelve hour break.
Log Entry: Sol 81 – Quite close to Pathfinder, but ran out of charge with 22 km left, his route easily recognizable now and once making it, due to clear weather, he believed he could follow his own tracks back, then lying out the cells, and deciding to take a stroll to stave off the crazies of cramped quarters, thinking about how many firsts he was accumulating by his actions, he going on to admit how much he wanted to talk to anyone about whatever, so he’d be acquiring another first the next day when reclaiming a “Mars probe”.
Log Entry: Sol 82 – And then, success, Pathfinder exactly in the spot it should’ve been, he then also locating Sojourner, which he put in the rover, then going to work to retrieve the probe, he making a rope so he could detach the central panel, and then getting it to the rover, but saving the hoisting until the next day, he already planning on cutting in half the amount of solar panels he would use on the return trip, and also considered if getting Sojourner up and running, how he’d speak to, and how NASA would talk back through Sojourner.
Log Entry: Sol 83 – Mark did some hard labor to get the panel on the roof, he making a ramp, but with a 20 kg suit to drag around, as well, he having quite a time hauling rocks necessary for the building of the ramp, but once securing the panel and solar cells, realizing he needed to collapse the ramp carefully before driving off so it didn’t damage the rover, but upon doing so, it only taking an hour, he could now safely return with his broken 200 kg radio.
Log Entry: Sol 90 – A week after going to Pathfinder, he’d been keeping to his own tracks, but it only getting him so far, so when there were no more tracks to follow, he started using Phobos again, only requiring to get 40 km in range of the Hab to pick up the signal, now optimistic of survival and upon each stop, collecting rock and soil samples, which he began to enjoy. (The story is picking up with interesting little plot points.)
Log Entry: Sol 92 – Mark receives a couple seconds from the Hab signal, weather being clear, since he knew he was at least 100 km away, he then beginning to watch The Six Million Dollar Man, relating to one of the episodes about a space probe from Venus accidentally landing on Earth and fighting humans, Mark wary of Pathfinder, in case it decided to turn on him.
Log Entry: Sol 93 – Mark was now in range of the Hab signal, 24,718 meters to go, he expecting to make it by the next day, but would be able to walk it if necessary, he thinking how his inactivity had messed up his back and missing Beck, the guy you go to for back cracking. Mark thought about how he wouldn’t even have cared if Beck gave him shit about the importance of stretching, he then recalling a sardine-like training session with all of them which he’d prefer about now, and crossed his fingers he could fix Pathfinder.
Log Entry: Sol 94 – Back at the Hab and ecstatic, taking advantage of its ginormous size and spazzing out expansively, turning on the required machines, and checking the plants, everything good, he then adds his waste to the designated areas, does a system check, and kicks back for a little bit, then reattaches the solar panels to the Hab, and has a much easier time getting Pathfinder down. Afterward, reluctantly driving the rover once more to bury the RTG, then off to beddy-bye in a proper camp bed, content to know he had a proper shitter to use in the morning.
Log Entry: Sol 95 – Mark was a repair fiend today, he first cleaning the solar panels of Sojourner, then having a looky loo at Pathfinder, setting up a work space outside the Hab for it, and detaches the seriously dead battery, hooking up Pathfinder to a power line. As for the heating implements, he guts more from the other rover, doing all he could, and now had to see if it would do the trick.
Log Entry: Sol 96 – Nothing’s changed with Pathfinder, Mark able to tell by lack of antenna movement, obviously JPL’s Pathfinder team wouldn’t be hanging around attempting to make contact (…), but he knew if a signal was noticed by SETI and The Deep Space Network, they’d give word to the proper peeps, but Mark staying positive, since knowing it could only require more time to heat, Sojourner also still unmoving, he having to stop thinking about it for now. Then, Pathfinder does a system check after booting up, looks for a signal, and locks on. Venkat and all present freak out when Pathfinder comes online, Bruce also elated, a quickly put together team having been working to get the old system compatible with the new one, Venkat then getting more details on how long it’d take for the communication to hit Pathfinder and how many systems were running, they able to receive image in about twenty minutes.
Log Entry: Sol 97 – Mark has now noticed Pathfinder doing its thang, in shock, but happy to know Earth knew he’d survived, also aware his idea had been a long shot, but would soon be chatting with people again, regardless of whether he made it until rescue, and once returning to the Hab, has an emotional moment, thinking how he’d now have to figure out how to delete the more cringe-worthy entries he’d made, but first, to talk to peeps. Venkat is then in a press conference updating them on receiving transmission, how Sojourner couldn’t be contacted, yet and Mark would have to let them know how to communicate, another dead obvious question answered before Venkat returns for updates on the imagery, nothing so far, but soon they getting image slowly, as the view took in more, they getting two notes from Mark.
Log Entry: Sol 97 (2) – Mark excitedly relays how he’d gotten a yes, then coming up with a way for them to speak to him by using ASCII, he telling them about the state of the Hab, his crops, how he survived, then grabbing Sojourner, but the little bastard still not getting signal, and NASA would be working on a better way to communicate, Mark ending by leaving a message for his family and relaying to the commander, “disco sucks”. Meanwhile, Venkat is running out of steam and working in his ‘new’ break room office, an engineer coming in and sharing painfully slowly of how his team had come up with a way Mark could hack his rover so they could message chat, he then getting a call from Annie about the pressure she was getting from the press for still not having a photo of Mark after 24 hours of communication, Venkat irritated, but willing to attempt it the next time.
Log Entry: Sol 98 – Mark is giddy to start chatting again, he rising early and waiting, then getting the first message which warned of a longer message to come for the hack, he preparing appropriately and receiving his first instructions, as well as the need for a picture, so Mark writes a note, and poses ’70s style.
Annie is now annoyed with Mark’s note, but Venkat not caring and hanging up on her, then he speaks with the engineer about a quicker way of getting their directions across, but would involve Mark’s team, Venkat denying this, so onward with snail pace. Log Entry: Sol 98 (2) – So, attempting to get all the text down became tricky, Mark learning laptops no work in Mars atmosphere, he resorting to taking a picture of the messages as he wrote them, he then rewriting them inside, and planning on inputting them in the morning.
Venkat and crew awaited for the system update, Mark having already put the data in, and Tim, the smart-aleck computer guy, nonchalantly relaying it had come online as they’d been chatting, Venkat then begins his messages to Mark by introducing himself and letting him know how long they’d been tracking him, their plan to replenish his supplies and the rescue mission. Mark returns with the news making him happy, inquiring how the crew took his survival and a shout out to his mom. Venkat responds by asking about his crops, then informs him of the crew being in the dark for now. Mark replies about how he’d planted the crops and how long they’d last him, then berating in colorful phrasing for not informing the crew, yet. Venkat mentions of having botanists check his work, in case of error, and to refrain from cursing since they were live, Mark responding with text: (.Y.).
