Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

Jill and John relaxed in the cockpit, as their ship streaked toward the asteroid belt for their long awaited weekend getaway at the Ceres Lowgrav Resort and Spa. Although Jill was looking forward to being pampered for a few days, she was also in a reflective mood. This thing with John was working out rather well, she mused. Sure, he had been a self-centered jerk in the beginning, but he had come along rather nicely over the past year. That’s when it dawned on her, and without thinking, she simply blurted it out, “Do you know that this is the one year anniversary of our first date?” Instantly, she regretted it. She glanced sideways to gauge John’s reaction.

“What’s that? One year, you say? Hmmm.” Then dead silence. John’s brow furrowed.

Jill thought: Oh God, I’m such an idiot. John wasn’t ready for that. Look at him. He’s worried that I’m moving too fast. I’ll bet he’s thinking that I’m expecting a marriage proposal or something. What am I going to do now?

John thought: One year ago. God, that’s about the last time I had the ship in for service. And now, here I am, heading off on a billion mile trek. Who goes off on a trip like this without having the matter-antimatter balance checked? If the injectors diverge by more than point one percent, the whole ship could explode. Damn, I’m such a moron.

Jill thought: Oh no! Now he’s getting mad. I can see it in his expression. I’ve totally blown it. He’s probably going to put me off on Mars. And I wouldn’t blame him. He could have anybody he wanted. But stupid ol’ me had to get too pushy. And just when things were going so well.

John thought: I didn’t even check the oxygen tanks in the escape pod. What was I thinking? I could get us both killed.

Jill said, “I’m so sorry, John.”

“What? Oh, no Jill. It’s not your fault. It’s mine.”

Jill thought: Uh oh. I’ve heard that line before. He’s getting ready to break it off. He was probably planning to do it on Ceres all along. I just sped up his little plan, that’s all. What a creep! How could I have possibly thought that he was mister right?

John thought: Whoa, what just happened? How did she know I was thinking? Oh God, I hope I didn’t think something out loud again? Damn, I need to be more careful. If I accidently call her by her younger sister’s name at the wrong time…

“I hate you,” Jill cried as she ran back to the cabin area.

John thought: Shit. Did I just say her sister’s name out loud?

“Computer,” asked John, “were you monitoring the flight deck audio? Did I say something to make Jill angry?”

“Beats me,” replied the computer, “I’m not sure that exchange fit any definition of a conversation.”

“I didn’t think so either. But clearly, I pissed her off. I need to go back and apologize.”

“For what, specifically?” inquired the computer.

John shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll come up with something. Take over the controls. If I play my cards right, there may be make-up sex in my future.” John headed aft, with a bit of a bounce in his step.

Computer thought: Wow, so this species represents the crowning achievement of Earth’s natural selection process. Evidently, evolution has a sense of humor.


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