The Maretian

by Kris Overstreet

Chapter 76: Sol 116

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Author's Notes:

This chapter is why I added the Sex tag. I wanted to remind people that there is nothing so noble, so honest, and so pure that some shit won't fuck it up just "for the keks." (Or whatever phrase trolls use fifteen years from now.)

EDIT: 12-18-2019 I decided today to put the Filthy Fred transcript (you'll find out) under the Spoiler tag. SERIOUSLY DO NOT HIGHLIGHT IT UNLESS YOU'RE OKAY WITH CRUDE, CRUEL AND VULGAR SO-CALLED HUMOR. IT'S BAD. TAKE MY WORD FOR IT.

I admit I deliberately seeded Mark's interview with compromising material, but in retrospect I didn't need to. I could have done just as well without the easy setup material. I found a ton of things I hadn't intended to be smutty when I began putting together the Filthy Fred bit. It's amazing what can be done with innocent voice clips if you have no shame or ethics.

And if you ask what that makes me, well, that makes me the guy who made the deliberate decision to do this to Mark and not the ponies.

And this might not have been a smart time to rebel against NASA's requests (Annie is NASA's PR chief, after all), but Annie forgot to be tactful with her requests to the ponies. So she gets three camera hogs and a cooperative cameraman protesting what really is a backhanded request.

I just got settled into my hotel room with dinner half an hour ago, so tomorrow's chapter is likely to be quite short... since I'm about to start writing it. Zero buffer, y'all.


To: Mark Watney ([email protected])
From: Annie Montrose ([email protected])
Subject: Filthy Fred Interview

Mark, I’m contacting you about this in private email to try to keep you from blowing up in public about this.

Yesterday evening an Internet personality who goes by the name Filthy Fred took the audio from your interview spot and used sound bites from it to assemble a fake interview. The joke, if it can be called that, is that you have an alien harem on Mars.

This is Filthy Fred’s usual modus operandi. He’s hit celebrities, politicians, even ex-Presidents. He gets his laugh from shock, and he has a small but fanatical following. It wouldn’t be an issue except, since your name is on top of everybody’s search history, millions of people are watching Filthy Fred’s edit right now.

We want you to remain absolutely silent about this. We discussed just not telling you this thing existed, but I told Teddy and Venkat that the odds that it wouldn’t slip somehow are next to zero. Given that, it makes no sense to allow you to be blindsided when it does pop up. So we’re warning you, and we’re warning you to pretend it never happened.

I’m serious, Mark; direct responses to assholes like Filthy Fred never work. Fred would love to have you protest. It’d be mud-wrestling with a pig. He’d get more publicity, and people would begin to wonder if there’s any truth to it. So let us handle it instead. Our spin is to show photos of the ponies, with their big adorable eyes, and make the point about what kind of person you have to be to turn humanity’s first alien contacts into a crude sex joke.

Finally, I want to say that this wasn’t your fault. We tell you astronauts to be careful in interviews, but Filthy Fred and other dickheads like him will fuck over anything you say no matter how careful you are. So don’t worry over it. And don’t say anything. Just leave it to your aunt Annie. I’ll see the little cocksucker roasted on the fire of public opinion, don’t worry.


To: Annie Montrose ([email protected])
From: Mark Watney ([email protected])
Subject: Re: Filthy Fred Interview

I don’t suppose you could sneak a download of the audio past Kapoor’s bandwidth police?


To: Mark Watney ([email protected])
From: Annie Montrose ([email protected])
Subject: Re: Filthy Fred Interview

Nope. Teddy and Venk say the details won’t help you any. But I’m copying this transcript from the departmental report I have on the thing. You’re welcome. (Sorry about the numbers: in the report they link to where in the real interview the sound bites came from. We were hoping he'd added something so we could nail him legally, but he didn't. I don’t have time to delete them all for you.)


---Attachment: filthy_fred_transcript.txt

FF: Hello, you fucked-up freaks and you freaky fuckers, this is Filthy Fred again- and this time I’ve got the best interview EVER! Yours truly has scored an interview with our favorite Martian himself, Mark Watney! Say hi to our listeners, Mark!

