Welcome to Planet Moon (excerpt)

“It would appear that our ship hit something which disabled most of the systems, including navigation as well as the ships computer and most of the cryogenic units. After drifting for an undeterminable amount of time, we’ve crashed on this world, with no means of communicating with anyone but each other.”

“Any idea how long we’ve been out?”

“According to the ships clock, and assuming it has kept excellent time, we’ve been frozen for nearly four hundred years.” Even to spacemen, who spend a large amount of time frozen relative to those who stay behind and never see a cryogenic chamber, four hundred years is a long time. Spacemen have an almost entirely different social system, completely separate from the rest of humanity. Every time they make a trip, a large portion of a standard life flies by. After several such trips, most of the normals the spaceman knows from childhood have died of old age. This makes it difficult to have friends outside of the ship and outside of the spaceman world. However, the bonds between crewmates are often quite resolute, and greater than those typically present between their grounded counterparts, due to this separation from the rest of mankind.

“Come on, let’s get out of here,” spoke Max. “But put on your suit, outside does not look healthy.”

They found a secure room to wait in with suits on while the gaseous pressure inside the ship was stabilized with that of the outside world. Breaking through the hull while a higher atmosphere still existed in the ship would have dangerous consequences. The least of these consequences included dangerous rapid decompression and the voiding of all contents of the ship, including gas, lose objects, and persons outside at a high velocity. The vents were operational enough to flush out the ships atmosphere and lower the presser to be equal with that of the outside.

After all ship systems were shut down, and the air within the ship had been removed, the cutting began. The torches passed soundlessly over the hull, leaving two slightly separated glowing threads behind. This panel slowly fell back exposing a wall of fused rubble, which the torches eroded away easily.

The last of the rock crumbled away, leaving Max and Mark peering out into the vast darkness of the black starlight sky. The two slowly jumped toward the building on the horizon over the cold gray terrain. Several hundred feet past the ship, Max looked back with regret. He was now an old man of forty, and had spend nearly his entire life aboard a ship whose name he could no longer remember. The broken hulk lay dead upon the rocks, never to rise again. Further out, Max could see multiple weathered gouges in the landscape where the ship had bounced multiple times before coming to its final rest. On the other horizon, where the gashes originated, he thought he saw the outline of a ruined structure, illuminated eerily against a black and gray horizon. Nothing living there, he though, as he slowly turned around and bounded after his brother and last living relative.