Last Breath to Mars

There in the distance, the great red planet. We had such great plans, and so many hopes.

A decade ago TelSpace: a new partnership between NASA and the NSA, recruited about 20 of us for training. Only the four of us made the final cut for first two men and women to walk on Mars. The two companies have been working on communication technology for ages, but the major decision, and funding for this mission came after a breakthrough big enough to get the space agencies attention–A Teleporter, codename BOLT. And we were the people who were going to get it built.

Everything about the mission was just out of the experimental state, the ship, the engine, our suits. They even developed a new food for us. The one drawback of the mission was that it was one way. There was no guarantee the equipment would actually work. It was worth the risk. This wasn’t another new communication system, which is what the pubic was told. This was the first Teleporter anticipated for human use. They told us just before we took off. They led us to believe it was for food; possibly small animals in the future. The agencies knew, though, that their blooming industry could send anything just about anywhere in the universe. We were going to build the future.

Now I’ll never see if it really works. Before I got into this, long before I met Heather, before my training; when I was a child. My parents let me play on the Jetties of South Pajre Island. I slipped, and hit my head on the rocks. Darkness swallowed me as I slid into the ocean. I feel that now, the creeping darkness, and my dad isn’t here to grab my hand, and save me.

Heather. Always smiling, and always restless, but I loved that about her. And her thick brown hair. I was oblivious about her feelings toward me during training–too determined to stay focused. Doesn’t matter, we both found out we enjoy much more than each others company. This was the first ship that would get us to Mars in just under a year. The luxury is there’s a lot of time to spend with someone on research projects. So, Heather and I tested the affects of zero gravity on our bodies, in the romantic privacy only a back storage area can provide.

Sometime later into the trip, an engine valve shifted slightly, at least, according to our engineer Dave Preston, who stumbled on it during a maintenance inspection.  He fixed it, but hadn’t realized that it diverted our course to the extent it did.

Lydia, our medical specialist, shared this last morning with me. She told me she was really here because her mother showed her pictures of the Milky way when she was a child. She didn’t get to finish. The proximity alert went off, and just like the Titanic, one giant rock, floating along, knocked out both right thrusters, and cut critical power. We were done.

BEEP BEEP BEEP ALERT: SUIT OXYGEN LEVEL 15% BEEP BEEP BEEP

Goddammit.

BEEP BEEP BEEP ALERT: SUIT OXYGEN LEVEL 13% BEEP BEEP BEEP

We rushed on our spacesuits. That was my last moment with Heather. We got in a rush and forgot to kiss, but we bumped helmets. Then the ship got hit hard–throwing Heather and I on top of one another into the bottom vacuum chamber. I love you, she mouthed with a half-smiled, then shoved me out into space. I watched, as she, and the rest of the ship were torn away from me.

BEEP BEEP BEEP ALERT: SUIT OXYGEN LEVEL 3% BEEP BEEP BEEP

If anyone finds this…know that this was not loss, but love, and it was worth my last breath.

BEEP BEEP BEEP

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