Fines, it had been called fines. Everyone’s noses ran red, at first they had thought that everyone had bloody noses, but that wasn’t the case. Dehidration was a serious issue with all the dust that was being consummed. They pushed on and finished the bridge on time and had been pulling double and triple shifts to get all the materials over the bridge in the heinous storm, and to get construction underway at the same time.
The crates inside had “Communications Equipment: Do Not Expose to Fines” written all over it.
Pete fell over he was laughing so hard. Most of the container was full of dust blowing around. A few of the engineers wandered over wondering what the commotion was about, and celebrated–until they they started crying. It was going to be impossible to set up the equipment anywhere that didn’t have fines.
“Maybe, they meant not lots of fines?”
“We better hope so, because I don’t know what other options we have.”
Pete had openned a random container on a whim. There was one more truck than was needed for the last trip of residence construction supplies, and he didn’t think that wasting fuel was ever a good idea. The container he picked was the only one on this side of the bridge without a full cargo manifest. Which was wierd. He made a mental note to check if there were any others without manifests. This was the first he knew of.
The storm had blown in when they were half way finished the bridge and had made life next to impossible. The dust on Mars was incredible. He’d read The Mars Trilliogy as a child and had never quite beleived how pervaisive the dust was in Kim Stanley Robinson’s classic. But the devil was in the details, and all the details were filled with dust.
They have stated that they pursued every avenue of contact and observation; however, without having any success and food and oxygen supplies having reached their ultimate end–unless they were lucky enough to have landed next to a hydroponics crate–the ISA was forced to presume them dead and reconsider the viability of mass colonial missions to the Red Planet. One red with the blood of our brave explorers as well as iron oxides.
Opponents to the EACF programme and to the ISA have seized this most recent failure and are arguing that invading other planets when we can’t keep our own functional is hardly the way a functional and mature civilization ought to be behaving. This reporter would like to remind the public that the cost of the EACF has been estimated at US$700,000,000,000,000,000 to each member state–a cost which if diverted elsewhere could achieve zero emissions in every industry, re-establish biodiversity and put every person on Earth through university. This grotesque waste of capital is all the more galling now that there are no benefits to those of us still on here paying the bills of a group of dead men!