“…no tribble at all.”
As the closing credits start I look up at the clock. Where is he? A girl needs a big hot Hawaiian on a Saturday night; if he doesn’t deliver in two more minutes it’s free. I take a swig from the can on the coffee table.
Wait, didn’t I order some sodas with the pizza because I’m all out? Where did this can come from? And what the heck is Redworld Cola?
Lightning fills the apartment like a giant flashbulb and the whole place shakes. When I can see again the lights are out. Great. Hopefully I can still get Netflix on my laptop.
There’s a knock on the door. It’s probably a neighbour; no way the pizza guy could climb to the fourteenth floor in the dark that quickly. I shout an acknowledgement.
Something’s stuck in my throat! My panic is heightened by the sound of a fierce wind. Is it getting colder? My balcony door shatters outward off its hinges. It’s bloody freezing!
The hallway door bursts open and a man in a TV-style space suit rushes in. I don’t care where the costume party is; I gesture toward my throat and gasp. He’s rushing toward me as I black out.
I wake up on a cot in some kind of storage room. The space suit man is fussing over me; his helmet and gloves are off and his fingers are pressing lightly against my neck.
“Eighty-five. Oh, she’s awake.”
“Thank God.” A dark-skinned woman, also in a space suit with no helmet, is coming over. “Are you all right, Miss?”
“I think so. What happened? Where am I?”
“You’re in a storage locker.” She points at the man. “He’s Peter, I’m Sela. You’re going to be all right; we just have to find you a suit.”
“A suit? I have a couple in my closet…”
The man raises an eyebrow. “An environment suit?”
“Don’t bother, Sela, she’ll find out soon enough.”
I look between them. “Find out what? Did terrorists attack?” That would explain a lot.
“No, dear. You’re on Mars.”
“Mars? Yeah, right; what’s really happening?”
The woman looks at me seriously. “What’s your name, Miss?”
“Tabitha Smith; my friends call me Tab.”
“Stand up, Tab.”
I do. My balance is way off and it feels like I weigh practically nothing. I stumble and start falling very slowly until Peter catches me.
He smiles paternally. “One-third gravity.”
“How did I get here?”
“We don’t know. There seems to be some kind of space-time anomaly generator that draws things here. We’ve found a sailing ship, several aircraft, and even a dead mammoth. Your apartment appeared while we were exploring the place; lucky for you it did.”
“Because the Martian atmosphere is only one percent of Earth’s, and that little bit’s almost all carbon dioxide. On top of that the temperature’s around minus ninety.”
I take that in. The whole situation is too weird to even freak out over.
“Okay, how do I get home?”
“Unless this thing is somehow two-way, you wait for the next supply ship, which will be in four months.”
“Just a second. How did you two get to Mars?”
“We’re part of the colony mission.”
“Colony mission? But nobody’s been to Mars yet!”
“We got here nine years ago. What year is it, Miss Smith?”
He gulps. “Then you’ve been transported in time as well. We’re over a hundred years into your future.”
Okay, now it’s too much. I start giggling. “Do you think they kept my pizza warm?”