By Hannah Martinez
The pod is on fire, and for once, it’s not my fault.
“Rovieta. Warning. Fire detected,” says the intelligence radar, and I want to kick it where it hurts. “Oh really? Gee, I had no idea.”
Smoke curls in from the sides, filling the pod with the stench of melting metal. Something explodes behind me, causing a shower of sparks to erupt right by my head. I jump and let loose a string of Tavian curses, hovering over the pod’s keypad to see how much time I have left before I finally hit Earth.
Can’t exactly die before my mission has even started, right?
Three Earth-weeks ago, I was a lowly Earth specialist on my home planet Taviar – some might call me an Earth expert. Because I know a lot about the planet, the Tavian Earth Exploration Program chose me, Rovieta, to go to Earth, impersonate a human, and study the humans in their natural environment.
It’s the job I’ve been dreaming my entire life of doing, but considering the pod is five seconds from blowing up, it looks like I haven’t got much of a life left.
“Entering. Atmosphere,” says the intelligence radar, and I almost collapse from relief.
“How much longer ‘til we hit ground?”
“Approximating. Approximating. Fifteen. Seconds.”
I look behind me. Wow. That was a terrible idea. There’s a giant fire raging a few feet from my sensitive person. Lovely.
“Any way to make it faster?”
“Thrusters are at full speed, Rovieta.”
The pod shudders, and I’m thrown violently from one side to the other. “Nothing else? Nothing?”
“Calculating. Calculating. Voluntary ejection suggested. In. Four. Seconds.”
“Voluntary ejection? Oh, no. I am not jumping out of this thing.”
“Involuntary ejection. In. Three. Two. One -”
“Wha – ”
A latch opens under me and I hurtle through the sky screeching at the top of my lungs before I remember that I’ve got a fly pack attached to my back. A tap of a button and I’m gliding towards Earth. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the pod, completely in flames now, hit the ground and explode.
Well. I guess I owe the intelligence radar a thank you.
The fly pack steers me towards the ground, and before I know it, I’ve finally made it.