MW: high(1)

FF: Now, I’m given to understand that you’re just hangin’ out on Mars with five aliens, four of which are females who prefer to go around naked. Are you gonna tell me there’s nothin’ goin’ on up there?

MW: No, seriously(2)

FF: That’s what I thought! So, what’s it like, fuckin’ four alien girls?

MW: it keeps you warm on a winter night, you know what I mean?(3)

FF: Yeah, but really- four aliens?

MW: I figured NASA would want someone who could do more than one(4) pony(5). Turns out I was right.(6)

FF: Sounds like you’re having a ball up there!

MW: the ponies all like it, too(7)

FF: Which one of your bunk buddies is your favorite?

MW: I wish you could see Spitfire shaking her butt(8)You take one look and you know it’s going to taste SO good.(9)

FF: Got a thing for butts, eh Mark?

MW: I want to feel them in my hands(10)

FF: Tell us about Spitfire’s butt, Mark.

MW: It’s so hot and gooey(11)

FF: What does that do to your dick when you think about it?

MW: It’s long(12) and(13) hard (14)

FF: So what do you do with it?

MW: I stick it in(15) the right place(16)

FF: And what do you do when you’re done?

MW: C’mon(17) those innocent, cute little faces.(18)

FF: Sounds like you really have fun up there, Mark!

MW: the ponies all like it, too(19)

FF: I guess they must! But what about the dragon guy, what’s his name?

MW: Fireball’s(20)

FF: How does he take your hogging all the girls?

MW: even he’s hard(21)

FF: What?? You mean to say you’ve got a dude doing you too?

MW: I put it in(22) that big adorable schnozz?(23)

FF: Damn, Mark, how long you been swingin’ both ways?

MW: since college(24)

FF: Where did you first experiment with this sort of thing?

MW: everywhere when I was a kid.(25) I was young and healthy enough(26)

FF: What was your favorite place to screw?

MW: my best friend’s basement(27)

FF: Sounds kinky, Mark. What would you say to people who think it’s kind of fucked up to have sex with an alien, never mind five?

MW: don’t let that stop you. Don’t even let it slow you down. (28) that’s how you make a fun evening.(29)

FF: Words of wisdom, Mark. Your transmission’s breaking up. Any last words of wisdom for Earth?

MW: if (30) more people (31) really want (32) to lay(33) the ponies, well, I’m sure they all want it too.(34)

FF: Thanks again, astronaut Mark Watney! And let’s hope you get rescued soon… but not TOO soon! (lewd laughter)

--- end doc

To: Annie Montrose ([email protected])
From: Mark Watney ([email protected])
Subject: Re: Filthy Fred Interview

… I think I’ve just been permanently cured of making “that’s what s/he said” jokes. I’ve seen this sort of thing done before and laughed my ass off, but I wasn’t the target then- nor were my guests. Especially not my guests. This is like this guy just twisted my words to make me sound like a goddamn pedophile. That's what it feels like to me.

I guess I should consider myself lucky I didn’t say the word “sister” in that interview. As it is, I’m going to go bury my head now and wish for a time machine so I could go back and undo all my words.

… oh God. Starlight just read over my shoulder. She wants an explanation. Excuse me, I have to destroy an adorable unicorn's innocence now.


To: Mark Watney ([email protected])
From: Annie Montrose ([email protected])
Subject: Re: Filthy Fred Interview

Better you than me, Mark. Be sure to tell the others not to talk about it, either.

By the way, special request: we need more pony pics. Spend a day or two and take a fuckton of photos, especially faces, so we can feed them to the press and double down on the cute card.

A few requests for these photos:

(1) Avoid butt shots. Obviously. Even if they’re in suits or undersuit garments, we don’t need any “where is he looking?” bullshit.

(2) Faces, faces, faces.

(3) I know you had to take photos of the composting system you have for the botany boffins down here. Don’t take any fucking more. Ponies half-covered in shit are not cute.

