Beyond the Galaxy Space Opera Anthology

Do you love space opera such as Firefly, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica? Well, I have a treat for you! I wrote a story for the new anthology Beyond the Galaxy.

Last September, I traveled to Seattle for an epic writer’s retreat hosted by J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon. For 2 days we hung out in a private room at the Museum of Pop Culture, and together, we built a sci-fi world in which we would each write our own story.

We built this incredible universe that has two warring alien entities: the Teku and the Krad. They arrive on Earth every 2,000 years to harvest people… You will have to read this entire email to find out what happens to us humans. (Spoiler alert, they are due for a 2020 arrival! Anything could happen in the next 6 months.) 👽

Out of that effort came Botched. It’s the first story in the anthology! Read on for an excerpt.

The book is available on Kindle Unlimited or you can buy the e-book or paperback. It’s 372 pages, so it’s a larger size book.

Proceeds from all sales go to Tech Bridge Girls, a nonprofit that excites, educates, and equips girls from low income communities with STEM programming that empowers girls to achieve economic mobility and better life chances.

When I was young, science and technology played a big role in my life and influenced much of my writing today. Helping girls learn more about science means a lot to me.

I’m proud to be featured with authors such as Lindsay Pogue, Heather Lee Dyer, Jay Key, Chris Yee, Tory Element, Christopher Wills, and more.

Here’s an excerpt from my story. I hope you enjoy it. If you feel like downloading or purchasing the book, thank you!

BOTCHED

by Cameron Coral

My titanium fingers tapped against the surface of the cockpit’s dashboard. I always got a case of nerves while waiting for the green light to signal the all-clear. The massive twenty-foot-high airlock doors were the only thing separating me and my shuttle from the vast emptiness of space.

My breath came in rapid spurts. I’d been waiting for five minutes. The clearance light stayed off.

What was the problem?

I glanced behind my pilot seat. Twelve passengers sat buckled into their jump seats inside the cabin. They were known as Botched—humans who were no longer useful. I was flying them to their new home on the surface of a nearby planet, Arae, where they would join the other humans already deposited there.

I turned back to the dashboard. The damn light still hadn’t turned on. My eyelid spasmed. A glitch? I’d go to the med lab when I returned, see if they could do something about my uncontrollable reflex. I was 70% Kevlar-titanium steel and 30% organic flesh. My people, the Krad, took the best parts from the humans, those traits that would help our evolution. We wanted human senses—taste, smell, and touch—to enhance our AI auditory and visual processing.

But now, odor was annoying me. I grabbed my tiny container of cinnamon oil and dabbed it below my nostrils to hide the smell of sweat and human gases coming from the cabin.

I sighed and glanced at the clearance light. Still dark. What in the name of Kradonovan the Mighty?

I grabbed the comm. “Control room, what’s causing this delay?”

Someone giggled on the other end, and laughter erupted from the cockpit’s speaker.

“Hey, what’s going on?”

A familiar, irritating voice replied. Gemini. “Hello, Mercuria. I just thought you’d like to sit for a while with your precious Botched. I know how much you love them.”

I clenched my jaw. He wasn’t supposed to be in the command room, but he’d probably charmed his way in, just to taunt me.

“Control room”—my voice trembled—“clear my shuttle for takeoff.” I disengaged the comm, not wanting to hear Gemini’s cackles. I would inform Supervisor Dex upon my return. Gemini was violating safety protocols.

I glanced behind me, and my gaze landed on a man in the first row. He watched me with curious eyes, a frown plastered on his face. Next to him, a woman pressed her hands together in front of her chest. Eyes closed, her lips moved in a soft chant.

I cleared my throat. “Sorry for the delay. We’ll be taking off shortly.”

Silence.

The humans were afraid of the Krad and they had good reason to be. Our kind had harvested them from their home planet thousands of years ago and had given them a new life aboard our fleet. Their species had a biomarker—a complex spiraled DNA sequence unique to anything we’d ever encountered before in the universe. Homo sapiens’ genetic mutations allowed us to harness bacteria that increased our lifespan by a full century.

