Red With Envy

Andrews and Owens both held their breath for the next few seconds.

“DEPLOYING CHUTES NOW!” Owens screamed out as he activated the controls. 

Immediately there was a shudder as everything slowed down. Owens and Andrews both were slammed back into their seats.  Outside the racing, landscape slowed with a huge jump.

They were still heading to the Martian surface, just not as fast.

Both astronauts let out a collective sigh of relief, Andrews gave a tried nod to Owens and then to the cabin camera.  “ETA to the surface of Mars in one minute, 36 seconds,” Andrews called out.

At times he wondered what the point was of this, especially since Houston was, or would be, watching the same telemetry data and he knew that Owens could see it from his seat as well.  He shrugged and looked out the window; he had better things to wonder about for the moment.

“Telemetry looks good for landing spot Alpha,” Owens called out.  Andrews looked at his screen seeing the glowing red box.

“Confirmed. Onboard computer has control.” He replied as continued to look out the window and the view outside.  Someone would have to be crazy, he thought, to trust their lives with a computer programmed by the lowest bidder.

He chuckled, just as crazy as someone that talks to themselves.

“One minute to hard deck,” Andrews called out.  Owens looked at his screen and began flipping switches.  Slowly you could hear the slow whining noise of the retro rockets as they started to power up again.

“Descent engines ready for breaking maneuvers.”

“45 seconds to hard deck,” Andrews called out

“30 seconds to retro firing sequence,” Owens replied.  The Lander began to shudder slightly as the thrusters began to increase power.

Andrews opened his visor and rubbed his gloved hand over his now sweat-drenched forehead.  He watched as the counter slowly counted down to the final seconds. He gave a cursory glimpse to the camera and started to give out the latest status update, but then stopped himself.  Screw it, he thought, it isn’t like they don’t know what is going to happen anyway.

“Retro firing sequence now,” Owens called out for him.

The Lander began to shudder and shake even more as the rockets came to life.  Andrews stared at the screen for a second before being snapped out of his thoughtful state.  He began looking immediately out the window.

“Chute release in 3, 2, and 1.”

Andrews looked out of the window to confirm that the parachutes had released, he could see them falling far behind the Lander and off over the horizon as they left them far behind.

“100 meters up.”




Andrews felt the tension coming back with a vengeance.  He could almost feel each meter as they slowly got closer to the surface.  He started to fidget in his seat as the seconds ticked by.

“10 meters,”  Owens called out; the sound of the dust hitting the Lander as it came closer to the surface began making a loud rocket as the retro rockets knocked it around the surface.

“5 meters.” The rockets started to send out less thrust. Just enough thrust to make it those last few meters with no difficulty.

There was a visible bump as the Lander touched down followed by silence as the engines immediately went silent.  Neither men said anything or moved for a few seconds. After a few seconds, the only sound in the Lander was a beeping noise from the main console.

Owens spoke first, “Navi-Computer confirms hard landing on the Martian surface,”

Owens’s face grew into a big smile as he looked over to Andrews, “We made it.”

The best that Andrews could do is to nod silently while catching his breath.

Finally, Andrews looked out the window at the landscape around him. He was expecting a blood-red sky; instead, he saw a rusty looking landscape with a pinkish sky.  So much for those expectations, he thought, I was told to expect more than this low budget look. He looked up at the cabin camera, gave a huge smile and waved.

“Houston,” he said, “Archimedes has landed.”

Copyright 2014-2021 Kohl Media Solutions. All Rights Reserved.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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