Red With Envy

Colonel Mark ‘Biff’ Andrews looked at the controls as the Mars orbiter slowly made its descent to the surface. 

He smiled as he saw green lights across the board. He looked over at his Co-Pilot, Lieutenant-Commander Nelson Owens and nodded.

“Houston, this is Archimedes,” Andrews said, ‘All systems green for landing.”  Owens pulled a switch and the Lander shuddered as two large rocket engines roared to life. 

Owens nodded.

Andrews gave a face, the last few months of the radio delays had gotten troublesome, and downright annoying.  He figured that at that particular moment, Houston was receiving telemetry and voice transmissions from nearly an hour ago. 

He shrugged and then tapped the com Switch.  

“Houston,” he began, “retro jets firing.  Two minutes to chute deployment.”

He turned and smiled at the cabin camera.  ‘Look nice for the folks back home.’ He thought with a big grin. He looked over to Owens, “Say hi to your mom Owens.”

Owens looked up from his controls; his face had a look of concentration.  He stared at Andrews for a minute, uncomprehending, and then smiled. He looked over to the cabin recorder. 

He waved, “Hi mom!” he called out, “Hi Janice! I love you!”

Owens waved one more time and went back to his controls.

“one minute till deployment.”

Andrews looked at the camera once more and gave a goofy grin.  

“Things are about to get interesting folks!” 

Outside the window, Andrews could see the Martian landscape hurtling at them at faster and faster speeds.  He looked over to Owens that still had his hand on the deployment button.  

“45 seconds…”

“30 seconds…”

Andrews felt the tightness in his stomach.  Even though the calm countdown was going just as they had in rehearsal and planning months ago, the fact that the day had arrived was exhilarating and frightening at the same time. 

He could not remember a time in his life that could compare to this one moment. He had trained his whole life for this one moment. He looked over to Owens once more, then looked at the cabin camera and flashed a thumbs-up sign.  

“15 seconds!”

Owens’ voice was starting to sound strained and tense as he moved his hand more tightly over the deployment controls.  He sighed and closed the visor on his helmet. Andrews did the same once Owens did.


The craft began to rock harder and harder as Andrews noticed that the ground was coming up faster.  What was once haze colored and hidden by the atmosphere of Mars was now clear and getting closer.

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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