In The Music of Mars, Gretchen journeys to Mars to decipher strange symbols in a remote cave. I’ve written a lot about this outer journey, but her internal journey is just as fascinating.
She begins the story disagreeing with her project leader over the meaning of artifacts found in Antarctica. She believes the truth is most important and revealing it is her greatest desire. Further, if she does her work to the best of her ability, she’ll achieve her goals of understanding ancient peoples better and of advancing in the field, eventually leading her own expeditions.
Soon afterward, she discovers her project leader has blackballed her. No matter how right she may be or how hard she has worked, she can’t get archaeological work on Earth.
On Mars after hearing about the Marsee’s problems with Interplanetary and their spies embedded within MarsVantage, she concludes their issues don’t affect her. After all, she merely needs to decode the symbols and return home with her pay.
As events unfold, she assists Frank in finding a spy, though she feels that doing so will smooth the way in deciphering the symbols.
Toward the end, she pushes aside her original goal, foregoing the return-home pay, convincing MarsVantage to allow her to pursue a more significant discovery, which could change the course for MarsVantage, Frank, herself, and humanity. She further agrees to help Frank entrap another spy solely because it will help MarsVantage utilize the newest discovery.
Gretchen learns that considerations beyond her work can affect her work, and to be successful, she must handle them with as much care as ancient artifacts.
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