World of Fiction

A serial format to new stories written only waiting to be published!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Mission From Mars-The Press Conference

Since Christina was the person responsible for break the Earth message story first, her editor decided to give her the nod and allow her to cover the press conference being made by Richard Mentor. When showing her press credentials, she was directed to go to the front row and be close to the podium. It seemed a little strange that she would get to sit there, considering there were other people who normally get to sit there. Often times, a few plant reporters were placed there who would give softball questions and guarantee safe moments for the speaker. If Richard Mentor thought he would get that from Christina, he had another thing coming.

A chime sounded over the crowd. Everyone stopped their conversations and watched as Richard Mentor walked up to the podium. To his left was a giant screen showing the Industrial Sciences logo. Most likely he would be putting pictures up during this conference, but no one was sure what it would look like. Everyone anxiously awaited to hear the first words Mentor would give in regards to what was quickly becoming the story of the year.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” began Mentor. “I have called on you today to announce that the search of the vault in Industrial Sciences has revealed a number of interesting artifacts.” Looking towards the screen, Mentor continued with his speech. “As you can see, a number of periodicals were found in the vault, including magazines covering what must have been some very important moments in Earth history. As such, I do not wish to comment on this, but allow the historians to take care of these details. In addition to this find, we also discovered a series of tapes in the vault. A number of them were security tapes and other inconsequential tapes that showed construction of the city we live in now.”

Mentor gave a pause in the speech for a moment. He wanted to make sure everyone was paying attention. “However, we did find a tape of some interest. This is a communication from Earth. We believe this is the last one. At this time, I would like to play it for you. The man in the film is unidentified, so we can only assume he is a technician or someone of some kind of importance.”
Mentor turned to the screen and the lights dimmed. The screen showed a young man, very unassuming, speaking into a camera from Earth. “Mars colony. By the time you get this message, things here on Earth may be different. Recently, diplomatic relations between a number of countries have been tense. As you know, the issue of space travel and human colonization of another planet is something that has sparked a great deal of debate on the planet. Geological activity on the planet has begun to get a number of leading scientists to believe the potential ‘Big One’ is going to happen. In the event that happens, the landscape of the western North American continent and much of the Pacific could be greatly affected. We will keep you notified as new situations develop.”

The screen went blank and Mentor returned his attention to the audience. “As you can see, this tape does bring into question much of the story Mr. Spiro Agnew Wilson brought forward. Most likely, in my opinion, Mr. Wilson watched this tape in his youth, but as time went by, his mind began to ponder the events that happened after the message was sent. By the time he reached such an elderly age, Wilson convinced himself that a war did occur. However, we all saw the concerns over the issue of a geological disaster. By taking this into consideration, we must assume that it was this which occurred. One way or another, I believe the only way to answer the question is to send our spaceship to Earth. Actually, lets stop referring it to spaceship and call it by its proper name, the Phoenix.”

With a slight nod, Mentor gave the cue for the press to begin asking questions. Like vultures on an open prey, they pounced. Hands went up and voices were laboring to get louder and louder and sound more important than the others. Internally, Mentor was beginning to like he was a puppet master. Externally, he allowed his eyes to scan over the group and pick one that he would begin with. Naturally, he had his primary target: Christina Long.

“Miss Long.”

Christina stood and asked, “If this theory of yours seems so logical, then could you explain to me why it is that the schools on Mars does not seem to support it?”

“Well, it has been awhile since most of us were in school. I do not think many of us can recall exactly what our teachers taught us back in elementary school.” Many of the people in the press conference began to laugh.

Christina was undeterred. “Why is it then Mr. Wilson would wait this long to announce the story of a tape detailing the final message of Earth to Mars? Would it not have been wiser to do it when he first discovered it?”

“You would need to ask Mr. Wilson that question,” replied Mentor.

“I did.”

“What did he say then?” asked Mentor. It was a risky move on his part. He was giving his biggest foe an opportunity to surprise him. The only thing he felt confident of was that whatever answer she gave, he could punch a hole through.

