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Dear Elena,

You say you want the honest truth about it. Well, they warned us about this, but it’s more true than anyone really expects (except maybe the submariners) - the training on Earth only does so much to deal with the cabin fever. Yeah, we go outside a lot, but the suits we have to wear are just… they don’t make you feel particularly footloose and fancy free. In the century since the Apollo missions (a century! can you believe it!) they’ve gotten so very much better, but there’s only so much you can do with current tech - Mars’s atmosphere is not friendly, to say the least. They say it’s a high priority, so we can be more productive outside, but it’s still mostly like wearing a spacesuit. Sometimes I wish I were actually in zero g if I have to be in those things, just for the ease of mobility. I loved zero g the whole trip over, and it makes me sad I’m (probably) never going back.

(Yeah, I said probably, but don’t freak out any IASA people who have the right to read my messages (Hi!). I know this was a one way trip, and I don’t regret it, but if I live another 50 years, who knows how easy travel might be, who knows if you’ll offer retirement packages. I’m not longing for it, just being practical about the unknowables of the future.)

Anyway, I’m going to skip responding to your provocative comments ranking the attractiveness of my fellow colonists, as much as feeling like we’re back in high school makes me smile. I’m just not thinking that way right now, it would be complicated and I’m really focused on my work. (Which don’t mean you can’t rank the next batch of colonists, it does make me smile, and I’ve always appreciated your opinions.)

Overall, things are good. Somedays I go to bed bone tired and fall asleep instantly, but almost every more I wake up, look around, and say some variation on “Holy Fuck, I’m on MARS.” The fact that we’re here, that we’re succeeding honestly pretty well at our mission, that I got picked, out of tens of thousands of applicants - I always dreamed of this, and I had those posters up in my room, but I never let myself fully and truly believe - the heartbreak would have been too much. I miss you, and I miss spring, and I miss colors besides red, but I’m happy and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Can you even imagine what things will be like here in five years, in ten, by the end of our lives? I’ve read all the plans, of course, but who knows? It’s magic, El, it’s actual magic.

I’ve got to head out for a maintenance shift soon - it’s just manual equipment checks, but safety first, safety second, safety all the way down - it’s like turtles. Give my love to Juana and the kids, and send me some family vacation pictures, I hope you have a blast.

All my love, from far away,

Charlotte


 

Hana,

I hope you are doing well. Things have not changed much since my last message, but it has been less than a week. My tomatoes are almost ripe, and I’ve had a number of amusing offers of bribes for the right to taste the first tomato grown on Mars. I am considering my options carefully. Perhaps I will have a bidding war, I will keep you apprised.

I downloaded the book you sent, and I’ve read the first third. I have some critiques about the first contact protocols the crew seem to have, but given the first person perspective, I will withhold judgement for now. I have not looked up any spoilers, as you insisted. I do hope you are aware what a burden this on me, but anything for family, yes?

Well, about that. I truly hate to even bring this up, but is mom still upset about the grandchildren… issue? She hasn’t brought it up in months. I can’t tell if I’m seeing things that aren’t there. The last time I asked, she said it was “fine”. I miss real time communication, it’s so much harder to read people, especially mom, without it. In the end, it doesn’t matter, and she must understand that. We all agreed to long term birth control, after dozens of hours of psychological screening and counseling, about that and other topics. There’s no going back - to Earth, or to having children.

I can’t admit this to mom, but it was a relief. You know I never liked babies, I never had a single maternal instinct. Everyone else said I’d change my mind, but you’re the one person who never doubted me. I should have said this long ago, but thank you. Thank you for believing me when I said I knew what I wanted, and always supporting me with mom. With this, with the divorce, with, well, everything.

