Friday, 3 April 2009

A Colony On Mars : Chapter 10

. Friday, 3 April 2009

CHAPTER - Mars Supply One Docks
January 15, 2108: The first ship to arrive on Mars since the one that Tim
had arrived docked at Mars orbiter. Tim kind of smiled when he saw 35 new
faces step off the elevator and start looking at their new home. Of course
Walter and Thelma were there to greet them. It wasn't the same as when Tim
and Carla's group had arrived. This time the colony was ready for them. Tim
and Carter and several other community leaders were conducting the tours.
Each couple and single were assigned to a new house that had been
constructed for them. The houses had already been furnished with everything
they would need from supply except for their phones, and their TV sets, those
were still being unloaded. The hours for serving meals had been doubled and
a hot meal would be served to everyone, Including the new arrivals. The

kitchen staff was a little short handed and there was a need for the new
equipment that was arriving on The Mars Supply One but everything still went
smoothly. Half of the new people were fed lunch at the Government kitchen
and half at The Company kitchen. All of the meals would be handled in this
manner until the new equipment had been installed in the Company kitchen.
When the new arrivals were shown the house that they had been assigned they
were told that they could trade with each other if two of them agreed. The work
crews did not have to make three hundred new houses to accommodate the
three hundred new people because so many of those who where already there
had moved in with each other, there were quite a few vacancies.
Fourteen of the Government people that had been on Mars for the term
of their contract were returning to Earth but eight who were eligible to return had
opted to stay on without a job and become self employed. There had been
negotiations, people involved, the Company and the Government. The people
who wanted to stay prevailed. The Company and the Government agreed that
they could remain as citizens of Mars. They had to reimburse the colony
$5,000.00 per month for their board, room and medical care but they were free
unemployed citizens of Mars. If these people wanted they could receive a
credit of one hundred thousand dollars for not returning to Earth. If they ever
decided to return they would be required to pay the prevailing rate for passage.
Several others who were eligible to return had extended their contracts for a
few more years and remained in their jobs.
This time around the new arrivals were given up to a week to become
acclimated to their new surroundings before starting to work. Oh my, how
things had changed since Tim and Carla had arrived. Tim had been given a
week off before starting work but that was so he could build a house. All of the
homes, new and existing now had a bathroom with flush toilets and hot and
cold running water, electricity and a television receiver. The TV sets for the new
arrivals would be issued as soon as they had been unloaded. All of the houses
had cement beds that were raised up off the floor with air mattresses on top. All
had cement chairs and tables with cushions on the chairs to make them
comfortable. They all had cement chests with wooden drawers. These weren't
the kinds of houses that people from Earth were accustomed to living in but
they were functional.
The Company cavern community now had twice the population of the
Government community and eight streets had been named. All of the houses
had addresses. The Company cavern was beginning to look like a small city.
What was lacking was a business community with stores and such, but that
would come. An area had been left clear in the center of town for stores that
would be opened by the private sector. It was interesting to note that once flush
toilets had been installed the stench had gone away. The atmosphere control
people had even started introducing a hint off fragrance into the air.
The material to equip and open the first private business was being
unloaded from Mars Supply One. The Company putting in the business was
taking a tremendous loss on the project, one that they knew they could never
be recovered but that didn't matter, it was the publicity they were after. They
had paid Mars Colony, Inc. one and a half billion dollars for the franchise rights
to do business on a one hundred by one hundred square foot lot of leased
space on a 20 year lease. For that amount The Company agreed to send six of
their employees on Mars Supply One and another six employees on Mars
Supply Two. Mars Colony, Inc. agreed to allow this companies employees all
rights and privileges that they would receive had they been Mars Colony, Inc.
employees, including the right to eat in the Mess Hall and the right to free
medical care.
On the evening that the ship had arrived with the new employees Tim
and Carla were home watching Rusty give the news on MARS-TV-Channel 2.
Rusty came on the air and he was really hyped. “Good evening to all of you
regular viewers and to you new arrivals also. As you know if you watch this
news program on a regular basis I am usually hard pressed to find enough
news in the community to fill my half hour slot but not tonight, I have three big
stories that just broke today.”
“First I would like to introduce you to our two new staff members here at
MARS-TV, Folks I want you to meet Clark and Mildred Gibson. They are a
married couple and will be working with our staff on our internet project. I know
the Mars internet doesn't amount to much with fewer than one hundred web
pages but hold on to your seats because here is what is coming in the coming
month or so, are you ready for this folks, Earth INTERNET. Here is how it will
work. There has been a relay antenna installed on the orbiter that circles Earth
and one installed on the one that circles Mars and one each ship, Mars Supply
One and Mars Supply Two, one of which is always en route from Earth to Mars.
Now since it could take anywhere from 4 minutes to 42 minutes for radio waves
to travel between the two planets, depending on where Mars in in its orbit the
delay on getting a command executed on the internet would be prohibitive, this
is what we have worked out . Besides these two folks here there will be two
more employees in Seattle. They will be searching the web and uploading all
