Reasons of Their Own

The human settlements that dotted the Martian surface with light and color and smoke were as varied as the people who built them. Mars had become a world of people, and they each came for reasons of their own.

Some came for love, and some came for money. Some came to feed their wonderment, their frontier spirit. Some came running, unable to come fast enough; they were the leaders, while others simply followed, and others still were dragged along begrudgingly. Some came to find their Gods, and some came to build new ones. Some came to start over, and some came to expand. Some come to gaze upon new horizons, and others came to put old horizons behind them. Some were looking for something. Some did not want to be found. Some came for the silence, and some to make noise. They came to preserve, but they preserved different things. Some preserved the natural state, but others preserved their Earthly heritage by erecting, by leveling, by digging and drilling, by blasting, by melting, by releasing. Some came alone, and others ended up alone later. Some came to live, but many died. Some came to forget.

But Alvin… Alvin couldn’t remember. Why had he come so far from home?

The doctors admitted they hadn’t expected him to awaken. Indeed, they’d done little for him. There was little they could do. He’d been in a coma for nine weeks after being found by chance, unconscious in his EV suit in Evros Vallis. His emergency beacon was functional, but off. His suit was labeled with a name badge that said Alvin. It could have been a first name or a last name. Maybe it wasn’t even his suit.

He immediately could speak and write upon waking, and he could walk around the hospital without getting lost or tired, so naturally the doctors asked him right away, “Who are you? What were you doing out there? Do you have any medical conditions? Any family?”

And embarrassingly he could only say, “I don’t know.” He could be absolutely anyone.

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