She’d heard all the comments: Everyone only remembers the first person to do something. Once it’s done once, it’s not exciting. Who was the second person on the moon, after all?
But really—being the second person on Mars was still pretty damn exciting.
The ship drifted in space, sensors active, waiting for the radiation surge to abate so the crew could be revived. But the stasis pods weren’t shielded against this type of radiation, and what emerged would be very different from what had gone in.
The parts arrived in the mail, each one with just enough instructions to allow him to attach it to what had come before. Who sent them or what they would build were the mystery that kept him working, but the quantity of needles was starting to worry him.
“Truly,” thought the commander, overlooking the fleet of ships before their eyes, “this is magnificent. Surely, no fleet as superb as this one had been seen since—“
“Turn off the holoprojector and get in bed! Now!”
One nice thing about the aliens being so selective about who they accepted, even if the reasons were unknown, was that anyone who wasn’t an economically privileged cis straight white male could just get on with their lives. Things improved quickly.
Only after she let her fingers slip over the side of the boat to drift through the water did she realize that the lake was more clear than she thought. Or at least, the murky substance wasn’t part of the water, as it flowed over her hand and up her arm.
“Ready for your upgrade?”
“You know it! Even made sure to shave the back of my neck this morning for the port installation.”
“Seriously? Do you have any idea what hacking into your spine like that would do to you? You’ve seen The Matrix too many times.”
“You know damn well it’s not a question of whether I’m able to do the job,” she snapped. “I have twice his experience, not to mention at least twice the number of limbs, depending on how you count the cybernetics. He still has to do his own damn work.”
“No, really,” he said. “We’d love to stay. In any other circumstance, we would. But….” He glanced over at his husband and took his hand, then turned back to their host, forcing himself to look into the wet, empty sockets where its eyes should have been.
Floating above the planet, tethered to the shuttle as he worked, was one of his favorite places to be. At least it was until he felt the first tentative touch of something on his arm, pulling him away from his station—and knew it was inside his suit.