I know I said that Jonathan and I didn’t divorce because of children. It’s true, but it’s not all of it. There were just too many things we couldn’t agree on, too many ways we made each other miserable. I couldn’t admit this for a long time, not until the mandatory counseling in training, actually, but just the children issue was enough to end it. I couldn’t have children just because he wanted them, just because he thought I would be a good mother, just because mom wanted more grandchildren so damn much. I did not expect to wind up crying in mandated therapy, but I cried because I was just so damn angry at him. He promised he was alright with not having children, but it was all a lie. Lied to himself, lied to me, both, I don’t know, but it wasn’t the marriage we promised each other. I was afraid I was going to get disqualified for my reactions, but I heard afterwards that it helped, they want to see how people deal with difficult emotions. I suppose I have something to thank Jonathan for after all?

I know mom thinks… no, I don’t know what mom thinks. That I only don’t want children because of the way things ended with Jonathan? That I should have made things work with Jonathan? That it’s all to spite her, that I’ll change my mind, that I went to Mars to spite her? I don’t know, and I don’t know how to find out, and I’m… sad. Do you understand what she is feeling? Can you give me advice on how to talk to her about this? I’m not asking you to talk to her for me, but you have my consent to if you want to.

I’m just going to talk in circles if I keep going, so I’m going to say goodbye for now. I love you, and thank you again, for everything.

Your sister,

Taya


 

Andre,

What am I most surprised to miss? Cheese, hands down. Yeah I did not see that coming, but here I am. I’m probably never going to have real cheese again, and I’m pissed. I knew that, and it really didn’t seem like a big deal. I never even thought about liking cheese, it was just a regular food you could take for granted. It’s not like I wish I’d never come here, it is, in fact, fucking amazing, but cheese! Can you go eat some cheese and appreciate it? Get a fancy platter, some of that ancient cheddar, muenster, that smelly stuff that I never actually tried and now wish I did. Oh, baked brie, what I’d give for a hot gooey baked brie. With fruit to put it on. Don’t take cheese for granted!

I try not to think about this too much, but you asked. We spent months eating nothing but Mars-food back in the training program, it’s not *bad* and I was prepared to eat nothing but that forever, though we are all rooting really hard for the crop diversity plans. But there are no cows coming to Mars… maybe ever? Certainly not in our lifetimes. Animals are deeply inefficient for Mars life, and cows are really fundamentally disgusting when you’re in such a tight environment. Chickens, would not really mind some chickens here, but cows? Nope.

Yeah, technically there is freeze dried cheese in some of our food, but let me assure you that it is not real cheese in any sense of the word. If you want to really understand the depths of my suffering, go order those Mars-food packs they sell, make up a big family did with only that, feed it to the kids, and tell them that’s all the cheese Uncle Tyler ever gets. Then have a baked brie and some cheesecake for dessert. Then when the kids ask you why I’m so weird, tell them it’s space madness.

Or don’t, but that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. You asked, you get the cheese treatise. Send more questions and I’ll give them equal attention and consideration, especially if they come from the kids.

Give my love to everyone, and tell Jasmine I have her pictures up in my room and to send me more.

-Ty


 

Hana,

I don’t know what you said to mom, but thank you. She sent me an actual video message! She’s never done that once. I think she cried? I don’t think I’ve ever seen her cry. I haven’t replied yet, because I need to gather more composure. I’m not even sure what all the emotions are that I’m feeling. I scheduled an appointment with my counselor tomorrow. I wasn’t due for a mandatory meeting for another few weeks, but I’m going to take your advice more now, I swear.

Thank you! What did you say to her? Do you actually understand me better than I understand myself, my wizard of a sister? I wish she and I had been able to have these conversations before I left, but maybe that was never possible. Maybe we needed the distance to understand each other? Maybe I’m making excuses, but this is where we are now.

For the first time, I really feels like she loves me and possibly even accepts me? She said she was proud of me. Proud! She said she thought I knew that, that she’s always been proud of me. She was just worried for me, about children, because, well, because she loves us so much? She didn’t want me to miss out on that and regret it. I actually believe her, to my surprise. Of course she would love more grandchildren, but… she just wants me to be happy?

I have no idea what I would do without you, what any of us would do without you. I’m so lucky to have you, mom and dad are lucky to have you, and your wife and kids are amazingly lucky to have you. Please give my love to all of them, and I will try to do it myself more often.

