The Organised Author

April Fool with The Martian Zombie

The Martian Zombie is out!!
An here an excerpt for you :)


Acidalia Planitia, Mars

YOU CAN’T BECOME an astronaut unless you have the brains, that’s what everyone at NASA used to say. But now the slogan has changed. Now it’s: You can’t become an astronaut unless you eat brains.
Yep. Zombies are all the rage at the moment. Zombie is the new sexy. This is how I became an astronaut and was shipped far away from Earth.
Four zombies, one human. Nope, I’m not the human, and yes, I do eat brains.
My name is Mike Addison, Ensign, biologist, mechanical engineer, and I’m about to describe myself, because this is NOT a novel. It’s the personal log I’m supposed to record for NASA every day. Although I’m not sure there’s a point to continuing to make entries, but I’m going to do it anyway. For posterity. So I can totally take a minute to describe myself.
I have brown hair so curly not even the experimental centrifuge of NASA could make it messier. Grey-green skin. One of my eyes is milky blue, which freaks many people out—as if the eating brains part isn’t scarier. But the milky eye isn’t dead. In fact, I see better from that eye. My other eye is chocolate brown. My mum thinks I’m a great guy.
Really, I’m pretty ordinary. Perhaps a little smarter than your average zombie. I guess you could say NASA chose me because of my brain, which is kind of ironic.
Officially, our mission began eight months ago when we left Earth on the Zeus, our long-distance cruising spaceship currently parked in orbit around Mars.
Three days ago (Sol 1), my crewmates and I touched down on Mars’s surface in the MAM, our landing shuttle—too much bumping and jumping if you ask me. The aeronautic folks at NASA should work on providing better suspensions.
Waiting planet-side for us were all the supplies we needed to set up our solar grid, water reclamation unit, and ZAC (Zombie Aggregation Center), the white, premade, inflatable, some-assembly-required hub. I laughed the first time I saw it. It’s like a padded igloo with some bumps and alcoves that’s supposed to separate us from the extremely cold and unbearably red environment of Mars for the thirty-one-day duration of our mission.
Home away from home.
Our mission title? Hades 4. Yes, Hades 4. They named our mission after the Greek god of the dead since the crew is mostly undead. Fitting, isn’t it?
And yep, there were three previous Hades missions before us.
It all started back in 2032 after that astronaut guy—you might remember him—got stranded up here on his own, and NASA figured out sending zombies to Mars was less risky and would cost a whole lot less than dealing with humans.
Sure, it might sound a little crazy, but think about it. Zombies don’t breathe oxygen. We don’t care if the temperature drops to -160 C degrees, and unlike some other undead creatures I could mention, we’re just fine with sunlight. Give us an endless supply of dried brain slices, and we can go on forever. So why not send zombies to Mars to explore and prep the groundwork for future human missions? We’re ideal! We don’t even need spacesuits!
It all sounded fantastic. NASA got to work recruiting, and Hades 1 launched a couple of years later.
Problem was that, yes, zombies don’t use oxygen . . . technically, although we need an atmosphere with at least 2% of oxygen while humans live well with 21%. What NASA didn’t foresee was the effect of Mars’s strong winds on the undead’s bodies.
Mars has pretty strong winds. We’re talking about 170 Kmh. That’s like a Formula 1 car. And it’s not just wind, but sand and rocks, etc. The entire zombie crew of Hades 1, dressed in jeans and t-shirts, dissolved into the red oblivion of Mars during a single sand storm. Poof.
Goodbye Hades 1.
For Hades 2, NASA got smarter. They provided the crew with a modified Extravehicular Activity suit called ADAMZ (Automated Dynamic Application Model for Zombies). Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: NASA’s not very original when it comes to naming things.
The ADAMZ suit is basically your average spacesuit without all the complicated tubes and valves an EVA suit usually comes equipped with. No filters to clean the air from CO2, no oxygen pump, no heating, but—and this is the important part—it’s weighted down and reinforced to withstand winds up to 300 Kmh. Impressive. The suit’s heavy and scratches my skin when I put it on, but hey, I don’t want to be turned into dust. Heavy and itchy I can handle.
So, what happened to Hades 2? The problem was food.
NASA packed tons of dried brain slices and flakes and preserved them in citric acid (lemon juice, in case you didn’t pay attention to your science teacher in high school. I didn’t because I couldn’t stop thinking about eating my teacher’s brain, but hey, I’ve got a medical condition. What’s your excuse?)
It turned out that zombies are highly allergic to lemon juice in Mars’s gravity and low atmospheric pressure. Harmless on Earth, but here it’s like venom. Lemon juice dried out the crew and shriveled them to the size of raisins. Nasty way to go.
So, goodbye to Hades 2.
Hades 3’s failure was more subtle. ADAMZ suits worked fine. Dried brain was stored in a new kind of harmless gel. Everything seemed perfect. Except for one thing.
Apparently, zombies do need water after all. The brains we eat consist mostly of water, about 70%, and dried brain has barely 5% of it. After twenty Sols (Mars’s days are longer than Earth’s days by 39 minutes) the crew of Hades 3 died of dehydration.
Adios Hades 3.
Which brings us to my mission, Hades 4, and how I came to be here on Mars.
Oh, and that pyramid-shaped thing rising into the sky behind the ZAC? Remember the landing shuttle? The MAM? That’s my crewmates taking off without me. Unbelievable.
Yep, I’m seriously fricked, fracked, fu—you know what I mean.
Stuck on Mars. To survive, I’ll have to rely on my wits.
Good thing I’m already dead.