By Morgan Hannah, Life & Style Editor
Grasping at the slick glass and insulating fabric, I release the pressure and tear off my helmet. Holding my breath—a fruitless effort, but one I pursue nonetheless—for a moment, then another. I can’t anymore—I’m forced to exhale only to find myself still alive. Mental note: red, sandy alien planet sustains human life. So far. A small smile creeps across my damp face, the surprisingly cool air fanning at my skin in small whiffs as an almost sulphuric breeze surrounds me. I’m not dead yet, so I don’t believe I will be any time soon.
Overriding my fear of the unknown and stuffing it down below my excitement for discovery, I strip off the heavy material covering my body. Once free from my protective suit, I take a tentative step out of the mouth of the ship and into the soft sand. It embraces my shoes with a familiarity akin to that of stepping into a pile of playdough. Quick side glances let me know I am in fact alone. Whatever it was I saw moments before is now gone. Perhaps the species that inhabit this foreign planet are shy, timid creatures. Perhaps I will be corrupting them with my boisterous human nature.
“The question is… what do I do now?” My voice is wicked away like a bead of sweat on a runner’s brow, lost in a terrestrial atmosphere. I walk a couple of steps forwards, creating footprints in the extra fine sand as I take in my surroundings more closely. The bloody red mountains are further away than at first glance, their peaks are swamped in wispy orange and pink clouds. There seems to be no obvious vegetation or water in sight and the entire landscape is made up of shades of red, orange, and rose. The air is thick, warm, and stinky; dense particles feel like they are resting on my skin for a long stay, much like a cat burrowing into a blanket.
Suddenly, a soft clicking noise echoes from behind me and every hair stands up on my skin. My body is a field of grass in a storm.