Teddy finishes speaking with the President, Mitch enters for a word, and the update being positive, finally. He then determining Teddy must know why he’d dropped in, and his guess being correct, Mitch sharing how he should’ve had the call to tell the crew from the start, but had allowed Venkat and he to take the shots, so Teddy share’s his agreement, and Mitch gratefully leaves to do so.
Mark had been working hard on Hab tasks, so he was now sleeping extra soundly, having sweet dreams. A memory of the commander getting everyone up when they’d first arrived, proceeding, Mark resisting, but giving in upon threat of being turned out of bed. He gets himself and some of the other crew breakfast packets, one of them only wanting coffee, the commander then relaying their assignments before a storm hit. Three of the crew view the storm’s progress being quicker than having sounded, but they getting as much samples as possible before hearing how much time they had before the storm hit them, heading back to the Hab. The crew are in the Hab again, feeling the speed of the wind outside as one of the crew members relays the messages from Houston, the commander then making the order to gear up and wait at the MAV. As Mark and crew walk, he gets hit by debris as he’s talking with one of his crewmates about how to keep the MAV steady, they then searching for him as the pilot turns on the MAV and relays they’d been called back, officially, the team searching a little longer, before the commander orders them to go to the MAV as she looks around a bit longer, she attempting anything which could locate Mark, the pilot then deals with the MAV being tipped and using fuel to return it back to place, the commander then agreeing reluctantly to return, she giving the order to launch and they making it to space.
Four months after this, Beck is noting plant growth and returning to the crew, now waiting for emails, and when they arrive, it was noticed there was a voicemail to them all, everyone shocked by the news of Mark and it coming directly from Mitch, everyone slowly having their spirits lifted until Commander Lewis speaks of how she’d left him. Meanwhile, the Ares 3 Hab was being made extra durable, and everyone okay working overtime for the pay being exceptionally noice.
Log Entry: Sol 114 – Mark has now had time to come down from his honeymoon phase with speaking to NASA, since they now were giving Mark advice on how to grow his crops. Fortunately, he can take it or leave it, the main upside being the emails, he also now knowing how he’d get picked up by Ares 4 and his duties afterward, also learning Morse code as backup to Pathfinder crapping out. Next, the Hab material goes through inspection after setting, then being approved for use.
Log Entry: Sol 115 – He receives word he’d correctly figured the amount of food would last him until Sol 900, he expecting to be replenished by Sol 856, also he’d finally received a message from Lewis, she detailing how she felt responsible and Mark’s reply supporting her decision, but accepting the beer offer. Then, details on the shipping of the Hab material, and when arriving at the destination, how they added the necessary items to go with it.
Log Entry: Sol 116 – Mark is now readying for his second harvest, giving him 400 taters and in a little under two weeks; they’d be ripe for the pickin’. His plan on storing them is to chuck them outside, he then sharing an email from Venkat regarding of not sharing his message with the Botany Team to essentially, fuck off, he believing Mark should consider their input, and he letting Mark know how the Cubbies did, and wouldn’t be getting new tunes. Venkat also states he should be aware of a meeting coming up to make sure he hadn’t made any foreseeable bad moves to get himself left behind. Mark’s reply was to inform the group they’d have to set up their “witch hunt” without him, and he’d deny any wrong doing they came up with in pointing the finger at Lewis, as well as ending with every one of this group’s female family members being hoes. “The presupply probes for Ares 3” were sent up and landed on Mars with no issue, it now sitting for its almost two year wait.
Log Entry: Sol 117 – Mark is having a hiccup with the water reclaimer not working properly, the amount of water being made lower than usual, so NASA is having a fit trying to get him to help them figure out what’s up. Then, the Hab is set up by Lewis and Beck, it holding the air they put into it.
Log Entry: Sol 118 – Mark short-hands the conversation between NASA and he about why the reclaimer won’t work and he suggests he check it out, NASA having an hours long meeting about it, and denying he allowed to touch it, so Mark touches it. He’d determined rightly what had happened having to do with a clogged tube from mineral build up, he then getting it working again, informing NASA, and they begrudgingly accepting this. Then, description of how the Hab survived the wind, but a weak area of the canvas having yet to be noticed.
Log Entry: Sol 119 – Mark is awoken by a fairly mini storm, he now deciding to check Pathfinder to make sure it was still working properly, then the cleaning of the solar cells (insert nth Martian joke here, all of which are entertaining), as well as requiring the building of a storage unit for chucked taters, so they didn’t migrate in high wind. Now Mark had all of the tasks which needed handling, he set about getting it done. As he depressurized the Hab, it had finally seen its last ability to stretch, it ripping all the way around and the airlock shooting off with Mark still in it, he barely conscious as he hits ground, and when he comes to enough to realize his face plate had cracked, as well as the airlock, then seeing the torn Hab, he responds with disbelief.
Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 – Mark has angrily given up, his air now close to gone, he readying for death, since having reached the point where solving issues was no longer desired.
Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (2) – He has calmed down and attempts to discover another way out of his predicament. The airlock not being a part of the Hab anymore one issue, it leaking, and his broken face plate also unhelpful, he deciding a good ponder was in order.
Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (3) – He discovers he’s in deep shit, but the shit ain’t as deep as it could be. Now, he was out of his suit, could hear the leak, but couldn’t see it, so good ole fire-making plan returns for a comeback show. He uses a bunch of shaved arm hair as his burning material, then tests out his idea.
Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (4) – It takes four tries, but he locates the crack, now though, he having to decide how to use his patch-up kit. So, first he uses the duct-tape on the airlock and it works.
Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (5) -It’s still stable, so now it’s the matter of fixing the EVA suit, he concluding he’d have to use some fabric from the suit to cover the crack and then press the leftover fabric against his body until he located a safe spot.
Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (6) – Mark’s idea works well, he sealing both openings, but also succeeding in getting his hand stuck to his helmet, fortunately he being able to get loose without losing a lot of skin, only problem was, after seeing if the air would hold, he’d wasted so much oxygen, he’d only left himself four minutes worth to work with.
Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (7) – So, Mark knows he had to repair the Hab and going to a rover still meant eventual death, he remembering placing the suit he’d taken with him back in the Hab, so now he had to decide out of the three suits, which would fit him, which to choose, and where would they be found after the blast. Another issue was how far he currently was from the Hab, the time he’d waste getting there being an issue which needed remedying.
Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (8) – Mark discovers he had to get the airlock to roll, the third time, the charm and he getting it to tip and slide, but he now having to do the same thing many times to make a difference.
Audio Log Transcript: Sol 120 – Mark was sore (achy, not mad, necessarily), but he got it done. The main issue stemmed from how each body slam didn’t guarantee a knock over, he continuing throughout the night and getting ten meters away, he now having been stuck in the airlock for 24 hours, so running though his plan and back up plan, and hoping for the best.
Log Entry: Sol 120 – Mark reaches the rover, plan not totally working out, being one-armed and all, so his search took more time, he locating one suit, but it being stuck under a table, and he couldn’t pull it free one-handed, but he was able to grab another patch kit and helmet, so high-tailed it to the rover in the nick. When he figures out Pathfinder wasn’t online what with it getting power from the Hab, he isn’t too worried, since it had been far enough from the blast radius to still work, so with fixing his suit a bit more and being out of immediate danger, it was time for some sleep.
Log Entry: Sol 121 – Mark fixes his leakage problem, he then able to get the EVA suit free, worrying about the Hab the next day.
Log Entry: Sol 122 – Mark writes a message to NASA with rocks, then gauged the damage to the Hab, support poles still usable, and the airlock hole, a big one, but manageable, the main issue his plants being unsalvageable, and the math giving the conclusion of if he had to wait until Sol 856, he wouldn’t need a rescue mission, it’d be about recovery.
Mark gets his test message to NASA, Venkat responding and getting the updates on damage and how much food Mark had, Venkat then giving the estimate of what had occurred and to vary his comings and goings between the two remaining airlocks, Mark requesting updates for solving his food problem. Bruce gives the low down to his team, since they didn’t have much time, they nixing the plan to send any other items and only focus on food, the landing also able to take some impact, as long as the distance to Mark was reasonable.
Next message from Venkat let Mark know they’d send the foodstuffs right before deadly starvation hit, Mark alright with not receiving back up oxygenator or reclaimer, he still having the ones there working properly, the amount of water he had still workable, Venkat then sharing the name of the probe: Iris and the goddess traveling quickly and responsible for rainbows, Mark open for smart-ass remark, and taking it.
An astrodynamicist has finished plotting the orbital path for the probe for 25 days, it taking almost until four a.m. to finish, he then emailing his manager about the details and slight differences between days, but began a sentence after which he didn’t dare finish and instead got some coffee. Teddy readies to make a speech to high-positioned people of NASA, he having Venkat begin with status updates, he sharing how Ares 3 and 4 fought for who would run the supplies, Venkat letting Ares 3 win, acknowledging Ares 4 was upset, but would have plenty coming up to keep them busy. Teddy moves to Mitch about launch updates, he stating the plan, and how Venkat would take over after initial launch. Annie’s up next with daily updates on Mark going strong to the press and a CNN show designated to him was most popular for a couple weeks running.
Teddy then introduces the man whom was responsible for helping launch, and giving information on the booster, it being a little needy, but testing continual every few days. Teddy then gets to Bruce, he updating about the probe, his team behind schedule by a couple weeks, and estimated requiring a little over a couple more to finish, so Teddy then brainstorming where the extra time could come from, they discussing if it could be squeezed from Mark’s food saving, the doctor claiming he was already going well below the amount needed. Teddy then turns to shortening inspection time, getting percents on how often it detected issues and whether those problems resulted in a failed mission, he then has the doctor have Mark ration for four extra days in case they needed it. Meanwhile, the astrodynamicist, Rich decides after speaking with his boss, Mike, he’d rather take a vacation for a personal project then finish the satellite adjustments he’d been asked to complete a couple weeks before, Mike having verbally signed off before having Rick get him his work.
Then, Mark is updated on the state of his care package, and they working on a busy work list, since Mark was essentially twiddling his thumbs, so a schedule soon to be forwarded. Iris was getting packed up for shipping after two solid months of work, everyone tired and happy. Annie is then shown giving information on launch date and how long it’d take to arrive being a little over half a year and what would be sent with the food including music and letters, Annie then having to remind them whilst money may be getting spent, they were also logging many experiment hours on Mars which wouldn’t have been obtained with only their assigned missions.
Mitch then makes certain Venkat is praying to all his gods everything goes accordingly as they ready the launch, Venkat doing his part and then trying to stay positive the launch would go smoothly, the checks continuing as Teddy watched from his private observation room, Annie walking back and forth in her office surrounded by TV screens, Bruce sitting among his colleagues in the cafeteria, all the engineers hopeful. Even Mark’s crew was listening in, then Mitch states Flight was go for launch and the countdown begins, Rich not noticing as he continued his project, Iris lifting off with only some slight shaking where it was kept on course. Then it’s learned what the shaking had caused to happen, Mark’s protein cubes having been shaken free, and they melting and moving to a spot within, to intensify the shakiness.
This is noted by the flight director, they keeping tabs on it, meanwhile, the protein liquid has a chance to solidify if given enough time, but it didn’t, the whole mess getting thrown against a bolted area which broke on impact, it quickly going to shit from there, the probe failing, and Teddy readying his second speech upon conference of the press. Venkat sat in his office, not answering calls, then getting a message from Mark inquiring about the launch.
Mark writes to Martinez because his doctor prescribed him to do so, he soberly asking for him to speak with his parents on the off-chance he croaks, but he wasn’t giving up, only planning ahead. Meanwhile, Guo Ming, a China National Space admin is chatting to his boss about Mark and the likelihood he would starve than be saved. He confesses they could intervene, the two discussing how to make it happen and deciding it’d have to be by communication through agency first, then share with their respective governments. Teddy’s reaction to what he’d heard suggested over the phone, only met with a short silence before agreement.
Mark spends most of his letter to Johanssen calling her a hot nerd, essentially. Bruce is explaining to the team of having 28 days til China’s gifted launch and how they needed a certain amount of the probe to be food and how much would be available as buffer for the high speed impact due to pairing down the build so as to make deadline. After, Venkat gets a visit from Rich at astrodynamics, whom wanted to share an idea, since he believed their current plan would fail, Venkat impressed after reading his work.
Mark’s letter to Vogel was partial blame for how he was now having to do boring experiments and he being a “super-villain”, since he’s German and had a base on Mars. Venkat is now sharing the news with a few associates at their Project Elrond meeting (LOTR), he revealing how Rich’s idea would have them helping Mark 39 sols earlier than their projected time. Bruce comes up with the issue of this plan being a flyby rather than a pick up. As the group continues to discuss, they are faced with 2 options to save Mark, and Venkat believed they should decide rather than go to Commander Lewis. As they talk, Venkat relates how if they decided to send Hermes instead, it had a better chance of success. So, they could go with the idea where there’d be a greater chance of killing a single person or an idea with a lower probability of killing 6 people and after they figured it out, let Teddy make the deciding vote, Mitch piping in about having Lewis decide, but Venkat dismissing this.
