• Published 2nd Jan 2018
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The Maretian - Kris Overstreet



Mark Watney is stranded- the only human on Mars. But he's not alone- five astronauts from a magical kingdom are shipwrecked with him.

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Sol 50

AMICITAS FLIGHT THREE – MISSION DAY 47
ARES III SOL 50

“Dinner time!” Cherry Berry called out.

By now mealtime on rations had become a routine. The meals followed a rotation: Fresh, Halves, Nibbles, and Leftovers. A Fresh meal was a meal pack opened, roughly one-quarter of it plated and set in Mark’s ice box for later, and the rest eaten. Halves was half a meal pack plus the remnant of Fresh. Nibbles was a nibble out of a meal pack plus the rest of Halves. Leftovers, of course, was the end of the cycle, when no new meal pack was opened.

This didn’t apply to Fireball, of course- he got full rations of all the quartz and quartz by-product he cared to eat. The tradeoff, of course, was that Fireball was expected to do more heavy labor than anypony else. But since the explosion- or, as Spitfire called it, the “cave poot”- Fireball hadn’t been eating his limit as he had before. In fact, Cherry had made herself his “dinner buddy” to make sure he ate the equivalent of a full ration.

It also didn’t apply to Dragonfly, for different reasons. Dragonfly’s meal was her fellow crew members- that is, such love as they could donate to her. Thus, before anypony else ate anything, the crew of Amicitas gave Dragonfly a long group hug before each meal, focusing on their love and respect for their fellow astromare.

Under normal circumstances Dragonfly was the first to report for meals, changelings being by nature shameless when it came to their food source. But this time, even after the other four crew and Mark gathered by the galley, Dragonfly didn’t show.

The Hab was not particularly large, and it had no interior walls. It took no time at all to spot the changeling perched on a chair facing the wall next to Airlock 2. “Dragonfly, it’s dinnertime,” Cherry said. “What are you doing?”

“I don’t know,” Dragonfly said.

Time out,” Mark said.

“Time out?” Cherry thought about this for a moment. “What did you do, Dragonfly?”

“Mark caught me using his computer,” Dragonfly said sullenly. “He made me sit here, and every time I tried to get up he sat me back down again. I don’t know why.”

Cherry couldn’t help giggling. “He’s put you in the corner,” she said. “It’s a punishment for very little fillies.”

“Be glad he doesn’t have any paper,” Spitfire added. “You could be wearing a dunce cap.”

Dragonfly blinked, leaning over the back of the chair. “What’s that supposed to do?” she asked. “How is this a punishment?” Her ear-fins flipped back. “Wait a minute, did you say this is a punishment for larvae?”

“If you don’t want to be punished like a child, don’t act like one,” Cherry replied. “Mark, Dragonfly go?

Mark shrugged. “If she learned her lesson- er, if she know not do again.”

Cherry looked at Starlight. “What’s the Mark-word for ‘incorrigible’?”

MISSION LOG – SOL 50

Apparently I have a hacker in my midst. (Hackers in the Midst, the new nature documentary about computer criminals in their natural habitat, coming soon from National Geographic!)

After we got back from today’s seeding of the cave (four hundred square meters of alfalfa, with about two hundred reserved for potatoes later), I went back out to clean the solar farm. When I came back I found Dragonfly with my computer open, going through my files. I don’t know where she learned how to do it or how long she’s been doing it, but I put her in the corner until dinnertime. I was afraid the other ponies might get upset, but they seemed to find it funny.

The odd thing is, she was watching something I’d missed on Lewis’s playlist of 1970s trash TV. Specifically, Superfriends. I’d thought Lewis didn’t have any cartoons apart from parts of The Electric Company, but if I’d picked one horrible cartoon for Lewis to have in her collection, Superfriends would definitely be it. And Lewis was wise to hide it in a subdirectory, because I would have given her all kinds of shit over it.

After dinner I introduced the ponies to it. And for the first time the ponies, changeling and dragon all turned their noses up to it. A bit of whiteboard talking explained why. It turns out superhero comics exist on their homeworld, and none of them are fans. Starlight tried to watch with polite interest, but she was the first one to get restless. The others just didn’t care.

I can’t blame them. This isn’t like the Marvel cinematic universe movies from when I was in high school and college. This is pure crap.

The biggest issue I have with Superfriends is that it’s been made so kid-friendly that there’s no conflict- as in none at ALL. Here you have DC Comics’ greatest heroes (plus Aquaman), and they never actually fight anybody. There isn’t an actual bad guy in the entire first-run series. They’re all natural disasters or bumbling scientists.

And even then half the problems are caused by two teenagers with a mental age of about nine and their Scooby-Doo knock-off dog.

Seriously, where are Wendy and Marvin’s parents? When is the call going to come in to Child Protective Services? “Yes, officer, there are two children hanging around superheroes. They’re allowed to go into horrible danger every day! Volcanoes, train tunnels, alien spaceships! And their legal guardians are nowhere in sight!” It’s like Superman and Wonder Woman went to the Albus Dumbledore School of Child-Rearing.

With Batman it makes some sense. There’s Robin, who’s about the same age or slightly older than the kids. We already know Bruce Wayne is into child endangerment. But Jon and Martha Kent didn’t raise Clark that way! And Hippolyta didn’t… um… sculpt Diana that way… I guess?

Anyway, the kids are just too stupid for words. This show is just plain bad, and not so-bad-it’s-good bad.

And don’t get me STARTED on Aquaman…!

Anyway, we did language lessons for an hour, and then we returned to our regularly scheduled programming. We finished up Partridge Family today. Tomorrow night I finally get around to Six Million Dollar Man.

Oh, and since you’re wondering: the planting is going just fine. Tomorrow we plant one-quarter of the Hab in alfalfa. The rest of the Hab, and the pop-tents, will go for potatoes. Taters will do fine in shallow soil, and the alfalfa I’ll maintain here is more for soil nitrates than for the food it’ll provide the ponies. The soil just isn’t deep enough here for alfalfa to prosper anyway.

After tomorrow the farm project will be complete except for tending the crops. I’m thinking about what comes next. I need to talk to Starlight about a few things before I make plans, though.

And then I need to talk Dragonfly into giving the others typing lessons.

Author's Note:

More filler. This is all to cover a gag in the book that I didn't want to just copy and paste.

At the end of the first chapter in the book that focuses on NASA, the chief administrator, Teddy Sanders, wonders what goes through the mind of a man stranded on Mars. This is followed by the log entry for Sol 61, which is three short sentences on the nonsense which is Aquaman's power set.

I wanted to reference Aquaman about this time, but I wanted to do it differently, and the result is what you see here- the setup, and then the log entry, in which Mark makes it clear he's a Marvel fanboy more than DC.

1800 words written today, 500 of which is rewrite work on yesterday's effort. Buffer remains three, but I'll need to work harder on the rewrite I mentioned.

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