13 Steps

I feel my cold, stiff fingers reach my mouth. What a sight! The craters from the moon were huge! With big, black outlines and never-ending depth, they were like black holes. Looking out through the spaceship window, the stars seem so close but so far away.

Suddenly a voice snaps me back into reality. Crackle crackle... "Apollo 13 crew, come in. I repeat, Apollo crew come in" "Go ahead Flight Director" "We are landing in 5,4,3,2,1...." Thud.

Silence engulfs our spaceship Aquarius. Our commander James breaks the silence. "Well, all our training paid off". We were too stunned to reply. A voice crackles to life over the speakers. “Apollo 13, we need to run the checklist before you disembark. Air line?” “Check” “Oxygen?” “Check” “Helmet?” “Check” “Apollo 13 crew, ‘Mission Walk On The Moon’ is go”. A huge smile spreads across my face.

The hatch opens. James beckons me to the door. “You first Fred”. I walk to the door. This is it, I’m about to become the second person in the world to walk on the moon. Suddenly, I remember something. I reach into my pocket and pull out a tiny photo of my wife, daughter and dog. Now I’m ready.

I must have lent too far forward or something because suddenly I slip! Bang! Twang! Thud! ‘Well, falling down the ladder is one way to land on the moon’ I think to myself. Steadily, but slowly, my other two crew members join me and together we all take our first 13 steps on the moon, a moment I will never forget.

We decide to inform Mission Control that we have stepped (or in my case, fallen) onto the moon. Wait! We can’t get through! “Come in Mission Control”. Silence. For 15 long minutes we walk around the deserted moon. Finally, we get through to Mission Control. They tell us that our time is up, so we bid a silent goodbye and board Aquarius.

As we are entering the earth’s atmosphere, a racket is coming from the boosters. Suddenly, Jack Swigert yells “our fifth booster has exploded and is offline!” Red lights flashing everywhere, it’s hard not to panic but we have trained for this. Instead, our whole crew sets to work straight away to fix the problem. Mission Control says there is no fix for the wrecked booster but calmly tell us to get our parachutes ready.

Plunging through the blue sky, we hold our breath. “Splash!” Looking round the tiny capsule, I see my friends faces as well as the unfamiliar faces of the recovery crew on the other side of the hatch. The hatch opens and in rushes a lovely burst of fresh air. It feels so good to be home. After I enjoy a scrumptious dinner with my family, I head off to bed. Through my bedroom window I look up at the starry sky and wonder ‘when will we be going back and well, who will that be?’

Written by: Jessica Auckland


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