Nikki and the crew view spring geysers at the Martian South Pole

Parts 1 and 2 of NIKKI RED: MARS COLONY AGATHA are written, Part 3 still to go. It’s been a trip, pun intended, trying to conjure up the future just a few years ahead of reality.

Here’s an excerpt from the Martian South Pole …

Sept. 22, 2023
Planum Australe, Mars

They bounced west, two space trucks weaving and wobbling up rough terrain until they parked side by side atop a broad and exposed mesa. Down below, a sea of geysers spouted salty, brackish sand in spider-web patterns all over the glazed polar cap.
This was the true South Pole, shedding more of its white with each sol as the late-spring sun climbed in the Martian sky and warmed the CO2 gas until it erupted through vents in the surface, creating thousands of sand sprinklers across the panorama.
Scientists on Earth were aware of them, observed their dark deposits against the ice in blurry satellite images, wrote articles about them and conjured up illustrations from their overactive imaginations.
But Nikki, Sunny, Jo and Pluto just had to step out of their trucks, crunch their black boots to the edge of the overlook and stare west.
This show was reserved for Martians only.

31 chapters are now complete:

PART 1
CHAPTER 1: An International Chorus
CHAPTER 2: Epic Decision
CHAPTER 3: A Long, Long Way
CHAPTER 4: The Link
CHAPTER 5: Red Zeppelin
CHAPTER 6: Parking Lot Reunion
CHAPTER 7: Sisters in Space
CHAPTER 8: No Softballs
CHAPTER 9: Last Supper on Earth
CHAPTER 10: Mars is a Lucky Guy
CHAPTER 11: Dancing with the Stars
CHAPTER 12: Space High

PART 2
CHAPTER 13: Black Aces
CHAPTER 14: Song Inside a Letter Box
CHAPTER 15: Hazed
CHAPTER 16: What Now Genius?
CHAPTER 17: 12-Story Horror
CHAPTER 18: No Further Communication
CHAPTER 19: Is Matt Damon Here?
CHAPTER 20: This is Mars
CHAPTER 21: Backflip and Cartwheel
CHAPTER 22: No Interplanetary Sexting
CHAPTER 23: Ups and Downs
CHAPTER 24: Agatha F. Christie
CHAPTER 25: The First Cemetery
CHAPTER 26: Dome of The Rising Sun
CHAPTER 27: Badge
CHAPTER 28: Throwback Girl
CHAPTER 29: Space Truckin’
CHAPTER 30: Sucker Punch
CHAPTER 31: For Martians Only
Words completed: 33,544

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A planet without lawyers …

Just completed Chapter 26 for my upcoming novel, “NIKKI RED: MARS COLONY AGATHA.” Here’s a little tease from that chapter …

After entering the airlock, testing the seals and checking the pressure levels with a wand gauge, Pluto smiled and waved his wand at the three women from a little square window on one wall. Jo stepped up the small ramp, pushed the red button on the door and it slid open.
The four astronauts soon laughed and embraced after the airlock shut tight, the pressure changed to a human-friendly level and they prepared to enter their new home on Mars.
“Hey, our real estate agent never showed up!” Sunny cracked.
“Yeah, no lawyers either for the closing!” Jo added.
“Lawyers? Wow. I’d already forgotten all about lawyers,” Pluto mused.
“A planet without lawyers,” Nikki pondered. “Amazing.”
A second later, the airlock’s inner door opened automatically and they charged ahead like schoolchildren being let out for recess.
With inadequate solar power thus far and their multi-umbrella-shaped nuclear-powered heat field not erected yet, three of the astronauts were wise enough to keep their warm helmets on while celebrating.
But Pluto couldn’t help himself.
He reveled in what they had built despite being down two men. He pointed toward the sun shining through the diamond-ice dome, popped off his helmet and sang with gusto:

“There is … a dome … on Mars
They call The Rising Sun …”

The extreme temperature quickly turned Pluto’s bluesy vocals into blue lips, so he restored his helmet and rejoined the ladies as they planted their gloves into the frosty ground, and spun into some light-gravity, light-hearted cartwheels.
Concussion syndrome be damned.
It was move-in day on Mars.