I’m going to start recording a message for mom and see how it goes.

Thank you.

Love,

Taya

PS: I do have an actual bidding war for the tomatoes. Right now, I am most tempted by first rights to other produce, but people are getting creative, and Carlos just got the still working, so we’ll see.


 

Elena,

Fine, Fine, FINE. You were right. Alex is much hotter than they look in pictures, and charming, and I can imagine how smarmy you look right now, and you can shove your smarmy face in… I don’t know, all we have is dirt here, go shove your face in Earth dirt and appreciate it, this has gotten a bit off track and no I am not flustered by Alex, shut up, you’re flustered.

...Also I finally got some of Oliver’s god awful “alcohol”, and wow does even shitty Marsshine booze (like moonshine, get it? Well get used to it because we are never getting rid of that name) hit you like a ton of mars rocks when you haven’t had a drink in over a year. I’m Marsdrunk! Did I mention that when we’re bored or punchy we just make every noun a marsnoun? “Can you move that marschair out of the way, i’ve got a lot of marsboxes in my marsarms”.

I miss drunkenly messaging you in real time. Reply as soon as you get this, I don’t know or care how timezones work, you’re on another planet.

...okay and even I was attracted to Alex, damn it, we’re the first phase of colonists where they even sent up any single people! I am 100% not going to risk being the first bad breakup ON THE ENTIRE PLANET. I do not think I could live with myself. You would laugh yourself to death, and I do not wish to be responsible for your death, my oldest and dearest friend who does not enjoy my suffering, not ever. We all know that the psych staff do have contingencies for the first bad breakup (which allegedly includes a secret bottle of whiskey for the psych staff to cope.) There are many reasons to have three distinct communities, besides dire things like survival of the colony if one of us suffers a disaster and all die. No, we all know it’s for splitting up the naughty children who can’t get along, and no one is willing to be the first naughty child sent off to live in the next hab over. It’s not like you can’t see your old friends, it’s just a long redundant series of airlocks, but THE SHAME.

I knew I was giving up the option for one night stands with people I met at bars when I came here, and we all know that was absolutely for the best. I am pretty sure I only barely squeaked by that part of the psych eval, thanks to actually having stable three year relationship with an amicable breakup (thanks Morgan!) and being really convincing in my desire for singlehood.

So maybe I switched yoga classes, and maybe Alex is really good at yoga and now I’m embarrassed about how well i embody various yoga animals, especially when it involves sticking my butt out. But I had a really good reason to switch. For the new book club. Being run by one of the new arrivals. Whose name totally is not Alex, fuck you, I’ve always been interested in long depressing Russian literature, everyone knows that, Tolstoy is the best, wooooo.

I’m so doomed.


 

Hana,

I am proud to report than I am now the Tomato Champion of Mars. I never in my life thought that was a title I would achieve, largely because I never thought I would be competing in gardening competitions on another planet. I act like it’s nothing big, but I am actually rather proud of my tomatoes. Charlotte was joking that I was both the first and the best, but she’s right. I outperformed some of the actual botanists! To be fair, I was focused only on my tomatoes, and no other plants. Regardless, I have achieved excellence in tomatoes, and that means a lot. Everyone came here prepared to only eat vacuum sealed food sent from Earth for their rest of their lives, but fresh food does wonders. I came here as physicist, not a farmer, but I’m happy to be both. I’ve been cajoled into playing more games, and I’m playing a card game called Euchre after dinner tonight. Wish me luck, I suppose!

Love,

Taya


 

Elena,

My life on mars is busy and fulfilling and interesting, and you are really taking some drunken ramblings far too seriously. I’m very happy, I really genuinely am. Do you want to hear about my progress increasing the efficiency of our water reclamation systems? My latest proposals for harnessing volcanic energy? (I might actually get to do the field study!) My stunning failure in the darts tournament? (No one was permanently injured, but I’ve been told to think about poker instead.) How about the ongoing lively debate about the worst possible failure mode of importing bees from Earth? (I’m pushing for “bees escape, are exposed to too much radiation from the sun, and mutate into Killer MarsBees”. There are some really popular ones involving aliens though.)

