“A Giant Leap for Mankind” (Story Dice Sundays)

A Giant Leap for Mankind

The astronaut flicked the radio off and looked to his companion. The message was clear: they wouldn’t be coming back. There was no easy way to say it, so they didn’t say anything.

The lander was damaged, its fuel leaked and frozen across the Moon’s surface. Takeoff was no impossible. Within a few hours, the President would be telling the world about their sacrifice.

But they had done it: they were here. On the Moon. They were the first humans to set foot on alien soil.

Their emotions were mixed. With sadness and pride they stood on the ashy barren moonscape. Earth hovered in the distance– it looked like the Moon used to, back home. They looked at the blue oceans and white clouds and green landmasses and yellow deserts with awe and envy. It looked close enough that one could just jump to it, if they could clear the Moon’s gravity; in fact, one of them thought about that for a split second, but them remembered the long days it took for them to reach the moon going hundreds of miles per hour.

There was only one way to go, one course of action to take: they would die. How they would do that was up to them: either wait for air to run out, or open their helmets by their own hands. Either way, at least they would have a nice view.

There would be others after them. They knew this. Mankind’s search into the unknown would continue.

This was their sacrifice: a giant leap for mankind.


Commentary

This was inspired by an almost-true incident involving the Apollo 11 landing. The mission was incredibly dangerous, and NASA had a protocol prepared if the astronauts could not make it back home.

In this piece, I wanted to show how thoughts and emotion can be expressed through actions and narration. I intentionally left out any dialogue or inner thoughts of the characters.

In this case, the pronoun “they” is referring to both astronauts. This can be tricky, because you’re assuming that both characters in the story are sharing the same feeling and emotion. But after being stranded on the Moon, I think it’d be safe to say that both Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would have had similar thoughts crossing their minds.

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