Of all the friends preparing to leave for Mars, most are in relationships. The exception is Bambi who, despite have tabloids linking her to dozens of other celebs, hasn’t had a significant other since high school. Of the rest, both partners are going on the voyage…except for me and Marcie.
Marcie and I have had our ups and downs (with the downs being my fault), but the Mars mission forced us to make a decision. About three years ago Marcie decided she couldn’t go, but acknowledged that I had to.


The dodos continue to be an issue for Samantha. Even worse, very soon she’ll be on her way to Mars and will no longer be around to control them.
I’ve previously stated that Vince and Feryl will be entrusted with keeping the pair in line, but that’s a lot of responsibility to place on two young people (no matter their abilities). That includes other non-human denizens of the lab such as Stan the spider. So, I’ve presented Samantha with the following solution:


In this blog I generally avoid personal references and instead concentrate on the lives of the friends I’ve known since I was four. That will change during the course of the Mars voyage, where I’ll be the interface between the ship and crew.
That’s due to my mascot costume which is a fully-functioning technical device. While it outwardly resembles a standard smartphone, its abilities far surpass that. (It has to; once we take off, no hardware upgrades.)


By necessity Samantha’s sabbatical had to begin with the Fall semester so that she could devote her time fully to the preparations for the Mars mission. She’s meeting her goals as the launch date approaches, but she’s also still living close by the genetics lab. That proximity makes it hard for her to completely let go.


Mankind’s first expedition to another planet will include four children under age eight as part of its crew. This raises the stakes as far as safety is concerned, since everyone wants to see them return home.
It also creates added challenges, since they’ll still require schooling during the journey. For this duty they’d have veteran teacher Sue Havens who has over three decades of experience. In fact, Samantha, Jenny, Dave and I met as four-year-olds in the day care center that she runs.


After Vince was transformed from a mouse into a human, Samantha used her access into the university computer system to give him a private room in the dorm. With her leaving for Mars, that will no longer be the case. She did, however, give him a roommate she’s known for years: Patina’s brother Rusty Welding.


So we basically have a romantic triangle with three ostensible humans…all of whom began life as a cat, a mouse and a bird, respectively.
That’s the situation as we begin another eventful school year. This one, of course, will involve some of us heading to other part of the solar system.
Jenny will be on board, but she feels confident that she can be Feryl’s agent even from 140 million miles away. Sure, at first her magic act bookings will just involve children’s birthday parties, but one never know what that could lead to.


One has to sympathize with the situation that Feryl’s father found himself in. Here he was, in his twenties, doing exciting work in genetics with a fun side career as a stage magician, and one night he makes an amazing breakthrough.
And then, just as suddenly, an infant human lands in his care.


Transformed into a dove, Feryl flew as if it came naturally to her. …Which of course it did.
She caught up the evil magician and forced him off the road, crashing into a statue of Dave. He was taken into police custody where he was diagnosed with a mild concussion. Palmtop, after initially scaring Samantha, was completely unhurt thanks to being inside the hated pet carrier.


Feryl was excited about her first solo magic performance in front of paying customers. Of course, all the time she’d been growing up she been her father’s stage assistant, but never before tonight had she been the only one onstage. (Unless, of course, you count Palmtop, and you should)
The show went great, and Feryl’s father was beaming with pride. Afterwards, however, they encountered a former rival of his who had a long history of stealing ideas and secrets from other magicians. Now, he’s apparently made the move from violating the profession’s ethical standards to actual criminal theft. Using a trick box with a false bottom, he switched pet carriers and stole Palmtop.