Lander Training - Mars
Carson slapped the release buckle and the harness fell away from his suit. He raised his arms above his head and leaned back in the seat.
"Ahhh, another perfect landing, if I do say so myself," he smirked.
Jessica rolled her eyes. "Gimme a break, Carse. You burned up half the fuel just trying to fix your trajectory six miles out!"
Carson wasn't fazed. "Yep, the next ace pilot of the agency has just touched down on Mars. You can't stop this guy. Graduation here we come!" He pushed the comms activation button. "Hey yo Stack, what's cookin' up there on station, buddy?"
"Carson, stop it!" came the whiny voice back from the speaker unit. "You're gonna get us in trouble!"
"Oh, stop complaining Stack," returned Carson casually. "Hey, we just touched down by the way. Time to plant this flag and graduate!"
"That's now how you're supposed to call it in," mumbled Stack. "And stop calling me Stack!"
"Yeah, whatever Stack," said Carson, turning off the comms unit."
"Why are you such a jerk to him?" said Jess as she clambered out of her seat.
"Oh, you know don't mean any of it," said Carson. "Well, except the whiny part. Stack is super whiny."
Jess couldn't hold back a grin. "Yeah, and Stack might be the best nickname you've ever come up with."
"Yeah, I'm pretty proud of that one. You ready?"
"Hell yeah, let's do this!" exclaimed Jess.
With that, she pulled the two large levers to the left of the airlock gate, opening the inner door of the chamber. The two stepped inside and the opening sealed behind them, the air flushing from the area in mere seconds. The outer door hooks released and the hatch swung up and outward.
Carson and Jess looked out across the Martian landscape for a long moment, taking in the desolate red landscape around them. They grinned at each other and high-fived.
"Hey, this is it!" said Carson. "Ladies first!"
"You're such a gentleman," said Jessica sarcastically. "You just want me to test the ground stability."
Carson looked at her with mock horror. "Me? Never!" he said. "Now get down that ladder before I have to throw you off this lander!"
Jess shook her head and bounded down the steps of the lander. Carson pulled the flag from the airlock chamber and tossed it down to his partner on the surface. She caught it deftly and sunk it firmly into the Martian surface.
Carson took the last two steps and landed on the ground next to Jess. "Well, I guess that's it then," he said. "Congratulations, graduate!"
"Yeah, congrats you crazy pilot," replied Jess. "I'm just lucky to have survived your shenanigans all this time."
Carson shrugged. "Yeah, maybe."