information websites to Mars on a full time basis. These to people here in the
studio with me will be downloading what they send and putting those web
pages on Mars internet. The new software that they are using on the Earth end
will automatically pick updates to any website that they have already sent and
send all updates automatically. In addition to that we are making email
accounts that you establish here on Mars, Earth active that is if you send an
email to someone on Earth right now they should receive it within the hour and
you could have your response within two hours or less. We are putting all Mars
email addresses for every person and office on Mars on our Earth website and
we are offering a free lookup service that you can use to obtain email address
for any business, office or person on Earth that has an email address.” Rusty
then introduced and briefly interviewed the two new internet operatives.
“The next item concerns this young gentleman sitting here on my right.
Tell our viewers, Bob do you work for Mars Colony, Inc.?” “No I don't Rusty, nor
do I work for the United States Government. I just arrived here on the Colony
today and I am employed in the private sector.” “Why don't you tell our viewers
what brings you to Mars, Bob?” “I am here to supervise the construction of our
newest outlet. All of the equipment necessary to install our store is being
unloaded from Mars Supply One as we speak. Our location should be up and
operating shortly after Mars Supply Two arrives in about four months.” “I think
our viewers are dying to hear the name of The Company that you work for Bob.”
“Rather than just come right out and tell them I will give your viewers a hint, We
will be located in the business section of The Company cavern and they will be
able to easily find our location, all they will have to do is to look for the big red
arches.” “Do you mean that Burger Boy's is coming to Mars?” “Oh Rusty, you
guessed it and yes I mean that Burger Boy's will be operating on Mars by the
end of May.”
“We are not through yet folks, I now want you to meet Abner Jacobs who
is also a new arrival today and is an employee of the company. Just what kind
of work do you do for The Company Abner?” “There is not just me but I brought
along my wife Jennifer and another couple Dan and Sue Yang, we are what you
might call farmers but we are specialized in grow light indoor farming. All four of
us have masters degrees in Agriculture from University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
We specialize in growing plants indoors.” “We have everything that we need to
get started farming a one hundred sixty acre parcel of land on the ship,
Including a new product that we designed from samples of Mars soil to best
convert this soil to support crops, of course we also brought along adequate
grow lights, fertilizers and seeds and farm equipment to get a farm in operation
within a few months. From then on all of your vegetables will be fresh not
canned. We will produce as a byproduct of the vegetables enough food for a
sizable heard of goats. The goats will provide milk, other dairy products and
meat. Unfortunately Cattle can never be raised on Mars in any quantity, they
release too much methane into the atmosphere. Around our crops area we will
be planting a variety of fruit trees which will benefit from the grow lights on the
crops and eventually produce fresh fruit. I think you will find that our crops are
up to ten times as productive as outdoor crops on Earth that grow seasonally.
Our crops grow constantly and are extremely productive. We will also be taking
over care of your existing animals and will be augmenting them with a dozen
young pigs that we have brought from Earth ” Rusty then introduced the other
three farmers and interviewed them all together.
“I see that our time is up for tonight folks, I hope you have enjoyed
tonights news as much as I have enjoyed bringing it to you. Stay tuned now for
the nightly news with Keith Edwards Unfortunately this will still be 24 hour
delayed.” Sue Yang had responded to several of the questions that Rusty had
asked but Dan Just sat there without saying a word. Rusty asked Abner after
the show if he had done anything to offend Dan. “Naw,” said Abner “I have
been working with Dan Yang for seven years and I have never heard him say
January 16, 2108: Tim had a chance encounter with Bob the Hamburger
man and ask him how the deal went down that his company was given
permission to operate on Mars when the Government and The Company were
partners in the space ships and in the land they would be doing business on.
“This is what I have heard Tim and mind you that I am not a member of top
management of the company. Our company wanted to operate a franchise on
Mars for publicity purposes back on Earth and Our company is one of the
principals in Mars Colony, Inc. They offered two billion dollars to the
Government and The Company for the following: The Mars ships would move
all the equipment that we needed to Mars along with twelve employees. The
employees would have the same benefits as your company employees and
would be on a ten year contract just as, I assume you are. The Company would
keep us supplied with food stuffs and supplies that would arrive an all future
ships for the next ten years. The Company will construct our business building
on a one hundred by one hundred square foot lot in your business district. That
is about all I know other than there is not really any profit motive for Our
Company but it will provide us with commercials for years to come. Oh there is
one more thing, we will not be allowed to charge more for products here than
the average price that we charge on Earth.” “That about answered all my
questions, Oh yeah, when will the rest of your employees and your food stuffs
arrive?” “On the next ship which is due in some time in May of this year, Tim, so
I hope our building is ready by then.” “Are you kidding, with all the extra
construction guys we have here now they could have sent the employees on
this ship. We will have the whole thing wired, plumbed and ready to open in a
week. Thanks for the information and I hope you enjoy Mars.”
January 17, 2108: Abner Jacobs was busy inspecting the corn crop at
the temporary farm when a nondescript construction worker walked up to him
