The Real World: Mars

October 1, 2007
“An opportunity of a lifetime has just come knocking at the door of millions. A space mission to Mars awaits five lucky individuals who are up for excitement, ridicule, and excruciating challenges that await their fate. Do you have what it takes?”

These were the words that scrolled across the screen as Christine gazed in awe. She never even dreamt of flying into space, but now that was all becoming reality. Christine and four other lucky teenagers were about to embark on the experience of a lifetime. Chosen from millions of applicants, she felt quite lucky to make the pick. At first, she was reluctant on the entire idea and constantly debating her safety in space. The information packet would be arriving by mail shortly, and she would examine the book from cover to cover not missing a single inch.

Astronomy was never one her strong points, but actually witnessing what goes on above and beyond first hand? That was something she desperately wanted to accomplish. Notebook in hand, she began to jot down statistics of her soon to be roommates from the introductory video previously sent. They would need to cooperate and reside in the same living conditions together working as a (hopefully) close knit family.

At around noon the next day, the information packet arrived by mail in fair condition. Although there were a few rips and tears here and there, all the words were clear and easy to read. Each member had been assigned a specific job, or task, they were to upkeep over the course of the mission. Christine was to handle the flight suits, or uniforms, to make sure they were in proper order. Her next task would be to collect data samples of elements collected on Mars. This seems like fun, she thought to herself. At least I don’t need to clean anything.

Several supplies were on the master list to pack. Of course, there were the basic necessities such as toiletries, an adequate amount of clothing, and snacks. But there were also some entertainment items listed. Laptop, iPod, reading materials, and television set were among the few unnecessary but recommended supplies. Considering the fact that Christine and four other strangers were about to be placed aboard a spaceship for a couple of months, it seemed only reasonable to bring along things to do once people began to get bored.

Finally they were about to blast off. All five teens were eagerly standing outside the opening to hop into the spaceship. Everybody looked equally nervous, unsure of the future, and unaware of his or her fate. “Hello, my name is Christine,” she greeted everybody with open smiles.
“Welcome all. My name is T.J. Lavin and I will be your host over the course of Real World: Mars. As you know, you all have been chosen to appear before national cameras and the MTV crew. Liability issues were addressed in the information packet you received. Shall you fail to comply with these rules and you will be immediately sent home in our backup spaceship. Now, all of you have been assigned a specific task you will take part in over the course of your stay in space. Along with these tasks, there will be physically and emotionally demanding challenges to test your strengths, weaknesses, and character. At the end of the voyage, the last person standing will receive $100,000. Take what you learn here and use it well. Please step on up and claim your living quarters.”
Christine’s jaw dropped. She was actually going to be on a television show? She was actually going to be on a television show! Looking around, the others were doing the same, but also appearing confused and baffled. These people were her competition and she would do everything in her power to sabotage their chances of even getting near her prize money.
She didn’t really need to know the other’s names. All she could in her power was boost her chances of an overall victory. However, she did catch a glimpse into what their daily tasks were. One person was to manage the food supplies, meals, and diets of everyone aboard. Another was to maintain adequate water and fuel supply for the ship. One girl she particularly disliked was in charge of steering the ship. I hope she doesn’t crash, Christine thought deviously.
The producers suggested keeping a running diary of events and monumental moments on the spaceship. Later excerpts from these diaries would be read aloud by those who wrote them on the show, like a confessional. Christine’s carried many thoughts and feelings towards other contestants as well as bland descriptions of typical days aboard. One of the selections read:
“May 18, 2007
Today I woke up and immediately began dry-cleaning the uniforms for my daily duties. It’s definitely not the most fun thing in the world. Ian keeps giving me these weird mischievous looks like he’s up to something devilish. I do admit though, his meals are quite the delight to my taste buds. Supposedly he and Andrea have been caught cheating on their tasks and getting “aliens” to do them. If this were true, someone else would have seen them by now. With the contestants twiddling down to a mere three, it’s getting down to the wire. Perhaps my worst enemy and strongest competition would have to be Andrea. She’s proven to be a fierce competitor time and time again. I doubt Ian will make it to the final two. The only reason he’s made it this far is because of his smarts, but otherwise he’s a total scaredy cat.
Two P.M. is lunchtime and Andrea makes some extremely delicious lasagna. We are beginning to run out of water, so each of us is limited to half a glass per meal. I’ll be thankful if I don’t dehydrate before the end of this competition! But, right after I’m time eating I need to go to the control room and man the steering wheel. Many objects soar, flying past including stars, asteroids, and meteorites. I swear I saw Haley’s Comet whizzing around somewhere! Or maybe it was just me. We’ve collected a large amount of data to send back to the scientists too. Hopefully they’ll be pleased with our diligent efforts. Being an astronaut sure is a lot of hard work!”
About two weeks later, the final two contestants remained. Christine and her opposite Andrea were head to head in the ultimate showdown. The task was simple. Both girls needed to survive 10 minutes submerged in trash accumulated over the course of the show. Christine knew she could do it. Growing up with three brothers gave her enough practice to withstand the stench and overall gross feeling of trash. In the end, Christine ended up taking the prize because Andrea was too much of a girly-girl to take on the challenge. Cha-ching! $100,000 was headed Christine’s way.
After all of the strenuous tasks, researching, data collecting, communication, adaptation, and drama, Christine came out on top as the winner of the Real World: Mars television show. It was a tremendous victory but overall, one small step for TV, one giant step for Christine.

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