you look out at that barren plain

Some Years Into the Future...

“Houston?  Come in?”  The crackle of static was momentary as the signal reached back along the long empty distance between the rocky barren field and Earth.  Of course, the signal wasn’t really going to Earth, just as Houston was no longer the center for the space program.  But old habits turn into traditions, and this was one that had been too longstanding to change now.

“This is Luna Base One, we read you.”

“We’ve arrived at the coordinates, but sir…she’s not here.”

“What do you mean?  Say again, Mars One?”

“She’s not here, sir.  We are standing at the coordinates of her last message, but there’s nothing here but rocks.”

“Confirm status: Opportunity not there?”

“Confirmed, sir.”

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