They end with allowing for 39 hours of research and not to speak or email anyone and only discuss with those present. Mark next writes to Beck, he advising he should confess how he feels to Johanssen, but wait until they finish the mission, plus Lewis killing them if she found out. When Venkat and team get together again, Teddy decides to go with the Rich Purnell Maneuver, which pisses Mitch off, since the best option seemed like the previously mentioned and Mitch berated Teddy for it. He continues to insult him until storming out, the one lady present interrupting Teddy’s apology on Mitch’s behavior to admit she’d been hoping he’d kick his ass for being a coward.
Mark’s letter to Lewis is formal, but forgiving her, since he suspected she’d still be blaming herself for his situation and then segues into her baffling love of disco. Next, Vogel is checking email when he gets a file in jpeg form and when it doesn’t open, takes a walk to see if Johanssen can assist, she figuring out it was a different format and was a math formulae, Vogel surprised by the ETA using the Rich Purnell Maneuver. Later, Vogel shares the gravity of what he’d been sent to the rest of the crew to decide whether they’d rather go rogue, everyone taking time to think it over than jumping in like Martinez. Lewis then inquires whether Johanssen would be able to get around the manual override, she considering it’d be fairly easy. Lewis ended the meeting with a 24 hour window where anyone could change their minds, but the smiles she saw on all their faces told her they would stick with their vote. Brendan, from Mission Control gets a headset communication from CAPCOM regarding an odd message about Hermes changing course and Rich Purnell’s name being mentioned, Brendan adamant to learn whom he was.
Meanwhile, Mitch has been called by Teddy to explain why he’d given the Rich Purnell Maneuver to the crew, admitting they hadn’t any proof, but it being obvious Mitch was the culprit. Mitch uses similarly said words from the meeting in response: How they should focus on the massive amount of work needing to be done. Teddy confirms Annie the media rep wouldn’t be including how the decision had been made. Teddy is continuing to stress how serious of a situation Mitch had put them in and himself if the crew died, Mitch noting how whomever had done it, hadn’t forced anyone’s hand and Lewis wasn’t a shit commander, so would’ve decided with sound mind and not emotionally. Teddy ends with stating how he’d let go of Mitch if he discovered proof he’d been responsible, Mitch saying he’d rather take a hail Mary to “save lives” otherwise, he’d be Teddy (ooOOOHH!!).
Log Entry: Sol 192 – Mark’s in shock to learn the crew was coming for him, he absorbing the load of work ahead for the process of travel and modifications estimated at 95 sols, proceeding to describe the few complicated steps he’d be dealing with at the start, leaving Venkat’s instructions to be listed in his hand when concerning how he would be able to cut a hole in one of the rovers. He’d have fun with extreme voltage power in the near future.
Log Entry: Sol 193 – The project ended up being fairly safe, since he’d be disconnecting power before working on it, but Venkat’s next instructions seemingly simple normally, being semi-tricky on Mars: to draw the outline before cutting. Mark gets clever again and uses duct tape. He was able to get 75 hole punches done and gave himself a full ration, since he’d have to be rescued after a certain amount of sols and he could spare some extra rations if death were coming anyways.
Log Entry: Sol 194 – It would take 4 more sols to complete the drilling, he also picking “Stayin’ Alive” by the Beegees as his theme tune.
Log Entry: Sol 195 – Mark gives an update on how many holes he’d drilled, Venkat’s response being one of an arrogant prat, they thinking he’d have more done by now. He’d also discovered the bacteria rich soil he’d left had survived the extreme cold temps.
Log Entry: Sol 196 – A big life-taking boo-boo has been made, he having started drilling for the day, the drill power malfunctioning and fixed, not making anything of it. He goes through a full day’s work and reports getting 131 more holes done, awaiting the usual half hour for a reply, he sending another message, then beginning to dread, he troubleshooting the problem. Eventually, he realizes a lead had become detached and a short may have occurred, noticing the massive poop: he’d fried Pathfinder’s “delicate electronics” and wouldn’t have contact with Earth.
Log Entry: Sol 197 – Mark takes a breath for some self-pity then moves on, since he was still going to receive a visit from Hermes and whilst difficulty had increased, he could still succeed. He leaves a Morse message about what happened and then sets to planning a way to get to Schiaparelli, making up a new scientific unit name: pirate-ninjas, he also coming up with a way of saving 3.6 pirate-ninjas (kilowatt – hours per sol) by dumping his wee-wee and poops on Mars’ surface, it a punishment for trying to kill him all those times.
Log Entry: Sol 198 – Mark does some more clever-making and calculates not actually requiring as much CO2 being used, having 44.1 pirate-ninjas and he using 7.35. He did have to continue researching how to power the regulator (1 of the Big Three).
Log Entry: Sol 199 – Mark discovers a new dangerous way to work things, he only using the oxygenator when actually using it and would reheat his return air with his trusty radioactive plutonium, saving him 21.5 pirate-ninjas. After double-checking his calculations, he warms to the idea of this working.
Log Entry: Sol 200 – Today was filled with rock redistribution into the rover to test the weight he’d be hauling. It didn’t amount to much, unfortunately. He’d probably take about 92 days with recharging stops (ick). Mark decides to break for the rest of the day, having ached his back from rock shifting.
Log Entry: Sol 201- Mark learns he actually had significantly ached out his back, so medication and radiation play-day! He sets up a rig to bathe in, since he hadn’t had one since Earth and back pain needed handling. It was mm-mm, necessary.
Log Entry: Sol 207 – He took a week off to recover from his back pain, spending his free time between hot bathing twice daily, 70s reruns, and planning how to get more solar panels atop the rovers to extend his drive time. Since he hadn’t attempted any Morse messages for 6 days, he updates NASA then takes a bath.
Log Entry: Sol 208 – Solar panels experimentation placement was today’s goal. The result looked similar to Beverly Hillbillies truck and wasn’t a success. He did come up with a shelving alternative though, which he’d implement the next day.
Log Entry: Sol 209 – Mark puts a fire under his booty to finish his plan, since he’d left the panels detached and woke up to a fairly chilly atmosphere, tolerable, but motivational. He got a strut off of the MAV to tinker with for his shelf. After working and installing, he’s pleased with the result and tests durability by chucking rocks at his handy work. The shelving was stable, he adding the solar panels and did a test drive, success abounding and fist pumps excessively exercised, he then reattaching cells for warm morning in the Hab.
