“Grou…Ground…Ground Contr…Control…Ground Control, Can you…Can you hear me?”
The voice, which once was strapped to the front of an irate and shabbily constructed rocketship damned to fall back into Earth’s orbit, somehow, by some spiteful miracle of a hilarious God, was now surrounded by the shrapnel of his vessel as he floated beyond the abyss of ethereal matter.
He moved slowly but unstoppably toward the vial unknown. Would the cold, lack of oxygen or mournful wisecracks that fell only on his own ears be the death of this third-string astronaut?
The stars, which twinkled their ancient dances, glowed ominously in this ever-expanding suspension of perceivable nothingness. The nearest star to set him on fire? 4.2 lightyears away. Mars? No shot of salvation there, that’s 81 million miles away. Well, one can suppose 79 million now, and any odds of an asteroid blowing him to bits? One in oblivion.
For now, what was certain was eventual suffocation days from now when the life support finally puffed its last breath. The astronaut sighed deeply, the static of his radio still bled into his ears.
“Well, at least I’m not spinning,” he said softly to himself.
That was until a bright light cut through his helmet’s visor and a small but mighty spaceship blew by him resulting in the spinning he had, up to that point, managed to avoid narrowly.
The astronaut settled his rotation and watched the rocketship move and maneuver at incalculable speeds. It twisted, turned, flipped and whizzed around the vacuum of empty space. They say that there was no sound in space but you’d be fooled into thinking that a thousand fighter jets buzzed by. The ship flew in circles around the astronaut as the light illuminated from the center of the universe and crested over the front of the ship like a blood orange wave at sunset off the coast of Cape Cod.
Stunned and lost in this transcendental fever dream the astronaut raised his hand and waved at the starship which was now pulling up next to him.
The astronaut stared back at his reflection in the glass of the ship for a moment before the window lowered revealing what looked like a humanoid man adorned in the dress of an early 1900s biplane pilot listening to “Seaside Woman” by Linda McCartney. The star-man lifted his goggles revealing pale rings around his eyes.
“Even aliens get sunburned,” the astronaut thought to himself. The stranger’s pupils were purple and his teeth were sharp as he smiled and waved back at the lost spaceman.
“I’m heading to Mars, need a ride?”