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Stuart Atkinson

- Better Red Than... Green?
- A Deep Breath
- Waiting...
- The Lost Dawn

Short Stories
- Halley - The Next Time
- Fairy Graffiti
- Message Home
- Merry Christmas From Mars

Message Home (12 ratings)
         by Stuart Atkinson
Page 1 of 6

( Transcript of Christmas Eve, 2015, Live Broadcast from Mars 1 Basecamp, Galle crater )

(Broadcast opens with Mars 1 mission symbol - a dove settling onto the red planet with an olive branch clutched in its beak - before screen clears to show a close-up of a familiar female face, smiling out from an EVA suit helmet visor, with straggles of blonde hair peeping out from under the rubber skull cap. Text caption to screen lower right identifies camera subject as Mars Mission Commander Beth Lewis.)

(smiling widely) "Greetings, and Happy Christmas to everyone watching across all the countries and continents of the Earth, from the surface of Mars..! Well, I say everyone... Mission Control has informed us that viewing figures for these weekly broadcasts have been falling a little over the past couple of months, so I hope *someone's* watching this back there. We're certainly thinking of all of you - not just our friends and families, though we miss them dearly - as we celebrate Christmas here, half-way across the solar system.

(pause, as Cdr glances down from camera, apparently checking notes)

"I know that you were all expecting a standard mission update, and that will come, but today we have something a little more... special, for you. More than half a century ago, long before any of the Mars 1 team were even born, three astronauts, the crew of the Apollo 8 mission, made a special Christmas broadcast to the people of Earth as they rounded the Moon. They offered, as their gift to the people of the world, a remarkable view - the whole Earth, rising from behind the lieless limb of the Moon, a blue and white bauble shining against the blackness of space. Quoting passages from the Bible, they altered forever Man's perception of the Universe, and his place in it. Tonight, we hope to honour their memory, their vision, with a special broadcast of our own... and we have not one, but two gifts for you, the people of Earth. But all will be revealed later, for now, let me give you an update on how things are here on Mars, at the end of Day 56 of Mars 1."

(camera zooms out from Cdr Lewis' face, to a wide-angle shot showing she is standing in front of the MarsHab module. Her spacesuit is coloured gleaming white, signifying her rank and role.)

(Cdr Lewis sweeps arm across view behind her) "You'll all be familiar with this view by now, I'm sure... this is our home, the Hab module, which we landed inside the crater Galle almost two months ago, thirty or so kays away from the eastern wall. If Murray can just tilt the camera down you'll see that this area of the crater floor is a rocky plain, littered with boulders..? (camera view shifts until it is pointing downwards: the ground is brown and tan-coloured, littered with rocks and boulders of all shapes and sizes, all different shades of yellow, orange, caramel and brown. Long, jagged shadows are cast behind every rock) ... thanks Murray... but thankfully none of them were big enough to cause us any trouble when we set down. During the day this place is spookily similar to the Arizona desert I think... just missing the cacti, cattle skulls and rattlesnakes... but at this time of the day it looks very different, and it's easy to believe we're actually on another planet. Murray, pan the camera up a little, show them the sky, will you?"

(Camera view changes again; rocks slide out of frame, and Cdr Lewis' face rushes by before sky comes into view. It is a rich orange colour, with washes of purple through it)

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Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 Stuart Atkinson, All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author. The author has submitted the work in accordance with and in agreement with the following Submission Guidelines.

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