Humans were pretty important to my people, so we took them and traveled with them everywhere we went. This might have been going on for at least a thousand years. Nobody really knew for sure.

It was a symbiotic relationship. Krad fed and sheltered the humans, and in return, they supplied their biomass, which fed our ship’s harvester. But after so many years, a human’s biomarker—what we called their essence—dried up. When that happened, they were assigned Botched status, meaning they no longer served a purpose on our ship, the Aragonite.

In the cabin, a woman sobbed. It wasn’t unusual for some of the Botched to overreact. They were leaving the only life they had known—in the bowels of our ship—where they’d kept sleep quarters and communal areas. The humans governed themselves, preferring to keep their society closed. As long as they hooked into the tubes inside their sleep bunks and provided us with their daily biosamples, we were fine with that arrangement.

And yet, they still feared us. Other Krad were often cruel. If a few teenage Krad imbibed too much petrol fluid, their drunkenness would cause them to wander into the human zone and cause trouble.

Some of the humans trusted me because I was around more than the other Krad. I resided in a narrow room close to the shuttle dock. It made my job easier. Usually, my orders had me making shuttle runs to drop groups of Botched several times a week. Sometimes, there were only four people, but once, there had been twenty—my biggest load. There were only seats for sixteen on the shuttle, so that had been awkward. Mostly, I was isolated from other Krad, except for when I ventured to the upper levels to visit Supervisor Dex and eat in the food hall.

The green light flipped on. “Finally,” I muttered and engaged the thruster engines. The shuttle vibrated as the glider track rose and hooked in. The automated countdown began. I didn’t need the info, but it helped to prepare the humans.

“Ten, nine, eight,” said an automated feminine voice. I leaned back in my seat, bracing myself for the rush of entering the dark void of space.

“Seven, six…”

That part never got old.

“Five, four…”

In the back, a woman wailed.

“Three…”

It’ll be okay, I wanted to tell her. She sounded so scared.

“Two, one.”

The shuttle lurched forward, careening along the glider track. Our bodies pressed against our seats as the shuttle launched out of the narrow tunnel. In three seconds, we were clear of the Aragonite.

There was nothing but pitch-black space punctuated by distant stars. We lost gravity, and the passengers grew silent.

I let my arms float up and admired my silver and orange metal coating, my elegant titanium fingers. After a minute, I pressed the button to turn on the announcement system.

A familiar recorded message began to play, one I’d heard a thousand times by now. “Dear Humans, you’ll soon be arriving on Planet Arae. The shuttle carrying you will dock at a location called Base Point. You’ll each receive a pack containing water filtration tablets, protein packs, blankets, and other necessities. It is important that you seek shelter quickly as weather conditions on Arae change drastically at night.”

The computer’s voice had a warm, cheerful tone, meant to comfort.

“You should expect to encounter other humans who have been dropped off previously. However, the Krad have no idea if those humans are friendly. In fact, we don’t know the survivability conditions on the planet as the Krad have cut ties with the humans on Arae.”

I paused the recording and let that information sink in. This is where the Botched usually lost it. If they were going to cry or scream or shout profanities, this would be the point where it happened.

The chatter of human voices sounded behind me, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. People were talking over each other. I tilted my head and watched with my enhanced peripheral vision.

The man in front, the one with the calm, curious eyes, hushed the others. “Stay strong, we’re going down there and nothing can change that fact. We must stay strong and stay together. Just like I told you. Just like we rehearsed.”

I started the recording again.

“The Krad appreciate your service onboard our ship. Generations of Krad are grateful for your contributions. Please note, we will not be returning to retrieve you. Arae is your new home. Going forward, do not approach the shuttles or attempt contact. There will be turbulence as we enter the planet’s atmosphere. Please make sure your belt straps are buckled. Thank you and have a wonderful day.”

The entry into the planet’s atmosphere shook the vessel and rattled my calcium-tipped Kevlar teeth, along with the bits of hardware and ligaments that connected metal to tissue. I had to visit med lab and tighten up after about every third shuttle ride.

