Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Year Seven)

Image result for deathly hallows book cover

Snape joins Voldemort with the other Death Eaters at Malfoy’s home to discuss Harry’s next move, false news having been created to mask Harry’s actual plan. Lucius has gotten out of prison by this point and had to relinquish his wand to Voldemort to use on Harry (an even more unnecessary “that” being added to a sentence, Rowling? Jeez..). A professor of Muggle studies is killed after Voldemort seethes and makes fun of the Malfoys’ relative, Tonks marrying Lupin.

Harry was currently at Privet drive unloading his school trunk and packing a backpack with all important items. He also has 2 articles, one Dumbledore’s obituary and the other an interview with Rita Skeeter about her biography on Dumbledore’s life and how dirt-filled it truly was. Vernon was flip-flopping with whether he truly believed he and his family were in danger, but Dudley was scared enough to want the magical protection offered them, so they’d be escorted to a safe spot. Dudley surprises all relatives with his concerns for where Harry was going, but everyone’s farewell being fairly underwhelming, but Dudley shaking his hand in the end being the most contact made through it all.

Moody was whom Harry thought would be escorting him, but it turns out to be Hagrid along with his buddies and others, including Mood himself. This doesn’t help much though, since they were met with 30-odd Death Eaters flinging deadly curses at all of them, Harry being repeatedly reassured by Hagrid of having everything handled, thusly Harry’s sidecar detaches from the motor-bike and during all this, Hedwig has been shot and was limp. Harry blows up his sidecar, supposedly with Hedwig still inside, he now seated with Hagrid as a Death Eater recognizes Harry to be not a poser, the 3 disappearing. Voldemort soon joins them, but not before Harry crashes the bike into a pond. The 2 make it to their Portkey to the Burrow and the only others to show up so far is Lupin and George, whom lost an ear. In the end, everyone returns except for a dead Moody and a biffed off Mundungus.

Harry wanted to leave them for fear of endangering them further, he getting a vision of Ollivander at the bad end of Voldemort’s rage, Hermione desperate he attempt to shut his mind from this. Mrs. Weasley attempts to learn what Dumbledore had ordered Harry to do, which also includes Ron and Hermione dropping out of school to help, but the most she gets is agreement to help tidy and do chores she had for them for the wedding. They weren’t able to recover Moody’s body, so the funeral was on hiatus. The trio found time to talk, Ron suspecting Moody may have survived. They then discuss Hermione’s acquiring Hogwarts library books on horcruxes, when Mrs. Weasley interrupts, mega-pissed the three were sitting around rather than helping her with chores. When Fleur’s family arrives, the trio get only one chance to speak, Mrs. Weasley still thwarting their plan-making and she putting together, what Harry hopes would be a quiet birthday the day before Fleur and Bill’s wedding.

Harry gets a good amount of birthday prezzies, he particularly taken with Ginny’s snog gift. Scrimgeour crashes to speak with the trio about Dumbledore’s will and the unique items he’d left them. Harry receives his first won snitch and was supposed to get Gryffindor’s sword, Hermione got a book, and Ron was gifted a contraption which put out lights. Harry figures out a clue on how to use the snitches memory ability, but it isn’t easy to decipher from there, Hermione confesses she not having heard of the book she’d be given, to Ron’s surprise, since he knew them as children’s tales.

Harry was disguised as a cousin to the Weasley’s after they’d acquired some hair from a local redheaded boy. Luna and her father had been invited, he acting and looking as eccentric as his daughter normally would. Then, after Harry discovers Dumbledore’s family had Godric’s Hollow in common with him, they discover Scrimgeour had been killed and the Ministry “fallen”, them’s coming. (Decent dramatics by this point)

The trio escape by disapparating as Death Eaters break up the party, Hermione providing the boys with less conspicuous attire. They are followed and eventually attacked again by a couple Death Eaters. After the trio defend themselves and flee to Harry’s inherited property, he gets a vision of Voldemort punishing one of the Death Eaters who had attacked them, by ordering Draco to torture him.

They learn R.A.B. was Sirius’ brother after Harry discovers a part of a letter from his mother. They also realize they’d handled a locket during past clean up of Sirius’ home, they off to Kreacher’s quarters. They discover nothing and when Harry summons Kreacher to grill him, they learn Mundungus had filched it all. Kreacher relates what he remembered of the locket, then Harry nicely orders him to retrieve the real locket and Mundungus to meet them back there, taking a tip from Hermione and even gifting the fake locket to Kreacher as incentive and appreciation.

The 3 are up to day 3 of waiting for Kreacher’s return when they see 2 robed men standing outside for quite some time, but not going any further, everyone inside attempting to quell nerves and boredom. Harry is first to see a figure enter the house, it t’were Lupin, they catching up. By the end, Harry had insulted Lupin in order for him to hopefully go back to Tonks, they learning she was up the duff and he was plagued by his status and how it’d effect his newly made family. Harry then reads an excerpt from Skeeter’s book after Lupin runs off, pissed. Kreacher returns with Mundungus, whom reveals he’d practically gifted the locket to Umbridge.

Harry brings back a Daily Prophet with news of Snape securing the title of headmaster, Ron and Hermione shocked. Harry then renews his idea of implementing the plan they’d worked out for 4 weeks. They each obtain a Ministry employees hair and polyjuice themselves for entrance purposes. Hermione and Harry meet Umbridge in the elevator after Ron was tasked with stopping a flood in a particular office. Harry is then separated from Hermione when Umbridge uses her for a court proceeding and he’s left with the new Ministry of Magic, Thicknesse, not being conspicuous and parting ways with him before covering himself with invisibility cloak again and creating a distraction which allowed him access inside Umbridge’s office, he not having learned from his Hogwarts snooping to leave his cloak ON when he’s searching, again scrambling to cover his ass up as Thicknesse enters.

Harry makes his way out with no discovery before learning what they had on Arthur. He makes his way to the courtrooms where a shit ton of dementors were chilling in the hall with the accused muggles, he making it inside the courtroom Hermione sat in with Umbridge, they seeing the locket around Umbridge’s fat neck. Harry throws caution to the dogs and stupefies the old hound so as to snatch the locket, Hermione making a replica so she wouldn’t immediately notice, and saves the half blood witch on trial for being muggle-related. The trio along with the muggle bunch escape, but Harry notices an odd sensation after they apparate since by the end it was becoming obvious what they were doing.

Hermione conducts first aid on Ron’s arm, they now stuck in the forest where the World Cup had been, Yaxley having seen the trio’s hidey hole she setting protective charms about them whilst Ron recovered. They then fool around with the locket to attempt opening it, none succeeding and so Harry resigns himself to keep watch with Hermione off and on. Harry gets another vision, he still having given up Occlumency despite Hermione harping on how he should still at least attempt to bar him mind and instead chooses to get pounded by the scenes, he rather preferring sharing the visions with his buds (he’s tho thmart!), overcome with whomever stole an item from Gregorovitch which Voldemort was now after, Harry recognizing the face in his memory, but unable to currently place it. (This seems to be a going theme and mystery style of Rowling’s, which I’ve grown tired and yet accustomed, *sigh*)

During their passed off time wearing the horcrux and negative moods because of it, they hear Dean Thomas with Tonks’ pops and some goblins (Rowling, you suggesting a Goblin language be named, Gobbledegook??…) eating nearby their camp, learning Ginny had attempted to lift Gryffindor’s sword, the goblins confiding the one protected in Gringotts being a fake. Ginny did get one helluva punishment, though, according to the goblin, they also discussing whether Snape or Harry was the baddie, as well as The Quibbler now being the one spot for real news. They move off and Hermione grabs the frame of Phineas Black to inquire about the sword, which reveals why they needed it to destroy horcruxes. They end the night with a blow out of a fight between Ron and Harry, the former off to his family and Hermione brokenhearted by Ron making her stay seem like betrayal of him.

The two hoped silently Ron’d return, but this doesn’t occur, Harry reminded how Ron had assumed Harry had a ginormous master plan (the fuck?), and he seeing if Ron’d go to Hogwarts again, his name not appearing on the Marauder’s Map. After some more move-abouts, Harry suggests once more they go to Godric’s Hollow, Hermione agreeing this time. They prepare with Polyjuice disguises and see the graveyard first. They visit Dumbledore’s family graves, Hermione locating another symbol on an unrelated grave, and they take a moment to visit Harry’s parents, leaving with Harry at least getting to see where they were.

After suspecting they were being watched, the quickly leave and somehow spot Harry’s first home. Bagshot finds them and leads them back to her place, he nicking a pic of the man whom had stolen from Gregorovitch and then Bagshot becoming Nagini before Voldemort was to arrive. The two barely escape, but Harry’s wand is broken and loses the pic in their haste, Harry stuck in Voldemort’s thoughts most of the night.

Harry was starting to annoy himself at Dumbledore, rather than try solving the snitch and discover his next move. Hermione helps a bit by showing a copy of Rita’s book to Harry, he finally learning the man in the picture was Grindelwald. He and Dumbledore became buddies after he’d been expelled from Durmstrang. Harry has a flip out and Hermione recognizes he being mad Dumbledore hadn’t shared more with him. After they move, Harry sees a doe patronus which leads him to the Gryffindor sword, Ron saving him from drowning and Harry suggesting he destroy the horcrux. It gives Ron a good psychological beating, but he succeeds. Hermione gives Ron a more unceremonious welcome, but they settle after Ron explains how he’d used his deluminator. Since he’d also been able to swipe an idiot’s wand from a watch group for muggles, Harry was able to practice doing small spells, the results unappealing. Later on, Hermione decides she wanted to visit Luna’s father because of Grindelwald’s sign, Harry uncertain, but acquiescing, and upon being received, are greeted hesitantly. When Harry does finally get to his point, Luna’s papa reveals it’s a sign of the deathly hallows. Harry soon blunders to the knowledge Luna wasn’t there and her pop had informed the Ministry, Hermione devising and implementing the trio’s escape plan.

When they’d disapparated, Ron supposed the Death Eaters had Luna in Azkaban, but she’d be fine for now. Harry then considers if his defense would include the acquirement of the magical items of the Deathly Hallows. Ron and Hermione think he should focus on the horcruxes, but instead he dedicates his time in attempting to open the snitch, thinking the stone or ring could be inside. The one thing to get his thoughts away from this is Ron’s found pirate radio stating, they learning Ted Tonks was among the murdered by Death Eater recently. (Rowling’s way of allowing each character intro whom is speaking on the radio is goofy.) Hagrid was now an outlaw, as well, because of a Potter Party, the doofus, and the last dumb move Harry making being to say Voldemort’s name, they found out hella quick.

The trio are captured with Dean Thomas, Hermione having puffed Harry’s face up, Greyback and crew unable to identify them, yet, until discovering Gryffindor’s sword, they deducing Harry and Hermione’s identities. When Bellatrix sees the sword, she tortures Hermione on where they’d gotten it, thinking they’d stolen it from Gringotts. Meanwhile, Dobby apparates and saves Ollivander, Luna, and Dean, this getting attention, Ron and Hermione having to overpower Wormtail, but this ultimately killing him. Voldemort is finally summoned once the goblin confirms the sword counterfeit, Ron attempting and failing to save Hermione, but not being quick enough to dodge a knife and get kilt.

They have a quick burial and funeral for him in the garden of Bill and Fleur’s, Harry then speaking to the Gringotts goblin and Ollivander before Harry sees Voldemort claim the Elder wand Dumbledore had been buried with. Harry was torn by his decision to hang back rather than fight, in the meantime the goblin agreeing to help them in return for Gryffindor’s sword, Harry not specifying when, but would do the exchange. Lupin visits to announce Tonks and his son, Ted being born, and Bill warning Harry about dealings with a goblin being a sensitive thing if treasure is involved.

Hermione had been chosen to Polyjuice as Bellatrix what with having a hair of hers on her robe and also having the wand, but she having trouble controlling it. They still go through with their plan, Harry under invisible cloak with goblin and Ron disguised with face-feature changes, they running into Travers in Diagon Alley. It only gets worse from here, since he’s also going to Gringotts and it seemed the goblins were aware of Bellatrix’s stolen wand. They make it to the vault without being caught, though, instead now had to worry about making the contact with the treasure. This soon doesn’t matter, since it ends with all of them in contact with it, but Harry obtains the cup, but loses the sword, they escaping on the nearly blind dragon (yay!) and landing themselves in a lake some distance from the bank. Harry soon sees the results of Voldemort learning of Gringotts and his questioning whether his other horcruxes were safe; The trio soon aiming for Hogsmeade.

Upon arrival, they’re immediately known to be there due to a nifty alarm charm, Death Eaters looking around and almost catching them early upon arrival. After dementors are added to the search party, the Hogshead’s owner saves them by letter them inside the bar. Harry figures out he’s Aberforth, he feeding them and attempting to convince Harry to get far away as possible. Instead, he’s convinced somehow into detailing most of what’d happened to Ariana. She’d killed their mother accidentally after being abused by some boys in some way to make her ever use magic, it going wild within her and when she was 14, had an unfortunate episode resulting her mother’s death.

Aberforth was made to continue school by Dumbledore, he taking care of their sister until Grindelwald distracts him. Aberforth confronts Dumbledore about containing his ego in order to take of their sister rather than go off and gather a following in their new wizarding regime. The 3 end up fighting, Ariana attempts to help and 1 of the 3 kill her. Harry puts in his 2 cents when he mentions the horcrux charm he’d drank, the torture making him say when he felt worst about and his greatest fear, Neville then being brought when Aberforth acquiesces to helping them enter Hogwarts.

They go through a hidden tunnel behind Aberforth’s painting of his sister. Neville catches them up a bit on Snape’s disciplinary Carrows Death Eater professors, he also finally gets positive feedback form his Gran once she escapes and goes to ground so as to stay hidden, since escaping the Death Eaters’ attempts at using her as leverage on Neville. When they reach Hogwarts about 20 more peeps greet them uproariously. They’d made the Room of Requirement their safe haven, the Carrows unable to reach them. They were catching up when Harry learns Voldemort had discovered another horcrux destroyed, the group of kids desperate to be a part of helping overcome Voldemort, but Harry attempting to keep Dumbledore’s secret, Ron and Hermione then considering they could use their friends’ help without revealing the true nature of why, so Harry begins asking them questions about Ravenclaw items.

In the end, Luna leads Harry to the Ravenclaw statue where one of the Carrows catches him, touching her V (haha) tat. She’s knocked out by Luna’s curse, Harry then cursing her bro when he insults McGonagall. She then helps the two game plan the way to get students out of the castle and overthrow Snape before Voldemort comes, and Harry could search the grounds. Snape gets in McGonagall’s way, but flees by chucking himself out a window when she receives help from other professors. They soon are enlisting the help of other professors to protect the school temporarily from Voldemort, whilst getting everyone to meet in the Great Hall to give those the option to stay and help who were of age. Upon Harry getting back to the Req. Room, most of the Weasleys arrive, they surprised when Percy shows up as they’re trying to get Ginny to leave, but instead agreed to let her stay in the Req. Room, Voldemort now at Hogwarts as Harry’s looking for Hermione and Ron in the loo.

