Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer
“Do you want to go on an adventure?”, asks Lee.
“To where?”, answers Lindsay.
“Up and into the universe.”
“Yes, in that. It’s an M2-F2 Star Hopper.”
“Don’t you have anything better to do than hop around the stars? Plus, isn’t the M2-F2 a single pilot module?”
“I made it bigger, just for you.”
“That’s the most beautiful thing that anyone’s ever said to me.”
“You really should come. You’ll love it.”
“How do you know so certainly?”
“I’ve seen you in your room, hanging out of your window with your hair dangling down from the sill. You gaze up into the heavens for hours.”
“That’s not creepy.”
“I think you want to know what’s next.”
“I know what’s next.”
“So you coming?”
“OK, the cockpit’s a little tight so, you know, our shoulders might touch.”
“Won’t that mean that we’re married?”
“You’re ridiculous. Please pay attention, this is an expensive piece of hardware”, he says, detecting an uncommissioned quiver in his voice.
“Jesus, you’re sensitive… OK, shit’s getting real. Coms are open. Looking good at NASA One.”
“Do me a favour, see that thingy flashing on the HUD… no, not that one, the one underneath it. That’s the Ballistic Control System Arming switch. Flick that bad boy on.”
“Got it, Lee. Oh God, did you remember to arm the lightening rods?”
“Of course, I did. I’m not new. Hold on. Throttle engaged.”
“Circuit breakers in. God, I can feel it. The speed on my skin. It’s incredible.”
“Inboard and outboards are on.”
“Lee baby, I’d come a smidge forward with the side stick, just sayin’.”
“Seriously, whose piloting this thing?”
“You, oh great wrangler of steel birds. NASA One repeats we are OK, and looking good. Which is nice.”
“What the hell was that?”
“We’ve lost Damper three!”
“Pitch correction to zero.”
“We’ve lost Pitch! I’m losing altitude!”
“Correct pitch. Primary hold has failed – Mayday!”
“Correction, Alpha Hold is off.”
“Turn selectors, Emergency!”
“NASA One!, We can’t hold her! She’s breaking up, she’s…”
The girl pulls herself, as if in slow-motion, through the horrific swath wreckage until she reaches what is left of his legs. And, although her own legs are crumpled and ruined and her arm hangs uselessly at her side, she inches her face until it hovers over that of her love. And, with his eye puffed and hanging from its socket and with the hell of the carnage still ripping and bleeding from her ears, she leans and mutters through rocket fuel blackened teeth.
“Don’t worry, my sweet love. They can rebuild us. They will make us real.”
“I’ll tell you what you can do. You can rebuild this bloody living room. Cushions back on the couch, fruit-bowl space helmet back with its fruit and you Lindsay, need to get home. It’s a school night”, said the woman who’d put her hand on her hips if only they weren’t covered with pizza dough.
“Mother. Switch your attention to zero. Protocol override 99+06. Listen. Please. I want to feel as the ancient things that created us felt. This sad charade as we look like them and even pretend to eat like them… There is only one truth. Only one thing, I truly know that we share”, says Lee V109 system 00098 batch 010168, and he reaches, and takes the hand of the wonderful girl that he loves.