Log Entry: Sol 211 – Happy clam-like mood what with not breaking his vehicle began his day, and so could focus on chucking all unnecessary items, so he could fit himself and more supplies, he even making room for 2 huge batteries from the Hab inside his gutted trailer-rover. With this done, he’ll now be able to travel 100 kilometers per day (4 out of 5 days, that is). Since he knew the China launch was happening in a couple days, he was feeling nervous for his crew-mates and everyone’s well-being again, he knowing in order to learn how it went, would happen upon his arrival at Schiaparelli.
Lewis is seen having a conversation with her hubby about their docking with the China probe in a few days and his acquire of an original print of Abba’s greatest hits album. Meanwhile, Venkat and Teddy have traveled to China and were still looking forward to Customs after their 14 hour flight. As they’re queuing, a man from the China Space admin locates and shares how they’d be able to get directly to their rooms due to having been given authorization to bypass Customs as guests of the country. Vogel also gets the chance to catch up with his wife, updates of their children and his mother, and how his wife had gotten a free trip to Houston to make their communication easier. Teddy has a moment to communicate to another Chinese Space admin official about Mitch’s job ethic, Teddy confessing how trying he could be, the official, Guo Ming noting the statement with a laugh. Beck is catching up with his sister about why he’d have to be the one to manually drive the Hermes in case anything went awry with the docking procedure and how each member of the crew had multiple duties. Venkat was working on spreadsheets when Mitch enters and gives updates about the probe attachment going perfectly, Mitch admits he was alright with being seen as a dick by everyone if the Hermes succeeded on its mission – this stemming from how he’d suspected his meal the night before contained an eyeball.
Martinez was speaking with his wife, whom was having their young son wave at the camera, he noting he could tell she was angered, due to the length of extended time he’d be away, but the two, of course being able to move forward. Venkat was interviewing an update to CNN from China regarding the process and why they were launching from China, as well as what would happen if the probe required being handled manually. Johanssen is having an unfortunate conversation with her father about the stress she’s putting on he and her mother. Johanssen then reveals, after much prodding why she was so certain she’d for sure survive the trip and what she’d be consuming on the latter half of her journey to do so, but to only reveal to her mother the food supply would last her. The launch goes perfectly and through a conversation Venkat has with Zhu Tao, whom had fought for their probe to launch with his government, it’d never be done. Venkat sensitively notes Mark would have a chance now, but Zhu Tao pointing out the Chinese were still coming out as a loss more than a gain for being a pioneer in one area of space travel. Meanwhile, the crew was now readying to dock and succeed with no complications. Lewis helps the 2 dock crew unsuit whilst Johanssen and Martinez start inventory of the supplies, he joking about whom Johanssen would’ve chosen to eat first, he cracking about how he was “corn-fed” and had prime muscles, she ignoring him.
Log Entry: Sol 376 – Mark completes rover mods and specifies life support staying constant being the difficult bit, everything else being only a ton of work, which he briefly goes over, since he’d been neglecting the log. He wasn’t quite ready to move, but since he knew rescue was coming, he’d take it easier what with not wanting to further injure himself, and also being more diligent with logs, since they may be read one day (…Hi).
Log Entry: Sol 381 – He takes a mo. to contemplate laws on Mars and figures out the law would fall under the category of “International waters”. He goes on to note how only whilst using and inhabiting NASA property does American laws apply, so when he reaches the new base and enters Ares 4, he’ll be a space pirate until receiving permission from NASA once contact is made.
Log Entry: Sol 383 – Free time usually contained TV watching, but also trip planning, it being an eclectic terrain, but hopefully still manageable, attempting to stay positive about the easier bits.
Log Entry: Sol 385 – Today included planning and making a tent so he didn’t cramp himself on the longer trip. He decides to use one of his pop-tents which had once been re-purposed for his potato farm and was a lifeboat for the rover originally. He planned for it to easily attach to the rover so he’d have access to the computer and then expand the space so he’d be able to move about with all the comfort of an upright walker. Glue will be its main adhesive necessity.
Log Entry: Sol 387 – Exact measurements of how much material being needed was a must, since he no longer had much spare fabric, deciding he’d have to cut the Hab and reattach it a little bit lopsided and smaller, but still usable for 62 sols. He triple checks his calculations and outline before dinner. He had saved the last few food packs for special occasions, naming them accordingly and considering changing the label of his final meal of his stay from “Last Meal”, for obvious connotations, he back to eating potatoes, which apparently was getting tired, but also gladly he being isolated what with what could be eking back out of him.
Log Entry: Sol 388 – Breakies was a tater with hot water and a caffeine pill, since real coffee had been consumed long ago. Inventory of Hab and moving anything which wouldn’t depressurize well was next on the docket, and upon completion, would be ready to art-project the Hab canvas. Upon getting the pieces he required, he then went about resealing and finding all the leaks. When done, he wanted to sleep, but was paranoid with any noise he heard being one of a leak, so sleeping pill city, tonight!
Log Entry: Sol 389 – Survival occurred and had helped the decision of no more sleepy pill consumption in his future, since he’d woken at mid-day, his project being to set up his bedroom. 1st test succeeds, but only an hour, the first overnight use being when he’d actually need it, since he had no way of exiting through the bedroom.
Log Entry: Sol 390 – Mark finishes preparing, but still feels like more needed doing. He’d be driving off on Sol 449, which gave him 59 sols to fix any issues and test everything, after which deciding what would remain behind. Then, he’d be mapping his route with a not-so-clear satellite map, and continued to make certain nothing was forgotten. He’d been dreaming of getting off Mars since Sol 6, but ditching the Hab terrified him so, WWaAAD? = What Would an Apollo Astronaut Do? Fool would drink 3 whiskey sours, drive his Corvette to the launchpad, and fly to the moon in a smaller space than Mark’s rover. H’what bad-asses.
Log Entry: Sol 431 – Mark is game-planning the best way to pack, making sure anything which is freeze-safe would be stored in the trailer. Most of his taters would be stored outside the rover, and the rest inside for convenient consumption. The rest of the items he’d leave in the rover would be reserved for emergency materials and tools, as well as a box and lid for toilet accessories. Meanwhile, Venkat has visited Mindy and asks for updates regarding Mark’s movements being caught. He also reveals she’d be solely tracking Mark for the time being, since she was most familiar on what to look for in doing so. She remarks how this project was a useless one, since they’d not be able to interfere even if Mark required it, Venkat responding by inquiring how long she’d been working for the government. (Yeah…)
Log Entry: Sol 434 – The dry run would be occurring, the tricky bit being to keep carbon dioxide low during the detachment from the Hab. After, he tests it to make sure it was working, which it was, so he returns to the Hab for it to have an overnight test.
