The gravity was different on Planet X, and with each step, there was an odd sucking sensation, like I was being squeezed; possibly it was because my suit was too small, or the teacher talk was turning me inside out.

“Owen is so slow, not really college material, kinda like this one.” I knew they were referring to me, but that didn’t matter. My thoughts would save me, if I could think, but they kept being interrupted.

“Do you actually know where we’re going?”

“Yes; we’ve got to cross the desert, it’s 140 degrees in some places; then we’ve got to make our way through the badlands. The good news is there shouldn’t be any alien life for at least 50 miles; that’s because nothing lives here; it’s a death zone. We’ll be without water for a few days and the sandstorms might blow us into the atmosphere.”

I could tell that was not what they wanted to hear. They wanted a motivational speech from their fearless leader, but I was afraid.

The desert was cracked like an old man’s face; there was no moisture, not even in the morning.

“It’s hot out here,” one of the teachers complained. “Aren’t we supposed to travel at night?”

“We can’t travel at night.”

“Why is that?” A teacher snapped.

“Because it gets dark.”

“But can’t you navigate by the stars?”

“No.”

“Then what are you following?”

“It’s kinda like gps. See that dot? We are the other dot.”

“Then why not travel at night.”

“Because it’s pitch black; no moon; and we won’t be able to see a foot in front of our face.”

“But won’t it get cold at night?”

“Yes; very cold.”

“Then how will we keep warm?”

“We’ll have to sleep together.”

“Not with you, you pervert.”

“Trust me, I prefer to be alone.”

“What? Do you hate women or something?”

To be continued…

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