No, you don’t, you just want to hear about the “eye candy” as you put it. You’re shameless, you know?

Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t know how to date on Mars. There’s no restaurants, no coffee shops, we have movie showings in the rec hall but it’s nothing like “going out to a movie” on Earth. (Janna is starting up a film discussion series, which I think will be popular. Book clubs are fun, but did you know _War and Peace_ is over half a million words? Half of us admitted defeat a week in, which meant I didn’t have to admit defeat. We’re switching to afrofuturism instead, which looks far more interesting. And yes, by “we” I mean “Alex and also six other people”)

So I’ll get to know Alex, or not, as it happens, and if they asked me out, I might not say no.  Looks like they are picking up one of the energy projects as their 75/25 project, for the 25% of work time on bonus projects, so we may interact with each other there.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go brainstorm the best ways to run power lines on Mars, with people who are less sex-obsessed than you, my dearest friend.

Love,

Charlotte

PS- Do you have opinions about the best herbs or whatever to make tomato sauce with? Yet another lively debate, as we frontier homesteaders wait for the crops to come in. We’ve got an epidemic of MarsTomato Fever up here, which hopefully is not a precursor to Space Madness. If it is, tell my parents I love them, and it was all worth it!

PPS- Actually, tell them something more diplomatic than that, I trust you to improvise.


 

Andre,

Fake cheese is the worst thing in the universe. I could just say “the worst thing on this planet”, but it’s worse than that. Worse than everything on Earth, and until I see otherwise, I’m going to assume everywhere else.

Now that we have fresh tomatoes, some terrible people decided we should try to make pizza. I have made my longing for cheese known on occasion, by which I mean sometimes I get really pissed about cheese. Everyone has quirks like this up here. Like crying, real tears and weeping, about how we’ll never have enough gravity for golf? Everyone goes through it sometimes, we try not to be assholes about it, but golf, man?

Anyway. Pizza. Assholes made pizza and swore by it, said it tasted just like home, it had been so long it would taste amazing, so fine, I gave it a try. Fuck that “pizza”, fuck those people, all mozzarella on Earth spontaneously wept when Martians called that monstrosity a pizza. I spit it out on my plate, threw it into the compost, and walked away in disgust. Everyone thought this was hilarious, so glad I could lighten everyone’s moods with my suffering.

Pretty good tomato sauce, though, have to admit that. I’ll have to taste it on something reasonable.

-Ty


 

Elena,

Well guess who finally got permission to do the field study on volcanic geothermic power? (marsthermic? Still working it out) And guess who volunteered to go on the three week mission with me? If you guessed “Captain Hotpants”, stop that, it’s unprofessional, but yes it’s Alex. We won’t be leaving for at least another month or two, and maybe someone else will go, but I know it’s going to be Alex.

So, now I really am doomed? This has to finally resolve things, right? Even someone as charming and enigmatic as Alex can’t keep their feelings hidden for three weeks with no one else there, right? Right? Obviously they like me as a friend, that’s been clear for almost a year, but these months of is-this-flirting-or-not high school bullshit is seriously going to give me Space Madness. Not that I mind, but, argh.

Rumor is that the last month’s newest colonists have some actual couples just from the the trip here, which is the juiciest gossip we’ve had in ages. I’m still unwilling to be the first breakup, though! Not that I am hoping people have horrible breakups, mind you. But things are changing. It would be easier to split naughty children up these days. There’s more and more people in the other habs who I just don’t know the names of, and even people whose faces aren’t familiar. It’s good, but also kind of sad? We all want more people, it’s great for the colony, and to get to meet new people, but it doesn’t feel like one big extended family anymore.