As McGonagall describes what would happen, Voldemort’s voice echoes through the hall to maintain resisting wouldn’t do any good and he didn’t desire offing anyone, he only wanted Harry. Since Voldemort wasn’t actually there, after dumb Pansy attempts to get Harry chucked out, McGonagall has them all leave with their Houses, she having to remind Harry of looking for the horcrux, since he’d been plagued with where Hermione and Ron could be. He comes to a lightbulb moment though, on whom to ask what had happened to the diadem, getting his answer through Nearly Headless Nick, he speaking with the Ravenclaw’s House ghost, Helen Ravenclaw, she stealing the diadem from her mother and how the Bloody Baron had killed himself because he’d stabbed and killed her.

Finally, she admits hiding the diadem in Albania, and Voldemort had brought it back to Hogwarts when he’d interviewed for a job. Harry is met by Hagrid (I realize now Harry could’ve been using “Tom” as his choice to call him the whole time to mock his name for himself, in a way, as Dumbledore had.), the fight being on by this point, since it’d reached midnight. Harry realizes where he needed to go, also spotting Ron and Hermione who’d gone to the Chamber of Secrets, Ron speaking Parseltongue by memory and stabbing the Cup, Harry ecstatic. Ron and Hermione give each other a good snog until Harry thrusts them back to Erf. They have the Room of Requirement become the place with everyone’s hidden treasures, Harry locating the diadem, but foiled by Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle.

Crabbe curses the place with a fire monsters thingy and Ron and Hermione have to save the 2 burkes, Crabbe getting himself kilt, but Harry also catching the diadem as it’d been falling down from a victory throw of treasure by the creatures. When they escape, Harry sees the diadem crumble, since the fire had been cursed and fortunately did the trick in destroying the horcrux. Then, as the twins and Percy are fighting Death Eaters in the hall they’d come in from, an explosion kills Fred. Harry helps Percy stow him, everyone then continuing fighting Death Eaters except for the trio, Harry looking into Voldemort’s mind upon Hermione’s request. He sees Voldemort chilling, knowing Harry’d pursue him for Nagini, he commanding Malfoy’s Pops to get Snape.

The trio use the invisibility cloak due to how many faculty and students were fighting Death Eaters, Hagrid getting swept away with giant spiders as his bro searches for him at the castle windows. They retreat toward the forest, Harry too desperate by the dementors approaching to summon his patronus. Luna and 2 others save their asses and they reach the Whomping Tree where they’d get to the Shrieking Shack, Harry overhearing Snape speaking with Voldemort about the uprise and the Elder wand not impressing him like he expected. He concludes it’s because Snape had killed Dumbledore, meaning he’d have to kill Snape, leaving before he’s truly dead and giving Harry time to collect Snape’s memory.

Voldemort speaks loud-speaker style again to them about allowing an hour to help the injured and gather their dead, and if Harry didn’t reveal himself, he’d kill anyone to get in his way. Ron and Hermione encourage Harry to ignore Voldemort’s terms and focus on a new game plan at the castle. They see the Weasleys at Fred’s body, along with Tonks and Lupin’s, Harry too distraught to see who else hadn’t made it because of him. Instead he makes his way to Dumbledore’s office, which still contained the Pensieve, believing Snape’s memories could be no worse than what he’d currently experienced and having a temporary escape. He sees Snape as a boy confronting Lily about her magic and how Petunia had been a prude from childhood, and Snape’d struggled controlling his emotions around the close-minded Muggle, Petunia.

James and Sirius had taken a disliking of Snape from their first meeting on the train, Lily torn from the start on liking and disliking both Snape and James. Later on, after Snape’d heard part of the prophecy, he’d met with Dumbledore, whom had shown contempt of Snape for the first time because of his love for Lily and disregarding her new family. Snape is shown attempting to heal the injured Dumbledore after he’d worn Slytherin’s ring. The 2 discuss how this’d kill Dumbledore in about a year and how Draco’s task of murdering him should go to Snape as Voldemort had dictated. Dumbledore eventually shares with Snape how Harry’d have to be killed by Voldemort before Voldemort could die, because Harry carried a piece of his soul. The last memory is of Snape preparing to leave Gryffindor’s sword for Harry to find.

Colin Creevey dies, Harry seeing this after noticing how little time he had left, using his invisibility cloak and passing Neville and Oliver Wood carrying him. He leaves the castle without speaking to anyone, making the leaving easier, but does run into Neville again as he’s gone back out for more bodies. He made sure Neville knew to kill Nagini, he going invisible again and not stopping even when he sees Ginny helping someone. He learns how to open the snitch and gets the Resurrection stone, he seeing his parents, Lupin, and Sirius, they walking with him to Voldemort. 2 of the Death Eaters unknowingly lead him there where the rest of the followers, plus a bound Hagrid, whom is aghast Harry’d come. Harry was apparently thinking of Ginny kissing something of his (“—-“, not a period.), then gets the green flash.

Harry wakes up feeling alive, but meeting a quite dead Dumbledore, he believing Harry wasn’t quite corpse. Dumbledore also reveals how Grindelwald had killed his sis. After some time, they reach the subj. of Harry having the option to live, he ofc choosing accordingly. Voldemort had collapsed, as well, he delegating the task of checking Harry’s vitals to Narcissa, she asking after Draco, they then all heading for the castle with Harry playing dead, and Voldemort having Hagrid carry him. Voldemort does his voice boom trick and tells of Harry’s kaput inaccurately, then threatens death to anyone who didn’t kneel before him.

Ultimately, there’s a revolt and Neville kills Nagini with Gryffindor’s sword, Harry getting under his invisibility cloak. Once Harry’s given shield charms to those on his way to Voldemort, Bellatrix is taken out by Mrs. W and Harry extrapolates how Voldemort wasn’t true owner of the Elder wand, he having deduced Malfoy should’ve gotten it, but when Harry’d taken Malfoy’s wand, ownership should be his, now, the wand doing his bidding and Voldemort’s death being his own fault. It takes a few beats before everyone celebrates, Harry getting his 2 buds to accompany him to Dumbledore’s office as he explains Snape’s memories and his plan. Harry leaves the fallen Resurrection stone where he’d dropped it in the Forbidden Forest, he fixing his wand with the Elder wand and deciding to return it to Dumbledore’s resting place, Ron shocked, but Hermione understanding, ofc.

19 years later, Harry and Ginny are taking their 3 kids to the station, Longbottom’s a Herbology prof, Draco married with a son (obv), and Ron and Hermione with their 2, Harry not having been bothered by his scar since, and quelling the fears of his youngest if he were chosen to be Slytherin, mentioning how he’d get a choice, in the end.

Decent enough, I’ll still check out The Tales of Beedle the Bard.


The Martian

Image result for the martian book cover


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.

Truckers (The Bromeliad Trilogy #1)

The beginning tells of the lifespans of nomes and the differences of other species. Some of their tenets from when they moved into the Arnold Bros. (est. 1905) is shared. Then a day when a lorry crashes is mentioned, but this being a false start and moving further back to a dismally wet, rainy day. Masklin was hunting for food when he notes of the lorry stopping as usual, he running to get Grimma and the others before the lorry drove off again. Masklin returns to the lorry whilst Grimma gets the others ready to go as they slowly made it to the truck and were hoisted into it, one of the old men dropping the Thing. Masklin also hears the footsteps of the lorry driver, he believing there wasn’t time to retrieve it. After being convinced he must get it, he does, but the lorry begins moving.

Masklin is pulled up whilst the lorry moved faster, he hearing and smelling loud and nasty pollutants from the truck. Masklin then considers the possibility of death and where nomes go when they die. After being brought in from his loud elevator ride, the number of nomes there used to be is mentioned, but since the takeover of man, the areas they used to live were harder to uncover.It’s also told of how much more difficult it was to hunt for their group without as many hunters, Grimma having the hope of Spring bringing natural foodstuffs, like berries, etc. The difficulties there were in returning with food, when found, as well as their process for keeping their home warm and deterring predators is also made clear. At one point Masklin confessing to Grimma of wanting to leave for not being appreciated for all he did for them, Grimma attempting to convince him to stay, even whilst feeling guilty for sensing his being right.

After having this conversation, Masklin contemplated the lives of the humans, seemingly having it much easier, then a flashback of he hearing a scream, and upon investigation sees a fox, he taking out his anger and frustration on the creature by stabbing it in the leg to save Torrit. Even after driving the fox away into traffic, they still act as if he hadn’t done enough, he not entertaining their lack of thankfulness. Then back in real time, Grimma fretting over the older nomes missing their meal and how long their trip would be, Torrit calm for the Thing knowing what they’d do next, Masklin not having heard the Thing say or do anything before. When Masklin looks outside the truck, he can’t make out where they are, and when they stop and he checks again, he sees many lorries and humans roaming about. Masklin goes out to gauge the place, but then they hear a click and silence after, until seeing a human-like creature descending from the ceiling and surveying his surroundings, he built stockier than a sumo wrestler and looking hardcore.

Masklin is looking about outside and discovering an edible apple core as well as a rat with a collar, someone exclaiming for he not to kill it once he’d reached for his spear. Whom he saw looked like a nome, but wasn’t wearing the proper nome-attire. The weirdly dressed nome began interrogating Masklin until he learned what Masklin was doing, his tone changing. The nome is resistant to believing Masklin was from outside, he inquiring of what it was like, Masklin not sure how to describe the nature of outdoors, the odd nome describing it like one would the interior of a house. The nome finally gets a grip on himself to finally give his name, Angalo, and his rat, Bobo. Angalo is also impressed by the old people Masklin was traveling with, he leading them to where his father was and they learning they were in the perfect place, the Store.

The Book of Nome mentions how the indoor nomes lived, forgetting the outside, they having wars with nomes in other departments. Meanwhile Angalo has led the group to a hole in the wall, Granny Morkie insisting it was a rat hole and wouldn’t go inside, Grimma describing how the inside didn’t look like a rat hole for the stairs and lights. When they get to the bottom, they see more nomes than they’ve heard of being in one place before, all eating and walking through aisles and some walking rats, some ladies walking mice, and Granny Morkie disapproving of the whole scene. After Angalo explains some of the foods they saw, and the group pretending to know some of them, Angalo offers them to go and sample, anyone asking to mention it would go on the Haberdasheri account, Masklin being the only one to hang back, asking questions about Angalo’s father, he learning of how many title’s the man held, he seemingly important.

When they meet the man, he doesn’t believe they are from the Outside, saying the Thing was “amusing”. Masklin attempts to convince him, but the Duke allows only the possibility they came from an area of the store which hadn’t been fully explored. Masklin openly asks why the Duke would bother fighting with his own kind, upsetting the Duke to the point of he dismissing them from his presence to go where they will, but would not be accepted to the Haberdasheri. Masklin then considers how ridiculous nomes with food reacted as opposed to those who go without, then believing humans may not be as dumb as presented since the nomes were stealing items made by them. Masklin almost had an interesting reply to a thought of the humans brain similarities to a rat when Grimma asks Angalo what became of the nomes who didn’t join a department, it being a lamentable life, but he believing them and positive of his father lightening up. Masklin then seeing more of the Store and noting it was incomparable to the lorry since being infinitely larger.

Masklin decides he’d be returning outside for an odd feeling of being watched which he shares with Grimma, he letting her know he’d help the group settle in a spot but then would leave to help ease his mind, Grimma believing it was more because he wouldn’t be needed to hunt for food any longer. More information about the different territories is given, Millineri being a faction which wasn’t currently fighting with the Haberdasheri, Angalo encouraging their group shouldn’t have trouble being taken in by one of the factions. Granny Morkie dismisses him and has Torrit lead them on. Masklin then becomes annoyed when Torrit mentions the Thing helping them, Masklin insisting to know what the Thing has actually said to Torrit. He struggles to explain, Masklin calling him out on it, Grimma standing up for him, and as Torrit feels the pressure of relaying the Thing’s value, it speaks out loud, Masklin now impressed, but Torrit in shock since it hadn’t spoken aloud before, he dropping it, lights illuminating it all over. Masklin is first to comply with the Thing’s wishes of being nearer the electrical wires. Torrit is still processing the renewed chatter of the Thing, sharing how the nome before him told of the Thing not having spoken for hundreds of years.

As this is being discussed, Masklin is mesmerized by the patterns the lights are making on the Thing, which reminded him of a time he’d seen a human sign, the nomes guessed the meaning and Masklin the only one attempting to think outside the norm. The Thing then states thousands of years have passed, repeatedly. Masklin being the only one brave enough to respond to it, the Thing begins to ask probing questions of terms their kind used to know, Masklin stating they didn’t anymore. After the Thing is told their current whereabouts, Granny Morkie becomes impatient for them to consider their next move. The Thing responds with information on their past, but Masklin thought it was referring to someone named Shipwrecked, the Thing then informing them the sorts of tasks it could be used for, but Masklin not understanding the words. Everyone agreed they didn’t want what they didn’t understand, so Masklin conveys the group only wanted to “go home, and be safe”, no one knowing how famous this quote would become in the future for nomes. The Thing withdrew to essentially a “working sign” indicated by all lights shutting off, but for one, Grimma asking what their next move should be and Granny responding with how Angalo made it seem their lives would be quite bleak.

An overview with what the Thing was attempting to do for the nomes is shared and what the previous chapter contained, through excerpt of the Book of Nome. The group spent their “night” in a small space next to some large wooden walls, they noticing the Thing seemed to have developed what looked like a small satellite dish and some additional lights. Meanwhile Granny was first to voice of more noise than last time being heard, Masklin looking through a crack in the wall which revealed a horde of humans, the Store open. Masklin then asks the Thing about humans, the Thing stopping and starting the main task previously requested. Then an old nome they didn’t know began to speak with them about the humans, introducing himself as Dorcas del Icatessen, Masklin was at the end of his patience with nomes treating him like he didn’t know anything when the Thing informs him, they would need Dorcas, he overhearing and thinking the Thing was a small radio. Dorcas then offers to take them with him to where he stayed, he showing how he’d made use of the human elevator to aid him, not being so good with so many steps these days, Granny resisting, but then agreeing due to being shocked by Dorcas referring to her as “madam”.

