Martian Dispatches

The career contractors had bloodshot eyes and jowly, unhealthy-looking faces and Red Martian “wives” they’d bought out of the bars on the Hastor strip; you could bet they had real wives back on Earth as well, and that they beat them, too; this wasn’t their first war and it wouldn’t be their last, Goddamn it. The short-term contractors, the temps the companies had hired right here on Mars, were all right, just washed-up ex-hippies who’d stopped off to check out the scene and somehow ended up cutting their hair and staying, out of curiosity or morbid fascination or just because the Mission and the War Machine offered them a quick buck, but you could see how it was turning them inside out.

“I always knew I had a price,” one of the ex-hippies told me sadly, over a joint. “I just never knew it was so goddamn low.”

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