Monday, January 28, 2013

Manned Mission

Icarus 12 falls through the atmosphere, diving for gravitation's pull. And then fighting against it with half-hearted thrusters to keep from becoming ash in the barren red desert. It kicks up rusted dust as three robotic legs sprout from its trunk and plant themselves firmly on the ground, kicking up large clouds of rusted dust. The door slides open, a ladder drops out, and soon the first man in history steps foot on the surface of the red planet. The first man on mars, an astronaut known as Dennis Wyle, smiles out from his visor and calls out a celebratory holler. Decades of calculations, corporate favors, and then recalculations had finally paid off. In just a few hours the people of Earth would receive the footage, and just as then there would be great joy.

Something glimmered from within the shadows of a nearby ledge. It sparkled like sea glass on a sunny day. Consumed with curiosity, Wyle ignores the warnings of his fellow astronauts and bounds toward the glinting light. He stops short at the edge of the shadows, as to him they have receded and shown him their veiled secret.

Metal scraps and wire lay scattered about the Martian surface like junk torn from an old car. Billions of sparkling shards sleep on the planet. Curled around the center of the wreckage, reaching like a famished beast before water, is a body. The dried, shriveled remains of one. Its fingers poke through the charred glove, barely grazing the edge of a white pole. A pole that proudly boasted the red and blue flag of Russia upon its neck.

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