Since I’ve no family on Mars, been unable to befriend anyone, and bored inside my isolation chamber, I have begun writing.
A week into isolation and a week to go. It solves two things, the return of “space sickness,” this time akin to getting one’s balance back after being at sea for too long. The other is to keep any bacteria or virus from spreading to the rest of the colony.
The word “colony” sounds so quaint and old-fashioned. But don’t be fooled — I am told this colony is anything but quaint. However, it is old-fashioned in the sense that it is like a roaring 1800s boomtown.
Before I forget, I am using paper created here, on Mars, from a ponic process that takes plant material and pulps and presses it to form. It is a grayish-brown, rougher, and slightly thicker than the 20lbs stock I have been used to writing on.
As for a writing instrument, it is a remarkable invention. It is solid like pencil lead but flows like ink and housed a synthetic composite material that is refillable.
It took me less than two hours to pack everything I owned and have it at the Express Depot for a flight that was leaving three days ahead of mine. I was able to watch as the rocket lifted into space and disappeared.
It did not enter my mind to be concerned for myself until I strapped into a hard-framed seat and the rumble of the engine beneath me. My stomach turned, and my vision blurred as the ship lifted away from the pad.
I thought that we were all going to die.
My journey was only beginning, but already I wished for the three months it would take to be over. I cannot imagine how anyone could keep from going mad when such travel took over 200 days to complete.
Fortunately, I had found an inexpensive way to travel, a working-class vessel. It was a frigate where I would earn my passage as assistant to the medical doctor.
Illness quickly gripped me. Called “space sickness,” it is a loss of gravity, motion sickness, and a lack of navigational bearing brought on by not seeing sky, land, or water.
A new medicine patch every day and constant hydration helped me battle through it. But it took near two weeks before I was over the symptoms enough to leave my berth.