The weapon hummed gently in his hands, only hinting at the tremendous power it could emit.

His back was pressed against the wall to the left of the recently opened airlock, its cold steel chilling him, as he tried to calm his heart and slow his breathing.

“Control, can you see anything?” he whispered into his helmet mike.

“No.” came the dreaded reply, “It’s still too dark out and the lights aren’t responding.”

“Shit.” He sighed as he edged towards the doorway. He had turned his suit’s external mic on as high as it would go and the increased volume of his clothing rubbing against the cold hard wall of the ship sounded like rolling thunder from a dangerously approaching storm.

He poked his head around the side of the door – looking out onto the rocky alien landscape slowly being illuminated by the twin rising suns.

The wind gusting hard against his helmet causing the speakers inside to roar at him. He fell back with a fright, dropping his gun and grabbing at the mic to turn the volume down.

“I’m not fucking trained for this!” he moaned as he flopped on to all fours, fumbled for his fun and got himself to his feet.

“You see anything yet, Control?” he asked.

“No, it’s still dark, maybe the camera is out?” replied Control.

He edged his way towards the door again. It was anything but dark outside now. The twin suns illuminating the landscape before him.

He had never been to the Grand Canyon for real but this is what he imagined the bottom would look like. Sheer brown and yellow walls rose up all around him for what looked like miles.

He stepped out of the ship and made his way down the ramp, the gun shaking in his grip. Why they had sent him out to check on reports of something on the scanner was still confusing him.

As he reached the bottom of the ramp he heard the airlock hiss closed behind him and he turned quickly in fear.

After a few seconds of coming to terms with what he saw all he could say was “Aww, you guys.” with a smile in his voice.

He was relieved to see ‘Happy Birthday, Steve’ painted on the closed airlock door.

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