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Nexus, Mars

Lunar Cycle 10, Rot. 16

Dear Harmony,

I have just started a unit in inter-continental relations in my school. As a fifth year at the Olympian School, I am learning about communication techniques. To finish the course each student is required to submit a final report on our findings about another part of Mars, and I have chosen you, the nymphs of Elora wood. As a demigod, I have always known about the nymphs but it recently occurred to me that while I knew much about you, it all came from texts and was all factual knowledge, so at the urging of my mother, Athena, I decided to write to you. While we are from the same world, we come from altogether different ones. I, from the bustling city of Nexus and you from the quiet Elora wood.

In the city of Nexus there is much to do, but unfortunately most of it is aimed at tourists. For example, "Are You Better Than A God?" is at the arena every 5th day and is where mortal martians compete against the Olympian Gods (my mother along with my aunts and uncles). Of course, the mortals always lose and are turned to stone by Medusa. That is the only occasion where Medusa's "talent" is used, for it is considered the greatest crime to believe oneself to be greater than a god. While it is usually fun to watch, it would be the biggest embarrassment among my classmates and peers to actually go and watch, for it is considered to be extraordinarily lame among us natives. Other tourist traps around here include the judging of souls at the entrance to the Underworld and Medusa's garden. The Underworld judging is always the same, "What have you done in your lifetime?, What are your regrets?, Which one of us judges is the cutest?" it gets repetitive after awhile. Medusa's garden is just a collection of the mortals who lost in "Are You Better Than A God?" and were turned to stone for punishment. Tourists find them fascinating, but I've been dragged there so many times since infancy that they have lost any interesting qualities that they ever might have ever held.

When all these tourists come to enjoy these entrapments, they have to stay somewhere. There are tons of hotels and motels around the city but the three main ones are Athena's Laboratory, Hotel of Discord, and the Olympic Highlights. Athena's is where the visiting academics stay when they are lecturing at Odyssey U, the biggest and most prestigious university on this side of the planet. The U gets a lot of guests so Athena's is usually pretty busy but along with the university's visitors, any child of Athena, like moi, is allowed to stay there whenever we please. The Hotel of Discord is technically where Hades' minions subordinates stay whenever they come looking for a lost soul who has lost their way to the Underworld after death, which is pretty much a thousand times a day. The Hotel of Discord is also the unofficial prison around here. Since so many dark creatures stay there, it's a regular h***-hole with all the bad energy, a suitable life for any criminals around here. The third hotel, and the least guest-specific one is Olympic Highlights. Its claim to fame is that it has a spectacular view of Olympus from every room. The only requirement is a boatload of money. For gods or demigods, a room at the Highlights means a direct walkway to Olympus though the mortals are not that lucky. They are never allowed in Olympus, something about instant incineration I think.

Other things to do around here include "Playtime with the Hydra," the three-headed serpent. It was originally "Playtime with Cerberus," the three-headed dog that guards the Underworld, but about a million dead souls came busting out the second he left so that was shut down pretty quickly. I'm not sure why people would even want to try it, the only people that have ever survived are a few children of Ares, God of War. You can also throw darts with Achilles. This one also changed a bit too. Originally it was going to be "Throwing Javelins with Achilles" but a few mortals broke their hands handling the javelins so that had to be scrapped. The new version is safer, but a bit dull. The last thing to do that is usually on any tourist's to do lists is the Oracle at Delphia. It's Apollo's oracle and its the closest thing we've got to a fortune-teller. It used to be that only the gods could access her for help with the big stuff, but she hasn't spoken a word in a couple hundred years so they've released her to the public. It's kind of fun to go the temple that she's in, dressed in mortal clothes (without our bright orange demigod shoes, they just say the name of your Olympian parent on the instep, but they telegraph to the world who you are) and play around with the people visiting. If you bring along the right person with the right parent you can move stuff around and come up with some awesome illusions. They fall for it every time.

Harmony, do you have any kind of public transportation over there? Or do you mostly just stay in one place? The gods usually use Apollo's "chariot". I don't know why they call it that, it's really just a huge golden flying saucer. They don't really need to use it though, I'm pretty sure they can transport themselves instantly with their own power but they use it for official business. For the rest of us we've got The Apollo Bus Carp. and if you're brave Hermes' Roulette Transport. The Apollo Bus Carp. was really supposed to be "Corp.," modeled after Corporation and all, but Apollo being the god of poetry decided to get clever and switched it around a bit. Thought it would be funny to name the city's main mode of transport after an extinct fish. The system works pretty well, if you ignore the monstrous delays that plague any public system. The last one, and the one reserved for the brave is Hermes' Roulette Transport. Basically Hermes thought everyone needed some excitement and uncertainty when it came to travel so when you take the Roulette Transport you type in the address of where you want to go, step inside the station and you've got a 1 in 6 chance of ending up where you really want to be. Exciting huh?

Now, to my favorite part of the city, the food! We've got some really great places around the city but some of my favorites are Humane Hunger, Olive Godden, and McGobble. Humane Hunger serves meat exclusively. Their specialty is the human heart. Legend says that there are people called "humans" on another planet and the gods used to go over there and sometimes they fell in love with these "humans." Well, a god could never stay with a mortal of course, so these are apparently all the human's hearts that were broken. Apparently there is finite supply of them so they're super-expensive. I've only had one once, for my coming of age, it was delicious. On a slightly more everyday level we've got Olive Godden. They serve a lot of gourmet dishes and delicacies, but nothing as special as the human hearts. Some of their most delicious is Ambrosia Pie and Coke-A-Nectar. They're off-limits to mortals, I think it's the same thing as entering Olympus, instant incineration and all, but demigods are allowed a little bit everyone once and awhile. They also work wonders on the really bad injuries. Our sporting instructors always keep some on hand for after our sword-fighting tournaments. Both Humane Hunger and Olive Godden are special occasion kinds of places. You don't go there everyday. For everyday food, pretty much my entire class goes to McGobble. They've got decent food and its fast and cheap. It's ozone from the next planet closer to the Sun. We've got a lot of it and it's pretty good.

That just about wraps it up for everything interesting around here. From the outside it looks really interesting, but from the inside and from someone who's lived here their whole lives it's really not that interesting. I hope you learned a bit about Nexus, but now I want to hear about Elora. What does it look like? What do you do? Do you have school? What is it like to live there? I'm so excited to find out more.

Write back soon!

Sincerely,

Nova

Daughter of Athena

P.S. If you've got access to an instant transporter you can send me a reply through it. My transport mail is Novalovestoread101. I look forward to hearing from you!




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