The Four Pioneers
Humanity looks to Mars
Hurdling toward Mars are The Four Pioneers, as they are famously known on Earth. They are going to establish humanity’s first extraterrestrial base on the surface of the red planet. They were orphans selected from childhood and trained together their entire lives for this mission. Launched into space, never meant to go home.
“Stop eating!” says Laura.
Kevin is floating, hunched over a vacuum pack of food. “I’m within my ration!” he says, spittle floating from his mouth.
“You’ve eaten everything you can for the rest of the day, Kevin. You have 12 hours to go.”
“I do intermittent fasting,” Kevin says.
Laura rolls her eyes.
“We have a transmission from Earth,” Jasmine says. She waits for the others to float near.
“It’s marked urgent,” says Dave, pointing to a blinking light.
Jasmine hits play and then grabs Dave’s hand.
It begins with radio static. “…a pandemic. Most of the population is going to die in the next few weeks. We have to dissolve the space agency. I’m so sorry. I risked a lot to come here to send you this message. Goodbye. I’m so sorry.” A click and then silence.
The four look at one another.
“Well, fuck,” Kevin says. “Should we turn around?”
Originally published at https://www.tumblr.com on March 20, 2020.