Tell A Tale in 500 Words

A change in location By Taylor Brown

“The thing about space travel is that it’s never a big deal until days before the next big launch. At least, that was the case in my experience. Nobody cared that I would be embarking on the first mission to Mars until it was featured on the BBC. Then again, most British people had already assumed that the Space Program had been abandoned thirty or so years ago.

Nevertheless, when I walked down the street, suddenly, people knew who I was. I couldn’t walk down the street without someone yelling something at me.

“Adrian! What’s space like?”

“Are you nervous?”

“What about your family? And friends?” I supposed they were just curious, and coming from the mindset that this was some great noble gesture, to leave the world behind, to help mankind achieve a new kind of impossible. I used to think of it like that too. Until the decline of the world in the early 21st century. It sent the world into chaos; countries were at the brink of war and no one knew who to trust. Politics were a joke, and politicians were worse. I knew there was nothing left for me to hope for, so I decided to leave. “

“And what about the people you were leaving behind? The people you cared about?”

“They understood my reasons. We needed to get out, all of us, before it was too late. And someone had to be the first. I hate that people consider what I’ve done to be a grand gesture for humanity, it’s not about that. I did what I thought was necessary, and worked my life away to achieve that. And here we are.”

“But you must admit, you’re something of a celebrity now, Adrian.”

“An accident. I don’t like the idea of people watching me, waiting for me to make a mistake. It’s been horrible to adjust to that.”

“I can imagine, yes. So then, of course, came the accident.”

“Four hundred thousand people were on that craft. Some idiot installed the wrong kind of fuse down in the engine room. A power surge that cost every single man, woman and child their life. It was supposed to be our first colony, we could have set up civilisation here a decade early.”

“This happened in, what? 2054?”

“Yeah, July 14th. It took six years for anyone to trust space travel again. And we were still up here, and still alone, and Earth was getting worse and worse. It was a terrible time.”

“Well, I’m afraid we’ve run out of time. Thank you for sharing your evening with me, Adrian, and we all look forward to hearing about your next venture.”

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