Jessica was fully packed and ready for her move; she was doing the final walkthrough of her empty former abode. The only thing she had with her was her suitcase with the supplies she would need on her two-week flight to the Homestead-14 space colony. Jessica was 28 years old and very slim. She had a smooth caramel skin tone which accentuated her form. Her dark brown hair was short and styled with loose curls which parted to one side. He had glowing neck tattoos designed to look like the light came from just beneath the skin and would increase and decrease in lumens as she breathed. She liked the design because it made her look almost like a gynoid especially when she had on her visor.
The emptied dwelling sung a somber tone as the heater spooled one final time. Jessica left her suitcase at the front door as she walked further inside. The home was a two-story townhouse style apartment; the first floor was once the living room with a kitchen in the far side and a dining nook opposite. There was only the bedroom and toilet room upstairs. Baths would have to be taken at the apartment bathhouse only available to residents.
”Finally, I am done! ” She let out an excited squeal as she turned around and walked back to her bag at the doorway. ”I can finally get out of here. ”
She opened the door, and a cool breeze caused her to zip up her jacket. Outside the massive dome over the city was open for the first time in a few months, letting in the cool air from outside. She remembered that there was snow in the forecast for later that evening. Tiny speckles of silver already started dancing through the air as the indication of the first frost.
The colonization of Mars was the first terraformation project undertaken by humanity after the establishment of the Celestial Bridges. The once barren red planet is now home to millions of humans and has in just a few hundred years become a second earth-like world. Innovations in technology have led to rapid planetary development. Mars surface consists of a breathable atmosphere that is only slightly thinner than the one on earth. Specialized genetically engineered fauna and flora have been seeded around the planet. Trillions of gallons of water are delivered annually from asteroid ice mines to create aquifers, rivers, lakes and even an ocean.
While someone could survive on the surface frontier a special permit is needed. Cities still had domes to protect against atmospheric thinning which could happen without warning and leave an area deprived of oxygen for extended amounts of time. While atmospheric thinning had become rarer, it was still a threat if you were outside without proper equipment. Domed cities like Tharsis, Ares and Redrock are the largest and most popular, and draw in tourists from all over the solar system.
In the same vein as those from Earth are called Gaians, those from the red planet are called Marsano. The Marsano have a sorted history with Gaians as they have become an economic powerhouse and self-sufficient leading to them becoming their own sovereignty. This has led to the Ultron C.D. imposing hefty fines and tariffs on Marsano made goods in the Trade Alliance. Despite this Mars continues to thrive on trade deals with the Western Colonies Systems, who are also fighting for independence from Earth.
Standing just outside of the apartment Maria, Jessicas sister walked back and forth talking to someone on her Sensory Augmentation. Beside her was a well-dressed man with a commanding look about him. He was Marias chief security officer, which meant there were more of her security team around here locking down the area. Maria was twelve years older than Jessica and had slightly more mature features. Beside her lighter skin tone the two could pass for nearly identical twins. Maria, unlike Jessica, was wearing the tight-fitting Marsano terrestrial jumpsuit. The suit offered greater protections against temperature as it could heat or cool as well as an emergency air incase of atmospheric thinning. Some people would always wear it when the dome was open as a precaution, but Jessica never did.
”Are you finally ready? ” Maria said as her gaze turned over to Jessica.
”Yes, everything is out. ” Jessica affirmed as the door slid shut behind her. ”I am glad this is the last year I am going to have to worry about all of this cold weather. Wish they kept the dome closed. ”
”Alright, looks like she is done… no I don know why she didn just have the help do this for her. I will call you back, love you! ” Maria said to whomever she was talking with. ”You could have just had the moving guys come back out here you know. ”
”You didn have to come; I would have just gotten a ride. ” Jessica said with a slightly annoyed tone. ”I like to make sure that they got everything. ”
”Don be like that. All I mean is it is not a Pettersons job to do the work of a laborer. You should have just had someone come out here and do this for you. Everyone already agreed that we are going to meet at the Elevator after you through your little fit about doing this in-person. You could at least be a little bit more considerate to our schedules. ”
Jessicas family was one of the most wealthy on Mars. Her father was the COO of HyronTec Inc. and had a plethora of smaller businesses around Mars. Her mother was a chairwoman of the Marsano Trade Commision which directly handled all trade agreements with Earths Trade Alliance. Maria was also largely successful owning several interplanetary businesses of her own. Vincent, Jessicas oldest brother had his own clothing brand and was a celebrity starring in several high budget movies. Her younger brother was still in school but already had a bright future and keen business sense.
”Are you mad I wanted to see my family in person? ” Jessica asked.
”If you had a Sensory Aug we could talk anytime. ” Maria stated. ”I will buy you one if you like. ”
”Lets just go. ” Jessica responded.
Jessica, unlike most people, did not like the idea of the Sensory Augmentation and had refused to get them. Instead, she used a rival brand called SensoryMap, which did not have to be surgically implanted into the body. SensoryMap used a helmet and holographic visor along with two nodes that were placed on both sides of the neck. It allowed for some sensations in digital space like sight and sound, but did not allow for touch, and taste.
”The car is on the way. ” Maria stated matter of factly. ”Why did you want to live in this dump anyway? Ma and da would have gotten you a much nicer place. ”
”I liked the neighborhood, you would know if you ever visited. ” Jessica said under her breath as she turned away from Maria.
”What was that dear? ” Maria asked, not really caring about the answer.
”Nothing sis, I was just lamenting how inconsiderate I have been to you. ” Jessica said with an exaggeratedly sarcastic tone.
The two continued to banter for a little while longer as a limousine rolled to a stop at the corner. Marias head of security took Jessicas suitcase as the ladies were escorted to the luxurious car. The driver opened the door for them as they approached. He was also a member of the security team and not your typical limo driver. He was tall and broad and looked like his muscles would rip out of his suit if he flexed too hard.
It had been a long time since Jessica rode in a limo and since she had seen her family in person. Most family meetings were done over the internet as everyone seemed to drift into their own worlds. Jessica was the black sheep of the family; she never capitalized on her family name like her siblings and instead wanted a simpler life away from the dry, loveless home she grew up in. Everyone was always in it for themselves, always looking for an advantage over the other. She decided it would just be better to take herself out of the rat race all together.
Jessica never told them why she was leaving since they never approved of Kevin. Her father told her that if she continued to date him she would be removed from the family. Jessica knew he would follow up with the threat too and she would no longer have an inheritance. This just pissed her off and she wanted everyone to be all together one last time before she departed for the space colony and she never looked back. Her goal was to tell everyone that she was in love and she and Kevin were moving to the Space Colony together. She couldn wait to see the looks on their faces when she broke the news.
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