Usually, I let the shuttle’s AI handle the flying, but today, I felt like enabling the manual controls, so I lowered our altitude and soared through the clouds. As we flew 10,000 feet above sea level, I blinked in awe. Cerulean-blue sky and bright, clear sunshine from a nearby star stretched before me. The temperature gauge displayed 28° Celsius.

Conditions were prime for a drop.

The shuttle passed over a blue-green lake—the vast source of fresh water was why I’d picked out this location for the humans. Those who outgrew their usefulness to the Krad settled here and had been doing so for several decades as our ship orbited above. I spied the outcropping that stretched out from the shore and nudged the shuttle in that direction. After banking, I gently rested the shuttle onto the platform.

Then I powered down the thrusters, unbuckled from my seat, and rose to face the passengers.

A weird thing happened.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, I touched the energy weapon that rested in a holster at my left hip. I’d been flying these shuttle trips, dropping off Botched for six years now and had never drawn my gun even once.

A nervous little flutter happened inside my chest. My right eye twitched again. Please, don’t let me glitch.

Then I said—I always felt awkward about this part—“Does anybody have any questions?”

The humans regarded me with frowns. The man who was their leader unbuckled and stood to face me with narrowed eyes.

He didn’t say anything. Perhaps he hadn’t heard me.

“Do you have a question?” Then I remembered him. He lived near my sleep cube with his family.

“You’re a monster.” He clenched his fists and veins stood out on his temples, looking as if they would burst.

My hand went to my gun again. Weirdest thing. I didn’t even realize I was reaching for it. Must have been a glitch in my circuitry. I really needed a med lab visit.

The chanting woman next to him grabbed his arm. “Royne, no. Don’t endanger yourself.”

But Royne just kept staring at me with icy eyes. “What you’re doing is wrong. Your kind—the Krad—are enslaving our people, using us up, and then tossing us away like trash on this planet.”

I shook my head. “I don’t understand why you’re angry. You and the others are going free. You can live on this planet with other humans like you, away from Krad.”

The others rose from their seats. I entered the code to open the shuttle door and lower the ramp. As it descended, I waved at the people to file out.

But Royne stood in place, his gaze fixed on me. “And what kind of life is this? A planet that isn’t ours. A life we didn’t ask for, trapped here with no hope of ever finding our real home. Your people have hijacked the human species. You’ve destroyed us.”

I didn’t know what to say. A few of the people started filing off the shuttle.

The woman touched his arm. “Come on, Royne. I never want to see one of these creatures again.”

Still, he stared me down for another half-minute—it was intense—until an off-kilter smile crept across his face. “You’re right, Lana.” He pointed at me. “I never want to lay eyes on your ugly Krad face ever again.”

Then he and Lana walked off the shuttle.

As I lifted off, I breathed a sigh of relief to be rid of them. They should be thanking me. On other Krad ships, humans got shoved out of the airlock or jettisoned in pods onto dangerous planets.

I switched on autopilot for the ride back to the Aragonite.

As I tapped my fingers, I noticed my hands shaking.

END OF PREVIEW

Here’s the link to buy the book and support a charity!

Coded Red – Chapter 1 Sneak Peek

I’m so excited to drop Coded Red (Book 2 in the Cyborg Guardian Chronicles). Here’s a peek at Chapter 1…

Coded Red

The Soba Calais began its descent through Earth’s atmosphere. Strapped in my passenger seat, my cyborg cognition tracked every rattling nerve and bone in my body as the ship hurtled through the air at Mach 25—five times the speed of sound. The ship’s exterior was built of reinforced carbon-carbon composite, made to withstand temperatures in excess of 1,260 degrees Celsius on reentry.

The minutes ticked by before the vessel slowed and reached a cruising altitude. I gazed through the small portal window inside my cramped cabin. As we soared above the cloudscape, bulbous white clouds stretched below like a luminous sea.