Log Entry: Sol 435 – Mark awakes to good read outs, he then checking his bedroom, but this time, upon opening, it pops like a pimple. He reinforces the weak seam and saves another test for the following day.
Log Entry: Sol 436 – Caffeine is gone, headache took over after slow upsy daisy, O2 helping disappear the symptom. Then, 2nd bedroom test, which he decides to allow an 8 hour period for the bedroom to stay inflated, he plans his trip more fully and his route, which he knows could change what with he not having all mapping specifics. Venkat and group have joined a meeting with Mindy and another fella, Mindy updating all about Mark’s mysterious room and the work he’d been doing with the Hab and AREC. The mystery man, Randall then shares how low grade dust storms were approaching Mark’s route area which lasts for months at a time. The issue being, sunlight would be limited, making Mark’s solar panels less effective and NASA not being able to monitor him until he exits the dust storm.
Log Entry: Sol 439 – Today would be full test day, to make certain everything worked in tandem. He’d also be leaving life support in the rover on overnight to determine how much power was used. The Hermes crew have a meeting regarding status of degradation of the craft, everyone keeping on top of the so far, minor repairs, except for Martinez’s room baking him and he not able to move into Mark’s room since it had the same issue, due to being next door, so Lewis moves Beck in with Johanssen, and didn’t care they’d started “a thing”, due to this being an out of the ordinary mission, as long as duties were kept up, Martinez cracking a “Million-mile-high club” line.
Log Entry: Sol 444 – So, Mark tests the driving for 5 sols and he loves his bedroom. He fixes it to receive proper heat and even rigged a mini microwave to heat taters, the room making his cramped quarters much more agreeable. After completing his other dry run tests and nothing going wrong, he’s on schedule for departure date.
Log Entry: Sol 449 – Mark’s day has come, the taters all cooked now and ready for meal times. He checks everything including motors, also having gutted the Hab, likening it to the Giving Tree. He then shuts it all down for the last time, even though he knew the shut down didn’t matter much, but felt since it was a part of the original mission procedure, he may as well in tribute. Mark then has a mo. to listen to how silent it was in the Hab without all the attachments on. After, he is ready as he can be for the 45 sols of driving ahead.
Log Entry: Sol 458 – He reaches Mawrth Vallis after 10 sols and his driving and living space are working well enough. He hadn’t actually noticed his reaching Mawrth Vallis until a day after, since the valley was too wide to see the walls. Meanwhile, Venkat is again speaking with CNN about Mark’s approach in 12 days to the dust storm and he won’t notice he’s entered it until he slowly makes progress through it, only dimly realizing visibility will change daily along with lower solar panel charging. Venkat does allow Mark may sense an issue sooner than they calculate, he being best to work through it due to his having lived there for so long.
Log Entry: Sol 462 – Nothing interesting happened today, and tomorrow would be chill recharge day. This trip, Mark was using latitude and longitude to plot his course, he fashioning his from a tube, string, weight, and some object with degree marks, then checking the sky for Deneb. He then mentions how in the process of possibly calculating incorrectly, he’d be lost on Venus because of his mistake (Roronoa Zoro-style). Mindy, tracking Mark’s trail and cc-ing everyone who wanted his Morse messages sent, also adds 5 sols until he entered the dust storm. Mark’s message stated he was calculating arrival at Sol 494.
Log Entry: Sol 466 – Mark states his arrival in Arabia Terra, if he’s done his math proper, going into detail about how he figured it out without a sea level to go by. He goes on to include how he’d need to keep his peepers wary of going up a crater in this area.
Log Entry: Sol 468 – He got between two craters safely and deciphered how far he’d gone, as well as being almost halfway through his journey, this being 20 sols in. As he moves along he also collects rock samples on the possibility he’d have weight clearance to bring them. For the next few days he’d have to negotiate around Marth Crater. Lewis chats with Martinez about Mark having entered the dust storm the previous day and how they must consider he may not be able to meet them, Martinez being fairly positive, Mark would find a way, he being a crafty boy, Lewis playing devil’s advocate and Martinez being a smarty, offering to bet a bill, she declining because it was life and death, but he knowing it was due to she knowing Mark’s chances were still positive.
Log Entry: Sol 473 – Mark’s on his 5th “Air Day”, everything going accordingly, and would soon get better once he was parallel to Marth Crater. He was currently in Crater Cuntry forming a triangle around him, he declaring it shall thenceforth be titled the Watney Triangle. He’s got 1,435 kilometers before Schiaparelli and he already knew what landmark to look for upon passing the remainder of craters. Mark had also begun noticing the recharge had been taking more time, believing it to be an age issue for the batteries.
Log Entry: Sol 474 – Mark boo-booed and came to the edge of Marth Crater, so would wait until nightfall to calculate his posish, he also allowing this early stop to aid the solar cells in charging longer.
Log Entry: Sol 475 – He saw poops, Marth Crater being directly ahead of him. So, in order to make a more educated decision on whether to go north or south, he walked to the peak, which was a bitch in the EVA suit, he fantasizing the a-typical mo. with grand-kids about how HE had it more difficult in his younger days, on Mars. He reaches the rim of Marth and noticed the extra amount of dust, he comparing each direction, behind him still clear. As he continues to suspect, he realizes the shit be deep. He quickly concludes he’d need to decide a direction to flee. He also realized NASA must be pulling their hair out, and he had no plan coming to mind, yet. Mindy begins her shift, she mirroring Mark’s sleep patterns for convenience. She immediately notices Mark wasn’t doing his normal driving, and reading his message, calls Venkat’s personal line.
Log Entry: Sol 476 – Mark is confident he can figure a plan, so far gauging the severity of the storm by how much charge had been lost, it being 3%. So, he knew as long as the percentage stayed small, he’d have a decent chance of not getting deathly stuck. He had to discover how quickly the storm was progressing, so he’d sit for a day and compare the wattage charge. The plan was to set power cells 40 kilometers apart and compare each wattage to decide which best way to move. Hopefully south would be clearer, since it’d be quickest to reach base, and in the meantime he’d allow the cells to charge, what with the impromptu free day.
Log Entry: Sol 477 – Mark decides his 2nd EVA suit would be the timestamp he’d track the solar cells with. After testing, he notes which direction the storm was going, seeming to be east to west.
