After breakfast, it was time to leave, so Joshua and Stripes went directly to the port area, and prepared for it. The luggage was all in a big gray crate on the outside of the station, were it was controlled by magnets. At 6:00 pm the ship arrived. It was one of the bulky new models, built with comfort in mind,rather than efficiency. It was actually so large, and oddly shaped that it couldn't dock to emerald station, so smaller vehicles shuttled people back and forth. After a few minutes in line, Joshua and Stripes were finally aboard on of the small podships. The interior was rather dull, but the glimpses of open space that could be seen through the slit Windows was breathing. The podship quickly docked to the great space crossing drednot, and it wasn't long after Joshua and Stripes came aboard, that the great drednot was full, and made its way for mars.

The gravity rings began spinning, and in a few moments, everyone was on the ground.

"Hello ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain, captain Morgan, speaking. we have a long voyage ahead, so i hope you all get along well. If you will please divide into your color coordinated groups, our lovely flight attendants will show you around. Have a nice day, and remember, there's no need to fear, when you fly drednot."

The tour was nothing remarkable. The ship had three swimming pools, five basketball courts, seven tennis courts, two football (soccer) fields, and one pigskin (American football) field. As well as several bowling allies, restaurants, and ballrooms.

The lodgings were all in one place, as far from the engines as possible, so that they would be safe in case of a nuclear meltdown. They were also much larger than the rooms on the space station, almost like proper hotel rooms. After all of the luggage had been put in its proper place, Joshua took out his mobile computer, and began working.

"What's that?" Asked stripes, pointing at the computer screen.

"The short answer is, work. The long answer is, the results of some tests involving a new rocket engine, the results were not as good as the simulations said they should be, So my boss needs me to find the were the discrepancy is coming from." Said Joshua.

"Oh" said Stripes.

"You barely understood a word i just said, didn't you?" Said Joshua.

"I'm sorry master, I'm only a type A32. I was made for physical pleaser, and emotional support, not... What ever you were just talking about." Said Stripes. And she had and unusual, almost self loathing expression, as if she were disappointed in her self.

Joshua had forgotten that not only was stripes less intelligent than the average person, but she was also less educated. Trying to talk to her about anything but sports, and feelings, was an exercise in futility. And then he remembered something.

"Stripes, how would you like to visit the sports center?" Asked Joshua.

"That would be great!" Said stripes.

"Alright, just let me finish my work, and we can visit the sports center." said Joshua


In the months that in took to 'fly' to mars, little of note happened. The daily routine was that after Joshua was done with work, he and Stripes would go to the sports center, ether to take part in, or simply to watch the great games. most often, Stripes wold compete, and Joshua wold just watch. He found is amusing to see some thing as voluptuous, and soft, as stripes, display such a high level of athletic skill. but Joshua new better than anyone just how deceptively strong Stripes could be. but then there was the sun-dance. If Josh had chosen any other ship, with any other crew, he would never have seen it. This ship, the drednot 505, was crewed for the most part by marsians; members of the elder church to be specific. men who worshiped nature and the ancestors. men who eat meat. unlike most earthers, Joshua was intrigued by the religious customs, which were banned on earth; so he accepted the invite.