Jones made it thirty feet from the steaming wreck of his downed pod before he gave up. Walking was pointless; there was no where to go. In the wide, open landscape of Beta Seuden 3’s northern desert he could see for miles around, and what he saw confirmed that there was nothing for miles around.
There was air, at least. Air to breathe. Air to light his final cigarette, and a nice comfy rock to rest his bruised and sore butt.
He drew the cigarette from the pack with reverence and care, as though it were a sacred relic – a cultural artefact from a world now so distant and unattainable. It was the last in the pack and probably the last he’d ever see. He’d turned it upside-down when the pack was new – a strange custom he’d adopted. Somebody had once told him that doing so was lucky. So much for that.
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Artwork by Bram Eulaers