“Pathetic,” Fen grunted as he looked up at Mars’ dual moons.
Of all the things he missed from Earth, the Moon was at the top of his list. And that wasn’t just because of his, uh, condition either. Although it was his condition that landed him this “assignment” at the Mars Extra-Human Terraforming Colony No. 214. They used a lot of words when naming this facility, but somehow they left out the operative one: Penal.
“You still on about the moons?” Slav, his workmate, and friend, asked over the comms.
“Pfft. If you can even call 'em that. More like a couple of sad pebbles spinning… sadly… around Mars.” Fen brought his hand up and rolled his wrist around.
“Well said.” Slav laid the large section of conduit he was carrying on the ground and turned back towards the rover to get another one. “Snap out of it, Fen. I know it’s a full moon, or moons, or whatever, but we’ve got work to do.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Fen said.
Slav was right. There was a lot to do before their shift was over. They were assembling a large conduit that would supply all the power and water to the new air scrubbing dome that was under construction. They still had half a kilometer left before they could call it quits.
“Do you ever miss the taste of humans, Slav?”
“No. Of course not.” Slav turned and tapped the side of his helmet in a they-can-hear-us kind of way. “And you don’t either, do you?”
“Not really. This time of the month just makes me think of the old days.”
“Well, stop it. They sucked.” Slav chuckled at his own joke.
Fen walked over to the rover and picked up another section of conduit. Even with the hundreds of extra-humanoids assigned here, terraforming Mars was going to take ages. But really, Fen thought, they had all the time in the world.
Fen was sitting in a narrow mess hall, situated at the center of the MEHTC-214 complex of domes. His table was next to a small rectangular viewport. He looked out of it at the red-tinged scene beyond. The various domed buildings of the complex and their tube connections filled most of the view. In the distance, a storm was brewing over the mountains. He could see fellow extra-humans walking in the tubes between the domes. Some were outside, working. One, a massive troll, wasn’t even wearing an EVA suit. Of course, trolls don’t breathe, so they don’t need 'em.
“Dude, you can’t talk like that outside of the domes. It’s an open channel!” Slav set his cafeteria tray down opposite Fen.
“I know, man. Sorry. I just get really nostalgic sometimes.”
Slav nodded as he tore open his Meal Ready to Eat. It was a hemoglobin-substitute that was allegedly marinara flavored.
“I mean, I was so powerful after the change,” Fen said, having lost all interest in his raw steak flavored MRE. (He thought it actually tasted like salted cardboard.)
“Yeah, but you’re powerful without the change too. Hell, that’s why they have us in construction. We can lift the heavier things without any extra equipment.” He slurped his meal down, splashing a drop on his pale chin. “Cheap bastards.”
“That’s not the kind of power I’m talking about,” Fen said. “They feared me. God, I loved the smell of that. Maybe even more than the way they tasted… Maybe.”
“You’re living in the past,” Slav said. “We really don’t have it that bad. At least we’re not like those poor sods mining the Moon. They have armed humans breathing down their necks at all times. At least we get some privacy.”
“That’s right, they don’t assign your kind to the Moon, do they?”
“They tried once,” Fen flashed a toothy grin. "But they decided we were too ‘non-compliant.’ "
"Ha, I bet. I presume ‘non-compliant’ is code for ‘berserker lunatics that tore them to shreds?’ "
“You know it.” Fen swallowed the rest of his cardboard steak in one gulp. “Everyone died, actually. Their kind, my kind. But what a rush it must have been, to be there, standing on the surface of the Moon.”
It was Slav’s turn to shrug.
“Werewolves on the Moon sounds like a cheesy b-movie.” He said, licking the spilled drop of sauce from his chin.
“Yeah right, Vampires on Mars sounds so much classier.”