Poor Mackenzie Winters! All of her friends went to Mars and all she got was a lousy T-Shirt. Yes, really.
Well- that's not all. She also gets to have the time of her life laboring in Mr. Finch's garden for little pay, to save up for something very special.
And then there's quaint old Mr. Finch. What's the story behind him...?
It wasn't as though she hadn't chosen this job. After all, if an awesome round trip to Mars and back cost $30,000,000,000, who was she she to refuse the opportunity to waste her life planting tomato seeds?
Mackenzie Winters sighed. She loved homegrown tomatoes more than any other food, even chocolate! But when she had to grow them herself? Uh-uh.
The artificial sun beat down benevolently upon the fifteen-year-old. Not too hot, nor too cool. Perfect weather for gardening. Once upon a time, there had been a genuine sun to smile down on her young face, but ever since 2012... Luckily, some scientists had wised up in time and fashioned a bright, orangish-yellowish sun. Mackenzie had never had a good feeling about it. It was too- weird, too unnatural. The exact opposite of a good red homegrown tomato.
It was plenty closer to the earth than its predecessor, and it didn't hurt one's eyes to gaze upon it. And being man made and all, there was naturally an on-off switch on its underside, and another elaborate switch to control temperature. This could be accessed by the Weather Crew in their shiny orange costumes and shiny scarlet helicopters, but since many preferred the stupid room temperature setting all the time, it was rarely put into use.
Mackenzie sweated copiously as she stuck the old hoe in again. She could almost taste good old Idaho 'taters, all hot and salty. But it took a lot of work and patience to get potatoes nowadays.
The new philosophy was that it was good if it never rained, snowed, et cetera, it was always light outside, and anyone aged eight and older should garden for their food and their health.
The new philosophy sucked, thought Mackenzie bitterly.
It was exactly why she was so desperate to get to Mars.