With the exception of a near miss by a sizeable piece of space junk, likely a burned out satellite, the routine flight of Destiny, billionaire Rick Alison’s private space exploration venture had so far been typical.
At five million dollars a seat, Destiny offered exclusive tours of the Red Planet to a select group of adventurous billionaires. After only five years in service the one point five billion dollar price tag on Destiny had been recouped twice over! Rick was a happy man, albeit one who had no interest in taking the flight himself.
For a man with such vision, he feared the unknown! His feet were planted firmly on terra cotta and he rarely took even an ordinary airplane flight. So it was quite out of character for him to decide at the last minute to take this flight and for the most part he’d enjoyed every second.
All thirteen passengers moved to the left side of Destiny for one last look at Mars before the booster rockets kicked in to hurl them back toward Earth. The clarity of night in the velvety blackness of space gave the passengers a breathtaking view of the fiery planet and expensive digital cameras flashed like fireflies in a dark meadow!
Suddenly out of nowhere a fiery entity, as if hurled from the very bowels of the planet itself, began closing on Destiny. And for the thirteen passengers, a millisecond became an eternity as their lives flashed before them.