Chapter 1 is here – Chapter 1 (as a word document, at the end).
Mars is divided in 9 “circles” (or regions):
- Circle SciTech
- Circle Energy
- Circle FoodFarm
- Circle Impro (studying, teaching, learning)
- Circle BioMed
- Circle Junk
- Circle Rulers
- Circle Casso (artistic)
- Circle Seeds (kids; keeps separately)
Each circle has a leader. Every week, the leaders gather in the Ellipse Hall. They represent the government and call themselves – “Team Happiness” or HT.
“Soul repository” is the place where you can leave your soul. Being soulless is allowed for 1 Martian year (687 Earth days). Members are not allowed to swap or give away their souls. Humans still believe it is a sacred part of life.
Junk Circle – represents prison.
Happiness Team – represents political system/or government.
Advanced Way – the main religion of Mars (has a big influence on Martian politics and economics).
Rulers – a new kind of Police/Justice System.
x x x
Boulder, Pain and Mimo take their first steps on the surface of The Pearl. The ground is covered with water, reaching to the level of their knees. The water has a dirty green-mixed-with-brown color. They make their way through very slowly because of the effect of the gravity.
Boulder Jakobs: Do you know why I love this place? It keeps us grounded. I’m tired of jumping around like a kangaroo. We are Pearl’s turtles, girls! What do you think about this name for the next generation of inhabitants?
Pain Berchpull:(focused, doesn’t smile) Give me numbers.
Mimo Bauer: It’s easier on Mars though. Such high humidity is barely fun.
Boulder Jakobs:(to Pain) Atmosphere – mostly nitrogen – 76%, oxygen – 20%, traces of carbon dioxide, argon. Reminds me of The Earth. Local temperature 86F, radiation – norm, perfect level to drop our Escape Suits. Experiencing some hard gravity push, but I see it as good exercise. (to Mimo) Just imagine you can breathe on your own without all those freakin’ tubes and you’ll forget about humidity.
Mimo Bauer: I won’t. Because I’m not you, Bou. 100% of this planet is covered in water. Why? And what is under the water? More water? If we’d say “yes” to one advanced in our team we’d be covered in the chocolate. I mean they are really helpful.
Pain Berchpull: Already missing advanced, Mimo?
Boulder Jakobs: She’s missing the nickel-iron rotation inside of her body (touching Mimo’s shoulder, laughing).
Mimo Bauer: What do you know? You never had a girlfriend longer than 15 minutes.
Alma (from the ship): 15 minutes? I have to write it down, Bou. It’s a new record.
Goe (from the ship): Guys, the Pearl looks awesome. It’s mesmerizing, from above. But I’d give anything to walk with you right now. I envy you. How are the skies?
Boulder Jakobs: Very strange, but NOT green if you know what I mean.
Three silhouettes are seen walking, surrounded by endless water. The surface is flawless; the water, ominously still.
Mimo Bauer: I don’t feel any wind, but I feel some kind of rotation. How is that even possible?
Ichi Vara: (from the ship) After all my years on Mars, I believe anything is possible. Maybe something related to the magnetic field?
Pain Berchpull: Good point, Ichi. Check it. We are only 3 km from the capsule.
Boulder Jakobs: Do you believe in that crap about male and female planets, Pain?
Pain Berchpull: I do.
Boulder Jakobs: I hope our Pearl is female because we’ve already lived on a male planet with no success.
Alma (from the ship): “Advanced Way” would disagree! (singing)
I want to be …a part of youuuu
My Happiness Team!
I want to be …a source of your liiife
Boulder Jakobs: Nice. I want to be in you. And for longer than 15 minutes.
Alma (from the ship): I’ll put your wish on the list.
Boulder takes one more step and suddenly begins to sink under the water.
Mimo Bauer:(looking around) Bou!? What’s happening?
Pain Berchpull:(to Mimo) Stay where you are! (to Boulder Jakobs) Bou, do you hear me?
Boulder Jakobs (struggling to stay afloat): I’m fine. I think we just found the sea level or probably a new Everest peak.
Pain Berchpull: How deep is it?
Boulder Jakobs: Escape Suit says “deep”. Do you want me to dive in?
Mimo Bauer:(to Boulder) Don’t! (to Pain) Look at the numbers, Pain. We don’t know what is it for the place. We have to take samples, go back to capsule and run some tests.
They all look at numbers in disbelief.
Pain Berchpull: She is right. Seems it is a much higher peak than Everest. You deserve a drop of whiskey tonight, Bou.
Boulder:(swimming) You got some? I knew you had this stuff.
Pain Berchpull (jumping in the water, swimming): Oh shit, it feels refreshing after walking.
Mimo Bauer (sitting and watching two of her friends as they swim): We should check the perimeter. How long is this lake? Or maybe it is the ocean. Seems, it goes around the Pearl, like a ring.
Boulder Jakobs: No kidding? This planet is full of surprises!
Suddenly something pulls Boulder and Pain down. They feel pressure and lose consciousness. Mimo is alone. She dives into the water, splashing frantically, screaming.
Mimo Bauer: (diving in and out) Bouuuu! Paaaiiinnn! Where are you? (to worried voices of Alma and Goe) They are gone. I can’t believe it. They are gone. Something pulled them in.
Goe (from the spaceship): Leave the place immediately. Do you hear me, Mimo? Leave the place. This is a protocol. Go back to the capsule. I’ll come to pick you up.
Mimo Bauer: No. Stay where you are. We can’t afford to lose more people. I’ll try to dive in one more time. The water is a fucking muddy mess, I can’t see anything.
Goe: Mimo, listen to me! Wait on the surface!
Mimo Bauer: There’s NO surface! (before diving in). If something happens to me, you know what to do.
Goe: Mimo! Don’t be stupid! Mimo!
