He always got nervous on the #eve of a launch. Thirty trips to orbit, a dozen to the moon, and still he got nervous. Yet this felt different.

He read the mission brief again, rehearsing each beat. Launch to orbit, boost to the moon, rendezvous with the Ancile, then a nine month trip to Mars.

His phone lit up with a notification. “How you doing?” Jess texted. His mission partner was always checking in.

He hesitated. Then he lied.