Marooned on Mars


It was a scientific mission gone wrong.

The crew of the Planet Chaser, a research ship from Venus, were supposed to spend a week on Mars to determine if there were any resources there that would benefit their planet.

The Institute of Exploration funded the mission.

But there was a problem with the ships landing software, and it crashed near the site of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano on Mars, and the second-highest known mountain in the solar system.

The only survivor, a scientist named Hei Manz, lay in the rubble for two days before he had enough strength to move around. Luckily for him, Mars thin atmosphere was very similar to Venus.

It took Hei a month to build a shelter near the wreck using salvageable materials. He saved what was left of the portable lab designed to let researchers conduct experiments in the field.

There was enough food and water for a crew of twelve for seven days. It was sealed in metal drums that he rolled over to his camp site. It got harder everyday to go back into the ship, where his comrades were rotting.

One of the challenges Hei faced was that he wasn’t an engineer or computer expert. The chances of putting together a device to seek help were as thin as the atmosphere. He was a scientist who studied the make-up of planets. Nothing more, nothing less.

His biggest challenge was that he only had 84 days worth of food and water.

One day he was testing the soil and discovered it had an alkaline pH and contained magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. His first kernel of hope was when he found that the soil nutrients could support life.

As he studied Mar’s two moons, Phobos and Deimos, that night, he decided that his only hope was to try to find life – despite the risks that entailed. He might have a chance if there were intelligent beings living under the reddish iron oxide surface.

Forty days later he was pulling a crude cart through one of the largest canyons in the solar system; Valles Marineris, with the last of his food and supplies. It was one of the many areas Venusian scientists had mapped out on Mars prior to the mission.

It was hard trying to stay positive when he knew the odds were against him. He dreamt of home and his family. He wasn’t married, but came from a family of nine siblings who were all very close.

He was never alone growing up. Being alone was not something he ever thought about. Between family and friends, he was fortunate not to have had to experience complete isolation.

He began talking to himself out loud after two weeks of mind-numbing travel.

“What will you do if you find a dangerous species that wants to kill you?” he asked himself.

“There’s nothing I can do. I don’t have a weapon,” he petulantly answered. “Scientists don’t need weapons!” he shouted out to the craters, jagged rocks and hills surrounding him.

Eighteen days after running out of food and water, Hei was still walking. The cart was gone. He lost his hat somewhere, and his bald head was burnt to the color of the soil.

Then he saw three Venusian marines on a hill coming towards him! Rescuers! His luck held up! He couldn’t wait to get home and tell everyone his story.

It took the Venusian government weeks to get approval to send a military ship to see what happened to the crew of the Planet Chaser. When the marines landed on Mars they quickly went to the site of the wreck.

The strong winds blew away Hei’s tracks. The marines split up into groups of three and fanned out in all directions. On the 122nd day they found Hei. He was reclining on his side, and despite being exposed to the elements, there was a smile on his face.

The marines took his body home.

As It Stands, I have often wondered how I would handle being marooned on an island.

The ‘Good’ Genie from Mars


The Martian desperately steered his spacecraft towards earth.

Bright blasts from the partical cannons of his pursuers streaked by his tiny craft on both sides, incinerating the space junk that clustered ahead.

Only Han-jinn’s speed and dexterity, combined with the AI interface of the spacecraft, kept him a step ahead of his enemies.

He only had one Vortex Accelerator Thruster left. It was his last chance. There were too many of them after him this time. His bank robbing days were going to be over…one way or another.

Knowing he might never see the red plains of Mars again, or the spectacular rivers that ran underneath the surface, Han-jinn made the decision to live, and threw the switch.

In the blink of an eye his craft was resting awkwardly on a big sand dune. There was only desert as far as he could see. The main computer was busy gathering information while images of the area flashed by on the silver screens in his control pod.

He was relieved to see humans looked just like him. They even came in different colors, like Martians did. He hoped to go among them, if he could find his way out of this desert – the Sahara Desert – according to the geological information being feed into his headset.

It was going to be a long walk, his computer earbud informed him. He strapped himself into the exoskeleton that added two more feet to his height, making him eight-feet tall. He was use to intense heat.

Al-Malik and his nomad comrades looked up from their noon day meal and saw Han-jinn in the distance. They were left speechless as he came nearer to their camp. Concern crawled over Al-Malik’s face as he muttered, “A Jinn.”

As Han-jinn walked into their circle all five of them fell to their knees and touched the ground with their heads.

“Are you a good Jinn?” Al-Malik asked as he looked up hopefully.

“How do you know part of my name?” Han-jinn wondered. Just then, the earbud came through with a summary of the situation.

“These men are Arabs who believe in Islam. In their mythology and theology there are supernatural beings called genies, or jinns. In their holy book the Quran Jinns are mentioned frequently (the 72nd sura is titled Surat al-Jinn),” the earbud informed him.

“Simply put, these supernatural jinns can be good or evil. Sometimes they are even neutrally benevolent,” the earbud concluded.

Han-jinn stepped down from his exoskeleton mobile platform and stretched.

“It’s your lucky day my brothers! I’m a good jinn – Han-jinn – looking for a good time.”

As It Stands, all cultures have their own mythology, and bank robbers!