Mimo is sucked in by enormous pressure.
Goe (from the ship): Mimo, where are you? Do you hear me? Mimo?! Mimo!!
x x x
On the ship.
Alma: We have to help them. I can’t leave them down there inside the mud river or whatever that is.
Ichi: No. We follow the protocol. We stay where we are and contact Snabb.
Alma: They’ll send the advanced team, you know it.
Ichi: Yes. So what? I’m not happy about it. But maybe this is exactly what we need.
Alma: Snabb will send Cash. You know it better than me. Pain hates Cash!! Pain is going to cut off your balls…
Ichi: I’m used to it, Alma. I just need to know if she is alive or not! I need to know what happened! If I have to bring Cash in, I will.
Goe:(still shocked) We can’t lose them.
Ichi contacts Carnelian Snabb (the chief of the mission) and they decide that they’ll wait for Cash-team (4 advanced humans) to arrive and help them to locate Pain, Boulder and Mimo.
x x x
On the Pearl.
Boulder Jakobs and Pain Berchpull are awake. They are in a long green tunnel. Green because of the plants and foliage that cover everything around them.
Boulder Jakobs: What happened?
Pain Berchpull: Don’t touch anything. If I remember right, we jumped in the pearlish sea – and now we are in some kind of underground jungle.
Boulder Jakobs (checking the length of the tunnels with his flashlight): Very long too. How’d we get here? I mean there’s no water and my suit says the oxygen level is fine, to breathe.
Pain Berchpull: Keep ESuit on. We are not dying today. We lost the connection though (to ship) Alma, Ichi… Goe? Anyone?
Boulder Jakobs: Okay. So we are deep underground. Too deep or maybe the connection is faulty (after a pause, standing and inspecting the walls). Let’s look around.
Pain Berchpull: I don’t like it. It looks I’m in the middle of a nightmare. Who’d want to live here? There’s no proper lightening!
Boulder Jakobs: Darkness is not our biggest problem right now. But this thing is! (he’s holding the part of the plant, it has eyes and make a weird sound)
Pain Berchpull: It’s impossible. That means there’s a life after all. (she is laughing) A life, Bou!
Boulder Jakobs: Yeah. But what kind of life?
They are scared, but cautiously walking along the tunnel.
x x x
Mimo wakes up on the ground in the dark green muddy tunnel. She jumps on her feet and looks around.
Mimo Bauer: (into the darkness) Boulder? Pain?
The voice: You are alone here.
Mimo Bauer: Who are you? Who is talking?
A tall man comes out of the darkness. The color of his skin is the mix between blue and green. His eyes are bigger than human’s eyes. And colorless.
Green Man: My name is Shon.
Mimo Bauer: Hey, Shon! My name is Mimo. Do you live here? (cautiously) Where’re my friends? What have you done to them?
Shon: I don’t know where your friends are. I’m also grounded here.
Mimo Bauer: Grounded? By whom? What’s going on? (heavy breathing)
Shon: You look sick. What happened to your skin?
Mimo Bauer: Nothing. I am from Mars.
Shon: Mars? Welcome. I guess just in time. Arriving in this green shit hole.
Mimo Bauer: Please, tell me about this place. Perhaps you might know the way out or where I can find my friends. We were on the surface.
Shon: On the surface? What is surface?
Mimo Bauer: Please, help me or…
Shon: OR WHAT? What? I’m a dead man. And if you are here you are dead as well.
Mimo Bauer: I have to find the way out. If you only could show me.
Shon: Is everybody so talkative on Mars?
Mimo Bauer: Who wants to see you ‘dead’ and why?
Mimo Bauer: Who is Mara?
Shon: Mara rules here. For now.
Mimo Bauer: Is she a female?
Shon: Female? I don’t know. Mara can ‘mirror’ anyone and she or he is very dangerous. Only a couple of ‘hreens’ saw the real Mara. And they are dead.
Mimo Bauer: Hreens? Do you mean – ‘pearlians’? Wow, so it’s true. There’s a real life here… such a breakthrough. (to Shon) Please, if you’ll help me to get out from this place – I promise to help you. We have a technology. We can…
Shon: Technology? (laughing) We are inside of the Pearl. Deep down. Very deep. No one has ever come in or out on their own. (watching Mimo’s expression: she is horrified). And yes, we call ourselves ‘hreens’.
Mimo Bauer: (sitting, tired) Ok, tell me more about this place.
Shon: Why not.
He is telling the story of creation, about life on Pearl, who is Mara and why they are living inside of the Pearl.
x x x
Suddenly there’s light everywhere. A group of people (or if we can call them that) is moving towards Pain and Boulder. They are moving very fast.
Voice from the group: Don’t be scared! We are here to talk. We are from Mara!
Boulder Jakobs:(to Pain) Awesome. They speak English. Communication is the key. Let me handle it. (to the green man) Dude, we don’t know what happened and how we ended up here, but our intentions are peaceful.
Pain Berchpull: (to Boulder) Dude? Really? (to a green man) We are humans and we are from Mars-colony called ‘Netericus’. (again to Boulder) They shouldn’t feel fear that we are looking for a new territory, right?
Voice: Mara welcomes you! You can take off your head bowls.
Pain Berchpull: We need them to breathe.
Green man touches Pain and Boulder with a vast plant and they immediately fall unconscious to the ground. Green man gives a sign to two other men: they help to take off suits and undress the bodies. Boulder and Pain are left almost naked on the ground.
One of the hreens: What’s with their skin? Are they sick?
Voice: Shut up and do what you are here for. Mara will fix the color.
They start running, dragging the bodies along. After 5 km the bodies of Boulder and Pain looks completely green (covered in mud and plants).
Next post – “How to grow a novel”, Sol Stein #takeaways