Mars Book – Reading from Mars Journey: The Calling – Opening Scene

mars book - mars nowBelow is an opening scene from the first chapter of my upcoming Mars book,  Mars Journey: The Calling. This is the first book of many in the Mars Journey series.

Synopsis aka back of the book: A brilliant but disgraced astronaut is called upon to help lead a seemingly impossible international mission from Earth to Mars. Now with the clock ticking down, they’ve entered into a dangerous race against time, and a fight with humanity’s darker side, just to survive long enough to board the launch vehicle that will take them to the Journey spacecraft and Mars beyond.

Enjoy the book reading video and the write up, and please post any questions or thoughts in the comments below.

Opening Scene from Mars Journey: The Calling

Author Bill Hargenrader

T Minus 5 years

The floor of the UN building in NYC was a tumultuous scene. A raucous congregation raised their voices as they were beginning to process what the professor of Foreign Relations from Stanford had just told them. Shayla Carlson, stood in the center of the floor, 200 of the dignitaries from foreign nations looking down at her with skepticism and in disgust. Well that didn’t go over to well her look said, as she looked back to Brent.

At the u shaped table some ways in front of her podium, the jowls of Ambassador Smith of the United States shook as he reached forward to adjust his microphone downward. “Dr. Carlson, what you are saying is that we pool our resources, and dissolve all barriers to technology sharing across all nations, in order to to… take a trip to mars? Why now, what has changed, and why would we trust our secrets with” looking around at Ambassador Dim from China, “with nations who have not proven trust worthy?”

At that, a whole new chorus of consternation arose, and several of the members at the table stood up in protest, turning and shouting.
“A nation such as yours has to no grounds to stand on and preach of trustworthiness!” Leveled Dim.

More had now risen, and the scene threatened to turn into complete discord when Brent Carlson took the mic.

“Hem. Hem hem. Sorry to interrupt this… discourse. But I couldn’t help but say something.”

“You do not have the right to take the floor, security.” Smith began.

“Let her husband speak” shouted someone from the surrounding stands. Followed by calls of “Remove him from the floor’ and quickly all manner of opinions that rose throughout the chambers.

“Seems your occupation as an astronaut has garnered you some bit of celebrity in these halls.” Said Smith contemplating the political fallout from denying the right to speak. The guard who had begun advancing towards Brent stopped and looked to Smith. Smith shook his head at that guard. “You have two minutes Mr. Carlson.”

“Ahh, well. Hmmm.” Said Carlson, beginning to notice the hundreds of eyes upon him, and realizing he didn’t know what he was going to say.

Shayla, cocked her head, and leaned in to whisper, “my husband can fly at the tip of a 20 story rocket, but can’t talk to these old fat blowhards.”

At this he gave a chuckle, she always could make him laugh. A slight grin formed, the one she knew well. The one that said he was about to get into some mischief or trouble (or both). He began.

“Thank you. Now while my wife is the smart one, I am just the worker bee Astronaut that spent over a year in space. Just to let you know how smart I am not, did you know that it takes 50 people to plan out my day when I am aboard the ISS? 50 people! That means I am like 1/50th as smart as a regular person.” To this he raised some laughs in the audience.

“I’m wearing a suit today. It took me about 30 minutes to put on, but when I’m flying around the planet a 17,000 mph, or outside one of our launch vehicles, it takes me 4 hours to get my suit on, and that’s with someone else help! Clearly, I’m lacking in intelligence somewhere.” The timing was just right and now more laughter.

Ambassador Dim, sat back and gave a quizzical but interested sidelong glance. Ambassador Smith just scowled and tapped his watched theatrically.

“Right then. So, I didn’t come here to regale you with tales of my stupidity. As a matter of fact, I just came to support my wife, who has spent the last 7 years building a plan that could send us to the furthest reaches of human space we have been before. This is her show, and the only reason I am took the mic is because I couldn’t bear to see the laughs, the jeers, the insults at such a masterfully crafted and thoroughly vetted plan.”

“Mr. Carlson,” Smith interrupted, “this plan has already been disproven. Time and time again history has shown us that whenever we want to get something done, whether its travel to a new continent, or map out new territory, it’s been for financial gain. And when we went to the moon it was because of competition. Your plan has neither of that.”

“Right, well that’s where you’re wrong. What’s not written in those papers, what’s not written down is the human spirit. And not just the human spirit, but our evolving humanity. I’ve been dreaming of going to mars ever since I was a kid, and even as an astronaut with a country that has a plan to go, my heart breaks every time a program gets put back. Every time a time line is extended by 5 years. There’s an old saying that goes something like this, everyone should have a goal of being a millionaire not for the money you will make, but for the person you will have to become in order to make it. That’s what traveling to mars is about, it’s a challenge on a global scale, and it’s a goal of humanity to become and interplanetary species, not just to say we did it, not just to begin building secondary home to ensure species survival in the cast of a cataclysmic asteroid strike. No, it is a goal for humanity for who we will have to become as a people to pull this off!”

Some cheers now rose from the crowd. Ambassador Smith eyed the room, visibly uncomfortable with how the tide was changing.

Brent continued, “They say we can’t do it alone. I’m looking around at nation’s right in front of me that have the technology, the will, the funding, and they are just looking for someone to pull them together. They say we can’t go to Mars unless there is a space race. A competition to pit ourselves against one another. I say there is a competition. And that competition is against those who say we can’t do it and it’s against our past selves. Our past selves who committed genocide, and purported slave trading. We are better than those people, just like we are better than the people that need a space race to make this work. There is no place for that in our future. The challenge to you, and you, and you and everyone out there isn’t how do we create a space race, it’s how do we get the human race to space, to mars, and beyond. Will we be better than our past selves? Will we repeat the mistakes? Or will we seize the moment to unite for this our greatest cause? Well, that moment is now. And it’s up to you to make the decision. Thank you.”

The chambers erupted in cheers, and ambassador smith smacked his gavel down hard, again, and again. Ambassador Dim leaned forward and slowly nodded as a smile spread across his face.

Shayla turned to Brent, and said, Holy crap, where did that come from?”

“I don’t know!” Shaking his head incredulously. She pulled him down to her face and kissed him hard.


Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next excerpt!

Post your comments below -Bill H


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