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  • Mars Date/Time:  Year 1, Sur Two, Thursday, Sol 8 (001.2.8)  11:23 NST
  • Earth Date/Time:  Saturday, 12 March 2016  2:00 PM PST
  • Distance traveled:  54,974,664 kilometers   Time Delay:  2 mins 48 secs
  • Distance to Mars Rendezvous:  337,435,088 kilometers

Mr. Duncan’s suicide was the bad end to a series of tragic events. It exposed the frailty of some of the people in ESEP. People who had been important gatekeepers in the decision-making process had suddenly turned on the central goal of the organization, only because the organization had grown past them. Instead of protecting the mission to Mars, they were trying to end it because they wouldn’t let go.

This frailty was not lost on the member countries of ESEP. The shock of the management coup began discussions of security and protocols. The Executive management was now split between the newly created Council, and the Interim Director, Jenna Wade, and her crew. The Council consisted of Division Executives and two representatives of the member countries. 

Throughout the crisis and the fallout, Jenna and her staff were the heroes. To the ESEP member countries and the Council, the process of selecting a new Director to replace Jenna seemed pointless. An idea grew that the solution to finding new leadership for ESEP had already been accomplished when Jenna and the Mars Mission crew took back control of ESEP.

Jenna laughed and said, “That’s absurd!”

Megan’s image was on the screen in front of Jenna. Megan had just explained the agenda item for tomorrow’s Council meeting that would make Jenna the permanent Director of ESEP. Megan wouldn’t hear Jenna’s reaction for another three minutes, but she could have guessed what it would be, and she knew she would have some more explaining to do.

Ken said, “No, actually it makes perfect sense. ESEP was vulnerable because people had access to key people and critical systems. With you offworld, and the Sagan controlling ESEP computers, any attempt to attack the company is almost impossible unless they destroy every communication system on Earth.”

Jenna’s Command team was gathered around for the morning briefing from Megan, and heard the idea at the same time Jenna did.

Wendy said, “And from a management perspective, it pushes back daily decisions to the people who are closest to the issues, so only the big decisions go to the top. It is ideal for a more efficient model of management. Because you’re too far away to nitpick on details that you don’t need to know, everything moves faster.”

Jenna said, “Because I’m not around to make a remark about the windows being dirty, no one scurries to clean the windows, because it’s not important to the objectives. I see your point, but what happens when we get to Mars? I can’t run ESEP and our first exploration of Mars.”

Wendy replied, “Why not? You’re at the tip of the sword. Where better to direct the operations of the Exploration of Mars than from Mars. It is one of the best management models I have ever heard.”

Jenna looked at her team and said, “What about all of you? This is putting an extra workload on all of you. We are going to have busy days setting up on Mars.” Lanny, the Director of Science for the mission said, “I’d much rather be setting up are experiments on Mars knowing that you’re commanding all of ESEP’s resources, rather than being second guessed by my colleagues on Earth. Roman added, “We’re not going to be following their playbook in the Engineering Division when we get to Mars. I like the idea of them as consultants, not overlords, and if they select a Earthbound Director, that person is going to want to justify their existence by nitpicking what we are doing. With you as the Director, I’m confident that our workloads will be easier rather than harder.”

Jenna shook her head, and said, “First it was Commander, then I was a Rear Admiral, now I’m being asked to be the ESEP Director and Governor of Mars? Does anyone else see a problem here?”

Seven people in unison said, “No.”