Mission to Mars 1


RTS Doomed Vessel, Mars

The alarm clock
buzzed, and Martin took a careful peek under his sleeping mask. He sighed and
closed his eyes again.

Let someone else get it, he
thought. I’ll just sleep for a few more

At that moment,
someone hit the snooze button and the terrible buzzing ceased.

Yes…just a few more minutes of—

WAKE UP!!!!” shouted Uriah, ripping the mask from Martin’s face.

“Go away Uri,”
he groaned.

“But today’s the
day!” Martin’s little brother exclaimed, beaming with excitement.

“So what?”

“So, it’s a
whole new world to explore!”

“You think
there’ll be enough space to get separate rooms in this new world?” Martin
asked, unstrapping himself from the wall. “‘Cause if not, I’m not interested.”

“Come on, let’s
see if we can see it.” Uriah pushed himself over to the porthole window and
pressed a button on a side panel. The dark window faded out of sleep mode and a
clear view of the planet emerged. They were already in orbit.

“There it is!”
shouted Uriah. “We’re here, we’re here! The red planet!”

Martin looked
out the window at the vibrant red against the awesome blackness of space; the
rising sun on the horizon and stars glimmering faintly in the background. He

“So what? Red
planet, brown planet, blue planet…it’s all the same to me.”

Except for the fact that the planet’s basically a
trash heap…and the fact that there’s no formal government…and the fact that I
don’t have any friends here…

Uriah smiled
mischievously. “You’re just sad because you had to leave Lai.”

“Whatchu just
say?” Martin pushed off his wall and caught his brother by the shoulders. He
shook the seven-year-old, then tickled him. “That’s a secret. We don’t talk about that!”

Uriah laughed
and shrieked. “Stop! Quit it!”

Uri wriggled
free. He pushed off his brother towards the door of the small cabin.

“Where do you
think you’re going!” Martin shouted after him.

“I’m going to
tell everyone that you were in love with the weird girl!”

Martin grabbed a
handrail and launched his weight (…or weightlessness?) at his brother. “Oh no you don’t!”

He grabbed his
little brother by the arm. He put Uriah in a headlock with one arm and tickled his stomach with his
free hand.

“Stop!” Uri shrieked between giggles and gasps “Stop!”

Just then, the
cabin door slid open, and the boys’ father floated there, staring,

“Now what exactly is going on here?” the stern man

Martin quickly
released his brother from the headlock.

“Martin was
trying to kill me!” Uriah squealed.

“No I wasn’t, I
was just tickling him.”

Martin’s father
cracked a smile “Just ticking, huh?”

Two seconds
later, a three-way tickling war was underway. No mercy was shown, no quarter
given, no surrender was possible. But in time, peace talks took place, and the
three sworn enemies decided to join forces against a common foe: the girls.

They laid in
ambush, and Dad, the leader, steadied his troops.

Mom and
sixteen-year-old Kia floated down the main corridor. At just the right moment,
Dad gave the signal, and the trap was sprung. The three boys lurched out of the

For their prey,
it was too late. They were too busy laughing to fight off their attackers. It
was a sorry, bitter battle; a massacre.

“Jordan!” Mom
managed to scream. “Stop!”

“I’m gonna kill you two!” laughed Kia.

And for a
while, the Vasil family was as it used to be—before the journey, before
the calling, before the disputes.


“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your
captain speaking. We are now in standard orbit around Mars. Landing crafts will
be arriving shortly to take you to the surface and complete your journey. Until then, please enjoy your breakfast. Today’s menu includes dehydrated eggs, space cheese and pita bread. We hope you had a pleasant
flight and thank you for choosing Crash Prone Probes: ‘Twice the Fatalities,
Three-Sixteenths the Price’.”

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Mission to Mars 1

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