Mars Calling

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by Gary Carter

A young, married couple with no skills and trouble making ends meet on overcrowded Earth takes up an offer to travel to Mars and work there, Luis Bellandia in the mines, and Jo Anne as a cleaning woman and kitchen helper. Two months out from Earth, on their six-month journey to the Red Planet, a meteorite shower shreds the space mirror that warms the north polar ice cap that supplies the mining colony with most of its water, now no longer possible. Arriving on Mars, Luis and Jo Anne find the dome's park plants and victory gardens, dead from the now strictly rationed water, supplied by a few inadequate aquifers and ice shipped from both poles to keep the colony going.

Jo Anne, a plant lover and avid gardener, finds that she cannot tolerate the desolation after several months on the dead planet and becomes severely depressed. She decides to return home on the next available ship, thus voiding her contract and forfeiting the promised $200,000 when she completes her three-year contract. Wanting to stay, Luis becomes angry, the couple becomes estranged and no longer communicate with each other. However, several days before Jo Anne is scheduled to leave, an anomaly occurs on the Red Planet that forever changes the future of Luis and Jo Anne, Mars and all of mankind.

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