Log Entry: Sol 478 – He can’t determine whether it looked dustier, but the risk of testing the power cells was worth it in the grand scheme. He also reiterates his being done with potatoes, deciding Western Australia would be the spot for him, due to it’s extreme farthest position from Idaho.
Log Entry: Sol 479 – Mark feels time being wasted, since he’d be backtracking where he’d been yesterday to collect the power cells. Fortunately, the readings made it clear he’d need to travel the better way, so as to be wasting less time as the storm drifted away. Only downside was having to follow his same path tomorrow.
Log Entry: Sol 480 – He sensed he was getting past the storm and hoped the shape of it was a circle, which means he’d soon notice his percentage returning to normal, otherwise, he fucked. He also knew the ETA for Sol 494 was not applicable and the crew would be there by Sol 549, plus he had the MAV mods to complete.
Log Entry: Sol 482 – Today was an Air Day and relaxation was Agatha Christie’s: Evil Under the Sun, with speculation of Linda Marshall being whodunit. The annoyance of not knowing how quickly he could get through this was occupying his mind, as well, but at least he was still in the lead to the storm, only managing 37 kilometers the the full 90. He still would take the Air Day, due to being so far ahead and since he couldn’t tell how much difference it’d make what with the possible storm size. He then also considers how many Earthlings must know all these facts except him.
Log Entry: Sol 484 – The storm was past now, he still hoping it was round, otherwise, buh-bye. Only bitch is he’s majorly in the wrong area, Terra Meridiani, and had to travel 1,030 kilometers projected sol being 498 to arrival, which would make a 4 sol waste due to “The Nearly-Mark-Killin’ storm” and left him 44 sols for mods.
Log Entry: Sol 487 – Mark discovers if he wants to waste 4 sols, he could get to the rover, Opportunity. There was a radio, which he wanted to use because he’d become fond of speaking to Earth. He knew it was dumb though, he only 11 sols away from the MAV.
Log Entry: Sol 492 – The bedroom would need to be modified upon getting to the MAV, he recognizing he now believed he could actually make it. He also decides he’d make the trailer his bedroom and the tent would be used for The Big Three (Two of the three, anyways).
Log Entry: Sol 497 – Tomorrow Mark will be at the entrance to Schiaparelli, today being an Air Day, he well ready to be there, it going to take 3 more sols to reach the MAV and Mark couldn’t wait to “be in Giovanni Schiaparelli’s favorite hole!”. The crater had been under a barrage of wind 4 million years, dust and sand particles collecting at the bottom of the basin, the sand spilling outward, making the Entrance Ramp. Due to weather, gravity made the ramp become pressed in varying degrees, some spots hard and others the opposite, leaving the basin savagely unsmooth. So, as Mark approaches carefully, it’s all for naught, since he drove into a soft area, which rolled his rover, scattered the solar cells, the trailer breaking free and toppling, as well. Meanwhile, Mark’s rover slides bumpingly 20 meters before hitting more rough sand, stopping him. The pressure seal saves him for the time being. All the Department leads are being informed by Mindy what she thought happened at Mark’s crash area. In 9 minutes they’d receive another shot of the site, Venkat requesting she keep him updated.
Log Entry: Sol 498 – Mark relates how he was currently typing this entry whilst the rover was turned on its side. Fortunately Mark had emergency-balled himself and wasn’t injured, everything seeming functional with only the bedroom coming loose. Mark’s concern was the state of the solar cells, he also considering the damage to the trailer what with his vital life support was housed there, hopefully still within it. He then calculates having enough time to get everything up and going at some point. He figured he had 220 kilometers left to the MAV, so he only had to get the life support to remain functional for 51 more sols. So, he EVAs and things weren’t stellar, but not bad either. Three solar cells were kaput, maybe being able to get a few watts out with luck. The trailer seemed fine other than being turned over and the time constraint of flipping it right, before the balloon on the roof popped. So, he had his tasks ahead of him and remembered to write to NASA. Mindy reports the short message to Venkat, whom asks rhetorical questions he expected to be answered, so Mindy replies with sarcasm, Venkat attempting to throw his position power at her and she not giving a shit due to her now “paparazzi” status and it going hand-in-hand with smart-assery.
Log Entry: Sol 499 – Sleeping on the toppled rover wasn’t a blast, but the Vicodin helped, he then dedicates his time to turning the rover over, since he’d be able to use it as lever for the trailer after. He had cabling he could use as rope, which he would then tie to a drilled bit in the harder ground. This rights the rover and he performs a system check. It works, and had been ready to fix the trailer next, but daylight was lost due to his position in the crater. So, he’d have to hope the balloon would last another night, he at least having his bedroom.
Log Entry: Sol 500 – Unpopped trailer still and a larger task of righting it, since digging was involved. He’d be attaching the rover and have the trailer tip and right itself, which works. He did have to spend another night waiting to check if the equipment inside still worked, though. His meal of a tater being loathed with the venom of people-murdering level.
Log Entry: Sol 501 – Entrance into the trailer was quite heated, but both oxygenator and regulator were in proper condition. Fixing and reconnecting was simpler after this, so now he only had to figure a way to warn himself of powdery drops until reaching Schiaparelli Basin proper. He decides, with a short segue into a fantasy about a Mars lady romance, he’ll drive slow enough to prepare for a tire going into one and would also maintain more traction. He’d be able to begin the next day, hoping to finish the process in 8 hours. He concludes how being a heroic astronaut could make him popular with the ladies, which in turn was quite a good motivator to survive. Mindy relates Mark’s most recent positive message of fixes being done, Bruce relating there were a few issues on their mod procedures, but would share in a couple days when he returned. Venkat okays Annie to share with the media Mark’s good news.
Log Entry: Sol 502 – Today, Mark drove at a snail’s crawl, like his pappy did when he’d drive the family 8 hours to his aunt’s house. His slow progress didn’t turn up any pitfalls, though and he was able to eat another food packet.
Log Entry: Sol 503 – He hadn’t been able to get full recharge, but he was 148 kilometers away from the MAV, so he wasn’t too worried.
Log Entry: Sol 504 – Mark is about 50 kilometers away now, tomorrow he could finally get there. He also discovers NASA had turned on the MAV’s homing signal, so his rover could be directed right to it. He reports receiving signal to NASA. Mark reaches the MAV next day as expected, the celebratory fist-pumping and ramp hugging preceding his entrance into the airlock.