26 chapters are now complete:

PART 1
CHAPTER 1: An International Chorus
CHAPTER 2: Epic Decision
CHAPTER 3: A Long, Long Way
CHAPTER 4: The Link
CHAPTER 5: Red Zeppelin
CHAPTER 6: Parking Lot Reunion
CHAPTER 7: Sisters in Space
CHAPTER 8: No Softballs
CHAPTER 9: Last Supper on Earth
CHAPTER 10: Mars is a Lucky Guy
CHAPTER 11: Dancing with the Stars
CHAPTER 12: Space High

PART 2
CHAPTER 13: Black Aces
CHAPTER 14: Song in a Letter Box
CHAPTER 15: Hazed
CHAPTER 16: What Now Genius?
CHAPTER 17: 12-Story Horror
CHAPTER 18: No Further Communication
CHAPTER 19: Is Matt Damon Here?
CHAPTER 20: This is Mars
CHAPTER 21: Backflip and Cartwheel
CHAPTER 22: No Interplanetary Sexting
CHAPTER 23: Ups and Downs
CHAPTER 24: Agatha F. Christie
CHAPTER 25: The First Cemetery
CHAPTER 26: Dome of The Rising Sun

Words completed: 27,300

Scary transition from Mars orbit to descent for Nikki and her crew …

A TEASE FROM THE UPCOMING NOVEL
NIKKI RED: MARS COLONY AGATHA

June 19, 2023

“Initiate landing sequence,” Xander calmly instructed Jo, who reached to tap a button on her digital console.

“Landing sequence is a go,” the pilot declared, her voice strong and confident through the intercom in Nikki’s bubble helmet.

They were all suited up and strapped into the Crew Dragon capsule for the harrowing six-minute descent that could either establish humanity as a two-planet species or end in disaster.

Nikki and Sunny locked white gloves as they had for every life-or-death moment on the mission, and Nikki once again had to remind herself to breathe. She felt the thrust of the ship’s engines at her back and the level floor give way. The ship’s nose pitched downward, illuminating the previously dark windows with the blood-orange glow of Mars.

Nikki’s jaw dropped without exhale.

Starship accelerated its descent as programmed by the onboard computers, and Xander and Jo studied their digital screens closely to monitor their course toward Planum Australe near the southern polar cap.

“Maintaining current course,” Jo said.

“Accelerate descent to 7.5 kilometers per second,” Xander directed.

“That’s a go,” Jo replied, the engines roaring now and sending Starship into a virtual nose-down free fall toward the heavily cratered Martian surface.

Twenty seconds into that top-of-the-rollercoaster plunge, the ship’s internal lights and digital screens all flickered off and back on in a split-second.

“Electrical malfunction,” Jo reported, pointing to a flashing button on her console. “We’re on backup.”

Nikki and Sunny exchanged alarmed looks and gripped gloves even tighter.

“What the hell happened?” Nikki heard Eddy ask.

“Damage sensor flashing to the rear of the ship,” Xander announced, still amazingly calm.

“Heat shield issue?” Jo theorized.

“Too soon for that,” the commander replied. “How’s our course?”

“Good.”

“Speed?”

“Good.”

“Then I’m guessing a plasma surge from micrometeorites,” Xander said.

“Dammit!” Jo shouted.

“Too small and too fast to detect … we might’ve been sandblasted with our ass up in the air.”

“Welcome to Mars, Earthlings,” Jo said with a gallows tone. “We just got hazed.”

