One Larger Step

Written for creative writing class, largely inspired by the movie “Martian,” RD’s song “Lost Dream Generation,” and DiPP.



In 1969, three voyagers took to the moon, carrying the hopes of the generation with them. The world was changing at such a fast pace, one could only imagine what endeavours the future held. However, as if those voyagers left all those grand dreams behind on the moon with them, humans seemingly lost their curious nature, and with it, the desire to explore the unknown. With no great goals to chase after, what were we to put all our emotion into?

In an attempt to take back those lost dreams, a new mission was planned. With more grandiose ambitions than ever, the people of Earth decided to attempt to colonize Mars. Eight brave travellers, each seeking a new beginning, left behind everything they have ever known for a new life. A new life that any sane person could tell was bound for tragedy.

Out of 100 initial candidates, only a handful of us finally left for Mars, a mere eight.
Yes… It was just after we arrived that I abandoned my humanity.

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We had arrived. Looking out the window, I saw a lake. “I wonder what Martian water tastes like,” I thought. The philosopher of the group, I gazed at the scenery, pondering the meaning of our coming here, when a dust storm kicked up and brought my mind back down to Mars. Next thing I knew, the lake had disappeared.

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The geologist of the group, I immediately rushed out and began analyzing the soil. There is so much more a living person can learn more directly, rather than working from a rover. I was curious, more so than that one Curiosity, and drifted further from the camp looking for different types of rocks. Soon, I noticed a lake far in the distance. “That’s right, there’s water on Mars, isn’t there,” I thought, but as I travelled towards it, the water grew increasingly distant. By the time I came to my senses and realized it must have been a mirage, a dust storm picked up, and I was unable to find my way back.

Seven brave travellers remained.
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When we landed, we began to establish our settlement. At the camp, we had to set up a water filtration system, an air pressure stabilizer, and all other life support systems. It was my job as the engineer to ensure that everything was set up properly, though I wouldn’t doubt it if my looks led to me becoming commander either. After we finished the main installation, I went outside to hook up the solar panels. A fellow astronaut handed me the cords, but the moment I turned around and plugged them in, I was then taken away.

Six brave travellers remained.
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That night, we came together to celebrate our successful voyage. We had written a big page in the book of human history, and although we were unable to return, things weren’t so bad here. We had lost contact with two of our number, but things should return to normal again soon. As the doctor of the group, I was unable to bring myself to smoke or drink with the rest, and went to bed early – a mistake. Now without my head, never again will I be healthy.
Five brave travellers remained.
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I couldn’t stand it anymore. I, the physicist, knew that humans weren’t meant to come here. There’s hardly an atmosphere, and no magnetic field to ward off radiation. Not to mention the temperature is unsuitable for life. Why did I come so willingly, only now to run away? If I had only done so before. The one I loved is gone. With no reason left to live, I ran against a rocky ridge in an attempt to break my helmet, lost consciousness, and fell backwards … but I woke up once again, facing down. My helmet was indeed fractured, but the ground must have kept the air from escaping. I’ve been given a second chance.

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We awoke, and found ourselves trapped in darkness. The door of our living quarters would no longer open. One of the travellers said that we had been betrayed, though I, the psychologist, had my doubts. It was pointless to try and escape. Surely one of our number was still alive out there and would help us. Instead of trying to find a way out like the rest, I went back to sleep, in hopes that the problem would be fixed when I woke up. However, almost as soon as I fell asleep, I woke up again, and heard a noise. Everyone else was gone, but one. The traitor had been with us all along. There was nothing I could do, so I accepted my fate.

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Our escape was a success. We left someone behind to wake the psychologist, but when we got out, we couldn’t remember who we left and all of us were here. In the excitement of our escape, we soon forgot about that other one we had left behind as well. It had never occurred to us that the mission could go so wrong. Why would someone betray us? We all shared the same dream. We all wanted to give this generation something to hope for…
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I, the botanist, was in charge of maintaining a steady food supply. In this Martian soil, where nothing is supposed to grow, I had made my own farm inside our settlement. Thanks to our advanced fertilizer and genetically modified organisms, we had potatoes, carrots, even tea plants, in a fraction of the time it would have normally taken to grown. Every afternoon, we’d all have tea. This afternoon, however, upon sipping mine, I felt a bit dizzy. I looked closer at the tea leaves and realized they were not from what I had originally sown. I soon fell into an eternal sleep.
Three brave travellers remained.
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What happened to the botanist?! As I had prepared his tea myself, I hid the death from the other two, fearing they would suspect me. A chemist, I made sure to only consume that which I’ve picked out and readied myself. We’ve all started to distrust each other. Now, we keep our belongings close, and sleep in separate rooms, with the doors always locked. There’s one person I suspect out of the two. One night as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed something strange. My vision started to go blurry, my heart rate started to rise, and I began to pant. I looked around frantically for a cause, and saw a hole in my window, and in that window, was the face of just who I suspected. I ran towards the window as fast as I could, but before I could do anything, darkness came over me.
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I, the philosopher, spent too much time thinking and not enough time acting. There were only two of us left, but it was too late. The entire garden had been contaminated with chemicals, and I was sure I had already been affected. Someone should have kept a closer eye on him when he lost his mind. If I had only realized sooner. Well, there’s nothing I can do now. All I can do is wait as I look out the window and view Mars’ signature blue sunrise. If it’s worth anything, I’m at least glad I get to die watching this beautiful scene.

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I, who had been given a second chance, woke up with a massive headache back in the space ship. What am I doing here? The last thing I remember about yesterday evening was feeling extremely drowsy. I looked around the camp, and saw one person dead at the table with their tea, found another asphyxiated, and another beheaded… What happened?

There’s no one else left. I am sure the breakfast I ate was contaminated, but there’s nothing left to stay for anyway. I walked outside, but unlike last time, took off my helmet, and threw it against a rock, shattering it into pieces. When I opened my mouth to shout goodbye, all the air was sucked out of my lungs.

And then there were none.
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The director of the Mars mission was enjoying a peaceful day at work. There was little left to do now that the landing was successful and the media’s coverage had waned. Suddenly, a transmission was received. The director viewed it, only to see one astronaut winking back, before leaving the frame laughing. Strange, but she really was good looking, the only woman of the group that went. How lucky they must be! Well, if that’s all there is to report, I suppose nothing eventful happened today after all.

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Mars lost these brave travellers forever, but perhaps it was meant to be. Nobody actually expected the journey to be a success. Everyone just snickered, “you would have to be crazy to actually go on a one way trip to Mars.”

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