Mission to Mars 3


 Mining Base 262 (aka New Belize) Ganymede

“That was insane!” shouted Lai, grinning brightly. The girl skipped gleefully down the road, laughing, and leafing through her hefty cut of the profits.

Danpaati smiled nervously, shook his head and ran a hand through his hair again. Even half an hour after the fact, he was still in panic mode. He looked over his shoulder every once in a while, and fiddled with his money.

“Man!” he kept saying, jittering all over. “Oh man! We almost died, like, three times!”

“I know!” Martin swore. “That was amazing!

         “What are you going to do with your share?” Lai asked Danny.

         “Who me?” he asked. “Nothing. I’m just going to save it.”

         Lai smirked. “Save? For what, early retirement?”

         “Well yeah…”

         Lai and Martin laughed at their friend.

         Lai shook her head. “Hustlers like us don’t retire.”

“Well to me,” said Danny, “the whole point of hustling is so that I won’t have to work some lame mining job until I’m seventy.”

“Yeah, I don’t plan on making it to seventy,” said Lai. “Live fast and die young, as I always say.”

Danny looked at her sideways. “Mm… I don’t think that’s a g—”

“So, what are you doing with your money Martin?” Lai interrupted.

“I don’t know,” said Martin. “I haven’t really thought about it until now.”

The three criminals bounded down the streets towards Martin’s apartment building. They stopped just outside the lobby and leaned against the wall. Danny pulled a vape from his pocket for them to share.

“I was looking at bank accounts the other day,” said Danny. “Savings accounts.”

“It’s a scam,” said Lai. “I don’t trust anyone with my money except me.”

“And expensive clothing stores,” Martin added.

Lai rolled her eyes. “So I like nice clothes? So what?”

Martin exhaled a thick white cloud of vapour and returned Danny’s vaporizer. “I’m just saying.”

         “Alright guys,” said Danny. “It’s been fun…but I’ve got to get home and make dinner.”

         “See ya,” said Martin, bumping his fist.

         “Bye Dan.”

         Danny skipped off in the direction of his building.

         “So…,” said Martin. “You’re gonna have to show me how to get back up to my room.”

         “Wha, you afwaid you gonna fawl baby? Want me to hold your hand?”

         “Well…um…no. I just—”    

         “You know, for a self-proclaimed gangster, you sure have a lot of phobias. Heights, insects, tight spaces, clowns…”

         “Just climb the wall.”

         When they finally climbed up into Martin’s room, Lai snooped around the place. She hadn’t visited in almost six years. Martin’s parents didn’t particularly care for her presence.

         “Why is it so clean in here?”

         “My Mom makes me clean all the time. It’s a real pain.”

         Lai waddled over to his desk and lifted one of his tools. “Still an inventor, huh?”

         “Put that down. Pocket welders cost a fortune. And no, I gave up inventing stuff. I’m no good at it. I’ve just been fixing stuff for people, you know.”

         “Nice. How much you charging?”

         “Well, actually, I’ve kinda been doing it for free.”

         Lai snickered. “Sucker.”

         “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I suck, you’re cool. I get it.”

         “Got that right.” Pensively, Lai looked the room over again. “But sometimes…sometimes I wish…” She never finished the sentence.

         “Where are you staying tonight?” Martin asked. “I could—”

“I have money now, remember?” Lai scoffed. “I can stay at one of the hotels over at West Port. Besides, I think your parents have reason enough to hate you already.”

“They don’t hate me, they just…” He sighed and shrugged. “I dunno.”

“Well, I should probably go.”


But Lai didn’t move. She was staring at Martin with the strangest smile. Martin squinted at her.


Lai leaned over and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. Before Martin could react, she was out the window. 

         Martin heaved backwards onto his bed, a wide smile on his face and his heart beating wildly.

         Then he heard a laugh at the door.

         “Stop, he’ll hear us.”

         Martin jumped onto his feet and over to the door. He swung it open, and Kia and Uri stood there, smirking.

         “What’s wrong with you guys?” he fumed. “Can’t a guy get some privacy?”

         “Not in this town,” said Kia.

         Martin glanced at his sister then at his brother. Their smiling was starting to creep him out.

         “So…” Kia teased. “Lai.

         “I’m telling mommy,” Uri exclaimed.

The small boy turned to run, but Martin grabbed him by the arm. “No, don’t!”

As Martin restrained his little brother, Kia spotted the wad of cash hanging out of his pocket and swiped it.

“What’s this?” Kia asked. “You guys have been robbing cargo ships again, huh. Figures.”

         The heat was on now. “We don’t rob, we just skim off the top. You know, a gram of uranium here, a vial of medicine there…nobody’s gonna miss it. Look, can you guys, just, not tell Mom and Dad about this?”

         “Sure,” said Kia. “Twenty-five percent each.”


         “Yeah!” said Uri. “I want my cut!” Martin had trained him too well.

         “Y’all are crazy. I almost died for this money. Ten percent.”




         They shook on it, Martin distributed the hush money to his greedy siblings, and they agreed never to speak of it again. Because if Mom learns that Lai was in the apartment…may God have mercy on us all.

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Mission to Mars 3

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