falcon1_onLaunchAlan knew the ultimate outcome of the mission and yet when it was understood what that meant and the scientist at mission control were confident that he fully understood what it meant and after he was asked again he said yes.

“I still want to go.” Alan said, holding his head high and looking Doug, the director of space flight, straight in the eyes. “I know this means that I will never see earth again, but I still want to go.”

Doug nodded his head. He was glad that they had finally found a man suitable for the job, many had wanted to go but none were deemed mentally all there to carry out the missions objectives. But still, Doug wished deep down that it wasn’t his best friend going, that it wasn’t his best friend that he would say goodbye to in a few short weeks as he was loaded onto a rocket and shot into the depths of outer space never to be seen again.

Of course they could still talk, but as time would go on and the distances between earth and his tinny space ship grew, the delay would also grow, grow until it was just a few minutes long until it was days and weeks and finally until it was months long. Then the talks would become updates every month or so.

“Alan, walk with me a moment.” Doug said, taking Alan by the shoulder, away from the prying and watchful eyes of the other people in mission control room who had also been eagerly waiting for somebody to be found for this mission – the mission to the stars.

“Doug, save it, I’m going.” Alan said, walking with Doug to a distant corner of the room. “I have been waiting my whole life for this and. . .”

“Alan, this isn’t going to change anything, you know that right. This will not bring them back.” Shocked, Alan was at a loss for words. Of course he knew who he was talking about, but he hadn’t thought of them for almost a solid week, as hard as it was not to think about a wife and daughter lost.

But that was six years ago, Alan thought to himself and regretted thinking it almost immediately.

“I know it won’t change anything, but I’m not crazy, Doug. For me this isn’t a suicide mission.”

“Then what is it?” Doug asked trying to hold Alan gaze but seeing the answer already in his eyes.

“I don’t know – adventure? I don’t know! Call it for the greater cause of science, or just say because somebody has to do it, I don’t know, Doug, I just feel like I have to do this, not just somebody – me.” Alan smiled, giving Doug the best reassurance he could that he wasn’t crazy and hadn’t jumped off the deep end and fooled all the doctors about his mental stability.

“If you could, you would go to.” Alan finished after a few moments of silence. “You know you would. But you do have a life, a family, and they’re healthy and safe, and God knows you would not trade that for anything, but if it was just you and you alone on this lonely rock, you would go.”

“Would I?” Doug said, turning to look at him with a look on pain on his face. “We are sending you into space on a newborn piece of technology that we’re not even sure will work. The first rocket of this type exploded on the pad, the second two hundred miles over our heads. There has been only one successful launching of this thing.”

“You would-“

“And whatever that thing is up there, we don’t know if it’s friendly or not.” Doug pointed to the ceiling as he raised his voice, causing the other scientists still gathered at the other end of the room to turn there heads and look their way.

“If it was hostile, it would be heading for us.”

“It might even know we here, Alan. And we’re shooting a rocket at it a several thousand miles per second.” Doug lowered his voice as he noticed the other scientists looking at them. “How do you think they will take that, huh?”

Alan could only shrug his shoulders.

“I would take it as a hostile gesture, and even if they don’t, and even if they didn’t know we were here before, they sure will after you climb into that rocket and hurdle yourself at them.”