NASA announced this week that they were looking for volunteers to fly to Mars. The only catch is that the people wouldn’t be coming back. Now, while this is an interesting concept to mull over, it’s also important to note that this isn’t the first time NASA has sent people to Mars with a one-way ticket. The first mission was sort of a success, but NASA kept it quiet because the public, they felt, wouldn’t see the results quite the same as a team of scientists would.
Not being the biggest fan of secrecy, I’ve actually managed to get hold of the journal of one of the people sent on that first trip which I will publish here today. The world needs to know the truth, but they need to learn it in journal format, just like NASA did. NASA was just silly with learning by the end of it...
August 17th, 2000
‘Stardate: 77. Location: Unknown. I think. I don’t know really. Earth? Yeah, that. Ok, so I’ve been instructed to use this auto-journal to record everything that happens during the mission. I’m told that it’ll transmit everything I say back to Earth without me having to press a god dammed thing. They treat me like I’m incapable of operating simple machi...’
August 22nd, 2000
‘I was talking to that damn machine for 2 hours before Stevens informed me that I’d turned it off. Like I’d do that! I’m not retarded. Anyway that was a week ago, and I got distracted by the vastness of space out of my bedroom window in the meantime, so my journal updates have been less than stellar. “Stellar”, get it? Of course you do, you’re space scientists.
You know that those bastards, and by that I mean “you bastards”, gave me the smallest room? This is bullshit. I hate this place. Oh, and it’s Stardate a thousand or something and the location is “space”. Shut UP, Stevens, I DO have to say “Stardate”. This is space, you don’t have normal dates out here! Idiot. Ok, so officially the takeoff went fine and without a hitch, but the truth of the matter is that I threw up in my space helmet when we boarded. I think my tuna sandwich was bad or something because I was feeling terrible, but the long and the short of it is that I swapped my helmet with Stevens’ when he wasn’t looking. I’m glad I’m not him.’
August 23rd, 2000
‘Stardate: 1. Yeah. “1”, nice and neat. Location: Space, still. We’ve been flying for six days now and we’ve all settled in for the trip to the moon. We all have our special jobs to do, and we’re pretty much doing them, I guess. I dunno, I’m not sure why I’m here. Am I the mission’s official chronicler? I think I might be the chronicler because the other guys won’t let me touch anything in the control room and they’ve nicknamed me ‘Spaz’. I know it’s only a fourteen day trip and all, so that makes this nearly the halfway mark, but I’ve got my eye on the medical officer. She looks lonely and in need of companionship and a listening ear, so fingers crossed! If I exit the ship with a big smile on my face next week it’s because of space-boning. Yes, it’s a word, and yes I would have done it.
August 24th, 2000
‘Stardate: Shit. Location: Fuck You. The medical officer is a dude with long hair and strong (yet feminine) hands, his name is Gary and he likes to be the Big Spoon. He must have heard my journal entry yesterday and got all flattered. Feeling him crawl into my space bunk was a terrible way to wake up. This is the worst birthday ever.’
August 31st, 2000
‘Stardate: 19. Location: Space (again). I must have caught confusion palsy because I swear we should’ve been home by now and I swear I should’ve visited to moon at least once. Did I sleep through it? I must have slept through it. I’ve been keeping to myself a lot because the rest of the crew don’t seem to like me and Gary’s unwanted advances were keeping me on edge.
You know that saying, “In space, no one can hear you scream”? Well that’s so wrong it isn’t even funny. In space, if you scream, the rest of the crew just laugh at you from behind the door they’ve so conveniently barricaded while Gary chases you around the space kitchen. I eventually lured him into the airlock and locked him in there. The rest of the crew begged me to let him out, so I did. Gary won’t be coming back and we’re now down a medical officer. If anyone is interested in the job, please contact NASA.’
November 1st, 2000.
‘Stardate: 7. Location: Cowering beneath my bed. This is seriously not funny. We’ve been on this ship for two months and I can’t see the moon or earth or ANYTHING. When I asked the crew when we were going home they just gave each other weird looks and kept silent. Why are they keeping silent, Houston? Have I been kept out of the loop? Have I been kept in the dark on purpose? Is there something I don’t know? I’ve got my mission briefing here in front of me and it clearly says “14” next to “Mission Duration”. Please reply because the crew are pointing and laughing at me again and I don’t know why.