When they arrive on Dorcas’ floor, they also learn how he’d gotten away with his own space since no one else had figured how to work human contraptions. Dorcas also showed them his drawing of what he believed nomes from outside should look like, explaining the reason of body shape. Masklin inquires why none of the Store nomes didn’t end the mystery by looking for themselves, realizing after, the nomes inside would be blinded by the sunlight since living in such dim light their whole lives. Dorcas asks to know everything they can remember of Outside as the Thing flashed a second green light of progress. As the nomes ate, they chat of different subjects, Dorcas mentioning his status as inventor with focus on electricity, Dorcas then asked about the Outside, Masklin sharing the name of the moon and not knowing why it was there at night. They were chatting about why the nomes happened to be living in the Store, when Grimma interrupts to learn about whom the person was to have started it, Dorcas not being able to divulge much since the Thing came out of his work mode to state the monitoring of telecommunications. The nomes take his big words in stride, the Thing finally realizing they didn’t understand, it discovering they understood the word destroyed, after attempting a simpler terminology which also landed on deaf ears. The Thing then relates the Store would be destroyed in twenty one days and needed to inform the community leaders.

The Book of Nome then tells of deaf ears being plentiful since none of the leaders would believe the bad news. The group being followed as they shadow Dorcas looking for the most open-minded, but not by much, Abbot, Masklin attempting to calm him with the prospect of having plenty of time, but Dorcas knowing it wouldn’t be easy since many didn’t believe the Outside existed. Dorcas tries to keep them away from crowded nome areas since they didn’t have a department and it was dangerous for them, but they get ambushed by bandits from Corsetry, regardless, the group discussing how to handle the attempt at robbing them and whether to comply. Masklin returns with the answer of respectfully declining, but when the bandits move to grab Granny, they get the surprise of a slap for each who touched her. Torrit held his own against one, as Grimma dropped another. After Masklin makes it clear what they were doing was wrong, he gives the leader a chance to leave, he and his gang taking it.

Dorcas was quite amused by the scene and wondered aloud what the Abbot would make of them, they walking on to Stationeri. When they arrive, they learn this group is obviously the oddballs of the communities since they knew how to read and write. When the Abbot and the group were in his guest hall, the Abbot refused to acknowledge the presence of Masklin and bunch, only speaking with Dorcas, the Abbot not receptive to the news of the Store closing since it seemed to occur every year, and nothing happened. When Masklin sets the Thing in front of the Abbot, it describes what it was and what it had understood from the Store computers, but the Abbot was stubborn to believe, dismissing them. One young Stationeri monk gets their attention, wanting to speak with the Outsiders. After asking about the Thing and whether they believed what it said was true, Torrit tells of how long it had been looked after by the men in his family. The monk, Gurder introduces himself and confesses to being the Abbot’s assistant, asking if they’d follow him, since the Abbot was aware of something different in the Store and was worried. Granny Morkie complying if snacks would be in attendance, Gurder acquiescing to send for some.

The Book of Nome mentions the unrest over the new signs not being understood when expecting ones for Christmas once more, but those up only showing “Clearance Sale”. Gurder guides them through a place with many books which were closely guarded, the Thing stating the necessity of acquiring them, but Gurder unable to do so, he leading them to a place where the Abbot waited once more, he commanding Gurder to show them the food whilst he spoke with acting leader, Masklin, the Thing staying behind as well to speak with the Abbot, whom begins by smiling awkwardly, confirming he had Masklin’s name right, which he had, Masklin relating being confused by the Abbot’s conduct earlier, he explaining he had to officially shun them since many Abbots before him would’ve done the same, and if he suddenly changed, it would look bad and make him sound crazy. The Abbot then explains politics more clearly than ever I heard before, politics is about being certain, not about “being right or wrong”. The Abbot also speaks of how they helped the nomes in the Store through some wars, using “cunning and common sense and diplomacy”.

After the Abbot noted how Masklin had all the qualities of a leader, he gave him sound advice about not underestimating people, then he moved on to his memory of seeing the Arnold Bros (est. 1905) for himself when he was young. He inquiring about Masklin’s home, which as he spoke of it now, seeing more of the good than the bad. After, Masklin invites him to come with them when the Store is demolished, the Abbot declining pleasantly for having other plans, he sending for Gurder to show Masklin out and educate him a bit, but to leave the Thing whilst he rested, and once Masklin’s brief education was done, to return. The Abbot begins by asking the Thing what it was and its function, the Thing giving more detail about the nomes ship and its other task of returning them home safely, the Abbot at first seemingly to understand well enough. As he sends Masklin and Gurder out, he also mentions upon their return he’d have a task for them. Gurder takes them to where the Book of Nome was kept and began reading, Granny first to interrupt with questions about whether the Store had been built for nomes, and what was there before, he then sending the elders of the group to wait for them in the Food Hall as he showed Masklin and Grimma how he knew of seasons, but not weather.

The Book of Nome about the signage within being ignored by humans. As Gurder led them along, Masklin learned the Stationer weren’t considered a department since only boys were chosen from each department every year so they could serve the entire Store. Grimma asked why women weren’t chosen, Gurder stating it was caused by women’s inability to read due to overheating. Ha! Grimma plays it down, but Masklin knew the tone as a start of trouble. They then note how respectfully the nomes acted around Gurder. When they reach the Haberdasheri department, Gurder points out the odd sign, as well as the usual ones, he wondering what they could mean, also worrying over the shelves not being restocked anymore. Grimma asked why they didn’t ask Arnold Bros (est. 1905), himself what was happening, but Gurder balked at the idea and the only one to see him being the Abbot. When they get back to the elders, they inform them the Abbot had asked for them, they doing so after Torrit marveled over the soft read and nearly choking when foxes are mentioned.

When Masklin and Gurder go in to see the Abbot, he’s deep in thought, he sharing what the Thing had told him sounding demented, and eventually decides they had to ask Arnold Bros (est. 1905) what the truth was. Gurder attempts to dissuade him due to it being a perilous undertaking, the Abbot agreeing and so sending the two in his stead. On their way out Masklin asks about whom Bargains Galore was, Gurder explaining she was the opposite and enemy of Prices Slashed. Gurder then departs to gather some belongings for their trek, planning on leaving immediately since if they didn’t, he’d lose his nerve. Meanwhile the Abbot was still questioning the Thing about how they arrived and was told of nomes relationships to humans in the past in the hopes of developing the technology of metal so they could return to the main ship, the Abbot also asking about what agriculture was and having reached his limit of understanding which resulted in a funny response by the Thing. The Abbot continued to listen about astronomy and drifted off happily as he listen to the Thing go on.

The Book of Nome then describes Arnold Bros (est. 1905)’s sign which indicated someone would be available to answer questions if something can’t be found. Meanwhile Masklin is speaking on Grimma’s behalf to join them, Gurder not wanting her to come due to the danger, it not being suitable for a female. Masklin’s viewpoint was if she wanted to accompany them she should, women stepping into dangerous situations plenty, but Gurder not brought up to think this way. Grimma insists since no one needed her to stay, in the end Gurder relenting, Masklin unimpressed with their journey to the Kiddies Klothes and Toys Department, where a kind people lived, no danger occurring at all. The Klothians offer them a guide to the “moving stairs”, these people on a higher floor and not getting many visitors, their food coming from the staff restroom (break-room). The guide points them to the escalator and retreats, Gurder nervous due to the superstition of Arnold Bros (est. 1905) was said to be waiting at the top and an unfinished thought relating to when nomes die. Grimma is first to sprint forward to see if it’s true, impatient by all the dallying. They get to the top with nothing terrible happening, Gurder leading them on.

They go down the hall to find the general manager’s office, Masklin volunteering to go in first, the room dark, and the carpet thicker, the three eventually making it onto the desk, no Arnold Bros (est. 1905) to be found. What Gurder does discover is a letter confirming the closing of the store and the construction of what would be built in its place. Gurder takes this news badly, needing help to move after it’s decided they would take the letter with them for the Abbot, and Masklin noticing a shadow heading in their direction caused by the lamplight. Masklin sees the man’s hat which spelled “security”, he ready to incapacitate him if he saw Grimma and Gurder on the floor, but he doesn’t. Gurder becomes uncontrollably emotional, getting the attention of the security, the cleaning lady working her way down the hall with a vacuum. As Masklin rejoins the other two, they consider a better hiding spot, Gurder insistent the woman is Bargain’s Galore come to protect them, Masklin and Grimma letting him believe what he wanted since he was calmer, the group escaping through an opening in the floor, their return to The Kiddies Klothes Department taking half a day since Gurder kept breaking down. After being fed and requesting an escort back, they make it to Stationery just in the nick.

The Abbot seemed ill in the way of being close to death, he indicating for Masklin to come closer, and requests he ask Granny Morkie to step out. She had provided one of her medicines which tended to pack a wallop. She agreeably goes and Gurder has the chance of relaying the letter, the Abbot instructing their people would have to leave. He then relates to Masklin of what the Thing had shown and told of the universe. He commanding Masklin to get everyone Home, and then dying, and Masklin wondering aloud to the Thing of how he was going to convince everyone to leave. Next, the odd funeral for the Abbot, Masklin not having known a nome die of old age before, and the customs of a service being new to him. When Gurder attempts to explain the dead’s ability to possibly return to see them once more as a spirit, no one understands, so he has them visit the gardening department to see if a demonstration could be given. As they walked through the fake grass and seed packets of flowers Masklin had not seen in the real world, Gurder inquires if it was similar to the Outside, Masklin relating the differences. They also see the garden gnomes people buy to adorn their lawns, Gurder believing these were Arnold Bros (est. 1905)’s way to show nomes lived after death, the area this falls apart being their weren’t any female gnomes.

Torrit shares a story where he’d actually seen a gnome out in the world when he was a boy with his grandpa, the priest whom had been giving them the tour becoming quite upset for the group not comprehending their ideas. Granny Morkie reluctantly attempts to soothe him whilst Torrit insists of what he’d shared of his memory to be true. Then Gurder, whom wasn’t happy to learn the former Abbot had chosen him to take his place is covered, he not liking the idea of leading, but everyone else being in agreement with the former Abbot’s decision. Gurder believed he wouldn’t be suitable due to his Doubt over the Outside which Masklin supposed was partly the reason the former Abbot picked Gurder. The group, as well as the rulers of other Departments were currently in the area for important meetings, Gurder sensing Masklin had a plan, he knowing if he was going to convince all the nomes they’d be able to take everything with them so all could leave safely was going to be a delicate process, Masklin going over all the important details learned from the Thing. Especially of the larger Ship still waiting for the nomes’ return in space. Masklin then shares the plan with Gurder whom was preparing his speech as the new Abbot, Masklin insisting Gurder needing to break the plan to all at the same time.

In the Book of Nome, Gurder gets the leaders to listen to Masklin as he shares his plan. Masklin has difficulty convincing them though, the Duke Haberdasheri vocal of the absurdity, but Angalo looking starry-eyed. When the Duke had heard enough, once Masklin mentions the stealing of a truck to get them and all their belongings out, some followed whilst few waited in the back near the door, uncertain. The Count of Ironmongri and the Baroness del Icatessen stayed to listen, Masklin going on to say everyone would need to cooperate in order for the plan to succeed which would mean to share previously secret information from individual Departments, Masklin also mentions how Stationery would be extending to anyone who wanted to learn to read, including women, would have the opportunity, due to needing as many as possible to begin reading books so they’d learn the information, if any, needed to survive and help with the plan, Gurder balking at the idea, but not disagreeing. Grimma then gets the chance to mention how she’d already begun to learn to read which interested the Baroness, Masklin divulging how they had a driver’s manual to study and if humans could do it, they wouldn’t have a problem.

The two leaders were convinced enough to share the news with their people, the grand total of volunteers being twenty-eight, Masklin seeing it as a fair start until others decided to join, he conveying to Grimma of how the instructing process would go and how he thought she should continue to learn to read more so they could think critically and have the right words to explain things properly. Gurder was still prickling over Masklin’s open offer to everyone learning to read, but made it so he’d have to go along to save face. Masklin then had Gurder look into the books which would help them understand certain words and the possibility of uncovering one which would help a nome learn to drive a human truck, complications unfolding, but working it out one at a time.

When they’d made it to a truck, Angalo had insisted learning to read so he could assist with the driving, he getting to the drivers seat, and Masklin knowing he was now the only nome whom knew anything about trucks, but it still not being much, which was why he’d be hiding so he could accompany a human driver to learn the process. The only other unknown was why the trucks were loaded with product and came back with product, the thought being they were the same trucks, but the process took no longer than two days, so Angalo would hopefully be able to explain upon returning. Masklin not looking forward to describing to Angalo’s parents the scenario if he was lost, but knowing Angalo had the motivation, this as Dorcas mentions the possibility of discovering an easier way to get nomes into the trucks. Another work in progress.

The Book of Nome then regards the status of Angalo’s trip. Masklin was sleeping in Stationery when a group of nomes are seen waiting for him, books in hand. Masklin gets exasperated with the books and how their usefulness wasn’t straight forward. A particularly quick, but not quite attentive reader came up with an idea involving taking a human hostage with a “gnu” and forcing said human to drive them wherever they wanted, Masklin too tired to disagree and replying he’d keep it among the working ideas. Masklin then asks the Thing what a gnu was, it being an antelope, he then realizing the nome’s idea wouldn’t work, the Thing suggesting Masklin sleep, he overextended on what they needed to do, and dropping off after sharing his worries. A couple days passed and another issue arose when they realized the garage door button was high up on a wall, as well as Gurder informing Masklin he found a map.

After showing the map to Masklin, it was “logical” guesswork as to where they were and then the truck returns during this exchange, without Angalo. Masklin rushes to the truck, one of the nomes knowing for certain it’s the same one for the license plate. When Masklin reaches the nomes already at the window who inform him of it being dark and seeing no one within, Masklin decides he wants them to lower him inside while someone else goes the long way to the steps to the door. Masklin is lowered to the ground, he going to get in through the bottom of the truck somehow, but when he does, he discovers Angalo’s jacket, and no Angalo, so he goes back out and shows the group of nomes who’s imaginations of what could have happened run wild, Masklin attempting to keep the possibilities logical, when the Duke shows up, motioning for his son’s jacket, asking the odds of detecting Angalo Outside, Masklin knew it wouldn’t be easy, but the possibility still there, and the Duke then offering as many people necessary to operate the truck so they could go out and search.