I struggled against my restraints, but the Scyther had bound me tightly and left me alone. He was a robot, and when I’d studied him with my sensors, there had been no biological data readings—no heartbeat, no sweat. His heat output was that of a machine’s, and there were no biological components to the Scyther. His glowing red eyes bored into me whenever he looked my way.

My stomach rolled as the ship encountered a patch of turbulence. My cognition flashed: Elevation 29,000 feet above sea level and descending. I stopped trying to squirm out of my cuffs and gazed out the window. Had I been to Earth before? Someone had wiped all my memories around the same time NeuroDyne Corporation experimented on me and turned me into a cyborg as part of a highly classified project known as THARP, which was really code for the Cyborg Trials.

I’d woken up on Luna, the Moon’s domed colony, after being smuggled off Earth by a NeuroDyne rogue scientist and his sister. The scientist, Newt, had disappeared mysteriously after we arrived on Luna.

And on this Earthbound voyage, traveling farther away from Luna, Ryken talked in my ear.

“Diya, I hope you’re listening. I’m still here.”

I closed my eyes and allowed a half-smile to escape. Ryken was a Memory Stalker—a coder who had the capability to hack into memories uploaded into Cerulean, the online storage hub created by NeuroDyne. Ryken had helped me escape from the Scyther and researched clues about Newt’s disappearance. And now, he’d hacked into my EarthShine—the memory lens I wore in my right eye and controlled through a gemstone in my ear.

Ryken was brilliant, and for some reason, he was helping me even though I was a lost cause. The Scyther was probably returning me to NeuroDyne, where I would be killed or forced to undergo more experiments.

“Diya, say something. I’m trying to tune in frequencies and see if we can communicate two-way instead of just me talking to you.”

He paused and waited, but I bit my lip. Should I respond? Should I encourage him to talk to me and indulge his ridiculous dream that he could actually help me out of this situation?

“Diya?” His voice, so far away, sounded shaky.

“I’m… here.” My voice was raspy from disuse.

After a two-second delay, “Holy shit!” His voice erupted in my ear and I winced. “I hear you! I hear you!” He clapped.

“Okay, take it easy. When you shout, it’s loud as Mars. I can’t control the volume.”

“Sorry, sorry.” Now he practically whispered. “You don’t know how relieved I am to hear your voice. To know you’re okay.” My heart did a somersault. “When that Scyther took you away, I felt like a puddle of piss. I didn’t know how to stop him.”

“You couldn’t have. You said it yourself, the Scyther is unstoppable.”

He paused. “Where are you exactly?”

“I’m in a ship, alone at the moment. We’re cruising somewhere on Earth, still at high altitude.”

Elevation 25,000 feet above sea level.

The GPS tracking on your EarthShine shows you’re over the Atlantic Ocean, heading north.”

“Iceland.” I closed my eyes.

“NeuroDyne headquarters.”

“Was there ever any doubt? They want their stolen property back.”

“This is bullshit.” Something slammed in the background, likely his fist.

I laughed bitterly. “At least I’ll finally get some answers.”

Silence.

“You there?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

“How are we managing to talk anyway?”

“NeuroDyne keeps the Cerulean servers in many locations, both on Earth and on Luna. They do this for security and contingency reasons. If one server farm goes down in Peru, it won’t bring down the entire array. I hacked into one of the servers on Luna with a little help from my friends and tapped into the comms link they use for bouncing data back and forth.”

“Impressive. Will we still be able to talk when this ship lands?”

“Yeah, even though we’re over 200,000 miles apart, we can talk. There’s just a little over one second delay from the time it takes the radio waves to propagate.”

“It just seems too good to be true that I’m hearing your voice like you’re right here.”

“Don’t give up.”

“If I can find a way out, I will.”

He sighed. “And when you get out, I’ll be waiting. I’m booking passage to Earth, so I can be closer and help you escape.”

I shook my head in frustration, even though he couldn’t see. “No! Don’t. If you get anywhere near NeuroDyne and they discover we’re communicating…” Plus, leaving Luna for the home planet was a super expensive trip with a long waiting list, thanks to the huge tourism influx.

