The 'lock was blown. It had all the evidence of being blown in, a ring of shape charges meant to blow the doors in, but the debris was blown out with the escaped air. The escaped life.
He peered through the blasted airlock, rifle holstered over his back. There was no threat here. There had not been in years. He stepped in.
He'd landed a good three kilometers out. It wasn't necessary, really, but it was. He walked the roads he knew as a child, though telepresently. He'd walked in. Through the blasted craters, over the roads unfit for anything other than sad reminders of what was lost. He walked on. He walked to.
Despite the jagged, mangled metal, he's was thoroughly protected. His hardsuit would protect him from the smashed town. The smashed home. The lost land of his youth. His gauntlets grated against the teeth of the dragon of death. His knees banged across hatches that closed nevermore. He was in.
He needed no guide, but he had one still. He was alone, but he was not. It was his home, but no longer. No longer. He came though to face a truth. The truth.
There were no corpses in the town. Despite all the death. The attack that had breached the lock, the infantry who had poured through as a murderous flood, had left virtually everyone dead. There was no way the civilian town of Muskies even with a Marine squad and militia could have survived the battle. They could not have resisted. Yet they tried. They were not given another option. After the war, the bodies were collected, mulched and recycled. All with all the corpses of the pets. All the food. Everything remotely alive or could be consumed. Organics were too precious on Mars.
He moved through the tunnels, wandered the scored and scorched chambers and ambled to the greenhouse. It was the playground of his youth. And not his along. A pang. The reason he was here.
The soldiers had fought bravely. They had killed far more of the enemy coming in trying to take town, to remove the colonists. If the organics were not so precious, they'd have dropped a rock on the town and been done with it. However this was Mars and Martian logic, Martian needs, ruled. It brought no solace many of the enemy were mulched, too. The pain was too great.
He held himself together for a moment, but just a moment. It was too intense. The pangs of pain. It was too much. He breathed deep and walked back outside and back to his ship. He left the tunneled habitat. His demons lapping at his heels.
He emerged and climbed the hill above the entrance. There was a crater there, from a chamber below collapsing. He skirted that marker of the death of those within, but thought better and stared down. The debris within had been cleared. The bodies from the room. They too were gone. Too precious.
He felt sick. He was Martian, but he still felt sick.
He looked away and out to the horizon. Too near for someone from Earth. Too far for a child of the Red Planet growing up in the cramped habitats of Mars. Fenceless, yet far more confining. He could never be lost here even with the passage of time. Here was timeless, but still changing. A ghost, a spectre of a world long lost.
He returned to his ship to grieve.
Once more, after a night and a restless, nightmare wracked sleep, he went back to the habitat of his childhood. His demons more at bay than they had been in some time, yet howling beyond those same too far, too near horizons. He entered once more his haunted home. He went with purpose.
Through the greenhouses.
Under the bone dry, red dusted hydroponics and fish tanks. Into the pump rooms and past. To a storage room. And into what would have been a cache some unnamed Martian had hidden contraband and sold it from. He'd found it when he was little. There he'd hid, in an unmarked, unknown place. Suited and safe. Ten.
But not alone.
The disguised door was still shut. Sealed it seemed. Perhaps untouched since when he'd emerged. Twenty five years ago.
He pressed the remembered lock. It was much lower than he remembered. He'd been ten though and the world had shrank in the mean time. He pressed and the secret unpowered mechanical device clicked and the door's crack was revealed. He tried to swing it open.
It was stuck.
He was prepared and used the pry bar he'd brought. He pulled and pried and pushed. He became possessed by the demons he was haunted by attacked the door with everything he and his hard suit had. Finally, finally it opened.
His suit's lights illuminated the small chamber and he collapsed to his knees.
There. In the dark. Rested a suit. Holed.
He dropped to his knees and began to weep. He sobbed but choked it out.
"I kept my promise. I walked and kept walking. I lived and will never die. My heart is full of sorrow, but I kept my promise. Now let us bury you, calm my demons and set me free. Set me free....Brother."
inspired by this stupid, beautiful viral commercial.