“Mission Control: this astronaut has made contact with the Martian surface. This is not my success. This is mankind’s.
To my beautiful wife: I love you more than the air I breathe. You are my world. I would have never been able to make it this far without you.
Hiya, Jack! Your daddy’s the first man to walk on Mars! I love you! I’m writing your name on a foreign world! How about that? You’re the first human to be remembered by the universe!
Sairose, I’m sorry I missed your birthday. You’ll understand one day. I wish I hadn’t, but I’ll be with you again soon, baby girl! I’ll even bring you a Martian rock back to make up for it.
Mission: for now: this is Lt. Col. Jack Sands signing off. I’ll talk to you soon, Texas. From Mars, this officer is out.”
Jack woke up in his bare apartment and put on his cleanest dirty shirt. As he lit a cigarette and gazed out the window toward the heavens, a powerful thought came over him: what if?