Chapter 6 - Dead on Mars

Chapter 6: Sol One, Can Last Another Five Sols

Translator: CKtalon  Editor: CKtalon

Tang Yue opened up all the crates and took out everything that could be eaten. He was like a raccoon rummaging through the trash, biting at anything that he suspected was edible. Now, food was even more precious than gold. Every scrap of food counted. Finding a tiny piece of chocolate was sufficient to extend his life by half a sol.

He placed all the food into three categories.

The first type was the food with certain amounts of moisture in soft packaging. Food in this category was in bags weighing more than ten kilograms. It included beef, pork, chicken breast, tuna, and macaroni. It had been pasteurized and then sealed in vacuum aluminum packs and could be stored for extended periods of time.

Tang Yue did a count and found himself with thirty kilograms of beef, twenty kilograms of chicken breast, twenty kilograms of pork, fifteen kilograms of chopped tuna, and ten kilograms of macaroni. There were also huge bags of dehydrated vegetables, oatmeal, and dried mushrooms. Dehydrated vegetables were different from the sealed meat. The latter containing 50–60% water and didn’t need any additional water during consumption.

However, dehydrated vegetables were just like Master Kong-branded beef cup noodles. They needed to be soaked in hot water before consumption.

The second type of food was instant food. This included various kinds of canned food that didn’t require any cooking or processing. These could be eaten upon opening.

Although it was the year 2052, with space technology rather advanced, to the point of building a space station that orbited around Mars, and building a research station on the surface, there was one thing that had failed to advance despite the many forms of advancement that left the seniors of the 20th century in the dust—food.

Tang Yue ate pretty much whatever the astronauts had eaten back then.

There was canned food, all kinds of them. There was nothing but canned food—canned meat, canned fish, canned vegetables, canned pears, canned pineapple, canned yam, canned peaches, canned cashew nuts—crates filled with canned food.

Although Kunlun Station had a kitchen, the people at Jiuquan clearly didn’t believe that precious time should be wasted on cooking. Compared to preparing a steak, one might as well eat canned food. How convenient and great it was!

There was meat, fish, and vegetables, as well as fruits. If a few more cans were opened, one could even set up a Manchu Han Imperial Feast; therefore, the cargo spaceships were choked full of canned food.

The staff at the nutrition center had educated Tang Yue, saying that although it was canned food, they were prepared with the brand new canned food technology of the 21st century. They used techniques that instantly sterilized the food while maintaining its flavors. The preservatives used were harmless and a technology to restore the food’s original texture was used. The food tasted completely different from those on the Shenzhou spacecraft.

So don’t resist… Come on, try one? We have specially prepared Sparkling Oldenlandia 1 mixed with Swedish herring canned food?

Come on, have a bite.

It’s not as if you would die from having one bite.

Back when the scientific team was around, they were very averse to eating canned food; therefore, almost all the canned food had been left behind. Back when Tang Yue was packing these cans, he had been secretly chuckling, amused that the cursed cans would be left for the next team.

Now that he thought of it, he had raised a huge flag for himself.

Apart from big-sized food items in soft packaging and instant food, the last was high-energy and emergency food.

They included chocolate, energy bars, coffee, beverage powder, and compressed biscuits.

A characteristic of these food items was that they contained lots of calories.

In the early space missions, such food types were the bulk of the supplies. Fifty kilograms of beef could only last a week, but fifty kilograms of compressed biscuits lasted months.

Later, after the Kunlun Station was successfully established, the scientific teams moved indoors for work and their living environment experienced significant improvement. As a result, the percentage of such compressed food items was reduced.

However, in the cases of emergencies, Kunlun Station still stored quite a sizable amount of compressed biscuits. These things were typically used to prop up tables.

“This food is enough to feed six people for six months,” Tomcat said. “Even if the last three months would involve you eating only compressed biscuits… you would be able to survive on these for three Earth years. If you tighten your belt, it should be able to last you five years.”

“Five years?” Tang Yue swept his gaze across what was left of his possessions. “What happens after five years?”

“If you can survive longer than five years, eat dirt… By then, I believe you would have become an immortal who practiced inedia. Just eating dirt and drinking the wind is enough for survival,” Tomcat said.

Tang Yue rolled his eyes. Tomcat never said anything constructive.

“Even Bodhidharma spent nine years wall-gazing,” Tomcat said. “If you were able to survive on Mars alone for more than five years, even if you couldn’t become Buddha, becoming a Bodhisattva wouldn’t be a problem, right? Years later, when some intelligent beings dig you out of Mars’s sand, they would definitely think of you as a god as they prostrate before you. They would even give you a title called the Great Salvation Bodhisattva of Mars.”

“Then what about you?”

“If I still haven’t broken down by then, I’ll be your priest and help spread your teachings,” Tomcat said. “I’ll spread your stories, revering you as the supreme god of Mars… If I’ve, unfortunately, broken down, there’s not much I can do. Robots have a lifespan as well. Please be understanding about that.”

Tang Yue threw a pack of compressed biscuits at it in passing.

“Give me something constructive!”

“There’s no need to panic. It’s useless anyway.” Tomcat said as it dodged the compressed biscuits. “You are considered lucky to have sufficient material resources in the Hab. You can still live on for quite a while, giving you sufficient time to slowly make preparations… Isn’t there a saying? Living in the moment?”

“Living in the moment?” Tang Yue felt that the phrase was rather profound 1 .

He packed the food into boxes again and rearranged the rack. The next thing he had to do was to come with a detailed plan and ration list. How much food and water he could expend a sol would be listed, and it had to be precise to the gram.

Saving a gram every meal meant three grams a sol. In an Earth year, that would be 1,095 grams.

A kilogram of food could at least keep him alive for another sol.

Tang Yue meticulously did the math, carving out weight from anything that could be considered extravagant. Every one kilogram of food saved extended his life by another sol. He felt like a sailor shipwrecked on an uninhabited island, and he needed to make use of every resource at hand to live on.

However, the sailor might be rescued one day, but it was impossible for Tang Yue to return to Earth again.

Despite knowing that his resources would one day run out, Tang Yue still worked hard to push that day back further.

“Mr. Tang Yue? Mr. Tang Yue? Are you there? Can you hear me?”

Mai Dong appeared on the video conference screen.

Tang Yue got to his feet and huddled over with Tomcat. “Miss Mai Dong? How’s the situation? Have you finished doing an inventory check?”

The woman hesitated for a few seconds before slowly nodding.

“How’s your situation?” Tang Yue and Tomcat asked in unison.

“Electricity, as well as the water and oxygen recycling systems are working fine. It’s the food…”

“How’s the food situation?”

The woman pursed her lips, her eyelashes quivering slightly. Bit by bit, the color in her face drained as Tang Yue felt a sense of ominous foreboding.

“Miss Mai Dong? Miss Mai Dong? Answer my question.”

“I… I counted it several times.” Mai Dong lowered her eyes and softly replied, “The food on the space station… can last another five days at most.”