This is a response to the literary lion prompt Fall:
Silence. It was an odd, unexpected sensation that enveloped the falling man.
An abstract mosaic of shattered light fled past as he attempted to gather his bearings, willing order from the chaos. Any event on earth that resembled this collision of colours would doubtlessly also precede an intense bombardment of noise. The silence mistakenly questioned the scale of the possible catastrophe.
How far would he drop? How long would he drop for?
Time was everything. Focus.
Twelve years of training, three years prior to that and thousands of hours in the air, for what? To plummet indefinitely, unsure of beginnings or ends, time seemingly immaterial to this beautifully dynamic inferno of brilliance? The risks had been clear to all. They never appear real until they happen to you. You’re given freedom from the burden of complications until they actually occur.
Deep breaths, follow the plan. Oxygen, check. Thermostat, check. Suit integrity, check. Every other gage span indeterminately. It’s hard to calculate velocity when there’s absolutely no frame of reference. What’s it been, 5 minutes, 10? It was impossible to tell.
Even at the end they hadn’t been sure. Compatriots, peers, the careful collaboration of science and art, without either one, failure was certain. Intellectual rivals thrown together to create with unadulterated intelligence. Ideas formerly beyond the boundaries of human experimentation were timidly accepted while the atmosphere of generation slowly increased, apprehension turning to anticipation as evaluation after evaluation proved unequivocal advancement.
He was the right man, and it had to be a man. No practise runs or monkey flights. No room for sideways manoeuvres when the clock was set. He was that man.
The swirling mass of vivid colours were slowing, still bright and blaring to the darkened visor but gradually drawing closer. How long had he fallen for? It wasn’t time. All that preparation, mind centred with an iron willpower and yet the doubt still gnawed away, eating at his clarity with a poisoned blade.
Time stood still, and ticked.
Shapes abruptly awoken from within the blizzard. The light dissipated into steady colours, edges redefined, a mountain view in sight, a solid surface beneath his suit, sound finally returning to a welcoming host. A good sign.
Two suns. Far from ideal.