20 chapters are now complete:

PART 1
CHAPTER 1: An International Chorus
CHAPTER 2: Epic Decision
CHAPTER 3: A Long, Long Way
CHAPTER 4: The Link
CHAPTER 5: Red Zeppelin
CHAPTER 6: Parking Lot Reunion
CHAPTER 7: Sisters in Space
CHAPTER 8: No Softballs
CHAPTER 9: Last Supper on Earth
CHAPTER 10: Mars is a Lucky Guy
CHAPTER 11: Dancing with the Stars
CHAPTER 12: Space High

PART 2
CHAPTER 13: Black Aces
CHAPTER 14: Song in a Letter Box
CHAPTER 15: Hazed
CHAPTER 16: What Now Genius?
CHAPTER 17: 12-Story Horror
CHAPTER 18: No Further Communication
CHAPTER 19: Is Matt Damon Here?
CHAPTER 20: This is Mars

Words completed: 22,132

Nikki and the crew get interviewed in low Earth orbit before the burn to Mars …

A SCENE FROM THE UPCOMING NOVEL NIKKI RED: MARS COLONY AGATHA by Jack Chaucer …

“Are any of you scared to put Earth in your rear-view mirror and travel so far away?” “CBS This Morning” host Norah O’Donnell asked the astronauts aboard Crew Dragon.
“I am,” Nikki said, “but I wouldn’t be human if I weren’t, so you embrace that fear and blast right past it to a place no human has been.”
“I feel like a conquistador, myself,” Eddy boasted to laughs all around. Then he grabbed his larger friend. “Pluto Parker, here, is disappointed we’re stopping at Mars and not going to his home planet … ice-ball dwarf, whatever it is.”

The 12 chapters of Part 1 are now complete:

CHAPTER 1: An International Chorus
CHAPTER 2: Epic Decision
CHAPTER 3: A Long, Long Way
CHAPTER 4: The Link
CHAPTER 5: Red Zeppelin
CHAPTER 6: Parking Lot Reunion
CHAPTER 7: Sisters in Space
CHAPTER 8: No Softballs
CHAPTER 9: Last Supper on Earth
CHAPTER 10: Mars is a Lucky Guy
CHAPTER 11: Dancing with the Stars
CHAPTER 12: Space High

Words completed:
15,674

6 chapters complete so far for Nikki Red: Mars Colony Agatha (Nikki #4)

BFR and Crew Dragon on Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

CHAPTER LIST SO FAR
1. AN INTERNATIONAL CHORUS
2. EPIC DECISION
3. A LONG, LONG WAY
4. THE LINK
5. RED ZEPPELIN
6. PARKING LOT REUNION

(8,276 words completed)

THE CAST SO FAR
Nikki Janicek, specialist
Sam “Snowbow” Archambeau
Thomas Harvey
Adam Upton
Roger Janicek
Lynn Barrett
Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO
Jane Rushmore
Xander Vermilyea, commander
Jo Giguere, pilot
Ulysses “Pluto” Parker, specialist
Eddy Etergino, specialist
Susan “Sunny” Wilkes, specialist

Work begins on Nikki Red: Mars Colony Agatha

Jack Chaucer wants to write a NIKKI RED to go along with the previously published NIKKI WHITE (2017) and NIKKI BLUE (2015), as well as the prequel STREAKS OF BLUE (2013), so he has begun toiling on the opening scenes from the fourth book. It will pick up right where NIKKI WHITE: POLAR EXTREMES left off, in the skies over the North Sea on Sept. 8, 2022.

Let’s just say things won’t be going as Nikki had expected, per usual.

The goal is to have this one published by July 4, 2020 — so very Red, White and Blue — well before humans actually set foot on Mars.

So far, there is a two-part PROLOGUE featuring Nikki and Thomas in one part, and South Pole legend Sam “Snowbow” Archambeau in the second part.

There’s also CHAPTER 1: AN INTERNATIONAL CHORUS and CHAPTER 2: EPIC DECISION, starring Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX.

The first line of Chapter 1 will be a short one … “Scheisse!”

That’s the German word for “shit.”

Stay tuned …