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Today we’re interviewing biorobotics engineer Eneld Cross.
So, tell me, Eneld, what’s your job?
Hello, John. I’m Team Leader for the Martian Soil Restoration Program. I specialize in biorobotics, that is, making organic elements work in symbiosis with regular robotic components.
So you’re working on making Mars a habitable place for humans.
What’s the matter?
Well, usually when someone hears “Martian soil restoration”, they think we’re trying to fertilize the soil so plant life can thrive… However, that’s exactly the opposite of what we’re trying to do. It’s not a secret: Mars is officially out of control. Plant life introduced there mutated decades ago, and now the jungle covers about three quarters of the planet—and it’s not any regular jungle. Have you ever heard of constrictor ivy?
It’s carnivorous, and it seems to like human flesh.
That sounds terrible.
It is. Apart from the plants, several mutated animal species have been discovered. The most dangerous one we’ve encountered so far is Marsworm, a cranial parasite. You don’t even want to hear what it does.
So what’s the soil restoration program about, then?
We’re searching for a way to return the Martian landscape to the way it was before: barren. Right now, my team and I are completing a new batch of biometal earthworms. They’re going to travel into the jungle and release a poisonous mixture into the soil. As Team Leader, I have to go along and supervise the whole process. I’m leaving in just a couple weeks.
I’d better hurry with the interview, then. You probably have many things to do before leaving. Do you have a lifelong dream or aspiration?
You could say I already accomplished it. When I was a kid, I read every single book and watched every show on Mars I could find. One night when I was just ten or eleven, I even snuck out of bed to watch a midnight special. “Exclusive images”, the special said. That was when I learned about the constrictor ivy and how it had killed several of the on location scientists. I’ll never be able to forget those images. That night, I understood the true meaning of “Martian bush sculpture”.
When I began university, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: find the solution for Mars. Now that I’m part of the project, I’m not so sure.
You don’t sound very optimistic.
I’m not. I’ve seen so many failures that I’d rather not keep my hopes up with the earthworms.
Tell me about your siblings, if you have any.
I have an older brother. His name’s Tristan and he’s an interplanetary pilot. But I haven’t seen him in about ten years. Sure, we talk online sometimes, but that’s pretty much it. I wouldn’t really mind if I never saw him again.
He abandoned us when we needed him the most. By “us”, I mean my mother and me. She got very, very sick, and eventually passed away. It was…horrible. I never want to experience that kind of pain again. I was there for her the entire time, but Tristan never came. I don’t think I’ll ever manage to forgive him for that.
But you must have some fond memory of him. Anything from your childhood?
I don’t know… I guess he could always make me laugh. When we were really little, he would make up dances and wiggle around until I fell over laughing. But maybe the best memories are from our summers at the beach. We’d always scout the rocks looking for crabs and seaweed and whatever we could find.
But now I live on the moon, and I’m packing my stuff to go to Mars. And Tristan…who knows where he is right now? We both left Earth behind.
Be sure to visit the following links about Serving Time!
From the past week:
April 2: Kelly interviewed the character Seth http://kellywalkerwrites.
April 3: Nastia showed us a sneak peek into the book, focusing on Seth http://worldsoutofwords.
April 4: Lanise interviewed the character Robert http://laniseb.blogspot.com/
April 5: Dathi showed a sneak peek of Robert http://between-my-lines.