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From the diaries of Commander Jacob Hardy, pilot, Ares One


Everybody asks about the words.

The truth is I'm not much of a poet. Ares One didn't leave us with bandwidth for anything except blunt competence. We came in perilously hot, trying to select a landing site through the chaos of thickening atmosphere and turbulence that bloomed off the target. A twenty minute round-trip lightspeed delay to Earth meant we could only count on ourselves.

When the number three engine went diagnostic during the second course correction, I thought we might go catastrophic.

But Qiao brought us in. Mihaylova brought us in. I just flew the ship.

The Ares One excursion vehicle was built for thin winds and icy dust. We came down into a storm: the breath of God, a ripple of change rolling down off the artifact. We aborted on three sites and finally I took us into powered hover and brought us down on reflexes and instinct.

Then we ran the checklists, suited up, and left the vehicle.

There was a script, and it's true, I botched it. I got my boots down and I made the most famous gaffe in human history. Said the first thing that came to mind: a warning to the others.

"We're walking into a rising wind."

I didn't mean to say anything immortal. I just thought it'd be useful to know.

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