by Joseph S. Pete
The astronauts roamed around the barren but brightly hued Martian landscape with a stratospheric sense of purpose and historical import.
The atmosphere was thin, the iron oxide-heavy soil as reddish as a ginger’s beard and the gravity weaker than a beach resort cocktail. They still couldn’t jump as unbounded and parabolically as John Carter.
Those trampoline-like leaps and bounds were flights of fancy, pure imagination.
The explorers of the Red Planet kept waiting for some hostile force to pop out and tear them to shreds. All the movies had conditioned them to believe that some hostile entity lurked in ambush, that any sort of scientific curiosity in space could only end in geysers of blood.
Yet nothing leapt out of nowhere, nothing startled them. No creatures latched onto their faces, popped out of their chests, disemboweled them for no logical or apparent reason.
They pressed on into terra incognita, without any mass media template for how to behave.
From Aureum Chaos, Mars, prompt by What Pegman Saw