“Be sure to hide the device—your earring. Make sure to protect it. They could figure it out.”

I said nothing.

After a while, he gulped. “I’ll be tracking your location. Thank Mars for the lost and found setting on the EarthShine devices.”

I chuckled. “Lost and found, huh?”

“Like you.” I knew from his voice he was grinning. “Don’t worry. I’ll get you back. You’re a Luna girl, not an Earthling.” His words morphed into a yawn.

“Have you slept?”

“Not really. I’ve been waiting to hear from you and know you’re all right.”

“Well, now you know, so you can sleep. You’re no good to anybody if you’re sleep deprived.”

He groaned. “To be honest, I do feel like shit.”

“I’m just sitting here in a room while this ship flies. It’s pointless for us to talk right now. Get some sleep and tune in later.”

“As much as I hate to say you’re right… Yeah, I need some sleep. But I’m setting my alarm, and I’ll be back in three hours.”

“You need more sleep than that.”

The ship turned and banked as I waited for his reply.

“But what if something happens to you?”

“You’re not even on the same planet. There’s nothing you can do.”

Silence. For a long time.

Finally, he came back. “This fucking sucks. I’ll go to the police. I’ll take your story to the media.”

“Ryken, you’re delusional from lack of sleep.” I couldn’t believe I was trying to calm him down. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? “We’ll make plans after you’ve gotten rest. You’re no good to me this way.”

“Okay, Diya. I’ll log back in later to talk.”

“Got it.”

“I’ll talk to you soon.” And then he was gone, and the hollow pit in my stomach grew deeper.

The ship descended to 16,000 feet and through the clouds over a vast, silvery ocean that stretched out below. The luminescent blues of the high altitudes were gone, replaced by a dreary gray sky. The ship slowed and a land mass loomed. After another minute, a city came into view. It was Reykjavík, Iceland. My GPS told me so. Tall, spiraling towers rested next to a quaint seaside village that had been preserved for tourists and historians.

A man-made island rested a quarter mile from shore. On it stood a massive glass and steel structure in the shape of a cube. A massive neon sign glowed red: NeuroDyne.

The ship slowed and hovered over the building, which occupied the entire island. The sun was just beginning to set and cast red and orange streaks across the sky; panels on the structure’s face glowed like fireflies.

Through my window, I gazed at churning waves bashing against the sides of the island. There was no way on or off the land mass, I realized, as the Soba Calais landed on a platform on top of the ten-story building, unless you traveled by boat or air. NeuroDyne didn’t fuck around with security.

The humming of the thruster engines faded, and the door to my closet-sized cabin opened. The Scyther appeared, red eyes glowing, and unbuckled my restraints with his metal hands. There was no sign of the gun canister it had used to shoot me and threaten Ryken. It must’ve been retractable. He’d also had a blade earlier, and I wasn’t sure where that had gone either. If I was ever going to fight this machine, I needed more information about how he worked.

“Get up.” He stepped into the corridor. I rose, never taking my eyes from his. I followed him into the narrow corridor, and he pushed me toward an open-air hatch where I descended a long ramp that led outside. A gust of cool Earth air washed over my cheeks. I opened my mouth and sucked in natural air, not the recycled ventilation I’d been breathing on Luna and the ship. As fresh oxygen filled my lungs, droplets of misty seawater sprayed my face. Licking my lips, I tasted salt. As the wind tossed my locks, I fought the urge to wipe the hair from my eyes.

Ahead, an open door led inside the NeuroDyne building where a woman wearing a white lab coat stood. Beside her, a soldier carried a semi-automatic rifle.

As I marched along the platform, ocean spray whipping my skin, I glanced at the roof’s edge and imagined darting off the side and into the freezing ocean water. With my hands restrained, I would surely sink.

But now that I was a cyborg, would drowning even kill me?

What had I become?

