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Commander Report  
31 OCT 2015 -- Sol 8
Paul Bakken


Greetings Mission Support!

You will receive an abbreviated Commander Report, Engineer Report, and Journalist Report today prior to comms opening.  There will be no additional reports.

Last night, the crew had a chance to sit down together and try out a few games.  The first one that we tried is a computer game called "Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes."  It is difficult to explain, but it is essentially a bomb defusal simulation in which two or more players must work as a team to defuse a randomly generated bomb within a certain time.  The twist is that only one person can look at and manipulate the bomb, and that one person cannot look at the Bomb Defusal Manual.  The other player(s) are allowed to look at the Manual, but not the bomb.  In all, this was a great team building exercise that stressed the importance of clear communication!

We also played a game called "Coup," which came highly recommend by Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher on star Trek: TNG) on the web series "Tabletop."  Also, an enjoyable game -- and I have now learned the depths of conniving of which my fellow crew members are capable.

This morning, since it was our "day off," we slept in until 0800 hours.  CJ Klos and XO Silva-Martinez made a wonderful breakfast of blueberry pancakes and bacon.  This meal disappeared in record time.

For the remainder of the day, XO Silva-Martinez, ENG Palpanis, and CJ Klos remained at the MDRS to relax and do small repair jobs around the Hab.  GHO Nguyen, HSO Harrison, and I fired up the long-range crew rover and performed an excursion to the Tholus Supply Depot (Loa hardware store) for supplies necessary to complete our refit tasks.  This journey took much longer than anticipated because we twice encountered large herds of cattle on the roads.  They certainly looked like cattle, anyway.  We are fairly certain that there aren't supposed to be cows on Mars, so this was a bit of a surprise and a head scratcher.  Perhaps it was merely some type of elaborate Martian mirage?

In any case, we three excursion members returned to the MDRS five hours later with the crew rover loaded down with materials and supplies.  The Tholus Supply Depot will deliver the items that we could not safely haul to the MDRS two days hence.

Not much else to report, but for one exciting item: we learned of a priceless opportunity to perform a goodwill mission this evening in the neighboring settlement closest to the MDRS.  The locals have a yearly tradition called "Trunk or Treating," in which people gather their rovers together at a designated spot.  The children of the settlement then EVA from vehicle to vehicle, collecting candy and sweets from the occupants of each vehicle.  I am told that this festivity has its origins in the Earth holiday called "Halloween."

As Commander, I have decided that Crew 155 will give up the latter part of our day off to participate in and support this festival.  A number of our crew members, in uniform, will travel in the crew rover to the neighboring settlement and dispense candy to the young locals.  (We will purchase the candy beforehand at the settlement's General Store, the Bull Mountain Market.)  We will also bring with us informational materials about the MDRS to give to any interested adults.

Accordingly, due to the timing of this local event, I will not be present for the first part of the comms window today.  I will attempt to monitor the channel from my mobile comms device, however, and should be back at the MDRS before close of comms at 2100 hours.

Crew needs to get dressed and head out to participate in the festival, so I will sign off for now.

Respectfully submitted,

Paul Bakken    
Commander, MDRS Crew 155