Pamela settled into the Martian colony easily. Despite a sketchy man at the welcoming airlock, the base itself was quite pleasant; relaxing, even. There were even artificial beaches to lounge about on, though they lacked the solar delight of a real beach.

The hazy Martian sun was smaller than Earth’s, and though she kept taking vitamin D supplements, it wasn’t long before the difficulties set in. Pamela went to the doctor, complaining of depression, and the doctor nodded.

“Very common,” she said, “especially among new arrivals. You’ll just have to get used to it.”

Pamela left disappointed, and a few hundred dollars poorer; co-pays on Mars were higher than she had expected.

She tried getting more exercize, and though helpful, it didn’t completely abolish the dark feelings, the overwhelming sadness she experienced day to day. She discussed it with Mena, who was feeling a similar state, and the two agreed to regularly meeting up for a drink.

It started with a weekly beer (or scotch, for Mena). Then twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday. Three times, then four times, and soon they were meeting every night, and drinking themselves into a stupor.

They quickly grew accustomed to the hangovers, and Pamela found a few drinks at work really sped the day along. She worried, once, that she might have a problem. The cost of the doctor, however, prevented her from checking – her work had had a series of layoffs recently, and almost everyone’s pay had gone down due to a downturn in the economy.

Pamela self-medicated, and Mena helped her feel like it was okay to do so.


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