Flight From Earth

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Chapter 30

Stepping into the vehicle gave me the creeps, but I steadily myself as I gripped the entry with my glove to pull myself up and inside. After pressing the button, the hatch door came door behind me.

“Thanks for the invitation…”

Crouching, I waddled forward through the empty storage area towards the driver’s seat and slid in the chair behind the windshield. Dusk was settling in as the temperature dropped outside and the brightness was beginning to fade. Looking out, I could see my own craft’s skirted base that was now covered up by the drifting sands. Seeing my cell against the grim background of desolation made my spirits drop.

“No time for that,” I reassured myself taking deep breaths while knowing that I was now close to twenty-four hours away from a night of ferocious storms.

It was clear that I should come take a look inside, but I dragged my feet at following through and actually coming to her craft. The thought of going into her space made my skin crawl. Looking down at the front seat and dash, I surveyed the area before me. Nothing much was left behind other than the emergency box. Reaching down, I grabbed the box printed here on Mars and clicked it open to peek inside. A flare, an emergency blanket, a beacon, a cord of rope, some tools were scattered about. My hands pawed at them, but found little that could help me escape.

“It was a long shot anyway.”

The panel before me was dark with the displays empty. I reached forward and flipped the power on. Immediately, the lights flickered and the skiff came to life. The whirring of machinery combined with the huff of air circulating. I took note of the oxygen level and then lowered my facemask. I could squeeze a day out of living in here if needed according to the readings.

The dashboard stretched out in front of me as I slumped in the chair before gathering up the strength to head back outside. Taking another minute to wallow in pity, I then pulled myself together.

“No time for this. Get up,” and I rose from my seat.

The longer I stay alive, the better chance I have for a miracle.

One thing was certain: the storms were on their way. There was work to be done to ensure that my Plan B provided an escape if necessary.

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