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Ares 4 and Things Not To Say In Front of Teddy Sanders

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Mark Watney is asked back to speak at the Ares 4 sendoff. NASA had to ask him, of course; it would be ridiculous to send a new crew to Mars without acknowledging the man they’d left there last time.

Watney stands there in jeans and a faded NASA t-shirt, grinning into the sun over the crowd.

“I suppose you’re looking for some words of advice from a grizzled Mars veteran such as myself,” he says to the six astronauts watching him expectantly. “Well, here’s some advice for you: bring some music other than disco to Mars.” Chuckles from the audience. “I’m not joking, disco gets old real fast.”

“Also, just a tip: try not to get left on the planet. If your commander tells you to get to the MAV, you haul ass.” More laughter.

“And finally, in all seriousness, you are there to further humanity’s knowledge. So take pride in your work! Some smart as hell people spent a whole lot of money to send the best of the best to another planet, and those best are you. Keep that in mind when things get tough.”

He lowers the mike, begins to turn away as though  he’s done, then stops. “Oh, and one last thing. I’d like you to pass along a message.” The NASA higherups exchange nervous looks. Whatever this is, this is off-script.

“I’d like you to tell Mars something for me.” He leans in. “Tell it that Mark f—king Watney says to go suck a dick.”

He straightens up, shields his eyes against the sun, and drops the mic with a bang that causes every sound technician within hearing range to cringe and the entire crowd to erupt into chaos.


Needless to say, he is not invited back to speak at the Ares 5 sendoff.