X-Files meets Stephen King

I’m proud to announce the debut of Dark Shadows 2: Voodoo and Black Magic of New Orleans — the result of the Authors on a Train trip!  In it, you’ll find 4 short stories written by the eight authors who journeyed via train from Chicago’s Union Station to New Orleans last November.

Dark Shadows 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My story, written with author Chloe Adler, is called The Soul Collector.

On the Louisiana Bayou, some secrets haunt you forever… Angelina longs for a different life but can’t break free from the sinister Mr. Rudy. When she discovers his macabre deception, she sets off on a dangerous and dark path that will forever change their lives.

We channeled our inner Stephen Kings for this one, and it’s been described as “beautifully dark.”

Dark Shadows 2

The other stories are equally as chilling and fun to read:

  • The Curse of the Rougarou is like X-Files set in a swamp.
  • Unfinished Business reminds me of the Salem witch trials, with a nightmarish New Orleans twist.
  • The Ghost Who Walks is a classic tale of revenge set in the French Quarter.

Click here to get the book on Kindle or Click here for paperback.

All proceeds from book sales will be donated to the Covenant House of New Orleans, a shelter and safe place for homeless young people. We felt it was a very deserving charity and hope to see it benefit.

Be sure to grab your copy today and help out the Covenant House!

Ode to GLOW

Netflix GLOW

The Friday school bell rings, and I jump from my seat, race out the classroom door, and merge into a hall packed with giddy kids primed for the weekend. A grin spreads across my face as I envision sixty hours of freedom stretching before me.

I can’t wait for Saturday morning TV because my favorite show airs at 10 am:

GLOW (The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling).

As I race home along the winding streets of my neighborhood, I fly past the ice cream truck. Not today. My mind is occupied with thoughts of the next day’s matches, the costumes, and most importantly, who will emerge victorious from the fierce finale—the ultimate showdown—the Battle Royale.

That night, I don’t argue about bedtime. My mother doesn’t really know what I’m watching in the mornings, but it keeps me happy and obedient, so she doesn’t ask questions.

Saturday morning arrives. Daybreak. I pour myself a bowl of Chex cereal, top it off with milk, and settle in front of the TV. After a few hours of cartoons, the magical time arrives.

Finally.

My precious GLOW. What could be better?

Twenty or so women rapping, performing sketch comedy, and leaping through the air, dropkicking their opponents.

I’m ten years old, and GLOW is the pinnacle of my week. In a 1980s house without cable TV, the show is raw and outrageous, like nothing I’ve ever seen.

I want to be strong like the wrestlers.

And as pretty (the makeup is unreal).

Good girls. Bad girls. Should I pick a side?

Yes. I’m team bad girl.

Netflix GLOW
Source: https://www.pexels.com/@postiglioni

My favorite character is Dementia. Each week, she’s wheeled out in a steel cage. In case that’s not strong enough to control her ferocity, she also wears a straight jacket.

The Heavy Metal Sisters stomp into the ring in all their glory. Glitter and spiked chains highlight their outrageous outfits.

Then there’s Colonel Ninotchka—the arch villain—with her thick Russian accent and red leotard. She looks like the female version of Dolph Lundgren from the Rocky IV movie.

Afterward, I practice wrestling moves with my friends. We lunge across my childhood living room toward each other, bouncing against imaginary ropes. I reach out, arm straight as a pipe, and I hit Sara with a mock clothesline. She falls to the ground, and I grab her leg, lifting it up as I knick her in the back of the thigh. Again and again, just like Palestina.

She clutches her side, laughs, and climbs to her feet. And we reenact the latest episode again and again until we grow tired and run outside to play a game.

I remain obsessed with GLOW for another year before I outgrow it, my attention falling prey to boys, MTV, and music.

Twenty-five years pass, and I think of GLOW, search for it on the Internet, and wonder, “Whatever happened to that hilarious women’s wrestling show?”

Then Netflix launches the fictional series, GLOW in 2017, and I’m in heaven. The show delivers a nostalgia cocktail of excellent storytelling, fine acting, and all the glittery makeup and glam of the original.

