Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

The new planet’s soupy air made twin blue plumes out of his suit’s exhalations when the carbon dioxide reacted with the unbreathable atmosphere. It turned into blue rust flakes that scattered around him like snow.

He walked over the rocky service in a grav suit that would have looked right at home on the ocean floor in the 1760s back on Earth. Bulky, slow and primitive looking.

He looked like a train pretending to be human blasting out powder-blue fairy dust.

His face peeked out of a circular faceplate inset into a large spherical metal helmet. It amplified his breathing as well as the creaking of the servos helping him to walk across the high-gravity shale. It was like living inside a bell.

He could see the bright blue plumes coming out of his co-researcher’s suits all down the line if he turned his head.

It was actually quite beautiful.

He’d appreciate it a lot more if they all weren’t currently looking for their ship.

He’d left the ship second-to-last in the queue so he would run out of air second-to-last as well. It wasn’t something he was looking forward to.

Already, a suit with the number 28 painted on the shoulder down the line was starting to slow down. Its blue gusts of CO2 were becoming yellower as the combination started to change. It was Yolanda.

We’d only gone a few steps out. We’d left the ships sentry programs on. I suppose it was folly of us to desert the ship entirely but no one wanted to be left behind for the first walk.

There was no life detected in the area. It had seemed safe.

Then our tracking devices stopped working properly. And our directional qualifiers.

We had no points of references. The atmosphere was a fog that gave us thirty feet of visibility. It ended in a starless ceiling above us as well. The ground was scattered rock.

We were lost. The ship, according to our scanners, was in twenty-seven places around us.

We’d turned around one hundred and eighty degrees and started walking back towards the ship, following our own blue rusted trails of encrusted CO2 flakes.

We should have been there by now.

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