Insert Chassis Albuquerque: The Mars Uncertainty Principle

7 January 2017

The Mars Uncertainty Principle

They were on Mars, Astronaut 1 and Astronaut 2 (forthwith to be abbreviated A1 and A2 to save on data up-link time). Ever since the Chinese had landed on the moon the race for Mars and beyond was on. A2 radioed his colleague, "You think life exists on other planets? Copy.”
A1 replied, "Could be - but do you not see where we are? We are the life on other planets.”
Yes, there was earth's sun over there, burning bright, warming up the galaxy, light that was already millions of years old. Anyhow, regarding his colleague no matter what was said A1 was convinced A2 was a fucking idiot.
He wasn’t saying A2 was stupid but, man, it had to be close a close call here. You know, the kind of stupid you couldn’t ignore and had to warn people about, the kind of stupid that would have difficulty navigating the short distance from earth to Moon base.
Which A2 had had, en route from earth he’d crash-landed into a bush on earth.
A2 had a disparaging tendency to be whimsical and a fondness for practical jokes - jokes in a Mars gravity were no fun and you were the only known life on the planet.
A2 was rumoured to be a nominal appointment, his father, the governor of Nevada, had allocated a large portion of public funds to NASA to fund the mission in the hope it would beef up the Nevada economy and strengthen the small electronics industry there. A2 hadn’t followed the usual recruitment process, in fact, researching the matter A1 had uncovered A2 hadn’t completed any Astronaut Training program at all. The usual criteria is 5 years in the military and 7 years in the Space Program - as far as A1 knew he’d done a short online course and 6 months later - Mars.
A1 was always polite about it and tried put it out of his mind, it was not his job to wonder too much about such things and they had his passport and work papers and all his family was still back on earth. What was important was could A2 do the job at hand, which really, it was a struggle for him - A1 put it this way: He wasn’t sure what the online course for being an astronaut had covered but it certainly hadn’t covered being an astronaut and developing any asteroid defence systems. He remembered as they were preparing for take-off a few months ago A2 had turned to A1 - he’d been regarding one of the instrument panels and seemed distracted by the coloured LEDs - and said: “Gee, there sure a lot more buttons here than I’d imagined… Copy.”
And that was another thing, A2 ended every sentence with `copy’, even when they weren’t suited-up talking via the radio-link in the Mars habitat.
“Pass me the, salt. Copy. The moons look nice tonight. Copy. On earth I’d a good hit rate with the ladies - copy.”
“What’s that? Copy,” he said suddenly. He was always saying things like that, “What’s that! Holy shit! Aliens! We’re being invaded! Copy.”
But this time he’d pointed in the general direction of the habitat and then hesitated. A1 could hear fear in his voice, electronic and worried. A1 saw it, too, in the reflection of his visor and spun round, alarmed.
“We’d better take a look, A2. I’ll try call it in - ready the rover!”
“Copy that! Copy!” he said and took off for the rover.
There were three of them, three beings.
“It must be the Russians? Maybe the Chinese!” A2 wondered. Whoever they were they’d arrived in a ship, not a rocket, a goddamn ship. It was nothing like they’d ever seen before, sleek and beautiful, clearly alien technology. And if it was the Chinese, well, they sure looked alien Chinese, what with there weird looking exo-skeleton suits.
Astronauts are briefed repeatedly what to do in the event of any alien encounter: If this happens just be cool - and take photographs, lots of them. None of the protocol that A1 read said anything about evacuating in their Rapid Escape Module so there was a certain amount of pressure put upon them to assess and process as much information as possible. A1 had queried this during training and was simply told it was an omission, a typo. Despite requests he’d never received an updated, revised copy of the Alien Encounter protocol.
Before A1 could stop him, in a complete breech of protocol, A2 began walking toward the aliens, not only walking, waving his goddamn suited arms at them hollering over his COMS: “Hey! Hey, over here! Where you folks all from…? Man, that’s sure a nice looking ship! Copy,” all the while taking photographs.
“Engage brain, A2! A2 engage brain…!” A1 was yelling into his COMS. A2 had probably had been steadily deteriorating over the past few months as shortwave micro radiation had passed through his system leaving him incapable of carrying out instructions. A1 dived behind the wheel of the rover. His LDR (Long Distance Radio) crackled.
“Mars, this is CAPCOM, you confirm you have a First Contact situation? Copy?
“CAPCOM, CAPCOM, this is Mars, copy that, I can confirm First Contact - please advise!
“We hear you in italics, A1 - standby, Mars…”
“Standing by - hurry, I think they have rayguns…!”
There was a bright burst of light and A2 seemed to be melting into the Mars soil. It was clear to A1 A2 was no longer fully functional. “A2!A2 - copy…!” he called into his COMS.
“Mars, this is CAPCOM, we’ve the president on the line. But first we have to interrupt this broadcast to bring you the latest Chassis Albuquerque news! Standby - The Sundial Salesman available online from AMAZON! Meet Ealing Broadway, a severely flawed working nobody the consequence of highly dysfunctional parents who insist he’s adopted! Join Broadway as he battles life against the odds - luckily the odds count for shit as Broadway's chosen to overlook them! And now back to Mars…! Mars, this is CAPCOM, repeat, you there, Mars…?”
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“Mars, this is CAPCOM, repeat…?”

“Mars, come in, this is CAPCOM, repeat…?”

“Mars, this is CAPCOM, repeat, you there…?”