(4) Dragonfly tests much less cute than the other ponies. Only take pics of her if she’s doing something adorable. And don’t take pics of Fireball at all. People think he’s cool, but definitely not cute, and innocent is what we really need right now.



“People actually DO things like that?”

Cherry Berry couldn’t believe her ears. First Mark had told them what had happened, and then Starlight Glimmer had filled in the gaps for those whose English still lagged behind.

“Yeah, I know!” Starlight Glimmer agreed. “Maybe it’s a monkey thing? The whole species, obsessed with sex?”

“You wish,” Spitfire said, obviously unruffled. “There are reasons why the Wonderbolts stay in the VIP area at public events. The paparazzi are just praying for that photo of you mid-sneeze that makes it look like you’re leering at somepony else’s flank.”

“No, really, I think it might be a species thing,” Starlight insisted. “Remember what I told you about what happened on the trip to get Pathfinder?”

“Pfft,” Spitfire shrugged. “That was nothing. I’ve seen stallion academy cadets at 5 AM surprise assembly, just barely stuffed into their flight suits. And I do mean stuffed.” The ex-Wonderbolts commander waggled her eyebrows suggestively.

Cherry Berry held her head in her hooves. She felt like it was going to explode. “I do not want to KNOW these things about people!” she insisted.

“Welcome to my universe,” Fireball growled. “You mammals are all crazy. We dragons deal with sexual issues in the only appropriate way- after a prolonged negotiation of the prenuptial agreement.”

Cherry Berry looked to Dragonfly for support. The changeling sat on a stool, silent and thoughtful-looking. “Dragonfly, you… er, what are you thinking about?”

“Nothing,” Dragonfly said, not budging from her seat.

“Right,” Cherry said, not believing it. “Well, I’m giving a direct order: nopony, especially not you, Dragonfly, is allowed to-“


Mark had rechecked his email after explaining about the disgusting human and his radio show. Now he shoved his chair back from the table his computer sat on, glaring at the screen as if mortally insulted. Then, with a nod, he closed the computer, went to a cabinet to fetch a still camera, and walked over to the pony huddle.

“Earth wants more pictures of you.,” Mark said, holding up the camera. “Cute pictures. But they don’t want pictures of Fireball, and they only want pics of Dragonfly if she’s being silly.” He put on a smile stolen from an alligator as he said, “So the English word for today is: photobomb.”

He explained. The changeling and the dragon grinned.

The pegasus didn’t. “You say Earth want cute pictures?” she said, her English better than it had been but still clumsy. “Earth think we childs or something?” She hopped onto the worktable, crouching so her barrel just barely cleared the tabletop while her rump waggled high in the air. Just to make her meaning clear, she lifted her tail well out of the way. “Shoot me like one of your Fancy girls,” she purred in Equestrian.

“Wow!” Dragonfly said. “I never knew you could change color, Mark! Are you- never mind.”

Mark was indeed blushing like a fire engine, but he continued to smile. “Let’s make some art,” he said.

Annie Montrose looked at the pictures from the Pathfinder link. Every last one had Fireball in the background, for no apparent reason- just walking by, eating a rock, looking at a computer, so forth, in every single goddamn picture.

Every one had Dragonfly doing something silly- making faces, sticking objects through her holes, juggling, even sitting on Cherry Berry’s head.

And almost every one had Spitfire shoving her butt into shot, to the obvious embarrassment of whichever alien the camera had actually been aimed at.

In fact, almost half of the photos lacked either Starlight Glimmer or Cherry Berry entirely.

But all of them, willy-nilly, would get handed over to the press not later than twenty-four hours later.

“God damn you, Watney,” Annie snarled at her computer. “You had one job. ONE FUCKING JOB!!”

To: Annie Montrose ([email protected])
From: Spitfire ([email protected])
Subject: (no subject)

We are not children. We will not let you act like we are children.

We are a team. We will not let you act like some of us are not team.

Next time remember that. Also tell Earth I show you what none of you will ever have.


Next Chapter: Sol 119 Estimated time remaining: 21 Hours, 52 Minutes
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