The sky bled and blued, this final earthen sunset. Roads dwindled, cities, continents. A quarter moon winked to man and wife, slowly receding to black. He held her hand, strong and wizened.
As human cargo, time was halcyon darkness. Systems worked effortlessly, tirelessly, honed by decades, to deliver them through months and miles to settle into billowing, virginal red dust. Thin half-sunlight glowed pink and sweet on desert rock. Their palace awaited, a dome purchased decades ago, deposited by those effortless systems.
Distance does not bind promises. He would show her worlds, he’d said in youth. This one way trip to Mars, now the final step till Home.