The Maretian

by Kris Overstreet

Chapter 87: Sol 144

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[08:48] JPL: Ha ha, Mark, very funny. We handed that last “soil” sample analysis you did to Astromaterials, and they took one look at it and told us it belonged over at Medical. They put two and two together, or perhaps I should say Number Two and Number Two. The only way you could have picked up that soil sample from the surface would be if you figured out a way to drop your pants without dying out there. Well, you’ve had your laugh, so how about the soil sample we asked for?

[09:04] WATNEY: You correctly identified the substance, but not the source. That night soil came from Fireball, so properly speaking the word for it is “fewmets.” Now please tell both Astromaterials and Medical to take a second look at those numbers, because I can’t figure out how someone on a straight silica oxide diet produces droppings whose non-water content is over 80% carbon.

[09:20] JPL: Yeah, I can see how that might seem a little weird. I’m pretty sure none of us have experience with a digestive tract capable of elemental transmutation. Think you can talk your friends into a full medical baseline?

[09:40] WATNEY: We are here and can read all you send us. Try asking us direct. – Spitfire

[09:57] JPL: Hello, Spitfire. Your English is improving. We’d like you to let Mark weigh, measure, and take samples so we have a full baseline of your medical condition. May he do this?

[10:18] WATNEY: I ask my commander. She says yes. Lucky for you. - Spitfire

[10:19] WATNEY: Great. So now I get to do chemical analysis of everybody’s poop.

[10:21] WATNEY: Good luck finding mine! – Dragonfly

[10:22] WATNEY: Now that’s an Easter egg hunt I could stand to miss.

[10:40] JPL: Is it me, or is this chat becoming a little crowded?

[10:47] HERMES: Not our fault this time! – Johannsen

Author's Notes:

Yeah, this is the short-short I was talking about. I'd originally intended this to go along in a more medical tone, exploring pony and human medicine and taking notes, but I couldn't think of anywhere interesting to take it. So all you get is a poop joke.

For anyone who wants to talk about how transmuting silicon into carbon is impossible, implausible, impwhatever, I will merely point to an animal of flesh and bone with enough bite strength and bone hardness to nom on mineral #7 of 10 on the Mohs scale with no trouble whatever as evidence that the rules of biology, geology and physics have all accepted a politely written letter from Fireball's mother that he is excused from playing.

Buffer's at three, and I'm going to try to punch out one more before I collapse tonight.

My posting schedule for the next three days is not under my control, so I can't even guarantee that my next post will show up as dated tomorrow. I'm foggy enough about the delayed-post feature here that I don't want to mess with it. But by Friday morning, at least, there will be three more posts than there are at the time I post this now.

And for the record, my neighbors and relatives are watching the house and taking care of my pets while I'm gone.

Finally: Sleipnir 1 launches on Sol 174.

Next Chapter: Sol 147 Estimated time remaining: 20 Hours, 59 Minutes
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