Northem Spring 35 Sol 67.
Hi Mom and Dad,
Happy birthday to you Dad! Sorry, I couldn’t make it, Mars is quite away from Earth, you know. You’re one year older today on Earth but only half a year older over here, so quick (!) get on the next Mars Shuttle and come join me here if you want to live longer haha!
The guys at the Mars Central office are ok. One guy Yiris-Q (such a Mars name right?) has been showing me around the place and introducing me. All these Martian types are so proud of their “marvellous Mars”, to me I think they must need to see some blue — I long for it already!
The Central office is huge and it sits at the base of Olympus Mons. Don’t be jealous but it’s 3 times bigger than Everest! (Not that I ever saw it). Me and Yiris-Q are going to go on a tour soon and I’ll be able to see the curve of the Mars horizon and an endless stretch of dust plains. Cool huh?
This week all the new interns are going to be inducted “Martian style” into the team. I hope they like me.
Have you heard from Anika’s parents at all?
Wish me luck,
Northem Spring 35 Sol 80.
Hey Mom and Dad,
So I guess I’m officially a Martian now, did you ever think you’d have an alien daughter? The induction ceremony, named the Viking Dance, was strange to say the least! We had to go out in our air suits (cramped and sweaty urgh!) and jump around our given models of Viking 1 (Yirq, Yiris-Q remember him (?) taught me the moves — I felt stupid). The ceremony is a thanks to the first machine on Mars, I guess they didn’t teach that far back in Space Studies at school.
When even was 1976 in terms of Mars years?
Hey you wanted to know how Mars dates work — we’re in the Northern Hemisphere (Northem) and it’s Spring in the 35th Matian year (70th Earth year). It’s dust storm season so the days are a low hue of orange and the nights fall into a silent blue like an ocean haze. Every time a huge wind starts to blow the alarms are raised and we have to close the shutters. The wind howls like you’re in the belly of a whale as if we’re not supposed to be here. I’m on edge every time! a
I miss you already,
Northem Spring 35 Sol 112.
I miss your daal Mom. I can almost taste the spices on my tongue — yum! I want lentils. The Mars food is either supplied from Earth or artificially made in the Reproduction Units. I’d never had an apple that tasted like soap until I got here.
Somehow they even artificially created fat.
I feel fat.
I hope Anika wouldn’t mind.
Today somebody from the Mars Governmental unit came in flustered and nervous. I didn’t get to ask and people were spreading rumours about it all. Who knows.
Northem Spring 35 Sol 136.
Sorry, it’s been a while guys, I’ve been trying to settle into the job. The office is a demanding place with people coming from Earth all time (but not you :( ), Mooners etc. Our boss is a particularly strict droid called Farx-7. The droids characteristics are programmed on their creators so it seems that whoever created this droid had a temper and a taste for distasteful words. Whoever they were I’m told that their ashes were scattered into the Valles Marineris (and that’s deep!) so now we’re left with just a droid. Forever.
I’m still not really making any friends. I thought people would be interested in Earthlings here but Martians don’t really have the same interests as me. None of them has even seen real running water, let alone been swimming.
The planet is only a quarter terraformed so we can’t go outside for long without our air suits. The jumping is fun but I’ve been missing the Earth sea air. The only thing that blows back your hair here is red sand. I miss the saltwater smell and the leather feel of leaves.
I wonder if Anika is surfing right now?
I miss you
Northem Summer 35 Sol 309.
Mom and Dad,
I’m so sorry that this message is so late, the storms blew out the communications. We even lost contact with the moons, they keep an eye out on the storms and tell us when they’re going to hit. I’m not sure on the point because they blow regardless.
To be honest, there’s not much to report, but here it is in a nutshell (I want a nut): the days are orange and summer goes from hot to cold in a matter of hours. When I look at the horizon I see the Sun, small and barely glowing, falling down behind the mountains. I wonder if you see it at the same time, or if by now you’re completely on the other side of it. So far away.
The nights are lit up by generators silently protecting us from the deathly cold of space. They are our sentinels. It turns out that Mars isn’t quite the hot place that it looks!
I’ve been spending so much time in the Earth simulation rooms that Yiriq feels the need to take me on a trip to Phobos. Not that there’s anything there, it’s basically a pebble orbiting a rock.
Yirq has been telling he’d die for me here and that’s pretty poetic but I’m not quite ready yet to go! Plus something in me tells me that he’s not my type. I thought I was supposed to like boys by now but I miss Anika too much.
Maybe this is something we should talk about? When I get to Earth. Let’s save it for then.
Something weird is happening in the HQ though, people have started to gather in groups and others have disappeared completely. That’s strange, isn’t it?
Love you and thinking of Earth
Northem Autumn 35 Sol 380.
M+D, I can’t believe I’ve not seen you a year already. How is our home?
Stranger things are happening, the other day Yirq……….
Northem Autumn 35 Sol 420.
Guys, have my messages been reaching you?
I’m being told that communications are down and none of our messages are going through. What is happening? There are rumours of abandoning or moving on (?) to another planet or moon.
Have you heard anything from Earth? No news has come through.
There are less and less people in the tourist HQ, and I haven’t seen an Earthling for weeks now. More and more rockets are taking off and not returning. Mars’s Northem West Quadrant Keeper Rahm-6Y hasn’t aired anything. We’ve heard nothing from Southern or East Martians. Am I going to be left here? No one is answering questions!
Please try to get through on the Comms. I’m scared.
Love J x
Northem Winter 35 Sol 540.
The Martian army have been called in, I don’t know what’s going on and I only hear rumours. Yirq decided he wouldn’t die for me after all and left (boys and their hot air — I knew it all along). He didn’t tell me where he was going just that it was not Earth. He’s a Martian after all and proud. I thought he was my friend.
It sounds like maybe there’s something on the way?
Tell Anika I need to talk to her soon.
If things get any worse I’ve got to get out of here.
Northem Winter 35 Sol 620.
Yiriq called me on the Comms today. He told me that the Martian Space Centres had discovered something coming towards Mars. Some form of unauthorised and unknown object. All Martians had access for first escape routes.
I’ve not left my room in a few days. Mom, Dad I’m scared and I hope I see you again. And Anika.
Northem Winter 35 Sol 621.
Am I too young to say that I’ve never seen anything as beautiful as the Earth? I’m just a girl after all. Barely even old enough to get a college degree. Maybe you just need to be taken away far enough to see beauty for what it really is.
But I want to see Earth again so badly.
I want to see the first drop of dew on the blades of grass outside our front door. I want to hear our neighbours arguing over Chauper down the alleyways in our town. I want to let the sea pull me out into the ocean.
I want that.
Northem Winter 35 Sol 623.
After hiding in my room for a few more days I decided I needed to get out of here. I’m not going to be left in a room on Mars. I’m getting off of this rock. Farx-7 can stay here for all I care but I’m not.
I heard wind of a last shuttle leaving for Earth tomorrow, I’m going to try to get on. My only hope is I can sneak on with some of the Earthlings that I came here with.
I’m going to see Earth again, I’m going to watch as it floats into view and I sweep into its orbit.
Pray for me, Mom and Dad.
I will for you.
Tell Anika I’d like to see her when I’m back.
I’m going to come home now.
**This was the final message sent from Jana Gupta from the Mars Central Office last week. As it stands there have been no more reports from Mars Northem or Southem. The unknown object is still on route with impact imminent.**