When fifty Haberdasheri show up at night, Masklin immediately put those who seemed able, on to the reading program. Gurder argued with their status being basic soldier-types, but Masklin sensed they would need them. The material found in the books ranged so widely between all genres, Masklin found it difficult to decide what to ignore, especially with the fiction books which no one understood couldn’t occur (usually) in reality. For instance, when the same reader found Alice in Wonderland and thought the “Drink Me” bottles could be utilized for one nome among them to drive the truck, Masklin decided to err on the side of safety and dedicated a night with some others to search the Store for a bottle of the tincture, it nowhere to be found, then noticing some of the information in the books weren’t easily discovered in the Store and why Arnold Bros (est. 1905) would keep them at all. Masklin had found a book for children with constellations and other facts of the sky which he knew was true, he enjoying looking at it when he was overloaded with other responsibilities. He shared some of the names with the Thing to see if it knew them, but due to differing knowledge of the names, it failed to be recognized. Masklin inquires what the name of the nome planet was, but Masklin learned the Sun they’re from isn’t the same as the one in the Milky Way Galaxy. He also learns how many planets nomes had gone to, it a large, impressive number, and when considering his task of moving a measly truck, made his difficulty seem insignificant.

The Book of Nome then alludes to one of their own having returned from the Outside by vehicle, and how vast the Outside was in size. Angalo then returns after four days, exhilarated, dirty, and tired, but eager to share what he’d seen. The nomes who heard him, found he’d seen plenty and how majestic the Store looked from Outside. He also wrote down what a sign in front of the building had on it, most of the nomes able to read now, it being another reference to a “Closing down sale”. After, Angalo fell asleep still raving over the sights, later Masklin visits to notice Angalo’s eyes still brilliant with his new adventure. Granny Morkie was watching over him and discouraged any talk of excitement already having dealt with the Duke, Masklin stating his need to speak with him, Granny Morkie allowing him some time, Angalo chattering about all he’d seen and how he’d gotten lost, Masklin then able to ask about how the trucks were driven, Angalo showing his detailed notes, but it seeming quite complicated, Masklin becomes overwhelmed with how they’d manage to pull it off.

Angalo looks for confirmation of his notes being well-written, but Masklin looking unhappy, he letting Angalo know he’d given him much to think over, Angalo then blurting excitedly over the other Stores he’d seen and the possibility of other nomes living there, Masklin urging Angalo to rest. Masklin walks out of the room to witness Granny Morkie facing off with the Duke from taking his son and provide his own care in recovery. When the Duke saw Masklin, he decides to give in, but they then negotiate the minutes allowed for visits, and after coming to an agreement, he catching up with Masklin on how well the people he’d sent were working out, Masklin conveying their value, and the Duke offering to aid him any way he could, before walking off. Masklin asks Granny Morkie’s opinion of why the Duke seemed to be acting strangely, she stating it was because he had to think about something which put him at unease.

Masklin is next shown moaning over the amount of steps one must learn to drive a truck with Gurder and Grimma, he about to share his most recent idea when Vinto, the imaginative reader walks in with a fresh idea from a book. Masklin was in the middle of turning him away when Grimma encourages him to listen, Masklin doing so and Gurder passive-aggressively questioning the sort of wild idea he was bringing this time, Vinto showing them an illustration of a human caught by nomes with rope, Gurder recognizing the story as Gulliver’s Travels, but Masklin becoming inspired, and then yelling of his moment of eureka. After the Store closed, Masklin and a few dozen others go to where the trucks are parked and test out the pedals, Masklin unable to move one by himself without quite a few others to help.

Dorcas then brainstorms with Masklin of how they could work the pedals, he deciding a lever would be needed, they testing the idea with a long piece of wood lowered through the door, and after learning how many levers it would take, Masklin mentioning the use of ropes with squads of nomes moving the truck where they wanted. Dorcas figuring the only issue being the noise (to him, fixable), and the need for training (everything would be set up in time, but a day for training the nomes, would not be enough), Dorcas suggesting Masklin locate a small practice truck, as well as thinking over how he was going to get the elderly and children on-board. Masklin open to any ideas, Dorcas deciding they’d meet up again the next night, he having an idea which could solve the practice and entrance for minors and elderly nomes. Masklin’s only other concern was for the nomes acting like it was life as usual, he noting even the leaders weren’t completely convinced, Masklin resting and waking an hour later when the panic began.

The Book of Nome has a poem which has the rhythm of a song (Skip to My Lou works pretty well) and about escape. The Store is then mentioned being currently quiet on a work day, the nomes attempting to reassure themselves nothing was amiss, but then humans arriving to remove the remainder of the product off the shelves and into trucks, they also removing floorboards, this setting a panic into motion, Gurder waking Masklin to inform him of what was happening, and Masklin then asking the Thing which explained the fourteen days until demolition didn’t include the time for the removal of stock, Masklin advising the people to gather as much food as they could, but some good news coming in the form of a member of Dorcas’ group, the humans storing everything in a convenient spot.

The Book of Nome then gives detail of the humans making nomes relocation easier by loading a variety of items onto the trucks. Masklin is informed by Dorcas of the items being loaded in the garage, a couple runs already having been made and Dorcas deducing the travel wasn’t far due to their quick return to the Store. So far the items being moved were carpets and mannequins which nomes debated about the latter’s immobility being caused for some religious reasons. The two were deciding whether the humans would be able to clear the Store in a day, Dorcas struggling to come up with a way of securing one of the trucks, he confident the new Ironmongery exiles would be able to help, and as Masklin left, became worried with the looks they gave him being hopeful of his working everything out.

News looked grim since many items were being moved out and when Masklin returns to Dorcas, he’s told one positive development being Dorcas had lifted a part of the truck which would keep the humans from driving off, since it contained many items they could utilize. Dorcas having gone to great lengths with back up plans to be certain the humans didn’t succeed in fixing the truck, Masklin satisfied and then speaking to the Thing about where they’d need to go once in the truck, he told of where an airline was, and Masklin knowing the Thing would be nonoperational until they were next around electricity, Masklin losing drive on his next move, Grimma entering when Masklin desperately needed to vent his stress, she giving him tough love by informing him of the nomes asking for him, to get himself together, and start making a plan. Masklin gets defensive, but Grimma snaps him into game face mode, and looks on the bright side of the Thing’s last words being read as, they would succeed, it only depending on the length of time it could take.

When night fell, and the last human gave up attempting to fix the lights in the garage due to Dorcas’ handiwork, the nomes got to fixing what was ‘broke’. Masklin learning it could take about an hour to get the truck in working order. As they were getting on, Granny Morkie was ‘cattle herding’ all the nomes into the back, and doing so with efficiency due to her natural talent. Once realizing Granny Morkie had taken care of Masklin’s only other idea of checking boxes, he returned to the cab of the truck due to not having left himself a task, and after watching Dorcas attempt to lead a practice for the nomes grouped at the gear shifts, Masklin asks about progress, the update not being positive, but they being ready to give it a whirl and deal with the hiccups on the fly, and when the time came, Masklin, Angalo, the Thing, Gurder (in case of any ‘splainin’ to Arnold Bros. (est. 1905) was needed), and Grimma were all in front, Gurder asking why she was up front with them, Masklin responding it was to help him read, he not being as quick as she.

Grimma set up The High Way Code and related the first instruction to check the mirror, no one knowing why, but Masklin still checking, not noticing anything but himself, Gurder deciding he should be the one to relay to the others they were ready to go after Grimma had taken initiative, but then giving Masklin the duty, he asking to start the engine, the air then alive with vibration, Angalo assuring him he’d get accustomed, the next signal to move forward not going as planned, since they ended up in reverse and hitting something, making the engine die, Dorcas going off on the teams on gears. As he does, Gurder is overcome with they moving at all, Angalo annoyed they hadn’t gone far. Then Dorcas informed of they ready to attempt it again, Angalo glad, since then smelling petrol, so when the time came to open the garage, Dorcas and Masklin having trouble hearing each other at first, but Dorcas wanting practice time for the teams, and when conveyed to skip it and get the garage open, Masklin discovers Dorcas had forgotten to fix it, this the perfect time for security (Prices Slashed) to walk in with flashlight in hand, Angalo noticing the bad (in many ways) cigarette in his mouth, he explaining why to Masklin, and then when security reached the door, Gurder speaks biblically in anger for the man to leave with his ciggie, he giving (what I imagine the same look as Flash from Zootopia)  when coming to the realization of, in this case, terror, he moving quicker than nomes are used to seeing a human move, but drops his ciggie, Masklin and Angalo yelling to their signaler to sign for Dorcas to inform the teams to shake a tail feather out of there. Masklin urging them to go faster to hit the door, which to a nome still looks like sauntering, they successfully breaking through though, and on to the street with little difficulty, they hearing the phwoosh of fire Angalo had expected.

The Book of Nome plainly states the items and departments all needing to go. Also, the Book describes the store going out with a “bang”, when it was actually a “whoomph”. None of the nomes paid this much attention due to the all encompassing need to follow the directions Angalo dictated quickly, not hitting any cars, fortunately, but did hit a store window in passing, stopping soon after when hitting a wall, the group needing a powwow about a more efficient way to steer, and to detect the headlights lever. As this is discussed, Masklin decides he, Grimma, and Gurder would go check those in the back whilst Angalo and Dorcas hashed it out. They found Granny Morkie helping a nome with a broken leg caused by a falling box, then Masklin invited Gurder a look Outside, he surprised by the rain. After hearing the “singing” cars, Gurder views the burning Store, he taking it better than Masklin expected. They return inside and Angalo had worked out a new string-pulling system to help with what he wanted done with the gears below. Angalo then attempted to have the lights turned on, instead getting the windshield wipers and radio, the switch for the lights discovered soon after, turning the radio off, which they couldn’t understand, but had news of the fire and the missing truck, they moving sort of along the road, and it close to midnight, the town fairly asleep, and then when a sign is misinterpreted as working, Masklin has them quickly stop for a hole in the middle of the road, Angalo meekly asking to back up.

When next they attempt to figure out what a roundabout is, Angalo obviously becomes a speed demon, they again stopping abruptly, Masklin and Grimma putting the smack down on Angalo and Gurder, the latter for not giving correct information and arguing, Masklin especially getting on everyone to start cooperating with each other for all the nomes relying on them, Angalo finally calming down enough to take Grimma’s original advice of taking it slow. Then when Masklin was considering a place to stop, they see Prices Slashed with a cop car, Angalo ready to knock into him, but Masklin grabbing a string for them to steer clear, they instead backing into the cop car, Angalo taking over again, and vying for Gurder to agree it would’ve been acceptable to hit Prices Slashed, but Gurder unsure it was the same being, Angalo having lost faith and Gurder forming the idea, if Arnold Bros (est. 1905) was in one place, he could be in all places, needing to think further on it. They they notice the cop car behind them, Masklin asking Angalo to get to another road when available, then going to report what’s occurring to Dorcas, Masklin having a plan needing pliers, Dorcas offering to join him.  When the truck stops, the police car stops more forcefully, the two men running and wrenching the door open, wondering where the driver had gone, they checking the bushes, Masklin and Dorcas dashing to the car, and quickly returning to the truck, it starting, the cops running for the car, but unable to start the ignition. The truck was abandoned and discovered a couple days later, the battery, wires, light bulb, radio, and switch missing, only the strings left.

The Book of Nome relates of a “New Place”, for keeps, and of a silent “Outsider”. The nomes had settled in a quarry after running hurriedly through fields, fussiness about the Outside and the state of the food found being dealt with in stride, and Dorcas even finagling some electricity, Masklin getting the Thing close to it, and only receiving a response of a few lights flashing. He was content not to bother the Thing until they accomplished more, this resulting in the passing of a few seasons, they fast-forwarding to Summer. Masklin was on watch with a button Dorcas had installed so if Masklin saw danger, those below would see a light turn on. Dorcas also had students to instruct on the finer points of electric. Masklin considering how whilst they were getting comfortable, he knew the probability of they having to pack up again someday, something they’d need to look forward to, he then looking below where he sat, Grimma teaching a few young nomes to read, he then thinking about how the departmental nomes tented to tiff fairly often and looked to him as mediator, he reminding himself of their true home, he glad though, they at least aware of the goal, their current location in view of the airport, he having sent a large team to investigate more closely, the last bit a conversation between Masklin and Dorcas of they considering the likelihood of being able to hijack a jet, Dorcas believing it possible due to only having three wheels.

One thing is for sure, this story is great for kids (the sensible ones), conquering one’s fear, teamwork, planning, organization. Another thing, this beats the movie ten-fold, I was intrigued only until catching the dialogue after a few minutes, finding other pastimes as I listened, I’m looking forward to the sequel.

Right Ho, Jeeves


We begin in the middle of a conversation between Bertie, whom was about to confess something he believed could hurt Jeeves’ feelings in some way, but Jeeves assuring him otherwise, Bertie about to let loose when Bertie, the Narrator stops his retelling to confess he not being on-point. He unsure of where to begin the story, explaining the ways a story can quickly go south. He goes back to mention the other players in this being Gussie, Madeline, Cousin Angela, Aunt Dahlia, Uncle Thomas, Tuppy, and Anatole. Bertie then describes his trip to Cannes marking the beginning and Jeeves declining to come, Bertie instead going with his Aunt Dahlia and her daughter, Angela. Tuppy, Angela’s fiancée, bowing out at the last, and Aunt Dahlia’s husband, Tom, staying home. We get the gist of their stay and their trip back to London to their home, Brinkley Court where Tuppy would join them a couple days later, and Bertie going home to drop his luggage and prepare for dinner at the Drones. As he does this, Jeeves and he chit chat until Gussie is brought up, which surprises Bertie when learning Gussie had been calling after him, Gussie being a country type whom enjoyed his research of newts in his garden pond, hating London. Bertie then catching Jeeves up on how long it had been since Gussie’s last visit to the city and his penchant for his newts.

Bertie then gives Gussie’s back-story behind where the newt-love began, and ever since being wrapped up with them, he confirming with physical description of Gussie to be certain Jeeves was speaking of one and the same, Jeeves relating it could well be so, and also able to share the reason for his resurfacing being caused by love. Jeeves then divulges more about whom Gussie was actually attempting to get a hold of being Jeeves, Gussie having been recommended by Sippy, a fellow student with Gussie way back when. We then get a recap of how Jeeves had helped Sippy, and Gussie’s situation being similar. Bertie then wonders of the girl whom had stolen Gussie’s affections, and learning it was Madeline, and then deciding the match had merit, we getting an idea of Bertie’s viewpoint when giving the example of seeing her at Cannes and the flighty questions she’d ask. He gives Jeeves the o-k to meddle, and Jeeves continues his unpacking of Bertie’s bag as he dressed, Jeeves making Bertie aware he’d found a questionable garment in his bag, which Bertie knew he would soon have to defend. Bertie hearkens back to when and where he’d worn it, knowing the possibility of Jeeves “making a scene” over it. Bertie prepares well, stating the jacket had been bought, after Jeeves had assumed the jacket was someone else’s, and Bertie planning on breaking it in more at Pongo Twistleton’s party the next day, Jeeves accepting this, and Bertie learning he’d be staying in regardless of his kind offer of Jeeves taking the night off since he expected Gussie to drop by, Bertie suggests full service for him and his love, going off to the Drones. Bertie speaks, or more like, is spoken to by Pongo most of the night, and when returning home, walks in on Gussie, dressed in a way described devilish and Mephistophelesian, he conversing with Jeeves.

