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  • Mars Date/Time:  Year 001, Sur Two, Saturday, Sol 24 (001.2.24)  00:08 NST
  • Earth Date/Time:  Monday, 28 March 2016  2:00 PM PDT 
  • Distance traveled:  112,653,000 kilometers   Time Delay:  4 mins 00 secs
  • Distance to Mars Rendezvous:  279,756,752 kilometers

She pulled into the rest stop. She had selected the spot. In the city she preferred meeting with people in places where there were crowds, but in a small towns, locals like to pay attention to new people. She wanted a place where she would look like a tourist stopping for a few minutes and in Death Valley there were plenty of quiet places to pull off the road.

Death ValleyHe wasn’t here yet. She parked and got out of the car. She took inventory of the place. Two picnic tables. One under a small gazebo. A small out building, probably a small toilet, but she couldn’t see the door. Someone could be inside, so she would stay near the car. If a car approached that wasn’t blue she would get in and drive off.

She could see the intersection less than a quarter of a kilometer down the road. A blue car was approaching from the south, and then it turned east. In a few seconds she saw the car stop, and it turn around. “The idiot,” she thought to herself.

The car turned right and drove up the road to her. She recognized him, but she left the driver’s door open just in case. He pulled into a parking space and then got out. He said, “Took the wrong turn. We could have met in Beatty. It’s not far and they have food.” She said, “What do you have?”

He never liked dealing with her. She was all business, and he could never tell if she was happy, unhappy, or ready to kill him. He didn’t know much about her, except that she had access to money, people, and things, and beyond that, she wasn’t very talkative.

He said, “I can get at least a dozen more on the payroll. They’re looking for engineers, botanists, geologist, the full range. They’re on an accelerated schedule. They have to have the qualifications, but if you have people with the background, they’ll take them. There’s talk that some of the new hires may go to Mars by the end of this year. It’s crazy.”

She looked at him and said, “Good. The applicants I send you will tell you that ‘Dina’ sent them. They will have the qualifications. We have people who have worked for many leading aerospace companies, and others that have agricultural experience. The normal fee, we will pay you $10,000 for each one ESEP hires.”

He shrugged and said, “Okay, but I’m just your basic head hunter. You could find these jobs for them online.” She smiled and said, “Yes, but then it would be obvious we’re helping them, but he doesn’t want anyone to be aware he’s helping them. Some of them have been through very difficult times and we’re trying to give them a fresh start. Besides, we’d like to help you.”

He cocked his head and said, “You know, we could have done this by phone.” She said, “Please understand, the person I work for demands that I do my most important work face to face…..I’m sorry I had to make you come all the way out here. I would have come to meet you in San Jose, but I have to be in Las Vegas tonight. Maybe next time I can fly you to Los Angeles and we can have dinner, how would that be?”

He smiled and said, “That sounds great. I have a brother in San Diego I can stay with.” She said, “Don’t bother with that, we’ll put you up someplace nice in Los Angeles. I must go. Be safe driving back to San Jose.”

As she left him she made a mental note to find out who his brother was, and where he lived. It was another loose end that would have to be dealt with soon.