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John Walker’s Journey to Mars - Written by: A.P. Davis - Sunday, August 05, 2018

New story begins here.

John Walker’s Journey to Mars

Written by: A.P. Davis

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Chapter One:

Getting somebody to go along for the ride to Mars was simple enough. There were many willing candidates. But getting the funding was another thing altogether. The challenge would be to find someone willing to part with a few billion and to find a few pilots willing to go on a one way trip to the red planet with no return to Earth.

John Walker woke on a Sunday morning and had a cup of M Brew Daily; MBD was his black gold that got him started every morning as motivation. Turning on the Wall TV by voice command, John simply said, “Local News” – and a preselected channel engaged with live video feed directly from Washington DC.

“Welcome to Global Earth News, I’m Sandy Mitchell with your daily climate report.” – As John walked away, as if ignoring everything being said was more of the same from the day before, with nothing new to add in the way of encouragement for a brighter day ahead for planet Earth. He looked out of the window on his ground floor apartment. Chief 12 squirrels ran to greet him as he poured Kibbles and Chunks dog food in a bowl, while continuing to sip more black death from his Zomato promotional black and red coffee mug, containing a large amount of brewed Kenyan coffee with sugar and non-dairy creamer.

Looking out the window John saw a desert that went for miles in every direction with an interstate running from West to East just 100 feet in front of his residence in South West Oak Grove Park.

Along with several other desert survivalists, a group of about 24 men and women and children created a small community, of which John was the leader. They called themselves the New America Group. Living off the grid for over 9 years so far, learning to get by on the bare minimum in a desert environment, relying on the efforts of the group to manage supplies, power and irrigation and so on. Solar panels were the main source of power. Water gathered from rainfall was mostly used after being treated and filtered. The Rain Catcher 2000 was John’s favorite. It was a 100 gallon rain catcher, shaped like a large metal canister with a huge funnel above it and an array of other funnels symmetrically located above the container with tubes to allow direct flow to the holding and filtering system. Many of these rain catchers were placed within several feet from each other to supply the New America Group with their water needs.

Several rows of canopy covered raised gardens were connected via copper lines from the catchers to provide constant irrigation to the plants. Misters were above them, just under the canopies to mimic rainwater and a manmade river and waterfalls were created along the end of their community gardens to provide the appearance of normalcy to an otherwise desert and desolate landscape.

John Walker’s Journey to Mars

Chapter Two:

The Date was August 5, 2018, and John and his other Team Johnny crew were at work gathering as many fruits and vegetables as they could gather to begin the canning process for future food storage for their trip to Mars and it was uncertain when that day would ever come. Already they had canned enough food for their crew to supply them with 12 months of canned food supplies. Containerizing drinking water would require more effort. James already managed to build a CO2 and Hydrogen conversion system to create breathable oxygen and drinkable water, extracting the elements right out of the air and that was one thing the New America Group would need when they arrived on Mars when they finally got the funds raised.

John attempted to start a Go Fund Me to raise enough money to complete their Bio-Sphere-Dome enclosure. It was completed a year ago and it would be basically the prototype for the ones they would build once they reached the red planet.

Although the method of extracting CO2 from the atmosphere directly and converting it into breathable Oxygen had been a success, it was done on such a small scale that it had no real impact on reducing Carbon Dioxide content overall from the Earth’s atmosphere, which already had way too much concentration, but living away from the cities and their heat islands and high concentrations of CO2 was one advantage the crew of New America Group had going for them. Living off the grid was hard, as the only connection they had was from Network television transmissions and Citizens Band Radio system communications. Jake Swanson, David Pierpont and Mike Dexter all had their supplies of CB transceivers but John had a few SAT Phones put away for emergency. And of course, in their bunker, below ground, they had all the computer system equipment they would ever need, if and when they went back online.

The hardest challenge, besides getting used to the extreme hot temperatures and desert like conditions, was keeping their activities more or less secret without the constant media attention they would be getting if they announced their intentions to go to Mars to anyone on social media or network news. It had to remain secret if they were ever to get off the ground one day and take off the space. But Google Earth drones flew over their area at least once every 6 months mapping the landscape, and topography. It would eventually be a problem, but so far there had been no reporters. There would be a day when the media would eventually catch wind of what they were doing, but hopefully no time soon, thought John, as he finished off his first of two cups of Kenyan Black Death with sugar and cream. It was now time for a second, he thought, as he walked around the grounds, looking at the plants, and wondering why the tomatoes were not doing so hot.

Meanwhile, in the city of Dallas, Texas, there was heavy news taking place with law enforcement.

John Walker’s Journey to Mars

Chapter Three:

Local Dallas Police were standing by, as a gunman had 50 hostages inside a Starbox coffee house, holding them for ransom as news cameras and police converged on the scene. His name was Caribe Montrell, who had been recently fired for misconduct on the job at the very coffee house he was holding up at. He had been fired from his job as the head barista for calling police to arrest three men of color for sitting at a table and not ordering anything and taking up space when refusing to leave after Mr. Montrell told them more than once, to either order a coffee or leave. Due to limited seating and a demand for available space for paying patrons, the situation had gotten out of hand. The result was media coverage going viral on Spacebook and when a lawsuit was underway the CEO of Starbox had Mr. Montrell fired for illegal racial discrimination, one week later, Caribe went nuts and came in with two shot guns and a belt wrapped around his waist with C4 plastic explosives wired to a detonator at his side. The stand-off had already begun earlier that morning, around 6 AM and the news was on about this stand-off and hostage situation for the past several morning hours.

