Fiction Fragment Friday
It is the start of a New Year and I have quite a bit I want to accomplish creatively. For today though I want to look back on 2020. It was not a good year for the world in general and there were some very difficult aspects for me personally. On the other hand creatively it shaped up to be quite a year for accomplishments though many of those came at the end of the year.
- I launched this website to have a single place to point people for getting updates on my projects and finding my work
- I launched a weekly Patreon exclusive podcast for Fear the Boot called Fear the Boot: Game Notes that has had 43 episodes released to date.
- Two beta rules released of the Skies of Glass RPG
- Helped organize and run Fear the Conline 2 an online Roleplaying game convention
- Took part in Big Twenty, and ETU streams
- Completed NaNoWriMo successfully
- Released 15 Fiction Fragment Friday’s on this feed
- Had a flash fiction published in an Anthology(You can find the link on my Published Works tab)
2020 was the year I restarted my creative endeavors and I expect much more out of 2021 now that I am back on track with it. Expect submissions, rejections, self-publishing, topic blogging, and much much more in the coming year.
For this weeks Fiction Fragment Friday I have returned to the setting I created for my Thanksgiving post. The first mission to Mars and specifically dealing with being away for the holidays.
I floated in my cabin thinking over the past year. Does the measurement of a year even mean anything when you aren’t on a planet? I frequently asked myself questions like that but found there was no real point to answering them. Mission control was still on Earth and it measured time. So was my family and they were counting the days I had been away. It only made sense for us to do the same even though we were not orbiting the sun. Thinking about the questions just made me feel further away and the journey down that path led to madness. I was starting to wonder if some of my crew mates had already started down that road.
My coms notification beeped on my tablet indicating that a message had arrived from earth. Floating over I grabbed the tablet from it’s velcro secured charging station on the wall and flipped it on. It was a video message from my wife Bernice. I did the math in my head and figured that with the delay a message of this type was probably sent over an hour ago and that didn’t account for the time to relay it through NASA and their content screening. They say they don’t screen our messages but we all know that is a lie. They keep quite a bit of what is happening back on Earth from us. Since we can’t do anything about it that’s probably for the best but it still doesn’t sit right in my mind.
I hit the play button and found my wife on the couch with our kids asleep around her. “Hey hon, happy new year. The little ones didn’t quite make it to midnight. This has been a hard year with you gone, but I wanted to make sure you knew that we are so proud of you and what you are doing out there. It’s just so hard to believe that we won’t see you this year at all.” I could see that tears were fighting to come out, but she was staying strong for me. “Be safe out there and come back home to us. We need your name in the history books for the right reasons.” The image cut off.
I floated there thinking about the message. I don’t know if there is a right message to send to a loved one on their way to Mars, but these were getting harder and harder to watch. It was nice having a reminder of what was waiting at home, but as supportive as she was trying to be each message was just another reminder that I left them back there while I went off to be one of the first humans on Mars. Instead of energizing me each time I watched on it felt like a knife was being twisted. I put the tablet back on the charger. I knew I needed to reply but it could wait for a while.
I made my way to the galley and found mission commander Norton and doctor Samuels sipping on champagne in pouches. Commander Norton smiled at me and I could see by the expression on her face that she was already at very least tipsy. Doc Samuels was much better at holding his alcohol and didn’t seem phased at all. I greeted them both, “Celebrating the New Year?”
“By trying to forget the old one,” commander Norton said as she held up her bag. There was a sadness in her eyes that I had not seen before.
“Are you Ok Genevieve?” It wasn’t often that I used her first name, but I was asking the woman and not the commander. On a mission like this differences like that seemed to matter more than ever before. We needed to be more than crew we needed to be friends, family, and a support network.
She sighed before starting and I could tell it was difficult to share. “I got an e-mail from my fiance Lisa back on Earth. The New Year got her thinking about her life and how she didn’t want to keep putting it on hold. She found someone new. Didn’t even dump me over over video, just sent me a text message. Worst part is I can’t even blame her. Twenty-one months is a long time to wait for someone.”
“Yeah it is.” She was voicing the deep dark concern that lived in my head whispering to me at my darked moments.
“Bullshit,” the doc barked out. “Sacrifice and dedication are just part of what you sign up when you are with us. They all knew what they were getting into. If they can’t handle it they are weak and we don’t need them in our lives.”
I felt like there was a story in what Doc was saying, but even after all this time I didn’t know him very well. I didn’t know if he had anyone back home or not and I realized I wasn’t even sure where home was for him other than Earth. He tossed me a bag of champagne and it floated into my hands. He lifted his up. “Enough of this self pity. It is a new year and this is the year that we are going to make history. Our names will be remembered forever and that is something to drink to.”
I nodded and sucked a drink of champagne out of my bag. I knew that he was right, but it felt like we were all on the edge of some sort of breaking point and I found myself just hoping we made history for the right reasons.