and handed him a small match box without saying a word. When Abner opened
the box he noticed that it was about half full of little white seeds the size of BB's.
Abner knew exactly what these were. Abner just smiled and put the box in his
pocket. The construction worker smiled back and walked away, neither of them
had said a word.
Abner walked out amongst the corn stalks and planted the seeds. He
would need to transplant them once they had germinated but for now they
needed to be in the soil.
January 17, 2108: When Tim showed up at work the next day Carter
assigned him to pick out a crew of thirty workers put someone competent in
charge and assign them to work for the farmers. Tim gathered the crews
together and said “before you start work I need thirty of you to help get the farm
set up. I think that prior farm experience might be helpful so if any of you have
some farm experience and would like to work for the farmers for a couple
weeks or for however long they need you please step over here by me.” About
twenty or so moved over behind Tim, “OK now any of you others who would like
to construct the farm house the farm lab and the animal pens please form a
group over there by the flag pole.” Another thirty moved over by the flag pole.
“Sorry folks but I only need ten of you so if you do not have plumbing or wiring
experience please return to the main group.” The thirty of them began
discussing the matter then all but ten moved back to the main group. “Now you
work group leaders take note of how many men you have lost and get together
with the other work group leaders and shuffle people around until you have the
number you need to go to work on what ever project you were working on last.”
That only took five or ten minutes and everyone was happy, Tim liked
that management style. He allowing people work where they considered
themselves to be most valuable to the project and where they would be
happiest. Maybe this management style wouldn't work with the class of people
that you have working construction jobs on Earth but it sure works out well here.
Tim addressed the two work groups and said “The new farm is going to be just
over the bridge at the back of The Company cavern. The area is a little over
three hundred twenty acres but will help keep the farm and animals all in one
place. It will also leave plenty of room for the house and barn and lab. I think
you might have to wall off the generator to keep the noise from disturbing the
farmers and the animals. Other than that the rest is up to the farmers. Put
everything where they want it and do everything they ask of you.” About then
Abner and Jennifer showed up and Tim gave them the layout. “We think the
farm should have this whole area from the river and lake to the back wall of the
cavern.” Tim told them. These forty construction people will do what ever you
ask of them to help in getting the farm set up and equipped. These thirty have
some farm experience, the other ten will construct your buildings. At that point
he introduced Abner and Jennifer to the workers and then said “Go to work.”
Tim stepped back and saw Abner begin talking with the volunteers explaining
everything that he would need to have done. One of the construction people
asked Abner to come with him. He would show them where to find the tools
and equipment they would need in the supply yard. “All of it may not be
unloaded yet but we can take what there is and start moving it over to the
farm..” Before Tim left he told Abner that if he needed anything or if he needed
more help with a big job to let him know and he would send more workers. It
now seemed to Tim that workers were the only thing on Mars that was not in
short supply.
There were other things that had been provided for the farm, the most
important of which was six large box hives of honey bees to pollinate the plants
and to provide the colonists with fresh honey. There was also an assortment of
caterpillars and even four small mulberry trees that were covered with silkworm
cocoons when the ship left Earth but by the time they arrived on Mars the
cocoons had hatched into silkworm larva.
Shortly after Tim left Abner was unpacking packets of seeds when he
came across a package of seeds labeled Ivy. Abner didn't even know there was
such a thing as Ivy seeds. He tore open the envelope and found, not seeds but
tiny dried roots. Not knowing what else to do with them and failing to appreciate
their benefit he scooped up a shovel full of fertile soil and planted them in the
corner where the generator wall met the cavern wall. By the next day Abner
had forgotten all about the Ivy. Seeing the fertile soil and noting the
depressions Abner had made with his finger when he planted the roots Sue
Yang shrugged, went over to the lake, scooped up some a bucket of water and
poured a little on the spot, figuring Abner was trying something and had been
distracted before he had watered it. The next day Sue Yang poured a little
more water out of the bucket onto the soil. By the time the bucket was empty
there were little green shoots sticking out of the ground. The odd thing about
this was that there were no grow lights shining directly on the area where the
shoots were coming up just the ordinary cave lighting and where these plants
were coming up there wasn't even much of that. Sue Yang then went and got
Abner and showed him the shoots. “These shoots are growing without the
benefit of grow lights, Abner, whatever you were trying here worked,
congratulations.” Abner had to pause and think just what he had planted there,
then he remembered the Ivy. “Oh, yeah, Sue, I thought I would try some Ivy,
there was a package of dried Ivy cuttings in among the vegetable seeds that I
had ordered rather than to just throw them away I stuck them in the ground over
here then I got busy and forgot all about them.” “Do you realize the significance
of this Abner? We have come up with a plant that we can grow anywhere in the
caverns. True you can't eat Ivy but you can sure breath it's byproduct. Ivy
spreads like crab grass so if we were to plant it everywhere it would grow
everywhere. It is nice to look at and the plants will enrich our atmosphere
immensely once they take hold.” Abner called Tim and asked him to drop by the
farm next time he was in the area.

Continue Chapter:


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