Mars Second Base Outer Rim Outpost Supervisor’s Log, 23 January 2105
Copyright, 2015, L Y Easley
The time has finally come to tell my story, at least to myself, knowing God too is listening. There is enough food and oxygen still here for me to last long enough to get the words down. From my perch in this mastership’s sealed galley, near a small round window, I can still see the sun. Not all of our solar panels were taken out in the battle. My three comrades were.
James K. Rahlston, William L. Farnsworth, and Shelby Winston all died 21 January 2105 after valiantly defending our outpost from unexpected and violent attack by some insane, aging and armed Rebels, some ten years after the conflict officially ended when Earth Legislators signed the Peace Accord. This attack was entirely unprovoked, illegal and came with absolutely no warning. I believe they thought we were all dead when they left, so no further attack likely. Besides, their ship took tons of hits.
I suffered a shrapnel wound to my upper right shoulder but was able to treat it myself and am recovering now. There were still some medications and bandages here in the galley. I did find myself needing a lot of rest yesterday, after all the work and shock of that first day afterwards. (I knew I was feeling better when I bothered to shave this morning. The idea of writing things down has helped a lot.) Hope someone will actually get to read it.
My quarters have been detoxed and sealed. No communication equipment still intact now–but we were able to send a MayDay signal once. Other damages are also extensive–some of the fires outside are still burning and may be visible to telescopic equipment on satellites. Since no other data has been going out from here for these three days, I expect there will be an investigation crew sent here soon–unless Mars First Base was also attacked. The Moon station may send a crew if they don’t hear anything. However, that is likely to take longer than my meager food and oxygen supply.
I have only this small computer and it has only the one backup generator running currently, with the aid of the few solar cells that are still working.
I have been on Mars 14 years and on Second Base an entire decade now. Others have come and gone over the years, but Jim, Bill and Shelby have been my main crew since 2098, when Supervisor Chalmers retired. Obviously, this attack was a complete surprise, as was the termination of all communication with either Earth or the Moon, or even with Mars First Base, only about 1K kilometers from here. As of this writing, I still don’t know if First Base knows of the attack.
I have remained at Second Base for the whole project–ever since Earth’s Legislators allowed Mars First Base to send that first expedition to this distant mountain rim, back in 2095. The contingent assigned to Mars had just completed two stints in Earth’s Mars Expeditions VII and VIII (only to First Base, of course, since that’s all there was then).
Expedition VIII was my first Martian assignment after the Mars Graduate Academy, working up to Assistant Superviser back at Mars First Base those two years. That had been during the war and I was not in the Advanced Fleet until the end of the war. I was 28 when the call came that the war was over and First Command wanted to see me immediately. I could hardly believe the good news, but wondered what was coming. After the boredom of Expedition VIII, while classmates of mine were fighting, I was more than ready for something with teeth in it.
The whole idea of an actual remote Martian Second Base/potential settlement had been controversial, but at least they were planning that first, investigative expedition. People had worried about potential conflicts between bases, the long separations from Earth and all the risk factors and expense. The war chest would take time to replenish, after all. People always find reasons to worry if they let themselves.
It made no difference to me to be away back then–I’d already been gone from my childhood home back on the Moon two years for graduate training, another two as First Base Assistant Supervisor, all before Advanced Fleet. The war had ended by then and, in my youthful mind, there was really no reason to wait. (I was fairly unaware of the economics from the viewpoint of Earth Legislators.)
We had First Base well established even back on Expedition VIII and it was time to branch out on Mars. Wasn’t it the logical next step? There were many things to be gained from a Second Base. We could have a much better overall defense as many here on Mars and the Moon wanted desperately, back then, right after the war. A distant Peace Accord wasn’t enough.
I still remember that strange mixture of relief and curiosity when I climbed up to First Command’s quarters at Mars First Base. Much celebrating had erupted that day and the atmosphere was buoyant–something rare indeed for First Command. They asked if I wanted to assist Supervisor Chalmers for Expedition IX: still on Mars, but further away than we’d ever been in any of the other expeditions–all the way to a distant mountain rim. This was what I’d been waiting for: a very difficult assignment with rugged crew ready for an adventure. I would also join Advanced Fleet at last.
That was the very beginning of Mars Second Base. By 2098, three years into this pioneering effort, I had succeeded Superviser Chalmers, who had retired. I was 31. A dozen astronauts reported to me, many of them older men. That count has dwindled in these more recent years, due to more promising assignments back on the Moon, closer to civilization as we knew it, growing up. Funding sources also fluctuated and the Moon projects could attract the young graduates and woo them back as well.
Jim, Bill and Shelby were my core crew. They were excellent scientists, and true friends. Even though all of us occasionally took leave to go see family back at Mars Base One or even on the Moon, mostly we were each other’s family here. They all served diligently and fought well when this all happened. None were prepared but they completely rose to the shocking challenge when it came. All deserve highest Commendations.
CHRONOLOGY/BACKSTORY JUST FOR THIS ROUGH BEGINNING:
Promising, intelligent healthy male b. 2067, on Moon Settlement Three (semi-rural), to astronaut parents, trained to be an astronaut–first at Moon Academy (Moon Settlement One, now becoming somewhat urban) and then at Mars Graduate Academy, finishing with honors, age 26, 2093. Worked 2 years until promoted to Mars First Base Assistant Supervisor, then asked to Advanced Fleet, just as major war ended, 2095.
This meant he was asked to become Assistant Supervisor on Expedition IX to investigate site for Mars Second Base. He ends up staying active on Second Base for ten years until an unexpected attack takes out the other three remaining there but he survives to tell the story.
This unexpected tragedy occurs long after a major war. Our hero had never been in actual combat before, except in training drills. He’d instead been entrusted with much administrative and research supervision responsibility, at which he always excelled. Good people-management in a somewhat academic, scientific and also sometimes adventurous setting, but not ready to withstand an attack by armed, aging lunatic-fringe Rebels.