Mars or Bust!
Chapter 6: Linc and Le Foundation
Copyright© 2021 by GT Dodge
I never hated le foundation like Johnny did. Does. And it’s not about the money.
Johnny tells it different.
This is the only interview Johnny gave after all those weeks of testimony:
“I truly thought le Foundation had defused Linc.” Johnny says it Lee Foundation. Like the Levi Strauss kind of Lee.
“Me and Linc go way back, so I truly thought le Foundation had defused Linc. Put him on ice to where he couldn’t embarrass le Foundation with his zeal, the manic energy that gave it all away: fact is, he was a True Believer. Everybody knows that only scams like psychic healing and MLM and churches have True Believers. Yep, a True Believer is a dead giveaway that you’re looking at a scam. Trust me.
“So, I figured that when Linc only came out for fundraisers, well I figured le Foundation had him under their thumb. I respected the Foundation when I thought they could control Linc.
OK, OK, OK. I thought Linc was safe; a dancing bear bringing in the curious rich to the $5000-a-plate dinners while le Foundation organized and planned and deferred and, um, spent the money on themselves. I would have.”
Did Johnny lie? Or was he changing the subject? “Who knew? Sure, a manned shot at Mars had been technically feasible for years. Expensive as hell, if you want to make a round trip.” Even I knew round trips cost less.
“But what if the lunatics start thinking outside the box? What if everyone who goes to Mars buys a one-way ticket? Guess what Linc was thinking? NO DEPOSIT! NO RETURN!© Real spacemen only phone home!” He should have copyrighted that last sentence.
Johnny got it wrong. Linc already had the return trip in place. There was no way the powers that be were going to leave Linc alone on Mars. He’d own the place. They’d follow along and rescue him. For free! Such a crazy, dumb plan! I bet Johnny thought it up.
More details, watch out for the hook! Johnny could read the phonebook and give it an ulterior motive, “Think of it as shooting a doublewide trailer at Mars. Only this time, the hard way: gotta have a soft landing. Let’s face it: if Linc could hit the moon with a VW Bug, he could hit Mars with something bigger. Mars is a bigger target. Farther away, granted. But bigger.”
Johnny interrupting himself, again,”OK, OK, OK! Linc said those words first! He said those words, sold those concepts over and over and over at the kilo-dollar-a-plate dinners. He made his words work. True Believer, the most dangerous kind.
“All the scheme needed was a volunteer.
“You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? Oh, yeah! Everybody knows now!”
“Linc volunteered to go.” I’d known that.
“So did I,” Johnny nodded so we’d all know he’d done it. Then he wagged his head so we’d pick up that it was a bad idea. I laughed at the thought of Johnny alone in the habitat flying to Mars. With no one to talk to. He’d be telling lies to Rover One about Rover Two by the second day.
Johnny continued, voice pitched low. Watch out for the hook! “It only cost a couple, ten bucks, my entry fee, to volunteer at le Foundation’s website. I was drunk and trying to bring Linc down a notch.
“When I told him, he just looked at me and nodded. He knew I couldn’t go. Not when he was counting the ballots.