Bertie greets him confusedly, caused by Gussie’s appearance, and when Gussie asks his opinion of his outfit, Bertie skirts an answer to regard his being in London and how long it’d been since he’d last visited, Bertie then stating how nice of a party it must be Gussie was planning to attend, Gussie not answering and instead sending Jeeves to be sure his cab was still waiting for him, when Jeeves had gone, Gussie lets the conversation go silent as Bertie made himself a drink, then letting the old boy off the hook by confessing he’d heard of Gussie’s situation from Jeeves. Gussie not pleased to know Jeeves had shared his private business, but Bertie dismissing this and giving his blessing, asking after how they’d met, Bertie then also supplying his aid and back up to Gussie, which he thanks him for, but makes known Jeeves’ assistance being the real jewel to him, Bertie stung by his words, especially since his conversation about his dress jacket had been criticized. Bertie then asks what Jeeves had done to help Gussie so far, it being the advice to attend this party and to top it off in a Mephistopheles get-up, which burns Bertie all the more due to Jeeves displeasure over his jacket when he was suggesting Gussie go around in red tights. Bertie attempts to convince Gussie to skip the party, but Gussie couldn’t since she’d be leaving after, and whilst Gussie felt the plan would ultimately fail, he also knew it was possible he could pull it off and could get what he wanted. Gussie then digresses into metaphor involving newts, Bertie arguing the point of Gussie not having the love of Madeline if he were one of his amphibious obsessions, he arguing he would if she also were one, Bertie then getting pressure in his head from the pointless disagreement. Bertie ends the line of subject by regaining his point of Gussie skipping the date altogether, but he adamantly refusing since she would be off to the country the next day, Bertie giving in. Jeeves then returning with news of the cab being outside, Gussie bidding Bertie farewell, and Bertie turning his attention on Jeeves, (we catching up to where we began the story), Bertie getting down to Jeeves’ reasoning behind his plan for Gussie and how Bertie differed from Jeeves’ outlook on the results, he believing Jeeves’ plans tended to be on the complex side and deciding he would take over the reigns forthwith, Jeeves accepting this straight away, Bertie then sharing of plans to see Gussie the next day, but forgetting to do so what with the telegrams arriving.

We learn the order of which telegram comes first and their contents, which confounded Bertie and started a telegram chat which still left him baffled, this after spending a couple months with his aunt already, finally calling for Jeeves’ opinion which pointedly suggested he do as the telegram made plain:”come at once”. Bertie then considers the request impossible for his plans on attending the birthday party, leading in to the differing opinion on the jacket, Jeeves staying firm with not relenting his dislike of the garment like Bertie believed he would someday. Bertie lets this go and details his plan of wiring his aunt of coming around in a week or so, reasoning it should be a tolerable wait. Bertie then readies for the party, and gets home dead early in the morning, ready to pass out when Jeeves interrupts with news of his aunt’s presence, she busting in.

Bertie first reminds us dear readers of he being consistent in giving credit where it’s deserved, and his Aunt Dahlia being one of the good ones. We then recap on previous escapades Bertie had with his aunt. Bertie after, pondering why Dahlia would bombard him at such an hour after so recently returning home, he believing other tasks more pressing than visiting him before his morning tea. Bertie decides to play a silent non-indulgent humor, his aunt breaking it with her idea of what he looked like, she inquiring if it was caused by his late night, Bertie agreeing it was due to Pongo’s late party. Dahlia then commands he dress, Bertie unbelieving and then groaning with unwillingness, Jeeves entering with non-reviving, but comforting tea. Bertie then asks the meaning of her being there (she at first being a smarty pants and referring to his tea), she hinting of Bertie accompanying her back at hers and she having a task for Bertie. After his questioning further, she gets down to the quick of it being for Bertie to give away prizes at a grammar school since the original person had to decline. Dahlia then relents to Bertie having a couple days to recover from his partying night, but Bertie not quite agreeing to Dahlia’s chore for him, especially after the add-on of having to prepare a speech, but Dahlia goes for the low blow of Bertie not being welcome in her home and in extension Anatole, her chef’s cooking ever again. Bertie’s still attempting to convince her he wouldn’t be the greatest choice, she giving reasons why she couldn’t ask his Uncle, and Bertie relating how terrible the last time he’d given a speech at a school had gone, Dahlia making it clear the whole event would be dry and she’d be glad of a laugh, she reiterating of seeing him within a couple days. This exchange leaving Bertie in a funk, Jeeves then entering to announce Gussie was present.

When they go through their proper greetings, Bertie cuts to the quick of Jeeves no longer working his case, Bertie ready to take the reigns. Gussie had entered the room looking desperate, the emotion visually becoming more pronounced when he heard the news, he then sharing his reasons for coming by was to be instructed on his next move since Madeline had gone to stay with some people in the country, but once Gussie shared the name Travers, Bertie realizes the issue was a thing of the past, he confessing his aunt’s home was where Madeline had gone, and he could take him there as an honored guest, Jeeves not having the genetics on his side in regards to he having reason or ability to get Gussie entrance, Bertie requiring to make note of this. He then describes the surroundings of Brinkley practically pushing the romance and possibility of engagement right in to one’s lap, Gussie being boosted by Bertie’s words. Bertie rings for Jeeves to retrieve him telegraph paper and pencil, after which Bertie writes to his Aunt Dahlia of Gussie coming to call at Brinkley, he then giving said telegram to Gussie for delivery, he happy to do so. Bertie realizes, through discussion with Jeeves, Gussie should stay away from fatty meat, so prepares a second telegram to meet Gussie at Brinkley with his sage advice. Bertie then confesses to Jeeves his other plan for Gussie was to have his aunt offer the job of giving prizes out to Gussie, Bertie relating his inability to keep this work, and Gussie unable to say no should his aunt ask him.

Following, is the back and forth telegram messaging between Bertie, Gussie, and Aunt Dahlia, the last replying first with negative tones on why Bertie sent his friend to her home, Bertie then receiving confused word from Gussie about Bertie’s additional message about meat, he only replying to add not to eat kidneys. Bertie then hears from his aunt which confirmed his senses of Gussie growing on her, was spot on, but when she mentioned Bertie would still be expected, Bertie drops the bomb of being unable to make the engagement, his aunt responding with bodily threats. After Bertie waited a little longer though, his wish came true with another telegram from Dahlia confirming she’d gotten Gussie to replace him, and he was no longer obligated to come, but she still wished him ill harm. Bertie was extensively relieved and had a night out at the Drones, retiring at home with no issues on his mind. The next morning however, brought surprising news by telegram informing him of the troubles of his cousin Angela and Tuppy Glossop, Bertie realizing he’d have to go to Brinkley Court to be with his aunt in her time of upheaval, he sending Jeeves ahead with luggage by train, he to follow by car after his lunch appointment.

Bertie is then seen driving and in thought over Tuppy and Angela’s issues, distressed especially since he’d been rooting for the two, knowing them both so well. He believed they matched each other, even knowing relationships had there ups-and downs, Bertie thinking Tuppy knew his limit by now. He sped forth to Dahlia’s so he could hear the whole story from the source. He made the trip in good time and was even confided in by Dahlia of being glad to see him, the usual feeling given by members of his family closer to disgusted revulsion. Bertie comforts her, uncertain of how she felt and guessing aloud. “Her usually cheerful map was clouded, and the genial smile conspic. by it’s absence.” Needed a reminder of what the ‘a’ was. She affirmed her worry, and mentions how she should be giving him a piece of her mind for his cowardly way of getting out of prize-giving, but allows him a pass since he came, and also thought “Spink-Bottle” a win, as long as he didn’t digress about newts. Dahlia also mentions her worry about Tom, her husband. Bertie calls him Uncle Tom and Dahlia alludes to how every time he does she imagines him black with a banjo (I didn’t get around to reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but I do enjoy Dahlia’s mindset.), but her worry was over his reaction to her loss in gambling, and this at a time when she needed funding for her weekly journal Milady’s Boudoir. Bertie was confused because of how long it was taking for Dahlia’s paper to take off (two years), she clearly stating Bertie would stay bewildered until he did a paper for himself, she also giving reply to how welcome Tom had been up to this point on the subject of money, his mood changing with the income tax representatives bothering him for more cash, and now he raving about it since her return home.

Bertie wasn’t surprised since knowing his Uncle couldn’t give up a fight when it came to his bankroll, regardless of its immensity. Dahlia mentions how Tom’s only source of comfort was Anatole’s menu, the two praising Anatole’s goodness, Dahlia after a few moments remembering her reasons for starting this conversation and getting back on track with why Angela and Tuppy were arguing, it shark-fin related. Apparently Angela, during vacation in Cannes, had met with a shark whilst aquaplaning: being towed by boat and riding behind attached it. Angela had been tossed, regained her board only to get knocked off again by a shark, and whilst gaining the attention of the driver to come back for her, she felt this shark nipping at her ankles. So when Angela relayed this story to Tuppy, he gives no reaction, and when she finished, suggested it could have been a log, but she reminded him it had jumped at her, so he allows it could have been a harmless fish, she angrily calling him names of idiocy, and he not comprehending her near fatality. Bertie definitely empathized with his cousin’s view, he knowing the few times one’s likely to have vibrant stories to share only to have someone play it down as nothing special. Well, from there it got worse as both stubbornly, on one side, and possibly ignorant on the other, both kept pointing faults out on the other until the engagement disintegrated. Bertie’s aunt again giving relief for Bertie having come, but he says some back-lashing words which his aunt is then reminded of having need of Jeeves. Bertie’s face is the only part of him to show shock, he sitting, but knowing the shock would’ve spread if in another, more upright position. Bertie then speaks his mind in what he’d thought of Jeeves’ handiness of late, he believing those who immediately sought Jeeves should at least allow him a shot at the problem first.

Dahlia sensed Bertie was in opposition to Jeeves for some reason, he denying there was any issue (but relates to us, dear readers) of a cause for his surliness stemming from Jeeves’ neglect in packing Bertie’s beloved jacket, he having seen it in his closet, it still hanging, so he remedied this by including it among his own items, but believed Jeeves was pulling a fast one on him. Dahlia brings him back to the subject of having Jeeves help Angela and Tuppy’s situation, but Bertie again pipes in, she should allow him to test his plan to renew their love, Dahlia insisting he stay out of it, and refusing to listen to his plan. Bertie leaves her as she wished, in the metaphorical dark, and goes outside where he sees a figurative dark cloud over Tuppy, whom was slinging stones at a flowerpot. Tuppy is reintroduced with a shared story of he and Bertie’s past, when Tuppy had pranked him and Bertie still rankled, but not so much as to enjoy his unhappiness of his engagement falling apart. One could see by Bertie’s look and demeanor he meant to aid fixing Tuppy’s situation. Tuppy didn’t respond with gladness, but dazed emptiness of emotion. He asked whether Bertie was staying or visiting, Bertie toying with the idea of confessing his intention to help Angela and he, but decides not to, since some people don’t take help lightly. Bertie gives an answer which brings indifference, Tuppy then bringing up how Bertie most likely heard of his troubles, Bertie confirming and asking why Tuppy would denounce Angela’s shark, he sharing his side of the story, which included defending himself from being called “material” due to wondering aloud about Anatole’s food decisions. Bertie agrees this to be good reasoning, but if love shall prevail, shouldn’t he have let her win this one, Tuppy unable to deny his love for her, but she also requiring an ego hit. Bertie is unable to accept his words and asks Tuppy what happened to his kind, romantic self, Tuppy wondering where Angela’s good qualities had gone, especially after being told he had a double chin. Bertie attempts to have Tuppy overlook this and fix their fight, but Tuppy refuses due to other fat points Angela had made. Bertie tries to keep Tuppy in perspective about his words to Angela, but he saw them as helpful, not purposely hurtful. Bertie now knew how difficult his task would be, he supposing aloud of Angela being torn up by their feud. Bertie then suggesting she’s putting on a “mask” to hide her true emotions, and a way of giving sign to a truce would be to make a grand gesture of pushing their upcoming meal away (TV show also covering this story). Tuppy has trouble with this at first since it’s Anatole’s cooking which is desired by all who come across him, but Bertie reminds Tuppy he can go down to the kitchen in the night to satiate his palate, which upon hearing, brightens Tuppy into agreeing, he assuming Jeeves came up with the plan and disbelieving Bertie could manage anything so perfect, Bertie taking offense, but his displeasure going unnoticed, he instead reminding Tuppy the time was ripe to dress for dinner.

Bertie was still most affected by Tuppy’s close-minded thoughts, it especially hurtful to give due credit to an employee whom was subordinating Bertie’s jacket. He eventually obtains composure by bath, the most aiding accessory being a toy duck. Once the calming bath was through, he’s met by Jeeves whom greets him formally and hands Bertie his socks, upon request. Bertie then mentions Jeeves supposition of the task he’s given himself being quite the doozy and being met with agreement by Jeeves. Bertie then eases Jeeves’ mind by assuring he’s handled the issue accordingly, Jeeves politely asking for details, and he being secretive, but then sharing a plan of feigned peril for Tuppy to show how much he cared by making certain of Angela’s safety, Bertie nixing and closing the “subj.”. Silently, Bertie is worrying and saddened by Jeeves failing ability of coming up with a decent plan, Jeeves again responding in a way which has Bertie defending his sound plan from criticism. Then Bertie critiques Jeeves’ way of making his reply sound dubious of Bertie’s success. Jeeves agreeing to work on this, but once Bertie confides his plan, Jeeves again gives him the impression of questioning the soundness of it, Bertie overlooking the cracks Jeeves thought were holes, he instead asking for his white jacket, Jeeves seeming to smugly mention his forgetfulness to pack it, and Bertie confessing of his good fortune in supplying it for himself, and for Jeeves to bring it from the hall. When Bertie’s aunt first catches sight of him, she likens him to a group of men in a musical.