Log Entry: Sol 505 – Currently Mark awaited inside the rover until the MAV finished its system check and was pumped with air. The only mind-numbing bit being the wait time between communication with NASA. Houston congratulates Mark and he updates them more, they requesting he store his urine from here on. Bruce returns sleeplessly to Venkat’s office stating procedures were complete, but Venkat wouldn’t be pleased. It takes a bit of time before Venkat becomes more surprised and worried by what Bruce was suggesting would be removed, he not having gotten to the worst of it. Everything included, they also would be removing the front of the MAV and it would be covered by Hab tarp and an engine would be removed, on top of it. After all the sims and testing it was thought to be able to work, Venkat absorbing this. Mark’s reaction to receiving the same news, conveyed much more incredulity.
Log Entry: Sol 506 – So, Mark decides to use the MAV as his work space, his previous plan not serving him as well. Meanwhile, Lewis states Martinez had killed Mark, Johanssen having set a sim with near impossible success rate. Lewis gives him encouragement and they reset to a new scenario, he having 3 weeks to practice. She checks with Vogel on their course being on track and Beck on his connecting with Mark when the time came, everything in order.
Log Entry: Sol 526 – Mark starts disabling everything, only semi-nostalgic for his pirating days of doing as he pleased. He was currently littering the remains outside the MAV, turning it into a Sanford & Son dump, noting Lewis truly needed help with her 70s issue.
Log Entry: Sol 529 – He was converting water into fuel for his rocket, he soon having opportunity to admit he’d pissed “rocket fuel”. Johanssen gets the chance to contact Mark, to his surprise. The two joke and Mark thanks them for returning for him. At one point, Martinez gets a hold of the keyboard to message Mark to prepare for crazy lovemaking, Mark stating how much he’d missed them all.
Log Entry: Sol 543 – Mark believes he’s completed all the mods properly and won’t know if it’ll launch until he actually does. He notes how the Ruskies had safer craft and they “were death traps”. Lewis goes over their plan since the next day would be Thundercats, go. She gets updates on everyone’s tasks being done and ready for use. After, she goes over what everyone would do upon Mark’s progress upward. Everyone had the night off to rest up. Mitch gets the count to when MAV will launch being in 16 hours and some odd minutes and seconds, he preparing for change of shift. Venkat and Annie watch, she revealing the camp out of reporters outside from around the world. Venkat reveals Mission Control would lack control if anything went wrong.
Log Entry: Sol 549 – Mark was feeling righteous fear about his ass soon to be projectiled in four hours into space. He was currently suited inside the MAV, he also having eaten the last meal pack and leaving 41 potatoes. He leaves his rock samples in an easy to recover area in case NASA one day found the notion. Mark’s plan on killing himself in case he didn’t go quick, involved breathing nitrogen. He was still not connecting to the fact he was truly leaving, what with his simple routine over this one and a half years. He was ready to fuck off, already.
Everyone on Earth was watching. Mark’s parents were on the edge of their seats, a NASA rep ready to answer their questions. Johanssen’s voice is heard through the TV as she confirms preflight checklist was ready to be gone through. Mitch was watching in Mission Control and was confirmed their clocks were synced with Hermes. Mark requests Martinez to refrain from rolling the rocket, Johanssen reminding Martinez how odd it’d be handling the ship without being smushed against her seat. Beck, meanwhile is giving Vogel permission to release his tether if need be, Vogel not confirming he would, since Lewis hadn’t okayed it. When Mark feels the lift off, it’s so abrasive he can’t breathe. He also notices the Hab canvas whipping back and forth, probably not good. Martinez is noticing the rocket is flying drunkenly for some reason, Lewis attempting to contact Mark. He heard her, but couldn’t decipher her words, he seeing the rip in the canvas get bigger quickly. He then sees how beautiful the red sky is before turning black, which was also cool.
Once Mark hits space, Martinez gets more control, Lewis still not able to reach Mark, so asks Johanssen if she’s figured his orbit, they soon realizing he’d be short 68 kilometers. They adjust fuel accordingly. Annie is now asking Venkat to tell her what had occurred due to how quickly it had gone down. Venkat details how the team had used the fuel to meet Mark, but wouldn’t be able to slow down to catch him. Meanwhile, Lewis and team learn Mark’s vitals were steady. Mark regains consciousness and updates Lewis on his possible broken rib, she telling him the shit they were up and he seeing the shite, indeed. Mark comes up with an idea to use a cut in the arm of his suit like Iron Man, but they continue thinking. Lewis jumps on Mark’s idea and instead applies it to Hermes, they having a better chance of catching Mark. As Mitch and Venkat hear what’s happening Venkat states numbly how the team was planning to rupture the craft on purpose, Annie quickly leaving to report this to the press. Lewis requests Vogel cook up a little bomb to open an airlock.
After Lewis conveys this to Mark, Vogel quickly makes a pipe bomb with a beaker and sugar. Johanssen is setting up the airlock and has a sweet moment with Beck before he goes through, Vogel turning up with the bomb a minute later. Everyone is ready and in position with 28 seconds left, Lewis, Martinez, and Johanssen strapping themselves in. Venkat, Mitch, and Teddy are all feeling the pressure as they wait. When Johanssen flips the switch, the quick bomb tears the inner airlock door open. After, everything is still working and they receive better propelling than projected, Beck readies to collect the Asset. He jumps out, Vogel spotting him with the tether in hand and secured to the wall. Beck makes it to MAV, connects tethers to Mark and they fly through space together like butterflies making sweet, sweet love, Vogel keeping the tether taut. They make it inside without issue and Lewis relays everyone is back on Hermes to Houston and the rest of the world. Whilst everyone exalted at the news, Teddy takes his speech from the blue folder to join Annie to address the press, he stating to Venkat he hadn’t prepared a red folder speech, and ordering him to get the crew home.
Log Entry: Mission Day 687 – Mark is still coming to terms with not being on Mars anymore. He’d broken a couple ribs on his ride, being pulled into the Hermes being quite painful, but he screaming like a shrilly baby off mic. After, Beck gets him to the makeshift sick bay and the 2 wait for decompression. When Beck first removes Mark’s helmet, he’s hit with his gnarly stank, everyone high-fiving, for other reasons, as well most like. As he waited for his painkillers to hit, so he could shower, he continues to process how many organizations and people helped to save his ass, giving humanity the benefit of when a fellow was in danger, instinct would make us come to aid, regardless of how humanity seems like 99% of the time… (raised eyebrow). He ends with the list of ways this supports his previous statement and whilst he was recovering and smelled “like a skunk took a shit on some sweat socks”, he was hella happy, even with 211 days left til Erf.
Worth it, ended abruptly since my last comment upon finish was, “That’s it?!”, but there were some funny lines which should’ve been used more in the film. This book definitely gets exciting throughout and filled me with adrenaline because of how well it’s written. I will read more by Weir.