We’ve started construction on the fourth hab, because we’re getting near maximum idea occupancy in the existing ones. The plan is for people to volunteer from all three groups to go, well, colonize the fourth one. Just filling it with new arrivals would be absurd. Then everyone will have friends in the fourth hab, and have reasons to visit. It’s not far, but you have to make an effort to do it, instead of just seeing people at the big central activities and classes. Lin wants to start a rotating dinner party series, where our book club has small groups from other habs over to socialize. I don’t know when I last even went to other habs, so I think it’s a good idea. There’s a group in Hab 3 (aka “Pirate Hab”, i kid you not) that is going to start monthly gaming in their rec hall. Not cards games or board games, or even tabletop adventures, they want people to do actual Live Action Role Play games. I might give it a try. I think Alex mentioned being interested… three weeks…

Love you, talk to you soon

Charlotte


 

Andre,

I’m trying to decide what language to learn next. You have to be fluent in English and close to fluent in at least one other to start. I just found out that Alex, one of the new people, is fluent in 4 and conversant in 4 more, and allegedly can get by reading slowly in another 2. Gotta start catching up! Newbies showing me up, coming in with three fluent and getting by in two others used to look good. Need to cut back on the poker tournaments, give other people a chance to kick ass like I have.

 

We’ve had Mandarin classes going since the first day, Hindi’s got a lot of people to practice with and I hear the beginner teacher is pretty good. I could do German or French pretty quickly, but that almost feels like cheating. Maybe Arabic? We’re likely to get a fair number of Arabic speakers next year, so it might be cool to already have some of that down when they get here. Make new friends, and showing people around is always fun. It’s awesome seeing how our social norms evolve with each new group that comes in.

 

We all know they are going to have slow sending new people if we can’t expand our infrastructure more, which basically comes down to efficiency in not losing resources, and hopefully finding ways to use the meager resources of Mars more. I’ve got some ideas going in my personal project time, I’ll let you know about them when they make a bit more sense.

 

-Ty

 

PS - alright here’s a hint, I’m hoping I can put some of my old Renn Faire work to use.

 

PPS - And it would be awesome.

 


 

Elena,

Can’t talk long, I am exhausted and we are super busy and I’m pretending to type up field notes, but we’re past the halfway mark on this trip and Captain Hot Pants is giving me NO CLARITY WHATSOEVER. I can try and tell myself that I’ll get something out of them on the drive back, when we’re not constantly busy and exhausted, but honestly, I have no idea what is going on. Alex is charming and friendly, interested in me and my life, funny, interesting! I don’t know how they manage this balance of feeling emotionally open and safe while REVEALING NOTHING. And yes, I’ve got it bad, I’m too tired to argue with you, but what do I do? What do I say? Yes it’s tenth grade again, except you can’t just hang out with us and then tell me what the hell is going on… WAIT. I will make a video recording, say it’s for everyone back home, to show them our field trip, and you can watch it and tell me if you think Alex likes me?

I’m a colonist on a brave new world, one of just hundreds of people from the whole Earth given this honor and responsibility, and I need to cry to my best friend to help me figure out if someone likes me. This is pathetic, I’m going back to doing science, I love you.

 

Charlotte

 


 

Andre,

 

Arabic is going well… is what I’d like to say, but honestly it is kicking my ass. Written is really fucking hard, so I’m working more on conversation, which is what will be more important first. Everyone knows English here, but I want not embarrass myself with the new colonists, and it’s only a few months. I’ve gotten pretty distracted by the gardening competitions. We don’t have seasons in the traditional way here, so there isn’t an obvious harvest time, but people have been trying to line up schedules so we have big batches of multiple crops ready at the same time. There’s no cold snaps, no marauding animals, all kinds of factors totally irrelevant, but there’s still obvious variations in people’s skills. We’re doing well enough with crops that some people are getting into flowers, with rumors of flower arrangement lessons in the future. There’s some complicated stuff there!

 

I think it’s time to let you in on my big plans. Brother, they are fucking awesome. So remember how super into blacksmithing I was at that renaissance festival in high school? I’ve always missed it. I don’t know how much of that you remember, so I’ll summarize best I can, let me know if any of it is confusing. I’m pretty hype for this, if this works I’m going to be channeling Vulcan himself. (The god, not the Star Trek race, though that would be pretty awesome too.)