Bertie learns his aunt’s mood may be caused by his Uncle still being in a bad mood. Bertie attempting to come up with an alternative to his aunt’s mess, but learning a new fact which pinches the idea. Bertie then discovers Dahlia could join the crew of non-eaters, he not explaining himself clearly at first, but once she understood what Bertie meant, she was quite pleased and decided to take part. When the guests sat to dinner, Bertie was not prepared for the serious atmosphere and was quite happy when it was done, everyone in a particular mood, Bertie especially surprised by Gussie’s deathly appearance since last he’d seen him. After the meal, Bertie was deciding to catch up with Gussie, but got caught up with a game of backgammon with his aunt until she was pulled away to speak with Anatole. Bertie discovers Gussie in the garden, he not receiving him well, quite upset over Bertie pawning off his prize-giving onto him, he prepared for this unpleasant confrontation. He makes it seem like Gussie taking over this task was a part of his plan to show the many sides of Gussie, which Bertie does fair enough selling, only needing to claim how simple his speech at the girls school had gone. Bertie then councils Gussie through his inability to ask for Madeline’s hand. Gussie coming around to the idea, but then fretting over what he’ll have to say once Bertie “tags him in”, he giving him a phrase Jeeves had said to him and then some interesting metaphors Madeline had come up with. Bertie rounds off the turns of phrase until steering Gussie to the main, then suggesting he have a couple shots beforehand to even the nerves, Gussie sharing he’d never imbibed, to Bertie’s surprise, but Gussie would need to work with what he allowed himself, o.j., then Bertie runs through the plan with him before leaving him to it. Bertie going off to locate Madeline to begin his part, but realizing upon viewing her, how she wasn’t one of his most bosom of buddies and this could be a bit uncomfortable for him. Bertie sallies forth, though, getting Madeline into the yard and struggling with where to go from there, more figuratively than literal.

Bertie first begins by giving example to how straight forward his conversation with Madeline could’ve gone if she were a different sort, it being hashed out relatively quickly. Madeline was prone to being affected by twilight though, and Bertie knew he was going to have trouble speaking with her, she supplying chat which involved the stars, Bertie listening to the sorts of diverse subjects Madeline would bring to his attention, before she referring to a single star which didn’t support her “daisy-chain” metaphor, he thinking she needed to choose which she believed, but ignores this since realizing he could use the subject matter as a lead-in when she veers off course over some rabbits nearby. Madeline shares how when she was younger she believed rabbits were gnomes (is it odd or simply because I’m reading two British authors at the same time being the reason they both have gnomes in their stories?), this somehow relating to her idea of seeing a fairy queen. Bertie lets this slide and finally pipes in about how her comment about “shedding tears” earlier, related to an “aching heart” someone on the property was dealing with, Madeline guessing who it could be, Bertie getting more annoyed as she kept getting it wrong, but finally he indirectly spouting the point of “this aching heart” relating to the inability of confessing this love for Madeline, she getting misty-eyed and Bertie tired with the effort, he not realizing Madeline thought he was speaking of himself until she replied how she had noticed the looks he’d been giving her at Cannes, he now knowing he was in too deep to back out now, but was dismayed with the idea of being engaged to a girl like Madeline. Bertie awaits her to finish explaining painfully, but was lucky by the end of it, she turning his misproposal down. Bertie is so relieved, he accepts this readily, she apologizing and Bertie easing her mind, quite content with her suggestion of staying friends, she looking at him with compassion, and he wanting to explain how fine it was, but resisting, there being a long enough pause for Bertie’s mind to wander when Madeline had picked up the subj. again to wish she could return his feelings, but they needing to keep this little confession a secret, she spiraling into wanting to share a thought with him since they were truly friends, Bertie sensing out loud she felt love for another, she agreeing, and Bertie thinking how he didn’t look forward to breaking the news to Gussie, Bertie believing it would push him over the edge. He gives example of the two spectrums by mentioning his buddy Bingo whom bounces back quickly from disappointment, Gussie lying on the other side, the kind to pine. Madeline was explaining how the man she spoke of hadn’t shown signs of affection for her yet, but details how they first met, Bertie realizing it must be Gussie she was describing, he so relieved and surprised, a “wow” escapes, startles Madeline, and he making an excuse to withdraw as Gussie comes forward. Bertie now certain their fates were locked together, adjourning to the smoking room for a celebratory drink.

Bertie walks us through the making of his liquid delight and drinks with his feet up in an armchair (I had one of those funny images of his feet being above his head, heh), he thinking of how Gussie could already have done the deed and could already be hashing out plans, making Bertie glad for the newt-loving fool. Bertie is interrupted with his fluffy thoughts by whom he assumed was Tuppy walking in quietly and making himself a drink, as well. Bertie had forgotten his second case temporarily due to the supposed success of Gussie’s. He getting right into how Tuppy was doing, whether Angela had approached him and all, Tuppy flustered for his empty stomach, and relaying Angela hadn’t so much as stepped near him, Bertie then looking on the upside possibility Angela was currently searching for him, Tuppy believing she hadn’t even noticed his ultimate sacrifice, Bertie again attempting to show how it didn’t seem likely she hadn’t noticed at all, he listing the courses and Tuppy interrupting due to not having eaten them. Bertie changes tactics by trying to leave him words of strength, which does the opposite since Bertie again reminded him of food, this time from the pantry, and after Bertie realized his ignorant mistake, the two sit in silence for awhile.

Tuppy gets up only to show his frustration through the attacking of furniture, Bertie respectfully averting his eyes, until Tuppy picks up the reigns of chat once more, he speaking of the topic of Angela, and through his thorough examining of the matter, he detects the theory there was “dirty work” all over the tiff, Bertie disagreeing once Tuppy mentions it couldn’t have been caused by his inconsiderate words of the shark. Tuppy thinks Angela already wanted to end the engagement using the shark as a catalyst. Tuppy believing she must’ve fallen for another whilst at Cannes. He then making direct threats to the unlucky fella if he ever saw him, then exits. Bertie waiting a beat before heading for the drawing room to locate Angela for a chat. He only discovers his aunt, whom didn’t look pleased due to her appetite raging, she informing Bertie of Angela already having gone up to her room early due to a headache, the news not sounding good to him. Dahlia inquiring why he wanted to know and he relaying he’d wanted to walk and talk with her, Dahlia taking the opportunity to detail a favor involving Bertie drowning himself in the pond, and after his aunt describing she would dance on his grave. Bertie was hurt and bitter by her words likening himself to a girl he’d read about in a book whom didn’t wish to remain in the house if she was going to take such abuse.

Bertie calms for recollecting her empty insides, he asking straight out why she was ‘biting his head off’, his intuition being sound, she mentioning her food lust, and he proposing the same raid to the kitchen for steak and kidney pie. This doesn’t ease her mind though, since Tom was not receptive to being empathetic to Dahlia’s lack of eating, he wounded over Anatole putting in his notice because of all the untouched plates. Bertie apologizes sincerely what with the part he’d played in the mess, Tom truly overwhelmed with the loss, Dahlia’s handout less likely. Bertie was short on remedies now, but willing to make the effort, Dahlia showing him what staggering looked like whilst in a sitting position. She making clear on her unfinished threat if he were so bold to attempt another fix-it project, but Bertie leaves the room, hearing what sounded like the Tennyson volume sitting beside his aunt fly at the door, he not dwelling on this and going out to the lawn to ruminate on some ideas, hearing a groan of which he thought could be from his Uncle Tom, but deciphers the forms on the bench to be Jeeves and Gussie. What was so hard to understand for Bertie was Gussie seemed to be in a negative state, when he gets close enough, Jeeves greets him, but Gussie bids him farewell with the plan of walking to the pond to drown himself, Jeeves suggesting this isn’t the best plan, so Gussie takes his word, making known how everyone he’s encountered, including Mrs. Travers had been nothing but nice to him, and instead would go for a stroll.

Bertie is perfectly flummoxed by Gussie’s attitude, asking Jeeves how it could’ve gone so badly with Bertie’s training Gussie beforehand, Jeeves relaying how Gussie had gone off-course and instead of proposing, blasted Madeline with a flurry of newt-talk. At first Bertie couldn’t fathom how this could’ve happened, but after further detail of Gussie becoming too nervous and began to chatter aimlessly, Bertie reminisces of his own experience with a dentist. He then imagining how the failure could’ve went down and when using the conversation model between he and dentist, he discovers how easily it could’ve caved in. Bertie also learning the amount of time Gussie had to share this subject line before Madeline opted to return indoors. Bertie understanding how demanding a job helping Gussie was going to be, he usually asking Jeeves’ advice by now, but instead sharing the situation needing careful thinking over and wishing Jeeves a good night, Bertie reflecting on what option would be optimal as he goes.

Bertie relates how he has luck sleeping on a problem and the solution revealing itself by morning, which it had, he having a new plan for Gussie to admit his feelings: alcohol. Bertie was ready to share his idea with Jeeves when he came in with Bertie’s tea, but Tuppy comes in after Jeeves, he looking rough, Jeeves fluidly exiting, and Tuppy wanting to share his woes with Bertie after he declined to listen to Bertie’s new strategy. Bertie then refrains in preference to hearing why, Tuppy describing how he’d gone at one a.m. to snack in the kitchen, he encountering Angela, Dahlia, and Tom, the last thinking burglars were invading, so was packing heat, as well. The conversation being relived by Tuppy was upsetting him since Angela was able to make him feel fat once more. She continually pressing the button even as they all returned to their rooms, Bertie playing at positivity, but Tuppy certain Angela was in love with another and disgusted by him. Bertie then kills the idea she fell in love at Cannes, saying they’d spent most of their time together, she not close to anyone, but himself, he not helping the sharing of this by describing Angela’s name for herself in their youth. Tuppy stays in thoughtful silence until the gong for breakfast is heard, he off like lightning, and Bertie believing he’d done good with both his current and upcoming plans, and ready to share with Jeeves as he retrieved the tea tray.

Bertie begins his engaging Jeeves with noting Tuppy’s unkempt look, Bertie explains his most recent woe, still believing Angela held the old torch, and had a new idea to get her aimed in the right direction, he deciding a good roast of Tuppy will get Angela to defend him regardless of their anger toward each other. Bertie gets the light bulb from a similar experience he had with a girl whom was insulting her fiance, Bertie agreeing with her without knowing this fact, and she reacting unfavorably upon Bertie. Once he’d settled the time-frame, having Jeeves make note of Angela off with friends currently, he set his sights upon Gussie’s love issue. Bertie plainly refers to Gussie as a b.m. and lists why when Jeeves attempts to show decorum, the main example being of the costume and not going to the party, Bertie making note even on the off-chance Gussie had made it, due to his straight-edge sensibilities, would not have proposed, and so Bertie planned on spiking Gussie’s o.j. with a hefty amount of gin. He then has to school Jeeves once more on his inflection of his ‘sirs’, Jeeves explaining Bertie’s plan was a bit forward, since Bertie didn’t know how sensitive Gussie could be to the spirit, but shares a story about a parrot to help explain, Bertie not catching the gist and focusing only on Gussie not being a winged creature, fully intending to implement his plan. He then relates the reason he’s waiting for the next day to begin, it being for Gussie hosting the prize-giving and would be able to kill two birds with his gin high, but when Bertie adds perhaps Jeeves should be the one to spike Gussie’s juice due to having easier access, Jeeves apologetically declines, Bertie wounded by this, but not taking it personally.

Bertie didn’t recognize the names of Angela’s buddies, and she likely having a great time, for barely making it back in time to change for dinner, Bertie catching her afterwards in the drawing room, and looking like she needed a friendly ear. They speak cordially, but familiarly with one another, Bertie inviting her for a stroll, Tuppy then upsetting a mini-table with breakables atop it, startling Dahlia, and Tom pitching in with a teacup, Tuppy apologizing, but Angela giving him a look of being above it, they continuing out and planting themselves on a bench, Bertie starting off slow with easy chat, they beginning with Angela’s day-long stay with the Stretchley-Budds, she helping them with the set up for a party for the servants, Anatole not attending for wanting to return to where he was valued. Angela was ready to go indoors due to the dew, but Bertie extends her stay by offering his lap as a shoe-guard against the ghastly nature, she accepting and they idly conversing, it slowly dying off, and Bertie hearing rustling in the bushes, debating its weaselly origins, then going straight into the candid, Angela admitting to the wedding being off for sure, Bertie going in for the kill and laying Tuppy a new one, Angela replying how she’d believed they were chums, he denying this, and relying on past experience to aid the believability. He struggles with his words since he didn’t truly have hard feelings toward the nitwit, but attempting once more, his last go confusing her, and then himself for having to repeat it multiple times, but then he explains himself so thoroughly, it hurt him to go on, what with the expunging of all oxygen in the relation and he not enjoying being so harsh, but finishing it off like a champ. After all of this, and no reaction from her, Bertie is in awe by her indifference, but then as she’s still staring at the bushes, she agrees with Bertie’s tirade, he not having planned for this off-chance possibility, taking a moment to form a response. Before he has a chance though, Angela goes on with relish and states other bad qualities Tuppy had, even going for his hair thinning, she then deciding to return indoors, Tuppy of course, exiting from his bushy cocoon.

Bertie senses a defensive stance was needed, repositioning himself behind the bench, he then gauging Tuppy’s physical appearance giving signs of his fury. Bertie plays innocent whilst Tuppy stays fixated on harming him, he staying calm and using the bench as buffer as he attempts to explain his uncouth opinions of Tuppy, interrupting himself with talk of haggis (ingredients) and Tuppy’s background (Scotch). One part during his wait for Tuppy to realize his intentions, he notes the beetle which had stayed its post on Tuppy’s head having finally buzzed off quite hilariously. Then again, Tuppy’s confession of he believing Bertie was getting the love bug for Angela, (worth the read in itself due to Bertie’s innocent reaction of cousins being anything other than blood relatives being snort-worthy, as well) especially with his reply, but still not convincing Tuppy until mentioning an interest at Cannes with another girl. When defending his choice of Madeline being his heart-puller, Tuppy is stunned to a stop from his lunging at Bertie (along with Bertie’s backtracking with Madeline’s odd opinion of stars and rabbits truly tickling me), he’s finally convinced upon hearing Madeline had declined interest in Bertie. Tuppy has a couple more instances of flare up due to remembering the choice of words Bertie had used against him, but Bertie reminds him it was all for the plan of his roast, and Bertie realizing Angela must’ve seen Tuppy in the bush to maker her say all those sensitive topics, she reappearing then for another jab consisting of a plate of sandwiches for Tuppy, Bertie finally getting his release from the fluctuating safety of the chat, he following Angela back in as they hear the plate knocked over angrily, Angela enchanted with the calm night (love it!).

