This story is by George Wallace and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Brad was in the spacecrafts that was heading for the surface of Mars the Red Planet. Brad sat at the pilot’s station watching the approaching planet surface. Waiting for the engines to fire to slow the descent. On the surface a monster Webweb was watching the strange craft approaching with his head tilted to one side staring with curiosity.
Brad watched as the surface approached at breakneck speed. Thinking back to all the simulations that he had done on earth. The events that were about to unfold were deeply ingrained in his brain. All the time Brad just kept on imagining he was still on earth. It was simple to control the craft.
The mother spacecraft was orbiting Mars with his colleagues in. Brad had been chosen as the astronaut who would walk on Mars first. A great honour.
The details of the planet surface began to come into focus. Brad ensured that the spacecraft was heading for an area that was flat and had no craters. Unlike the old Apollo spacecraft this Mars Warrior had a retractable landing gear that would be extended after the spacecraft retro engines had fired to slow the descent. At a height of 100 meters above the surface the retro engines fired. The spacecraft slowed down and the landing gear extended.
Webweb watched in awe as the retro rockets fired and the spacecraft slowed down. Then these things extended out of it.
Brad was very happy now the most mission critical part of his adventure was passed. The spacecraft had slowed down and was now gradually approaching the Martian surface. The landing gear had extended and was locked down. The area being approached was flat. No boulders or craters too close. There was one boulder that was quite close but far enough away to not cause any problems.
The touch down went perfectly. The space craft landed. Brad relaxed for the first time since leaving the Mother Craft. Everything had been meticulously planned for his 7 hours stay on Mars. The first thing Brad did was to contact the Mother Craft in orbit around Mars to confirm that all had gone well. The Brad ate the food that you are given it does not look too appetising but it tasted great.
The two spacemen and two spaceladies had slept most the way from Earth to Mars. It had taken 45 days to arrive. They had been woken up two days from Mars in time to see the two orbiting moons of Mars Phobos and Deimos. What a beautiful sight it had been to see the Red Planet up close. Now Brad had to sleep for 5 hours and get ready for the first Mars Walk by a human. Looking out at the barren surface. The only feature was a huge boulder. There were mountains in the distance. Brad spoke to the Mothership to confirm that he was going to sleep. They would be out of radio contact for some time.
Webweb had watched the landing sequence in awe. He could see this thing moving about in the machine. Then the thing that had been shining in the craft went out. Webweb waited for 10 minutes. Then walked towards the craft. On reaching it Webweb touched the craft gingerly. It was hard and warm. Webweb walked around it looking at it carefully. Nothing moved and there looked like there was no entrance to it. He sat down and watched. Nothing happened. Webweb picked up a stone and threw it at the craft. There was a loud bang as it hit the craft. But it just bounced back towards Webweb. More stones were thrown but they just bounced back.
Brad slept inside the craft blissfully unaware of what was going on outside. After 20 minutes of throwing stones Webweb decided it was having no effect. Sat down and waited.
Four hours later Brad awoke. Turned on the light and went through his morning ritual. Webweb on seeing the light come on jumped up and ran back to his hiding place.
Brad got ready for his first planned Martian Walk. All of his suit was ready to wear. He got into it. Put on his helmet and climbed into the airlock. Shut the inner door. Depressurised the airlock and opened the outer door. The view was amazing. A vast flat plain with a few boulders about and mountains in the distance. As in the simulator it was so easy to fit the ladder. Then climb down onto the Martian surface. Brad stood on the landing gear then jumped on to the surface.
Behind the boulder Webweb watched as this thing climbed out of the craft. It looked similar to him, but was not covered in hair. The head was a big white dome with what looked like a shiny thing on the front of it. It had climbed down and was on the surface. Heading towards me. Webweb decided to be brave and stood up and shouted “Hello”. The speaker in Brad’s helmet broadcast “Hello”. A device called Alien Translator had been added to the suit that would take any language that was detected by the microphone and translate it into English. When Brad spoke the Alien Translator would broadcast the translated language that they hoped the alien would understand. Brad had received training in what to do on meeting an alien. He replied “Hello, how are you?”. Webweb was shocked this thing that was nothing like him could speak in his language.
Webweb decided that this thing was friendly. It could speak his language. He walked out from behind the boulder. Brad looked in amazement at this alien. It seemed friendly and wanted to meet him. The Alien Translator worked. This was a huge benefit to communications. The alien was about the same height as Brad. It had hands with four fingers. The face looked almost human. The hair was something else. It was so long and it covered most of the body except the face. The feet had four toes. That were all the same length.
“Nice to meet you, what is your name please I am called Brad” said Brad. “My name is Webweb, I come from this planet. We live underground”. Being very careful not to touch Webweb Brad said “I come from Earth pointing at a tiny dot in the Martian sky. We came in our ship and we come in peace”.
Webweb replied “we are a peaceful people living under the surface”. Then he asked “Why are you wearing that suit and helmet”? “Without this I cannot breathe and survive on Mars” replied Brad. Come with me to our area we have an oxygen filled environment” replied Webweb.
Brad followed Brad to what looked like a boulder. But Webweb just opened a small panel and flicked a switch. The boulder hinged upwards exposing a set of stairs. “Come with me do not be afraid” said Webweb.
Brad followed Webweb down the stairs to what looked like an air lock. It automatically opened as they approached and it closed when they had entered. There was a hissing sound and the inner door opened. Webweb walked in and said now take off your suit. Brad pulled out what looked like a gun and pulled trigger. The dial turned to green. He undid his helmet and removed it. The air although breathable was very dry. Webweb stared at Brad looking at his features. “We are very similar” said Webweb. “We are” replied Brad.
Brad looked at his watch and said “I have to go back to my space craft to go back to my people. We will come back again. We want to meet you and your leaders”.
After putting his helmet back on Brad and Webweb walked back to the space craft. Webweb went behind the boulder and the space craft lifted off to go back to its mother ship. There were no problems and the undercarriage retracted as the ship accelerated away from the planet’s surface.
Maybe just maybe mankind can live with and work with these people, Brad thought to himself. If we can keep it out of the clutches of politicians for as long as possible.
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