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  • There's nothing wrong with this picture, nothing false or deceptive. I wasn't personally there, at quite that time, but I believe these people and know a little of what it felt like. Don't you? Did you ever wake up in a strange desert world, and often ask yourself--this is not my house, these are not my clothes…

    The MDRS is way out of place, on purpose. It hunkers like an elaborate dissociative pop-art piece in amidst these synthetic hills, un upright cylindric living quarters for six or so, with adjoining plastic tunnel greenhouse. These people went there and made up missions for themselves, probably writing tersely in report later.

    "we are encouraged at the progress of physical fitness regimen, and will extend extra-vehicular activities during subsequent recon objectives"

    "on-board diagnostics indicate satisfactory nutrient broth uptake in most recent batch of B. oleracea seedlings, promising much-needed Ca2+ ion supplementation within dietary protocols"

    They took walks, to practice effective discovery. Time out of doors must have been precious, and warm. Were there moments of desire, unbidden? Did telepathic meaning ever jump across through those face shields and wink or wound, slightly. Some nausea? What small personal notes were jotted later in the stack of curtained bunk steads...

    "feels odd, going on like this--"

    "wish Bev was staying with us through the next commissary rotation"

    "found some tracks today. Bikers. Possibly indigenous"

    Maybe they imagined writing this story for themselves someday, savoring a little irony and archness about the puttering journey to Mars, America, where things went pretty much according to plan and they could see how it all just might work out eventually, might be fun to go boldly, off towards every new horizon.

    The lander isn't being kept up well against the elements a year later. I took a few pictures that don't say much, and went on out into the desert where a lot of dinosaur bones are being pulled and weathered up from the drab time-stamped dirt and examined quizzically, for answers or imaginations of some same kind.
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