Journalist Report – December 22nd

Journalist Report
Ben Durkee, Crew 236 Journalist

Sol 03

I did not breach my cocoon like a beautiful butterfly this morning as I had hoped. It was more akin to a greasy, groggy Swamp Thing emerging from a haphazard pile of winter jackets and dirty laundry. But I was warm!

We rose early this morning, in tandem with the sun. Honestly, I don’t know how that thing does it day in and day out. If it weren’t for the dulcet tones of "Ra-Ra Rasputin" pumping us up, I’d probably have stayed in my grease grotto all day.

After wiping the lingering sleep from our eyes and throwing together some cereal, we propelled ourselves into EVA prep.

The plan: myself, Tyler, Cesare, and Pavi were to head farther south than we’ve ever been, past Kissing Camel Ridge all the way to a place called Beranca Butte. Our goal was to find a good spot for Tyler’s thermal analysis research and to survey for any geologically interesting minerals along the way for Cesare. He had his eye set on Hematite.

"But did things go according to plan?" I hear you ask. They hardly ever do. And please don’t interrupt.

We entered the airlock for the first time, began pressurizing, and realized Pavi’s mic wasn’t picking up any audio. An inaudible engineer is no good in a pinch! So, we repressurize, troubleshoot, fix, and enter the airlock once again. A few games of rock, paper, scissors later and we officially made it out of the Habitat.

Two to each rover, we saddled up and hit the road, past mountains and molehills, and Mesozoic masterpieces. We made it about 5 minutes down the road and began experiencing some radio interference so intense that we had to pull over.

After a roadside game of whodunit and a good old-fashioned diagnosis sesh, it turned out my headset had some sort of anomaly that was causing it to constantly transmit, completely gumming up our comms and making communication impossible. In effect, it also gave me an uncontestable soapbox, but I realized too late and I’ll regret that to my dying breath.

We had to turn around and ultimately scrub the EVA due to the time that had elapsed sorting all of this out. Our temporary solution was for me to disconnect my headset and hear their communications by cranking the radio speaker and holding it up to my helmet. It worked! But part of me wishes it hadn’t.

I swear there was a twinkle in Cesare’s eye as it dawned on him that I was alone with the void and had to listen to those knuckleheads the whole ride back and the whole repressurization cycle. A fate I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Which is now him.

Fortunately, when we returned we were greeted with fresh bread, courtesy of Vladimir! We’ll tackle the same EVA plan tomorrow – this time with far more thorough radio check procedures. We filled the remainder of the EVA slot and then the remainder of the day with personal research time.

For dinner, Tyler and I experimented with combining some fresh herbs, leftover lentils, and dehydrated food into a rice-based amalgamation we called "Jambalaya." It was very much not that. But we all drowned it in seasoning and the crew pretended it was edible, which I appreciated. I foresee a lot more Frankenfoods in the future.

Until then, I’ll recede into my grimy goblin grotto and await more grub.

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