 

So! Smelting! You wanna get iron from iron ore, you need really fucking hot temperatures - like over 1000 C, in crazy furnaces. Not something I was doing at the renn faire, but I did visit one in college, in that one seminar I took. Anyway, those furnaces burn a lot of fuel and a fuck ton of oxygen. Earth, oxygen’s, well, free as air. (So much of the issues in long term development get help up on the atmosphere. Lemme tell you, if we had more hydrogen available on Mars!) Anyway, oxygen, not enough of it hanging around.

 

BUT! Guess what we’ve been exploring? VOLCANOS. You see the awesome coming now, right? And what are volcanos? Fucking hot, super fucking hot, it’s the whole point, basically. We’ve surveyed some underground magma caves that would give me all the heat I need. (Tell the kids that Uncle Tyle has underground magma caves, see how awesome they think that is. Ask Jasmine to draw me a picture, if she likes. They are getting good!) So, crazy amounts of heat, what do we do with it? Well, why is Mars so damn red? RUST. Iron oxide. You see where I’m going! I don’t have a plan yet for how we get the iron out, but it’s there and we’re going to get it. So eventually, I start making metal iron, then steel girders, then construction gets so much easier and more stable.

 

...this make take awhile, but it’s the best idea I’ve seen and I’m going to make it happen, and be the Iron God of Mars, and the kids can tell their friends. Maybe they can put me on posters, that would be sweet.

 

I haven’t told anyone this plan yet. I want to get some solid plans, because I admit it sounds a bit crazy, but it’s going to be awesome, tell me how awesome it is, I know you know it.

 

- Ty


 

EL. ELENA. THE STORY I HAVE FOR YOU. I’d video this but I’m still out on the mission and that would be so awkward. Sit down, get a bottle of wine maybe, prepare to laugh your ass off at Charlotte’s Misadventures On Mars (a 1000 part series.)

 

So, we’re on another volcano field trip, right? This time we’ve got a group of eight, we took two rovers, lots to do, very busy. Alex and I hardly got to talk, we were both team leads for the two teams. (Which is very exciting, this project is really taking off!) So we’re coming up on the last days of the mission, after extending it twice, and we’re all bone tired, just so worn down.

 

Alex and their best friend, Hatal, were out gathering samples for hours. Our radios can all connect in every combination: broadcast to everyone, to just your sub team, one on one, etc. Alex and Hatal called the rover where I was working to check in about… I don’t even remember what, some boring minor technical detail. We finished up, and I switched to Farah to see how their team was doing, we chatted for a few minutes about which direction they should go next. I switched back to the channel with Alex and Hatal, and before I could say anything, I realized they were talking, they must have forgotten to switch back to private comms when I switched out. (Thrilling story, I know, but wait for it. Maybe you can see where this is going. I DID NOT SEE IT COMING.)

 

So, I should have broken in immediately, but I swear I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, I had a message come through that distracted me. So guess what they were talking about? Alex’s romantic feelings, somehow Hatal could get them to talk. Hatal was saying something like, “If you really like her that much, you should just tell her! Even if she doesn’t like you, it’s not like she’s going to hate you forever and move back to Earth to avoid you.” Alex laughed, and I thought about how much I loved their laugh, and, I swear this is true, how lucky whoever they were talking about was. I thought about all the women that Alex seemed to be friends with, and who was the most charming and smart and attractive, and yes this is super high school, WE’RE ON MARS WHAT DO YOU WANT. Alex said, “But we have to work together, I can’t mess that up, it’s too important to her. Maybe after the project?” Hatal asked how long that would be, and Alex admitted they had no idea, it could go on for awhile. The other two members of their subteam were really hot, and I almost sighed. That made me realize that I was also on open comms, and that I really shouldn’t be listening, and I was gripped in moral panic. YES IT FELT THAT EXTREME. I switched off the comms and took some deep breathes. I decided I’d wait a few minutes and switch back in and interrupt them when they were saying something innocuous.