“According to Mr. Wilson, the tape was so horrific that he had to keep it a secret. If that is the case, don’t you think the tape you found might have been an earlier one, which lead to an even worse tape?”

“It is not my place to suppose anything,” replied Mentor. “However, if there were another tape, it was not found.”

Now the other reporters came in for the kill. Pointing to different reporter, Mentor was beginning to get bombarded with new questions.

“Was the search as thorough as you thought?”


“Are there other vaults this possible second tape could have been placed into?”


“Are there any other details of the situation on Earth which Industrial Sciences knows about, but is not disclosing to the public.”

“Of course not.”

“Will the press be given an opportunity to do a search of their own?”

This was the last straw. Mentor thought he had given a witty answer to Long’s earlier question. Now, he was on the ropes. Every second he delayed in giving an answer would hurt him and the space program. He needed to think on his toes.

“I am confident in the job done by our people in Industrial Sciences,” replied Mentor. “As such, to call into question their professionalism is unnecessary and an insult to their work.”

That put the reporters off balance. No one wanted to insult hard workers. If there was anything people on Mars took pride in, it was the fact that nearly everyone pulled their weight in this society. Christina stood up and was acknowledged for a question.

“If that is the case, then how do you plan on trying to prove your theory or disprove the story of Mr. Wilson?”

Now it was the time for the moment of truth. Mentor had dreaded this question from the beginning of the press conference. He had thought about this for a little bit and considered his options. The best one he had still made his stomach a little queasy. For show, he began to slowly nod his head and look down at the podium. Everything that needed to be done had to be considered very carefully.

“Since there does seem to be some questions as to how true the final message between our planet and Earth looked like, I want to take this opportunity to make a second announcement which was going to be held off for sometime. I plan to launch the Phoenix in three weeks time. The ship will carry a small platoon of twenty soldiers to act as protection in the event things on Earth are hostile. The primary crew will consist of two engineers, who will monitor the ship and its ability to travel through space, two scientists, who will be conducting some scientific experiments on the mission, and our pilot, who will also double as captain of the ship. This will bring the size of the mission up to twenty eight people. Overall, the Phoenix can hold thirty people on board. As such, I have decided the twenty ninth person shall be myself.”

The gasp in the room was more than audible. Mentor took a real risk in breaking this news now, but as far as he could tell it was worth it. After a moment of silence, the questions from the vultures began again.

“What prompted you to make this decision?”

“After hearing all of the stories from the press,” replied Mentor, “I decided that there was only one way to make sure my theory was either correct or incorrect. By doing this, not only do I take the risk of getting embarrassed, but I also take a giant leap forward in showing the importance of this mission.”

“Who will be the last person to join the crew?”

Mentor smiled. “I am glad you asked that question. I carefully thought about this as well. So, I would like to ask the final member right now, with everyone present, if they will join this mission. Ms. Long, I would like for you to join this mission and act as our press correspondent on this epic voyage.”

Now it was Christina’s turn to sweat. She looked back behind her and saw all of the other reporters staring at her. There was really only one right answer. She looked back at Mentor and said, “I accept.”

Mentor smiled and replied, “Excellent. With that ladies and gentlemen, the crew of the Phoenix is set. As such, we will be preparing for our voyage. Miss Long, my people will be contacting you and giving you all the information you need for the trip. This concludes our press conference. Thank you.”

Turning around, Mentor walked back towards his office. The entire way there, he had a scowl on his face. He was muttering to himself, but the words weren’t too audible. He had banked on her not wanting to join the mission. By doing that, he would have crushed her completely. Then he would conveniently get sick right before the mission was to start and then he would be free to stay on Mars. No one would blame him for being sick. What everyone would remember is Christina Long chickening out of a mission of a life time. Now he would have to go through with the mission. He still had the option of trying to take care of Christina, but, no, that would be less than opportune for him Everyone on the planet might suspect him. The mission, naturally, had dangers in it. Perhaps somewhere in it an opportunity would present itself for him. Patience. That was the one word Richard Mentor had to remember. Patience.


Post a Comment

<< Home