There was a light in the sky that didn’t belong. Ryan blinked, and finding that it was still there told his suit to magnify times six. The glass faceplate of his helmet became a screen and he moved it around until he found the small patch of light again. Except it wasn’t just one light, it was four. Four lights, fixed in the same arrangement as the shuttle that had dropped him on this hellish rock, and gliding across the night’s sky at a pace no star could hope to match.
“Can I draw you?”
Gwen looked up from her book. A tall, gangly man was standing beside her booth, hiding beneath the hood of a black zip-up sweater. Draped across one shoulder was a bag loaded with art supplies and he wore a goatee that looked as though it had been penciled on. He was the kind of guy that had never passed up the chance to hit on her in college, the kind that would constantly brag about reading Dostoyevsky or never shut up about how pop music and summer blockbusters were “killing art.” So she said, “I’d rather you didn’t,” and returned to her book.
The man sighed, letting a patch of messy bangs spill over one eye. “Please?” he begged. “It’s for this color study, it’s due tomorrow and your hair is—well it’s just the perfect shade of red.”
Gwen raised an eye from her page and gave him a second look. “Fine,” she said, waving to the bench opposite her. “But only if you keep quiet.”
Hank clicked away idly at his terminal, not wanting to return to the drab task of data entry a single second before his unpaid thirty minutes were up. He pulled up his fantasy football roster and sighed, disappointed yet again with how naively ambitious he’d been before the season started. Then in a blink, the roster disappeared. In it’s place was a notepad window with the words “Hi Hank” typed out in the upper left hand corner and before he could even process what might be going on another line appeared beneath it. “Are you ready to play?”