November 1st, 2000
‘”Broken Photocopier”. I see. So that’s why my Mission Briefing says ’14 days’ when it should read ‘Forever’? That’s... a strange photocopying error. I need some time to process this because it seems I’m not going home. Ever. Has the meaning of ‘Forever’ changed since we left Earth? I can’t imagine it would have, but if it has, I’d like to know. I’m going to go for a walk.’
November 4th, 2000
‘Stardate: Does it matter? Location: Guess. I have resigned myself to the fact that neither I nor the crew will ever see Earth again. Gary certainly won’t, ha Ha HA HA HA. Ahem, excuse me. Yes, I said ‘Ahem’ instead of clearing my throat. It’s been a difficult few days. The crew dealt with the harsh news well considering that I was the only one who didn’t know what was going on. They only laughed for a little while. I hate this place. Also, we’re going to Mars? What the hell? Since when is “The Moon” “Mars”? The captain tells me, ‘Since never, you must have heard it wrong’, but I have trouble believing a captain who doesn’t even own a captain’s hat. I think something has happened to the real captain and I’m going to investigate. It’s not as if I have anything else to do.
November 7th, 2000
‘Captain’s Log. Stardate: 91. Location: Space. I have fashioned a hat out of the ship’s instruction manual, and a parrot out of the glove of Stevens’ spacesuit. He will not be needing it any longer. The crew were apprehensive at the leadership change at first, but they came around once they realised that I held the controls to the airlock. Everything is shipshape and our course is steady. I have not located the captain’s wheel yet, but I shall. In the absence of a wheel I will construct one out of the remains of Stevens’ spacesuit. I may have to remove parts of Stevens first.
November 12th, 2000
‘Captain’s Log. Stardate: 117. Location: Wheelhouse. I can’t believe this ship didn’t have a wheelhouse. I instructed the crew to install one on the outside of the ship, using parts of our proposed Mars base for parts. Can you believe that? NASA was sending us to Mars to set up a base which we’d never return from. You know what they should’ve packed instead of all this computerised shit? Eighteen coffin-shaped boxes for us to lie in upon landing, because that’s what this mission is – an expensive, drawn-out funeral. The ship is an eight billion dollar hearse and Mars is one giant graveyard. You know what would’ve been cheaper? It would’ve been cheaper to pack each of us into actual coffins and fire us into the sun. Hell, they could’ve given us all badly-photocopied contracts to sign so we’d stay in the dark and then send us off on a mystery mission and get us to work it out for oursel... Oh wow. Well played, NASA, well played indeed. You meant for this to happen didn’t you? It was all a test. It was all a leadership test! You intended for one of us to realise what was going on and direct the mission as we saw fit. Thank you so much for choosing me. I will set everything in motion and get back to you. It’s so clear now.
November 13th, 2000
‘I started a fire on the ship, just like you wanted, and I stacked all the plastic cups in the kitchen in one big pile. They didn’t fall over because I might have invented gravity. I don’t know how, but it works. Haven’t heard from the rest of the crew.’
November 14th, 2000
‘Found crew hiding in the escape pod. They must have found the rest of Stevens. He made a fine marionette. Hilarious.
November 23rd, 2000
‘Captain’s Log. Stardate: 100% fine. Location: It’s a secret but I’ll give you a hint: We’re somewhere in space! I have briefed the remaining crew on the rest of our mission and I’ve told them that I’m turning the ship around and going home because I don’t like it here and my parrot doesn’t either. They took the announcement without argument, which is good, because I can’t work out how to make more space in the airlock without emptying it, and I don’t want to empty it because that would mean losing everyone in there to the coldness of space. This would be a tragedy for not only the mission but for my own personal project: I want a throne of skulls.
Everything is fine. Also we’re not going home, I was lying.
December 1st, 2000
‘Have any of you back on Earth got ANY idea how hard it is to pack 15 people into 15 makeshift coffins against their will? “Nearly impossible” is how hard it is. That’s why I’m now sitting atop a throne of skulls as I sail towards the incandescence of my future. Also, I’m flying into the sun, surrounded by 15 makeshift coffins filled with makeshift corpses. I hope I’ve made you proud, NASA, and I hope this trip has been as useful for you as you planned. If there’s one thing you guys back home can take away from the expedition it’s this: Don’t use prisoners to settle a new planet.
You’ll next hear from me when I’ve landed on the sun. I’m glad I packed shorts.