The producers deliver a solid second season—better than the first if that’s possible. Episode eight is my favorite thus far because they create a full-length GLOW episode. Want a glimpse of what got this ten-year-old leaping out of bed on Saturday mornings? Watch The Good Twin.

You won’t be disappointed. Maybe you’ll even want to be strong.

And pretty.

And a bit naughty.

I won’t laugh if you practice your wrestling moves in your living room. I’ll be there, too, ready to clobber you with my clothesline hook.

Now, where’s my straightjacket?

*******

I have a new series coming in September 2018! It’s called Rogue Spark, and I think you’ll love it. Sign up to my email list so you get all my updates.

In future worlds, strong women fight the toughest battles.

Rogue Spark

The Girl Who Flew to Mars (Flash Fiction)

The Girl Who Flew to Mars
Dear Mama and Gil,
I’m writing this knowing one of you’ll find it stuck between the cushions of the old Ford—the “tank” as we kids nicknamed it. You weren’t talking to me, so what other choice did I have? I snuck past the fence in the dark of night, jimmied open the truck and stuffed it in the front seat.
The Girl Who Flew to Mars
Source: https://www.pexels.com/@olly

When you find this, I hope you’ll read it all the way through. Promise you’ll keep reading?

First, I’m sorry. Sorry for the pain I caused you. You said me leaving was like losing a child—as if I’d gone and died. It breaks my heart that you think that way. Mama, I’m going on an epic adventure! I hope you’ll come to see it as I do—someday.

Remember when Gil bought me my first telescope? I was eight if I recall. Well, he forever changed my life. You couldn’t get me to bed after that! My eyes literally grew sore from staring up into the heavens each night.

The Girl Who Flew to Mars
Source: snapwiresnaps.tumblr.com

Is it any surprise that when Space Command called, I raised my hand? I know, I know. You think I’m certifiably nuts to take the voyage.

It wasn’t an easy decision! I hope you know that. A one-way ticket with no possible hope of return. Believe me, saying goodbye to everyone I know and love has been hell.

But you always taught me to forge my own path. I have you to thank, Mama, for teaching me how to live off the land, how to survive on my own. You made me the warrior I am today.

Imagine what I might find on Mars! I’ll be one of the first to colonize the planet. My dream is to make it livable for future generations. To be part of something bigger than you, me, and all the Rosemonts put together.

The Girl Who Flew to Mars
Source: www.spacex.com

Who knows? Maybe our family name will go into the history books. You can damn well bet I’m going to leave an impression.

A few requests if you’re still reading this…

 

  1. Take care of Misty. Damn, I love that horse. I would’ve liked to have been here for her and my 25th birthday. Give her a big hug and kiss for me? Oh, and let her have a few bananas on her special day.

  2. Would you put a few wildflowers on papa’s grave every September 5th? That would mean the world to me.

  3. Tell Rik and Kurtis that just because I’m gone, they do not get my old room! You are to turn it into a library or a sitting room for you, Mama. Don’t let those boys railroad you into making everything about them.

  4. Please don’t cry about me. You’re not losing me. I’ll be up where I belong. I gazed up at the stars ever since my hands wrapped around that first scope. I never really felt earth-bound. You know what I mean?

By the time you read this, I’ll probably be prepping at Space Q in Palo Alto. Sorry it’s such a long haul from Kansas.

I hope you read this letter all the way through. Mama, I’m going to miss the hell out of you. Please try not to feel guilty or sad. I know this has been so hard on you and the gossips in town have been whispering behind our backs.

Whatever they’re saying—whatever stupid stories they make up—none of it’s true.

The truth is I’m just a farm girl from Clay Center, Kansas who got lucky. I’m heading into space with a one-way ticket to Mars.

I’ll think about you every day. The program head promised we can send a radio message once a month. It’ll take a few hours to arrive, and then I don’t know how fast space command will get it to you.

When you look up at night and see the stars scattered across the vast sky, know I’m out there, and I love you.

Your girl forever,

Charlee Rosemont