Next morning Bertie contemplates his inability to rejoin Angela and Tuppy’s souls, so he instead changes to Gussie’s situation at hand. He having executed his spiking of juice with much effort according to he, as acting cupid, overcoming the issues, and able to catch some z’s in the midst of needing to obtain the jug from the kitchen. Fortunately, Bertie’s timing was fine since he ran into Gussie practicing his speech on the lawn, Bertie more certain once speaking with the nervous nerd, he’d made the right decision. He then brings up of having good tidings, but once Gussie begins to guess and none of his hopes of the school for some reason shutting down, Bertie gives Gussie a general upbeat phrase to say since he had nada in the speech department. Bertie then attempts to assure Gussie he should speak with Madeline again, Gussie not seeing the point since making a fool of himself and believing she couldn’t stand him anymore. Then after Bertie failed to make impression with a partially remembered story, Gussie insists Bertie leave him to figure out what he’ll say. As Bertie obliges, this moment had been his deciding factor whether to proceed as planned, he off to the kitchen for the o.j., and when entering his room with Jeeves already present, he comes to learn Jeeves had decided to rally round and succumb to Bertie’s plan, already lacing something upon having a worrisome exchange whilst Bertie napped. He was pleased, but thought a bit more in the juice couldn’t hurt for safety purposes, and when Jeeves shares of having shared an anecdotal story for Gussie’s use, he leaving him, Bertie is in mid-pour, and an obviously sloshed Gussie walks in, Bertie making certain Gussie had willingly imbibed, he confirming this with the knowledge of consuming much whiskey. Bertie was currently quite glad of a large picture obscuring the tainted juice, they then going down to lunch, everyone quite solemn since it wasn’t Anatole’s meals. After, Bertie returns to his room to get ready to go to the school, Gussie already being taken there, Jeeves and he slowly understand, Gussie had consumed the pitcher of o.j., the two unable to imagine the events which could come from such a highly inexperienced intoxication.

During the drive, Bertie remarks to Jeeves how even if the prize-giving goes south, Gussie should definitely ace his proposal when attempted, Bertie thinking Gussie would gain the air of Cagney. Jeeves then informs Bertie of Gussie already having obtained his engagement before leaving, he pleasantly surprised, but allowing how well his plan, not Jeeves’, had worked. When they arrived and Bertie sees Gussie being directed to his seat, he was hit by traumatic nostalgia of his own speech-giving moment. He considering anyone who was familiar with drinking would be able to detect the lack of sobriety of Gussie. Bertie doesn’t engage with the proceedings until noting how Gussie attempted to cross his legs a repeatedly until having to correct the headmaster a couple of times on the pronunciation of his name, Gussie responding with a happily forgiving “you silly ass” being quite hilarious. Also, before this point, Dahlia became aware of Gussie’s buzz. The headmaster deciding whether to turn the floor to Gussie what with his colorful outbursts thus far, but Gussie takes the decision away when announcing his speech-y time, he getting quite a reception from the boys, and actually not bombing. He even has a moment to speak of Tom and his opinion of the state of the world not being beautiful (the main motif of Gussie’s speech), and still going strong on crowd likability. Then right as Bertie was glad he wasn’t seated with his family, Gussie spots him and calls him out as a pessimist. Finally, he’s interrupted with the task of giving the prizes, after the first handed out, Gussie’s likability slowly drops. He attempts to speak with each child, but when Scripture Knowledge was presented, and Bertie’s name again lingered on, Bertie makes his way out, getting to bed and passing out, he awoken by Jeeves for dinner. He is given the details of what happened after and how quickly the ceremony ended, Jeeves then relaying of Gussie losing his engagement, Bertie overcome with this update, but they then interrupted by Tuppy collapsing outside Bertie’s door.

Bertie wasn’t receptive to the look in Tuppy’s eye, and he wasn’t keen to notice Jeeves had done his usual habit of trickling out quietly, but it seemed he worried over this for nothing, Tuppy explaining his reason for coming was to apologize. Bertie misinterpreted the reason for the apology being related to Tuppy’s prank on him with the rings at the pool, but he clarifies by stating it was for not believing his love for Madeline. Now though, Tuppy was certain Gussie had stolen Angela from him, regardless of Bertie relating he loved “the Bassett”, too. Tuppy will have none of this since being told by Angela of Gussie and her engagement, surprising him, Jeeves entering after Tuppy leaves to inflict death upon Gussie, Jeeves then pointing out Bertie’s plan to discover Gussie needed no more than a glance to his bed, Gussie in the midst from crawling out from underneath it. Unfortunately for Gussie, he hadn’t much time to relax, since after Jeeves locked the door per Gussie’s request, Tuppy came back, Gussie making for the closet before Tuppy barges in and claiming he knew Gussie was in there, only to be shocked when he emerged and dashed out, Tuppy following after overcoming his surprise, Bertie then dismissing Jeeves in order to give these new developments serious contemplation.

Fortunately, Bertie was of Wooster stock, so his need for thinking over the problem took mere moments, he deciding he must speak with the angelic player, Angela, she admitting her motives, as for being for the entertainment, Tuppy supplying this in spades. Bertie attempts to have her end the game, but she having no intention of doing so, offhandedly insulting Bertie, and he letting her alone. He was disheartened by Angela’s unsympathetic view of her joke, he remembering a quote by Kipling of the (f)emale of the (s)pecies being more (d)eadly than the (m)ale. Bertie decided it was time for brain food, on his way, discovering Dahlia ahead of his mindset. She showed she was in better spirits by offering him some of her snack, and the two chatting about the servants party, then moving to Gussie, Bertie sensing she hadn’t heard of his engagement since she raved about how wonderful his performance had been at the school. Dahlia also mentions how her mood couldn’t be turned due to Anatole deciding to stay on. Then Dahlia’s butler enters to inform her of Gussie potentially stirring up Anatole,after all of Dahlia’s hard work convincing him to retract his notice.

This news seemed to freeze all who heard, Bertie’s apple slice chewing the only noise to break the silence, and upon further inquiry by Dahlia, the couple learn Gussie was sitting on the roof and disturbing Anatole’s ability to slumber with making faces at him. Dahlia was off like a shot when her butler, Seppings said it had “upset” Anatole, Bertie and he quickly following Dahlia up the stairs. The scene they run to is an obvious displeased Anatole shaking his fists at the skylight where Gussie gazed down with the look of a fish, Bertie sympathetic to Anatole’s plight. When Dahlia asks Anatole what’s happened, he gives his version in quite an eclectic choice of words, Bertie agreeing with him without provocation (even though to see the dialogue, it’s quite a “mixed” explanation). Anatole continues his rant of how he attempted to learn Gussie’s reasons for staring down at him, but nothing comes of it, he ending in French, (many versions to choose from) “I do not care what type of vile chap. It’s stupid to make like a bird, go away.” Dahlia attempting to soothe Anatole, but ends up stirring him up with a misinterpreted choice of words, Anatole again threatening to leave, everyone showing Gussie the error of his ways by gesture or dirty look. Bertie finally figures what Gussie was conveying through facial signs: he was stuck up there, so they then endeavored to open the skylight, and once Gussie was secured in the room, was unable to explain himself. Dahlia gives up after attempting to extract some detail of Gussie’s reasoning, she suggesting Bertie get him out of there and give him some ice for his head, whilst she again attempted to calm Anatole. Bertie then asks Gussie if Tuppy had been chasing him again, and, in French, a “shiver” going through him. Bertie considers aloud Gussie should away to his room before Tuppy picked up his scent once more. Once he was properly tucked away behind locked door, Bertie makes his way back to the dining room for more fruit salad and a further ponder, Dahlia joining him soon after with request of a drink, Bertie in his element and supplying hastily. He then attempts empathy, but is greeted with he being compared to Attila the Hun, to his dismay, she then explaining Anatole’s plan to leave the next day and also learning of Angela and Gussie’s engagement, she no longer caring if Bertie planned to fix these new problems what with not seeing how it could get worse. Bertie then is given a letter by Jeeves from the Bassett, whom decided she was going to marry him, Bertie wailing his dismay.

Bertie realized he wouldn’t be able to decline now he had been reclaimed, he giving the letter a second perusal and not landing an idea until some snacking was had, first the sequence of events which would get Angela and Tuppy together, as well as Gussie and Madeline trying again, coming to him. Bertie decides after another slice of cheese, he’d locate Madeline, but this needn’t have been a necessity since Madeline wandered in not long after the thought was shared. The conversation which follows is full of one repeating the other and apologies for speaking at the same time. When Madeline gets her side out, she confesses her affection for Bertie, but still held a flame for Gussie. Madeline couldn’t see a reconciliation between them though, then Angela comes in and the two ladies commence in congratulating and well-wishing each other, Bertie taking the moment to excuse himself for a think, going outside and literally bumping into Jeeves. He takes a moment to measure whether Jeeves could help him with his situation, and decides to give him a shot, but only if he could refrain from making Bertie give up his mess jacket, he agreeing, then offering his previous suggestion and Bertie too hard up to poo-poo the plan. They discuss the finer points and decide half an hour after midnight would meet the hour of execution of the idea to commence.

Bertie then compares how country living as opposed to London living affects his actions; For instance, at night in the country, Bertie’s imagination takes over and he’s more susceptible to the heebies with the possibility of the supernatural taking him by surprise. What was currently bothering him, though was in knowing it was time to ring the fire bell and the shock of the noise it would make in the deadly quiet. He then remembers another chap from the Drones having a similar experience and he only concerned about his own timely escape when the alarm sounded (the difference here being, he wasn’t currently in love, which Bertie didn’t catch). None of this mattered due to the results being Bertie walking with everyone to the lawn, Bertie calling Jeeves over to discuss how the plan didn’t go accordingly, Jeeves then alerting Bertie  to Dahlia attempting to get his attention about why he’d rung the bell, she taking his excuse well enough and declaring she would return to bed when Gussie states of all doors being locked, Dahlia then losing it, and ranting about the failed loyalty of their butler. As she continued, Jeeves waited patiently to catch her attention, and upon doing so, calms Dahlia with giving an idea, she prompting him to share, he revealing a bicycle was at their disposal and Dahlia immediately voting Bertie be the rider, he attempts to deflect the task and fails, he then moodily beginning his ride, thinking of the dark joke Jeeves told of two men becoming one due to a tandem bicycle collision with a van. Moving forward to Bertie arriving at the Manor, he confesses how the ride had changed him to a more serious soul, especially when learning from Sepping, Jeeves currently had the back door keys (this is also added in the TV show), Bertie returning to Brinkley to learn why he’d been sent on this ride-around.

Bertie describes how he felt closer to scorned women (in reference to the saying). When he reaches Brinkley, he’s greeted by Madeline, he wanting to give Jeeves a piece of his mind, but Bertie waiting patiently, as the two soon begin misunderstanding each other again, he learning Jeeves was currently in the dining room, and also the time he’d ‘uncovered’ the house key. Madeline then drags out another piece of information she wished to share, getting caught up with comparison of Bertie to the knights of the Round Table, finally hinting at what she required, Bertie obliging once understanding it was about their coupledom, he then excusing himself so he could change. Bertie was so lightened by this news, he didn’t even feel anger toward Jeeves anymore. Then Tuppy greets him, only then returning from the cellar with liquid refreshment, he catching Bertie up on he and Angela making up after Bertie shared of Tuppy being back in the game with Angela, he then resuming to the dining room when Dahlia called, she in better spirits, as well since Anatole withdrew his notice once more and Tom had given her a cheque for her paper. Bertie continued to his task of bathing and was met by Jeeves upon the finish, Bertie so intent on questioning about everyone’s happiness, he didn’t even regard the inquiry of how his journey had been. Bertie gets Jeeves explanation on how the rest of his plan came down to psychology and if the group had a common irritation (Bertie), they’d resolve their own issues, which had gone as planned. Bertie realizes he could use an omelette after Jeeves shared the anecdote with the necessity of breaking some eggs. When Jeeves returns with revitalizing refreshments, Bertie asks Jeeves if he was troubled over anything, Jeeves confessing to ruining by iron, his mess jacket, Bertie verging on anger, but then giving French phrase, ‘What is the purpose of it?’, ‘generous wrath’, wouldn’t be worth it, Bertie taking the news on the chin, and continuing his consumption of omelette eating.

As usual, loved this one, and am still pleased with recognizing how closely the TV series kept the story-line so on point. Also, the reason I won’t quote excerpts of the book, usually is firstly, there are plenty of reviewers who do, and also due to the hilarity of the conversations between characters, since they are so genuine and deadpan in the reading, it must be read all at once since the back-story is usually important and one wouldn’t necessarily get the same gleefulness seeing it in mid-magic. To the next!

Racso and the Rats of N.I.M.H. (#2)

We begin with Mrs. Frisby cleaning up and updates of what her children are doing and where they are. Timothy, for instance, had gone away to school since her home is not nearby Thorn Valley. We also learn it’s three years later since their first adventure. Then Jeremy drops by to inform Mrs. Frisby his mother needs some medicine given to him by Mr. Ages for an accident she had and wouldn’t be able to fly Timothy to school. Mrs. Frisby tries to reassure Jeremy they’ll manage and his mother will be fine when given the medicine. Meanwhile, Mrs. Frisby informs Timothy of the news and he becomes excited about the possibility of making the trek himself, which of course worries his mother, stating she’d think it over, as she’s known to do. She speaks to Martin, her oldest, who’s moved out with a girlfriend, about the possibility. He was in support of Timothy’s journey, since he had been doing so well with the collection of food they had done earlier, proving his strength, which was well, but not like “normal”, since his illness. I’m enjoying Conly’s style already, it flows smoothly like her father’s story had.

The next morning Mrs. Frisby gives permission for Timothy to go and bids him farewell outside their family home whilst his sisters and brother walk with him to the edge of the forest. Timothy was happy being on his way. When he stopped to rest for the night, he noticed a couple of strange matters in the forest on his journey thus far; one being swept-aside leaves and crow cries. The next morning he comes across a fire which he puts out, then not long after, hears cries for help. When he decides to investigate he sees it’s a small rat caught in the swift river and helps him with a branch. After saving him and noticing they were heading in the same direction, they get acquainted and the rat, Racso seems to be the cause of the strange scatter of leaves. Racso, upon resting, offers Timothy his first taste of a candy bar, and from there explains his reason for travelling in the forest. We realize Racso’s father is one of the rats of N.I.M.H. and had been in the battle which ended the first book, but isn’t mentioned by name. Until, after being told how Racso had gotten as far as he did, Timothy was offended by how Racso regarded his encounter with Jeremy, as well as Racso’s father being the missing rat who was seen disappearing after making it out of the burning and poisoned home they had near the Fitzgibbon’s farm. When Timothy pulled out a dictionary, he finally shuts little Racso up with the fact he knew how to read. Due to Racso being so arrogant, when he saw he could, he tried to bribe him to teach him how, but Timothy told him he may as well accompany him to school, which of course pleased Racso.

