by Chris Breva
Writer's Cramp Entry March 31, 2017
"You have been found guilty of participating in the Writers Cramp as both contestants and judges. I am not going to name you individually because the sentence is the same for all of you. NASA needs volunteers to go to Mars. I just volunteered you all to go. Case closed, court dismissed. Bailiff escort the prisoners to their holding cells please."
"Yes your honor. With pleasure. Come on you Writer's Cramp bozos. I have a terribly uncomfortable cell for you all. Enjoy your short stay with us. Later today you'll be heading to the red planet. I hope you Martians enjoy yourselves. I hear the weather there is terrible!"
Later that day after the group was processed and issued our jail uniforms, a NASA official came to pick us up. "You don't at least have an MP with you," the correctional officer asked. "These are felons. You have a very good chance they will run on you."
"They won't run," the NASA official said. "I have this to assure that."
He held up a box of syringes. "What are those for," the correctional officer asked.
"It's a saline solution with a nanobot in it. The nanobot is injected into their arms and it swims through their bloodstream so that it is impossible to find."
"I don't understand," the guard said. "Is it some type of tracking device?
"No," the NASA official said. "It's a bomb. It can be detonated any place on Earth or in this solar system with the flick of a button at Houston. If one of you decides to run, I would advise you to reconsider. The injected nanobot is now swimming around inside you. It will make it's way to your heart and lodge there. If you run I will call Houston and an officer there will flip a switch sending a signal to the nanobot, It will explode with the impact of one stick of C-4 plastic explosive. It's not a really big explosion but it will blow you to a million pieces. Understood?"
I told him yes, we understood and would comply with whatever they wanted us to do. I had no idea what I had just been sentenced to do. It turned out I was sentenced to astronaut training. All of us loved the idea. We would use a T-23 space transport ship for the trip to Mars. SoHoHoHophy would be the pilot. Her job would be to fly the craft and take control of the ship to get it to Mars. ♥HO HO HOOves♥ was selected to be the crafts's navigation officer. His job would be to keep the craft on course and get it to Mars. b_boonstra would be the ships Communications Officer. She would have primary control of all radio transmissions and be the spokesperson for the crew. The remaining crew would only communicate when addressed. Robert Waltz would be the ship's engineer. If the ship encountered technical problems it would his job to fix them. He would memorize every inch of the craft. He would also be one of the astronauts who made any external vehicular activities or EVA. These are better known as space walks. ember_rain would be the ship's science officer. She would be in charge of surface activities on Mars. I was the command officer for the trip. When we were aboard the ship I would assume command. All activities on the surface and during our exploration of Mars would be under the command of the science officer, with the engineer second in command. SoHoHoHophy I would remain on the ship while the away team explored the surface of Mars. That was fine with me.
We launched from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday June 17. The launch was picture perfect. We entered orbit and made two complete orbits before doing our insertion burn for the journey to Mars. Once we completed the insertion burn our speed increased to 35,000 feet per second or somewhere around 17,000 miles per hour. As lunar gravity took affect that speed would increase to 40,000 miles per hour,slingshotting us on a Martian trajectory. "Houston Pegasus."
"Go ahead Pegasus."
"Requesting permission to change orbit to one two five miles for insertion trajectory."
"Permission granted Pegasus. Perform attitude change at your discretion."
"Houston Pegasus. Confirm orbital attitude and trajectory."
"Pegasus Houston. Confirming 4 by 4. You are in insertion orbit. Perform orbital burn and insertion in T-minus twelve two four."
"Pegasus Houston. Begin orbital burn in t-minus ten, nine, eight..."
"Houston Pegasus. Confirm Martian trajectory."
"Pegasus Houston, you are on course and in the slot for Martian trajectory. Have a good flight."
"Roger Houston. Thank you. See you in eighteen months."
The trip to Mars was fairly non-eventful. We were put into pods and entered a deep sleep similar to hibernation. The craft auto-piloted most of the trip. It was programmed to wake up any needed officers in the event of an emergency. However we slept until we were 150,000 miles from Mars. The ship awakened us.
"Pegasus Houston. Hello folks. We assume you had a good nap. You are in the slot for Martian orbit. See you on Mars. You are instructed to build installations on the surface. The pilot and ship commander will return to Earth for resupply."
"Houston Pegasus. Confirm Martian orbit trajectory."
"Pegasus Houston. We show you 4 by 4 for Martian orbit insert. You will perform Martian insertion burn in eleven two three."
"Pegasus Houston. Martian orbital burn in T-minus ten, nine...."
We performed the Martian orbital burn in our EVA gear. It was regulation to do so. Our speed would suddenly decrease from 40,000 miles per hour to 12,000 miles per hour. Doing so was like slamming into an asteroid. We had trained for it however and knew the drill. "Houston Pegasus. Confirm Martian orbital attitude."
"Pegasus Houston. We show you in Martian orbit. Welcome to Mars folks. Goodbye from planet Earth. You are now Martians."