Monday, 9 May 2011

Chapter 4: Found again

“Hi, I’m Marina Porter, from Evansville, Indiana, North America. How are you going to compensate for the larger than expected initial immigration to Mars?” Marina said, proud to have the first question.
”I’m Glad someone asked that, well first of all, although we have had more immigrants here than expected, there are still more than enough apartments and family dormitories to go around. The major problem is there may not be enough jobs to go around, with outdoor jobs only able to be worked by post-modified citizens and the planned construction of further city domes will have to be carried out by construction robots via spintronic implant. However as soon as the dome is completed non-implanted citizens can construct the interiors. We are also postponing the second immigration wave to compensate for this, and citizens are free to apply for loans if they would like to start a business here on Mars.”
Marina nodded and sat back down.
A few more people asked questions before Doctor Carter closed the meeting, Marina gathered her notes and headed for the door, a young man, probable in his mid to late twenties stood at the door in a low ranking uniform, collecting the forms that were supposed to be filled in by now.
”Thanks,” he said, “a lot of people haven’t bothered,” Not hiding the fact he was attracted to her.
”That’s Okay” she gave him a coy smile, but he was not really her type, a little old for her, and obviously the jock in high school. Marina liked her men a little rougher round the edges.
As she left the conference room a group of kids rushed past knocking her TAP out of her hands, she knelt down to pick it up and a person walking past, unawares kicked it down the hall. Shit. She stood up to see if she could see where it went. A few seconds later some guy walked up to her with her TAP in his hand.
”Is this yours?” he said as he held up the Tactile Access Pad.
”Oh, yeah, thanks, I like to make notes on something I can feel.”
”yeah, me to, I have one of these almost exactly the same, but personally I didn’t think there was much in that meeting that deserved noting” he gave the pad back to her and she checked it over for any damage.
”Oh, no, these are just notes on ideas I have, always better to write them down before they float away”
”what kind of ideas? Oh and I’m Mack by the way,” Mack bumbled awkwardly.
”Marina, Nice to meet you, and you know, all sorts of ideas mostly sort of programming, engineering and technical stuff,” She explained.
”Sounds pretty interesting, I often have ideas like that of my own, do you want to get a coffee or something, I came here on my own, and I haven’t really spoken to anyone yet, well apart from you,” Mack said, feeling more confident.
”Oh, yeah, sure, I don’t see why not, I haven’t really met anyone since I got here either,” she gave him a small smile and they started walking down the corridor together.
“Mack, that’s quite an unusual name, doesn’t sound very British” she said.
“Well… it’s actually short for Maximilian, my granddad’s name, he was always Max, but I prefer Mack.”
“Ah,” she replied, and they continued to walk and talk together.
* * * * * * * * * *
Mack’s heart was pounding, he had never been able to gather enough courage to do that before, and in fact, he had never really talked to girls much before, he always clammed up with nerves and froze, or said something stupid. He had made a conscious decision on his arrival on Mars though; that now he was on a new planet, he was going to be a completely new person, and so far so good, he had asked the prettiest girl he’d ever seen out to coffee, that was a start at least.
Mack and Marina ended up talking for hours; about all sorts of things, it turns out they had a lot in common. She had also run away from home to make a new life on Mars, with few friends, and an unappreciative family. Marina’s father was a corporate liaison to the Hive Queen, a programming genius but very business driven and ruled by efficiency, Marina’s mother had died of a sudden and massive stroke, when she was twelve. The resulting brain damage was so severe the Hive Queen could not have even recovered her consciousness, and her father had become increasingly resentful and strict to her younger brother and herself, having had a strong catholic upbringing. She felt quite guilty for having left her brother back on earth, but she sometimes felt one of the reasons her father was so strict was because she reminded him of her mother, and with her gone it would be a weight of his shoulders.

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