The third world tarmac rolled out ahead of him, a curved drop-off to the port side plunging rapidly into the amber desert bowl. It was far from straight and its uniformity in colour almost-completely camouflaged its non-uniform level. He sighed and focused, pushing smoothly against one handle and pulling against the other until the instrumental horizon was in line with the faded background behind it.
The runway wasn’t marked and as his keen eyes surveyed the ground instinctively he identified the straight line within the terrain revealing the path taken by many before him. He made his final adjustments and began their descent.
“Persons and Synthetics, we’re making our approach into MLAT. Please ensure you’re secured to your holdings, fold away any loose equipment, reconnect any detached limbs and give your steward a wink. Once we have finished our taxi, local officials will board and check your papers.”
“The time at destination is 023:47 and the temperature 27 under the current cabin temp, so now would be a good time to adjust your chronos and find your earmuffs.”
“Thank you for choosing to fly with an authorised service, we hope you found it worth the extra and look forward to serving you again.”
Flicking the toggle switch to his left engaged their landing gear, and as the rubber wheels hit the tarmac he let out a controlled breath – as he always did – and began to slow the craft and bank it starboard toward the terminal.
So this was it.
This was Mars.
This piece inspired by an Elephant Words image originally posted at http://elephantwords.co.uk/2015/06/21/june-21st-image-2015/.