Story Contest 2018 #1 - Outstanding Stories (Junior) »

Mars, The second attempt

“Mars, The second attempt” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Yajat Charpe, Oakridge International School, Bangalore, India.

Mars, The second attempt

It was the day, the 27th of March 2036. Two years after the failed attempt, there was a lot of controversy on the mission that follows. Unfortunately, that mission would be theirs. Due to the lack of funding, the crew was decreased from 12 to just 3. The controversies were fuelled by only and only, mars are impossible to reach with their current day technologies. But for some reasons, Ben Sawyer thought they all were wrong. Two years ago, their rocket had shattered on reaching escape velocity because of a comet. They had to abort the mission and spend 6 hours fixing the launch craft.

His team had arrived earlier than he had, and everybody seemed to be enthusiastic, all except for the news reporters. "Simon shut up!" he screamed at a murmuring Simon. And he replied, "don't lose it, I know". Both of them looked like they would make up their mind on who was going to die in the next ten seconds. But then they let it go. Marci was waking up the ladder already to the top. They thought it was better to stop.

In no time they found themselves in the spacecraft's cockpit, which had space for 8 more people. The cockpit was automatically adjusted to whether it was time for unloading or not. So it was flat. They sat down and strapped up. They also belted up. Then the cockpit itself shifted its place to look towards the sky. It was time for the launch. They heard the loud words, “ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one", liftoff!" the voice went. He didn't understand how much time was already over before he finally reached a black place, where he had learned how to use the spacecraft and had worse memories.

As soon as he reached this place, Ben exclaimed, “I told you guys nothing would go wrong this time around!" acting very irritated. Two years ago, a small comet had hit the side of the spacecraft and damaged it badly. So it was nothing more than a miracle that they made. It was pretty much silent for the next 10 hours, as they approached the Martian orbit.

And at the best time something bad could happen was now, it was 5 minutes before touchdown and a fuse just blew. "aww", Ben groaned, "I'll go eject that fuse". He knew this was dangerous as he had to locate the fuse in less than 5 minutes and there was no stopping. The sad part was that fuse broke the circuit for the repulsors, which landed the craft. Ben flew across the corridors to the circuit corridor, just wide enough to shove three people from shoulder to shoulder. He removed the box named 12 B and found ten circuits and 20 circuit breakers. Generally he would search for the one that was triggered, but this time he just approached the exact number and location. He pulled it off and he put the box back into the place. He then flew back. He had done the job 2 minutes before time.

The spacecraft had just swung into place and was ready for landing. And then, out of the blue, or to be exact out of the red, a fire warning was reported on the circuit box 12 B. This was the engine 2 controller and thus was necessary for the landing. They hoped for the best and switched off the engine. "noooooooooooo" Simon said, "this can't be!" "Well it just did", Marci screamed. "Shut up will you, you both!" Ben screamed just seconds before they landed.

The first thing they noticed that they still were alive, second, they couldn't stay here for long. Simon smashed the deploy button and then turned the rover. "run!", Ben screamed, "Get out of there. They all ran out to the bridge, activated their suits and ran out of the dangerous spacecraft. "Get into the rover!" Marci managed, “Where is the rover?" Simon replied pointing towards an open gate in the bottom of the spacecraft “there!” They jogged, as they couldn’t run in their suits towards the rover, immediately initializing it. Simon jumped in and so did Ben and Marci. Without even preparing the airlock Simon pushed the rover into full speed intercepting all the warnings, the maximum speed of the rover was 20 miles per hour.

Just as they were a few hundred meters away, near the base the rocket blasted. They had succeeded in being the first to step onto mars, and they also were the very first ones to survive. As soon as Ben replied to the first radio message from the ground station, he replied, ”we made it and all in one piece, just the rocket didn’t make it.” “Why? What happened?” One of the controllers asked some 10 seconds later. “A fuse blew on 12B engine 2 circuit box, set the whole circuit room on fire.”

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