Sunday, 28 February 2016


The first thing I noticed as we blazed through the skies above Mars in suborbit was the complete lack of physical G-forces being exerted on us. Nick, Dick, and I were standing, and we continued to stand without needing to hold onto anything to support ourselves. If this had been the Albatross, the three of us would have been hurled backward and smeared across the rear bulkhead. I was starting to fall in love with this baby already. Dick was looking at his watch as if he had to be somewhere else and was in a hurry to get there. I thought of offering to drop him off (without slowing down) but continued to look out the windows instead. I think it was my imagination, but it looked to me that the starry backdrop behind Mars was blurring as well; I wondered at the speed we would have to be doing for that to happen and what power would be necessary to propel us to it. In what seemed like no time at all, we started decelerating and dropping altitude. Not that we felt any change, but the Martian landscape below us gradually became less blurry and started to rise up toward us. We dropped down to an altitude of ten meters, and then the ship rotated ninety degrees to port and floated toward the hangar doors.
“Hey guys, I’m back.” Dick said, I hadn’t noticed that he’d been missing.”How long did it take you to circumnavigate this planet in the Albatross?” Dick asked.
“Two hours, but we weren’t pushing it. Why?” Nick asked.
“This machine just did it in thirty minutes! I timed it with my watch,” Dick said.
“OK, that’s that. I’m flying this baby to the moon and back! Well actually close to the moon and back,” I interjected.
I looked forward just in time to see the ship stop its forward motion in front of the Albatross, rotate its bow ninety degrees to port, and reverse into its parking spot. I heard the whines, hums, and clunks as the landing gear swung down and locked into place before the ship settled gently to the deck. Impressive! I ordered the ship to open the outer hull door but nothing happened. So I did the woman thing and ordered it to open the hull door again (nagging, basically). Still it did not obey!
“Dick, why won’t this bloody thing open its bloody hull door?”
“I would guess that it is waiting for the hangar to fill with air before opening the door to avoid killing us.”
“Oh yeah. That makes sense, I guess.”
“Aren’t you glad this alien spacecraft is smarter than you, mate?” Nick enquired.
Then, to add insult to injury, we all heard the hull door slide open. We exited the ship and I headed toward the Albatross at a brisk pace.
“Where are you going in such a hurry?” Nick yelled after me.
I stopped and called back,
“I’m going to talk to Vladimir. I like being the bearer of glad tidings, and it’s been a long time since I have been.”

I turned and resumed my journey toward the Albatross. I virtually jumped up the ramp into the ship, then I dropped into my chair on the flight deck, grabbed the mike, and keyed the transmit button.