 

So I say there doing yoga breathing, trying to calm the fuck down, to be professional, to avoid Alex best I could and hope they and whoever would just start dating already so I could start getting over them. I started writing a letter to you in my head about it all, actually, ha ha. I switched back in, and heard Alex say my name. I thought they realized I was calling in and were greeting me, but no, they were talking about me. “...Charlotte would have said something by now, after that three week trip, and all this time, if they felt anything. I’m not going to make things awkward for everyone, and that’s it. Can we just go back to work?” Alex sounded more off balance than I had ever heard. About me? Me? Actually me? I honestly thought about if there were any other Charlottes we knew, that’s how shocked I was. They went silent, and I switched off again, and decided to just hit all-comms, and hopefully they would never realize they had stayed on the wrong channel. I made some bullshit announcement, and then switched right into the three of us to talk about some other bullshit, we had some minor discussions, and I tried not to throw up.

 

So I started writing you a letter right then to ask for advice, and then decided FUCK IT, I’M AN ADULT. I grabbed Alex after dinner in our makeshift base, and… I have no idea what I said, I tried to be chill but I babbled and admitted I’d heard their comm, and Alex’s face just drained and they started apologizing, and everything was spinning and I burst out with, “I love you!” Which, i didn’t think I did, but as I said it I knew it was true, and then they kissed me, and holy fuck they are a good kisser.

 

So when we get home we’re going to figure out how you do a proper date on Mars, but we’re making sappy eyes at each other. It’s going to be days and days before we can properly be alone together. I think it’s going to be worth the wait.

 

I love you and thank you and I hope you’re laughing your ass off at me. Nothing’s changed since high school, has it bestie?

 

All my love, from far away,

 

Charlotte

 


 

BROTHER,

SUCCESS! IASA DOES NOT (ENTIRELY) THINK I AM CRAZY! I’m not getting the funding I wanted, but I shot for the stars and hoped for… Phobos? Let’s go with Phobos. I workshopped my plans with my friends who think least think I’m crazy, and sent them off to IASA, and they reassigned me to make this my 75% time project instead of 25% personal project - which means 100% of my time, and then some. They aren’t sending me furnace parts yet, but there’s time to add some things to the manifest before the next unmanned supply drop, and I can start gathering for real.

APOTHEOSIS. LOOK IT UP. THAT’S WHERE I’M HEADING. VULCAN, GOD OF VOLCANOS. Put me on a poster, build me a statue someday, from the very metal I BROUGHT FORTH FROM THE DUST OF MARS. Ashes to ashes, dust to ore!

Gotta go change the world, love you bro.

- Ty

PS - APOTHEOSIS

PPS - Do you think Jasmine could design me a poster for my desk? Or, can someone else design one and she draws me standing triumphant atop a volcano? I really loved her first volcano series. 

 


 

Hana,

Now you can tell everyone that not only are you sister to the Tomato Champion of Mars, but also the Euchre Champion (of "Pirate Hab", which is a name I have come around on.) It's remarkably fun, and I think I'm making real friends? Which I know must make you happy. It's easier to connect with people over games, and so I've started playing a lot. I'm working my way through a number of German board games, and expanding into non-German ones, but the German ones are my favorites so far.  I've joined a tabletop roleplaying group. We're adventuring in the lost city of Atlantis, deep below the Atlantic Ocean. I'm playing a time travel mage. People seem to actually appreciate my technical critiques of fluid dynamics and marine biology, especially if I use sarcasm. It's really quite nice. I'm playing a live action role playing game tomorrow, where we all play Roman Senators in an alternate timeline with reversed gender roles. It sounds like it won't be boring, at minimum!

My tomato are flourishing, and I started with flowers as well. I'm campaigning for importing bees, I really don't understand what people are so afraid of, it's not like we can't control them with chemical. We'll see how that goes. 

Mom and I are talking more than we ever have, and trivialities, about family history, about my work. She's giving me gardening tips, and a lot of them aren't relevant off Mars, but I appreciate all of them. Thank you again. I think we actually have a good relationship? Maybe I did need to move Mars, or maybe I just needed to ask my sister for help. However we got here, I'm happy.

I love you! Write back soon!

Taya