In other news – Fires are raging in Northern California. It is reported by reliable sources, that at least two major fires were started deliberately and the camera footage has been given to the local law enforcement for evaluation to be released later in the day to the public. One suspect is a former border patrol officer who was fired for shooting Mexicans in cold blood as they were being hunted down at the border between El Paso TX and Mexico. Footage of this event was also given to law officers for evaluation and will be released in the next few days.

A search for survivors of an overturned boat in the Brazos River last night continues, after heavy rains and flooding and high winds created dangerous conditions for recreational boats and many roads have been blocked to prevent vehicles from driving directly into high waters running over access roads to the South in portions of Waco, TX.

Graves Pharmaceutical Company was hacked recently and the names of over one million patients who receive medications from their local pharmacies are at risk for identity theft.

Ebola Virus strains that can be transmitted via infected mosquitoes has taken the lives of over 20 people who were said to be working with a charity relief agency, a non-profit organization called Biochemists without borders .org and funded by a local Atlanta branch of the CDC & P. They are all in an undisclosed location in South Africa in quarantine.

West Nile is on the rise. Standing water citations will be issued in the following areas. Heavy fines to violators will be placed and possible jail time for violators. In other news …..

John Walker’s Journey to Mars

Chapter Four:

Mike Dexter said, as he reached for a chewable anti-acid and chewed quickly before the heart burn would take over. “We need to get off this rock as soon as possible. It will be less than a year when we are at just the right position with respect to Mars to launch. If only we had more time. But time is running out. The world is getting hotter, and people are going crazy. If not for the madness of crowds in these end times, we could remain here in New America Group for many years to come, in spite of global climate change.” – “But, we don’t have the luxury of time, Michael.” – replied John. “We have to get hold of somebody who is both rich and who wants to hitch a ride with us to get off this future fire ball and make our way to Mars, ASAP!”

Meanwhile, somewhere in Dallas, Texas a local blog writer, Anthony Davis, was at his computer reading comments on social media when out of nowhere the ground beneath his house began to rumble.

A tremor occurred right at that moment, shaking the very ground that Anthony Davis was sitting at. It was time to go check the instruments and find out how far away that quake was and what it’s measurement was.

This was about the third or fourth quake in the past few weeks. The oil company was at it again. They continued fracking their way under the Western area of the Barnett Shale. Anthony lived in Dallas, Texas and already a major accident occurred in a parking garage in Irving from a small ground shift caused by local fracking along the East Texas Barnett Shale by Texas Oil & Gas.

He was on his way to cut a neighbor’s lawn so he had to get his solar powered lawnmower loaded in the back of his Toyota pickup. But when he looked up at the ceiling he noticed the drywall had a crack forming at the center that went along the stud at the leading edge of the sheet rock. Not again! He thought about this for a few minutes. He looked across the length of the living room ceiling in disgust.

Just a few years ago he had part of it replaced and the tremors shook the very foundation of his house. The ground shook, just enough to cause damage to the sheet rock. What was the insurance going to cost in deductibles?

The last time there was a problem with cracks in the ceiling it was generally a direct result of passing trucks along the road in front of his home. The daily traffic was enough to shake the house enough to cause minor cracks in the walls along doors and windows. But the fact that the house was also surrounded by large trees on either side of the house and the root systems were growing above ground due to limited space, underground, from the white rock shale that pretty much lay underneath most of the entire area of the Southside of Dallas. The only thing that would grow without running out of root space would be limited to small fig trees, plumb trees or a variety of shrubs. And already there were uneven levels in the driveway with cracks and basic erosion taking place over the decades.

Reading from an article in the newspaper, Anthony found a piece about the New America Group and saw an offer to have someone look after the grounds while they took off for Mars on the first manned colonization. The offer included a place to hang out and they needed someone to take care of the grounds and maintain the gardens. Anthony would like this as a change of pace, but the average summer temperature of that area would be nearly 120 degrees or more for at least the months of July and August give or take a few degrees either way.

Pepper dog was sleeping on his bed. He drove to the lot where he would spend a few hours mowing grass and doing some hedge trimming for a local doctor’s office and commercial lot. That doctor had at least 25 magazine subscriptions sitting on the coffee table in the waiting room. He got paid after he finished up and he was sweating like a wrestler from the hot afternoon heat. It was about 102 degrees and even with all the cold water he drank and the big straw hat he wore on his head, the heat took a toll on his stamina.

Dr. Lu gave him a check for 120 dollars. He put his lawn equipment in the truck and drove back home. First he had to take a pit stop at the local El Rio Grande to get some orange juice, milk and bread and some Kibbles and chunks for his dog Pepper. Pepper was a hound dog. His dog was basically 12 years old and that is nearly a middle age in dog years.

Meanwhile on the news a man stood up at the steps of the White House and began to speak out loud to the crowd. “I will vote Democratic next election. I can do nothing more but at least I will vote with good conscience. People who voice discontent are even now being silenced. What will happen if the silent majority has no voice? That would be a very cold day in hell for any US citizen or anyone wanting to become a US citizen. Imagine living in the daze when if you don't agree with the masters of authority you will be silenced in more ways than one? People who do not agree with the leaders of the USA might be fired or fired at. It is this kind of fear that is the worst thing to fear.

When those individuals who do not say what is on their minds and remain silent because of their worst fears, that is when freedom and democracy dies.”

Some people stood by and listened, but most of them just walked past the shouting man as if oblivious.

To be continued …

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MegL wrote on August 5, 2018, 3:41 PM

Things are hotting up in more ways than one!