The around his head. He reached for the

The smell of burnt toast made Glen smile. Must be Carrie at it again trying her hand at breakfast. The alarm clock beeped. “Alright, alright. I’m up.” Glen motioned to get up. Restraints clamped him back down. He opened his eyes. Red light pulsated through thick smoke. Glen coughed and wafted smoke out of his face. “Oxygen critical. Oxygen critical.” The robotic female voice boomed throughout the small cockpit. Glen reached under his seat for the fire extinguisher. But the fire was almost completely dead. It had eaten up most of the oxygen, leaving behind white plumes of smoke. His fingers ran along the command console. Nothing worked. Backup power had been damaged. Life support on its last legs. Glen grabbed his suit’s helmet and clamped it on. Fresh air swirled around his head. He reached for the red emergency exit lever. Glen stumbled out of the craft. The rear fuselage had crumpled, absorbing most of the impact. All supplies destroyed. He kicked the hull of the spaceship. A pain shot up his leg. “Goddammit.” Glen clenched his teeth and balled his fists. He punched the damaged hull. “Piece of shit.” He regretted the outburst, having consumed more oxygen than necessary and now feeling every ache and pain from the crash. He twisted his torso and stretched out his arms. Sore, but serviceable. His temples throbbed. He read the atmospheric gauge on his suit—too much carbon dioxide to be breathable. “Ground control. Glen reporting in. Copy.” Radio static. Neon blue translucent grasslike nodules stretched beyond the horizon in all directions. Glen craned his neck behind him. Nothing back there but blue and moon. Was it the moon? Glen remembered blast off and leaving the atmosphere. A resupply mission to Mars. Maybe a one-way ticket but hopefully not. He needed to see her again. At least one more time. “Baby, the stars look funny tonight.” Carrie lay beside him on the rough red and black checkered blanket. The night sky looked stretched out with stars smudged against its black canvas. “Scientists say it’s some strange weather phenomenon.” Glen knew it was a wormhole. It had all the characteristics of one. But he didn’t want to frighten her. “Isn’t that going to delay your mission?” That’s why they’re sending me up there. He wanted to say it, but couldn’t. He rolled on top of her. She giggled. “Don’t worry about me, darling. I’ll be fine.”