They said I’d die on Mars, but not like this.
The concept had floated around for decades. A small group of protocolonists would fly ahead and establish a base camp and the beginnings of a mining operation, which would be expanded upon by future expeditions, also one-way. Gaining valuable astrological data from a new starting point and building toward a life-sustaining colony that would serve as a stop off point for further space travel and exploration – that was the theory.
Four years ago the theory became a plan, and with enough funding, a dozen people were selected to fly the first manned mission to the red planet. I was among them.
We’ve been here a while – long enough to get complacent with the day to day operations. Nothing we were doing is for the first time anymore, even though everything is. I guess even when you’re living science fiction, things can start to seem ordinary.
Today started ordinary. Cassie and I had a mining shift at a formation fifty minutes from base camp. We took the rover and two mining robots, and we drilled. I understand now how explorers felt, looking at new continents for the first time.
The vastness of untouched resources makes them seem infinite. And when there’s no one to take advantage of them but you, you feel godly. And lonely.
And when you’re alone, you’re vulnerable. No one to save you. We hit the formation at a bad angle apparently, and a chunk split off, coming down on me and Cassie.
Cassie. She was so sweet. The rocks crushed her head immediately. Is that a better way to die than what will happen to me?
The rocks pinned me down, rupturing my suit. I’ve got about twenty minutes of air left. Fifty minutes from base camp. The radio’s working, so I let them know what happened, but it won’t matter. When they get here, we’ll just be the first bodies they’ll have to bury.
I didn’t think it would end like this. Trapped under a rock. It just seems so… mundane. I wanted there to be aliens. Although I suppose, here, that’s me.
Wait, doesn’t mundane mean “earthly?”