misqueue: grey titmouse(?) sitting amongst blossoms (Default)
misqueue ([personal profile] misqueue) wrote2013-09-14 10:30 am

[Ficlet] Vanguard (1/1)

This should be the end of spamming your reading page for the day!

Vanguard

platonic Blaine/Santana | T | Science Fiction | AU, planetary exploration, friendship | for januarium's AU prompt: Blaine & Santana, Mars Colonisation | Santana Lopez was the first human being to set foot on Mars. | ~800 words




Santana Lopez was the first human being to set foot on Mars. The rover, Wayfarer VI (though she had already nicknamed it Jarvis) met the landing craft and broadcast the video footage back to Earth. It felt like a movie moment, where she should whip off her helmet and swing her hair slow motion, but she'd rather keep breathing.

The bright red Coca Cola logo emblazoned on the rover was the first thing that caught her attention, though she'd never admit to that. Instead she later told the journalists that it was the horizon: the rusty red iron sands fanning out toward dark gray rocky outcrops, wispy blue tinted clouds in the wide pink sky. She'd been living in a soup can for the past six months; and it was beautiful.

The gravity of the planet pulled at her bones. She felt wonderfully solid.

Behind her, Blaine Anderson was the second human being to set foot on Mars. (He'd lost the last round of virtual squash, and though she suspected he'd thrown it, given this was the prize? She'd let her sense of integrity suck up the dishonor just this once. He'd be indignant at the accusation, anyway. No fun to be had.)

It was tempting—and the urge took hold of her deep in her belly—to slip out of the space suit and run, free, across the fine red sands, run toward that gorgeous horizon. But she knew well the hostility of the atmosphere out there: frigid and bereft of oxygen.

She should say something now, something grand and important. Instead she said into her helmet radio, "Smile for the cameras, Anderson." That's what would go down in the history books. Sponsored by Coca Cola.

In her ear, Blaine laughed softly. "Showtime, huh?" he said, and she guessed that one was on their private frequency only. They both had reservations about the commercial aspects of the journey, but they both also had dreamed desperately of being the ones who would be standing here now, no matter what it took.

So they mugged for the corporate cameras. And then they got to work. They wouldn't be sleeping in the landing capsule tonight. The materials for the prefab dome had preceded them, along with the machines to assemble everything. The advanced computer of the landing capsule was the missing piece required to begin.

Once they double-checked all the variables and ran all the requisite diagnostics, they initiated the program. Then there was little to do but sit back and wait. They went for a walk, finding the perimeter of what was taking shape as the first Martian base, taking video and photographs of the inflating buildings and unfurling radar arrays, providing commentary both scientific and personal.

Walking was brilliant, actually covering ground with their legs. Blaine had been threatening to destroy the treadmill on board their ship. Complained of feeling too much like a hamster. But it remained above them, on their ship in orbit, which was itself providing a comms relay between them, the Earth, and the six man craft that followed them, one month behind.

They completed their perimeter walk and lowered themselves to sit upon a rise, side by side. Strange that after being cooped up together for six months they weren't running in opposite directions. When she'd first met Blaine, she hadn't believed it could work. But the psychologists had vetted them thoroughly to make sure their personalities were compatible, that the close quarters wouldn't drive them to mutual homicide.

And they'd been right. Despite her reservations (the guy was so fucking earnest), she'd grown fond of Blaine. They'd become something closer than friends, closer than family: partners at the level of not only survival and endurance, but also of curiosity and the brightest vision. Where she was sharp, he was soft. Where she angered, he calmed. Where she resisted, he yielded. But their passion was the same, their single-minded drive. Their instincts were complementary. It worked. They worked.

She turned to see the sunrise flare across the bubble of Blaine's helmet shield. Wished she could see his face right now. She could imagine the awe in his pretty hazel eyes. She'd bet money there were tears, too. "We made it," she said, and leaned her weight sideways until the shoulders of their suits were touching. It was a well-insulated, muted contact, but contact nonetheless.

And then Blaine started singing: "It's a god-awful small affair..."

Santana laughed, overflowing with abrupt, fierce and rapturous joy. She got up and offered Blaine one thick-gloved hand. He took it and stood. She joined in his singing as they moved through a lumbering dance together.

She tipped her head back as far as she could, saw the sunlight reflecting on Phobos high above. "Look at those cavemen go!"



(The song they sing is David Bowie's "Life on Mars")

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