I’m enjoying the quick pacing of the story, it’s similarities, the tie-ins, and flow of speech; Conly did well. Although again, Timothy is given misgivings which seem to belie his years. Although it isn’t said what age mindset Timothy would be by this time. In any case, he wonders whether Racso will fit in or make trouble like his father had. Another problem arises when Racso seems to get tired too easily and then reveals city rats are used to being active at night. Timothy was unfortunately stuck wasting half a day for Racso needing a two-hour nap. They both end up being awake during the night, though Timothy told Racso most mice stay indoors, for owls hunt at night. Although, now both were wide awake and so tried to make up lost time. They had a scary run-in on their journey where Timothy saves Racso, then himself, from certain death.

Mrs. Frisby receives a worrying letter from the rats and is then summoned by the owl in the forest who believes he’s killed her son. Mrs. Frisby is understandably aggrieved and in shock by the news. When she leaves his house she commands the crow who gave her a ride, to fly low and search for someone. Timothy is in bad shape, but still alive with the care of Racso who hears the cries coming from a bird which keeps circling nearby, thinking it’s the owl come back, but whom is most likely Mrs. Frisby where we ended at the last chapter. Then Timothy tries to walk after three days of restless sleep and recovery with no luck and so Racso realizes what he must do to get Timothy to Thorn Valley.

As Timothy gets better, Racso starts becoming his old self again. He begins confiding Timothy of a movie he sneaked into, The Last of the Mohicans and which is how he’d learned most of his “survival” skills. Timothy tried to set him straight with some rules of how to act in the woods Racso thought he knew already, like covering up his trail; fail. Lighting a fire in the woods; fail, again. After, Racso tried to calm Timothy by suggesting he rest. Racso worked on his sling he learned from the Indians in “Mohicans”. It seemed to work, if not paining Timothy and tiring them both with the effort, but they were on their way. They reached the fork in the river and bed down midst a honeysuckle thicket. They then shared the rest of their provisions.

The next morning as they moved on, they heard something approach which finally happened to be good news. Racso gets to meet the main rats including Justin and Brutus, but he’s feeling a bit foolish after his miscalculation of the danger they posed and wanted to make a good impression. They started walking again and once they got close enough to the mountain, they decided if they would be able to make it all the way there with Racso, who was growing tired quickly and may not have been able to walk the steep trail; but he makes it with the rest of them, boasting ignorantly about certain “facts” which the rats let go. Upon arriving, Racso is given broth which he takes gratefully. Nicodemus is met and Racso learns Justin, Nicodemus, and some others roles in their community. Nicodemus thanks Racso for caring for Timothy, but it seemed they might have realized the type of loose cannon he was and Racso felt entitled to more than he deserved. Also, he wondered why Nicodemus told him it was a “visit” he was welcomed for and why they didn’t know he wanted to stay, but he was complacent for the moment since he was being shown where he could sleep for the night, which he found out he was to be bunking with Timothy. Also, Timothy was called a hero and not Racso, for his part, not knowing he did more wrong than right.

The next morning Timothy is gone from the room already and Racso is given a tour by Brendan. After, Brendan stops at his room for his school supplies and Racso gets greedy, wanting one of his pens after being rebuffed and told how one could go about acquiring one. Racso saw one hanging out and swipes it which Brendan immediately announces Nicodemus about as he’s walking toward them. After, Nicodemus gets Racso to return the pen and takes him to his office to discover more about him. Racso takes the opportunity instead to lie and Nicodemus catches him with the intent of sending him away unless he came clean. Racso changes his tune and Nicodemus is surprised with the news. He leaves a moment to see if the rat they’d sent to evaluate the depth and speed of the river due to flooding had come back and upon his return, Racso tries to make excuses for his behavior and it won’t be repeated which Nicodemus knew wasn’t true, expecting it to happen plenty since Racso was used to getting his way. After, another rat bursts into the room with bad news regarding the river.

Racso starts school and tries hard to be polite to the other rats, but he’s still plagued with his efforts in being popular and making a good impression. It puts them off and makes Timothy roll his eyes when he declares lies and Brendan pushes his buttons for his thievery which definitely does the trick. Racso still becomes jealous of Timothy and would fantasize hurting him if he wasn’t his only friend; selfish, ignorant child. More examples of these qualities follow and then rats are being chosen for scouting parties for the discovery of why the river was rising, which Racso wasn’t chosen for and Timothy was, of course hurting Racso’s fragile ego yet again, but Christopher, who also wasn’t chosen thought they’d have plenty to do in Thorn Valley, regardless, with a gleam in his eye, for he was “wild”, as well.

Timothy and the group are on their way and make a camp after getting to the river, they cross a steep valley and begin to feel a noise which was human related and terrified Arthur, the leader of the group, once he recognized what it was. They go down to investigate and one of the rats uncovers the plans to what the humans had in mind, which angered another, refusing to let it happen. Racso, lonely after Timothy’s departure, begins to miss his family as well as he. We are told when Racso’s affection for Timothy begins and how he fills his idle time in Thorn Valley. When Racso and Christopher are given a list of tasks, they realize neither are still able to read and so accidentally ruin the plants they were supposed to attend. They try to fix their mistake and Racso shares with Christopher what kind of candy could be made from them, dreaming of glory for sharing it with the community. When they are discovered by the rat who delegates the tasks, she has a conniption and other rats hurry to determine the problem. When Racso mentions the reason for their not understanding the directions, another rat understands and doesn’t blame them and Racso lets them know of his idea for a surprise which he had for them, which gets them decidedly interested, but he decides he’d give the one rat the biggest portion of the sweet he had in mind, since she was so sad and it made him feel guilty.

Timothy and his group begin copying the plans the humans had and most were worried and ready to return home to spread the news. Justin’s group gets back first with no news. Racso and Christopher are there to greet both parties enquiring to how their mission had gone. Racso becomes traumatized by Timothy’s reveal about what they discovered, worrying the rats around him. Elvira diagnose’s him and when given horseradish soup, is indignant by the persistent taste and voices how his mother would have done it, which Elvira seemed glad to inform Racso, she was definitely not his mother. After Timothy’s group and Nicodemus study the plans, some of which they couldn’t grasp even with their engineering knowledge, they pondered how the humans were able to do this project in a state forest. They continue to discuss the problem with Nicodemus.

They segue to a break and then to Brutus seeing Mrs. Frisby and Jeremy. She wanted to speak with her son and how there was bad news about the farm. The rats gather and share the news about the plans which will eventually force them to move. The only good news being it won’t be for at least half a year. Mrs. Frisby is then asked to give her news to everyone as well as Timothy and Racso present, she almost feels too overwhelmed to do so, but when she looks to her son and his friends, senses the strength. The rats continue to debate the best ways to confront the problem. As they do, Racso remembers an experience he had in the city when one of the rats mentioned the use of a computer. Racso blurts out an idea which makes the rats hopeful, but his dreams became more egotistical once they accepted, which they silently tolerated. Justin and the rats begin to volunteer for different tasks to the plan of making their own computer program and erasing the one the humans made on the computer for the dam project; ha. Later, Christopher and Brendan start to wonder where Racso had learned about writing words backwards and debating aloud whether Racso’s father was actually a mouse. Racso becomes agitated and once getting them to drop the subject, thinks how close they were to figuring out his secret.

When Racso is called to see Nicodemus, he was told to take a backseat with the rock star talk and accessorizing he was beginning to get the other young rats to adopt, as well as his “no longer ‘secret’ language”. Racso has to decide whether to give up those pastimes for advice about keeping his father’s identity a secret. The advice given relieves Racso, and Nicodemus invites him on a walk where a memorial to the rats lost in their nest near the Fitzgibbon’s farm had been erected, we also learn more of the circumstances behind who the rat whom had gone back for the one or two which almost didn’t make it out was. Then Nicodemus notifies him he may be able to work as an assistant to Elvira in the lab, which he is honored and excited to accept, but then Nicodemus brings his attention to the training unit lining up and Racso runs off, realizing his lateness.

Racso and Isabella get teamed up, to his excitement and her annoyance, when they’re given the assignment to map out an area near the creek. Racso is determined to win her over with his gentlemanly manners. When they continue to the area given for them to map, Racso notices a terrifying sound and they both hide. We then get a change of perception when we see it from Timothy’s point-of-view, from halfway up the mountain and uses the warning signal to let the others nearby know of the danger coming. We skip back to Racso and Isabella hiding and the canoe which was heading straight to their side of the creek. When the humans stop to rest right near their hiding place, they overhear the reasons for their being there, which aren’t the same as those doing the construction. The humans soon detect something Isabella had to leave behind, or be discovered, which terrifies Racso. Christopher and his teammate aren’t far from them when Christopher decides to investigate by climbing a tree instead of immediately heading for the emergency signal, which was the plan when they heard it. He instead brings trouble to them by trying to silently signal his partner to stay quiet and makes the branch he’s using, break off, which alerts the humans to investigate. When the woman hears the crash, she drops the item she found and Racso believes he can swipe it without her noticing. When the man returns, he alludes to the spy being a creature whom would consider the area his home, making one think he considered the animals savvy enough to understand instinctively what the humans were up to; a little odd. They search for the item the woman dropped before heading back.

Meanwhile Christopher seems to be in a worrisome condition and Racso is stubbornly trying to stay positive, even though his state is serious due to the weather. Also Isabella was being dropped from the training program due to her unsatisfactory reaction whilst the humans were close to them; she didn’t take it well. Racso also confesses to the other rats about his lie he told about where he came from, taking Nicodemus’ advice which worked out well for him.

Timothy then has an outburst during class as they’re being told of Christopher’s condition and how they could do more to help and when Timothy is alone with Racso, he confides a dream which was worrying him which felicitated his outburst. The dream is so vivid, Racso suggests informing Nicodemus, and Timothy agrees to go in the morning. When Nicodemus confirms it’s a troublesome dream, he also doesn’t think much can be done for it, but Timothy thinks a message should be tried to be taken there by bird, which is set out to be done by Justin. Racso sees a bird descend to the mountaintop and informs Timothy. We then see Elvira caring for Christopher who’s not worse, but no better either, when his parents come to visit him. Meanwhile Isabella is coaching Racso on how to grind the plant for his surprise candy which is now being made for Christopher.

We are then taken to Justin who sees the sentries come down as the snow gets thicker and learns the bird came for the messages was an owl. Racso is then seen sneaking into Christopher’s sick room in the infirmary to give him a taste of the candy and is heart-broken when it doesn’t wake him. The next chapter begins with the plan which is settled on to shut down the dam computer; hee-hee. The only other question asked besides how the computer will be destroyed, is whom will be chosen to carry out the plan, which won’t be divulged until the next Monday. We also notice Racso did help in Christopher’s recovery a little, but Isabella takes the credit to make herself feel better for being dropped from the training program, which Racso realizes and lets her get away with, at least for the time being. When he returns from fetching more candy for Christopher, he discovers this by Elvira, Jeremy has returned almost frozen, to deliver the medicine in aiding Christopher the rest of the way to health.

The list for the mission is posted and Racso is delighted by the results, but keeps his celebrating subdued, learning from past obnoxiousness. When they saw the amount of progress on the dam there was upon their arrival, it was more than they expected. They lived like how humans camp, “roughing it”-style. They studied the schedules of how the site worked and other details. Justin plus two others enter the computer room and whilst the two surveyed their surroundings, Justin took notes from the computer manual until hearing the signal the guards were close by and hid until the “all clear” signal was heard. At first the note-taking was slow going, until Racso figured out what “Xerox” meant, after he’d heard there was one in the room and thinking about it for a short while. Justin and Racso go the next night to easily learn how to work it and have half the manual completed before hearing the “scatter” signal. When they were in the middle of “covering their tracks” after completing the copies, they are noticed by men coming in. To stop the men from disposing of Racso’s partner, he goes to an extreme length to get their attention.

It does the job, but now both are captured and the guards are debating what to do about it and how they’d prove what they saw; One Froggy Evening from Looney Tunes-like. They were thinking of bribing the rats, when they decide to see if they’ll write again, confirming their beliefs, which Racso obliges with a straight-forward and truthful message. Before leaving them to punch their time clocks, they secure them with extra weight to make escape more difficult. Justin and the others manage to help them though, trying to account for the items which may be out of place and the messages Racso wrote, one of which the guard had taken with him. The rats realize who made the error in not tapping the signal in time, but also everyone should have a partner to assuage mistakes. They also consider whether anyone will believe the guards should they be brave enough to confess to anyone else and decided to hope for the best until later. When they go back out on another mission, Racso and Timothy along, Racso is acting silly and almost gets himself killed which helps sober him to why his father feared for him and his family so much. Racso decides to confess his heritage to the others right then. After, Justin arrives at their headquarters with articles about the dam which made everyone much more hopeful, but still intended to finish the mission in case the dam was still completed.

Nicodemus ascertains the date planned is pushed forward and warns the others, also adding news from the community, by letter. The group already heard about the opening day though, due to the banners being put up, etc. Three days until opening, everyone is practicing their roles to set their plan in motion. A mystery occurs when Beatrice and Nolan see an unidentified rat when Brendan goes to deliver some paperwork at H.Q., which puzzles them and the rat remains unknown. The group then waits to start the process of their scheme, but are delayed by two humans, most likely in the middle of an interview. When the sign to proceed is finally given, they get straight to work, trying to perform quickly to make up for lost time. It doesn’t seem they’ll make it, then the power goes out. We learn the reason in the next chapter. Sally begins arguing they should all be leaving to meet up with the rest and continue they hadn’t been able to complete the plan, which Arthur thought they should wait on to unearth the cause of the power failure.

They learn after the opening will be postponed for a day to repair the power, to some people’s disappointment, leaving the rats another night to finish the operation. The rats realize whoever they saw during the night was the one responsible for the power outage and were going to try and figure out his identity. Due to having to wait for the humans to repair the power before being able to finish their computer program, they take the time to search for clues to the identity of the rat involved in the subversion. Then we do learn the identity of the rat, and Conly sure knows how to ruin a good family reunion. After the discovery, Justin discloses to Timothy how most of them plan on leaving whilst some few stay to finish the mission and how Timothy would be sent home with the news and whilst Timothy would have offered staying to help, he was quite homesick to return and accepted, in the end.

Newspaper headlines give us the gist of what happens with the plans of the dam malfunction. Racso learns to swim being coached by his friends and also gets more attention from Isabella when her hopes are crushed by her crush. Timothy and his mother receive a memorial invitation from the rats at their summer home near the Fitzgibbon’s farm, with some coaxing from her neighbors and is convinced in attending with her son. At the ceremony, speeches are given next to the stone etched with the rat’s name and a word which means everything to the rat’s family member. Timothy lightens the sadness for a moment and Mrs. Frisby has a chance to speak with the rats she knew and get introduced to those she didn’t. Jeremy is given a couple presents of gratitude as well and Nicodemus closes with a speech which is kind and humble and the conclusion of the story isn’t far after. It’s a sweet ending and a good read, if I ever get the chance to read the sequel, I’ll be happy to continue the final installment to the series.