Martin on Mars – Secured Log – Hellas Basin – Day 18

I went for a run this morning. My recovery seems to be exponential. Not sure how much of this is just sheer willpower or how much is Nanocells. I can feel myself getting stronger every day that passes. The hyperbaric oxygen treatment seems to have done its job and now I’m back on track.

As for our friend Mr. Hickman, I’m concerned that he knows so much. His reference to Angel, my companion of artificial intelligence who lives in the Net, is alarming. How he came to have that classified information is one of the top things I need to find out. When I asked Angel, she didn’t seem to know. I say, seem to know, because she doesn’t always tell me everything. It’s one of the more frustrating things about our relationship. But, over time, I’ve learned not to fret too much about it. If she holds back, she’s got a reason for it. That’s one of the things about artificial super intelligence, you can’t understand it because you can’t think like it. It’s like a mouse trying to understand television. It sees it, but it has no idea what it means. That’s where we’re at. I’m just glad Angel has humanity’s best interests at heart. I know this because she’s my friend, and she’s never failed me.

I set my task for the day to follow up on a lead. Hickman has a sister in Hellas Basin, and I want to talk to her. I want to see her in person, and not over video. Some things don’t get conveyed that way, despite all of our technology. That meant I was in for a train ride, and not a short one. Hellas was way down south.

I boarded the Mars-train, a pressurized vehicle made for comfort and speed. It had a bar, a restaurant, and even an observation lounge. This is a completely transparent bubble on the top of one of the segmented cars with comfortable furniture under it. I spent most of my time up there during the trip.

It took almost two hours just to get down off of Olympus Mons. The ancient shield volcano is over 600 kilometers in diameter. Although, I couldn’t tell that we were really descending it. The slope is actually quite gentle considering the mountain’s altitude. Once we were down, the train really seemed to pick up speed. I think it was mostly because I could see more interesting terrain. The rock formations whipped past us as the train sped onward across the dusty red surface. The air of Mars barely pressed against the train, an environment equivalent to the vacuum in the hypertube transports back on Earth. Magnetic levitation in the one third gravity requires less effort and therefore less power.

The distant pale sun set just before we arrived at the Basin and gave me a fantastic lightshow of the enormous dome of Hellas. The entire 2300 kilometers of this basin is a conglomeration of dome networks architected into one enormous overarching dome. Even here, and especially here, the R’s of Martian design rule. If any one dome depressurizes the rest of the domes are isolated and protected.  Hellas has the largest population on the planet. Over a half million people work and live here.  It is impressive and awe-inspiring.

I checked into a hotel not far from the train station. I’ve recovered quite a bit from my ordeal, but this day of travel wore me out. Tomorrow I’ll go have a private talk with Teresa Hickman about her psychotic brother.