The Organised Author

Sol 3--Mike



Sol 3—Mike

Gosh, my body hurts, and these brain flakes are too hard to chew. I’m going to lose a tooth.
As I update my journal in the ZAC, the others are sending e-mails to their family and friends on Earth. 

Kristen is typing on her laptop, her forehead slightly puckered. Her slim fingers run on the keys, and I wonder if she’s writing to a boyfriend.
We worked together this sol, cleaning the solar panels from Mars’s dust. I think I scared her.
She was in her EVA suit, using the brush to wipe the smooth surface of the panel. The helmet with its fish-bowl shape suited her.

I, in my ADAMZ suit, was supposed to do the same, but her presence distracted me, and I kept brushing the same spot over and over. It was so clean I could see the reflection of my milky eye in it.
“You know what?” Kristen said through the intercoms in our helmets. “I came across something… odd today.”
“What?” A gust of wind slapped my face. I had left my visor up because… yes, because I wanted to show off. There. I said it. I mean, how cool is that? I can breathe Mars’s air without dying… again. Problem was that dust blew into my eyes, and I couldn’t help blinking.
“I was sampling soil on the east side of the ZAC, and I found this.” She felt around her utility belt, opened a pocket, and fished out a badge, like one of those we have printed on our suits.
It was blue and white, with the NASA logo and the stars, and the name ‘Shemsu 1’ gleamed red.
She looked up at me. “Shemsu 1? I’ve never heard of that mission.”
That’s because no one wants to talk about the biggest space catastrophe after Apollo 13.
I brushed some more the same spot. “I happen to know what it is.” Should I tell her more? I didn’t know the entire story, and even now I don’t know if it’s true. Gossip in the After Life pub isn’t the best source of information. Zombies, vampires, shape shifters… everything hangs out there. Heck, werewolves can’t be trusted. They’d do and say anything for a biscuit.
She tilted her head. “Well?”
I cleared my throat. “Shemsu is the Egyptian god of blood. Rumour has it that there was a mission a while ago. The crew was made of six humans and one vampire. The vampire was supposed to carry on the job during the night while the human crew worked during the day.”
“What happened?” She straightened. Her sapphire eyes fixed on me.
I scratched my nose. “It’s probably not true.”
“Tell me anyway.”
“Well, apparently, Mars’s atmosphere is so full of iron that tastes like blood. At least for vampires.” I took a deep breath and held it. Yep. It was like blood. “The vampire went berserker. Killed all the crew members. They say he’s still here, somewhere.”
She cocked a brow. “And where are the bodies?”
“Dunno.” I shrugged. “I heard that Shemsu 2 took care of them.”
She twitched her mouth, flapping the badge. Then she shivered. “I think we have finished for today.”

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