Bryan Beal

What Could Go Wrong?

© Bryan Beal

Your mother ever tell you off for accepting a dare? You wouldn't be alone. Lillian was regretting a recent decision. She had been regretting it since she made it. Perhaps it was the hand floating past her helmet's visor that twigged her to the idea that this was a bad choice. Fortunately, it wasn't her hand. She checked. Four hands accounted for. Two organic and two cybernetic.

That could only mean that her partner in crime, not the darer, had come a cropper and had been cropped a little. Blood gushed in deep red marbles of liquid, until they bounced off the side of the space station. It an odd moment of clarity, Lillian realised that the name “red planet” was a bit of a lie. It was more a rusty shit colour that contrasted rather well with Frank's blood.

Speaking of Frank, Lillian retroed about but could find no trace of the man. Except for the hand, that is. Somehow, Mars' gravity reached even that and started to pull it into its thin atmosphere. Lillian felt a tinge of sadness that no one on the surface would be suddenly decked by the hand making its touch down on them.

Cast against the lights from the distant Mars B Station, a neon Christmas Tree that would have put any constellation to shame, an eruption of liquid burst from the side of Lillian's home station. Large chunks of debris told her all she needed to know. Frank.

To the left of the opening, Frank had successfully written “The war of the worlds isn't over, monk...”. That was until he got sucked into the open cooling ducts that kept the ion stabilisers cool. Someone must have hit the reverse button when they saw that it had picked something up and that the grill had been removed.

Who would remove the grill from the opening? Lillian had a few ideas and that disturbed her.

So much for the literary resistance of Mars. Their first action had gone south real fast.