22 June, 2015

Trying Something New

As part of a high school English project several years ago, I wrote the first chapter of a novel. I wrote a few more pages, but then life happened, and a floppy disk on Apple 2e, was a little less than reliable.. a few years ago, I decided to give it a shot again and started another one.. but didn't get more than a few pages in before my laptop gave up the ghost.. 

Well, I've decided to give it another go. This time, I am several pages in. I don't know what direction I want to take it, but I've got a few ideas. I've decided to post the first chapter here. It may evolve to become the preface rather than chapter 1, but I'm a long way from having to make that decision.

As always, I encourage feedback, let me know what you think.. and if you pick up a book and read this, would you keep reading? I may share more in the future, but for now, this is it.

Chapter 1

He collapsed into the chair in the empty lounge. It was a long day, and he was still getting used to life on Mars. He had all the physical training before he left Earth, but simulators can only go so far. As he gazed out through the glass dome of the compound, he looked to see if he could see Earth, but this time of year, the Earth is on the other side of the sun.

“The final tram to the residential compound will be leaving in 15 minutes. Once again, the final tram for the residential compound will be departing in 15 minutes.” The PA system echoed through the abandoned lounge.

“Il tram finale per il complesso residenziale sarĂ  lasciare in 15 minuti. Ancora una volta, il tram finale per il complesso residenziale sarĂ  in partenza in 15 minuti.” the PA repeated in Italian, then again in Chinese.

The tram to the dorms was a 35 minute ride. He considered just crashing in his office again, but he really needed to get back, so he grabbed his stuff, and headed to the station. It was the last work day of the week at the center, so the tram station was almost as empty as the lounge he had just left.

“Hey Dave, running late again?” asked the conductor.

“Yea, you know how it is..” he responded as he stepped on the tram seconds before the automatic doors slid shut. He turned to find a seat. The last tram of the week was routinely light, and today was no exception. They had considered eliminating it to cut costs, but the workers voiced strong disapproval, and since the tram was solar powered, it really wasn't going to save a lot.

Dave found his seat. He liked sitting by the window on the left side of the tram on the way home. It had a better view of the Martian landscape. The route took them right past where the rover Opportunity first landed. The remains of the landing pod can still be seen as they flew past.

The Roanoke station had been originally set up as a mining colony. It is officially a colony of the United States in conjunction with China, but due to the remoteness, it is effectively self governing.

In the mid 2020s, a subsidiary of a Richard Bronson company had developed a low cost, unmanned cargo craft that could make the trip to Mars in less than a year. It saved on fuel by not needing any life support systems. It is basically an interplanetary dumbwaiter. The Lusitania II would haul ore to Earth, and return a little less than 2 years later stocked with supplies. Once it got up and running, they needed more and more miners, and the population grew to a few hundred. Since there was no reliable way to return to Earth, everyone was living under the understanding that it was a 1 way trip. In the last 15 years, 7 people had tried to stow away on Lusitania II, only to be found frozen solid when it docked in Mexico.

Then they figured how to harvest ice from passing comets to refill the long dry ocean. And that's when things started to change.