The bulky figure surged forward; its arm outstretched drawing its bulbous head behind it.
‘It’s an Astronaut!’ I found myself exclaiming. Gemini pilots and the Russians were familiar enough faces on television even in my day. It came as no surprise however that Susan took its appearance in her stride.
‘Do you recognise the writing on its helmet grandfather?’
‘Oh don’t be ridiculous child, you can barely see anything through the visor.’
‘But what’s an astronaut doing here?’ I pressed, my mind still filled with familiar images.
‘Trying to enter the ship!’ The Doctor was already bustling at the controls in regimented fear.
‘Wait!’ Barbara called out, ‘look, it’s in trouble.’ Our eyes turned to the screen in time to see the heavy glove flail and the astronaut crash out of site, sending a plume of dust upward in its wake. Without hesitation I dashed across the room to snatch the Doctor’s scarf from place over the back a chair.
‘And just what do you think you are doing young man?’
‘We have to help him, we can’t just leave him out there, you said it was poisonous’
‘to us perhaps, It may be the creatures natural environment.’
‘Then why would he wear a spacesuit?’ Barbara reasoned. ‘Maybe his air has run out.’
‘And maybe it’s a lure to drag us out into danger, have you thought about that hmm?’ the old man’s voice became harder as it rose.
‘That never seemed to bother you before’ She retorted. I felt I had to step in.
‘Either way. There could be a man dying out there when we have the power to save him. Are you willing to gamble so freely with a human life?’
‘It may not be human....’ he started to argue but crumbled, realising my point. ‘Oh very well, but I did warn you what is waiting out there schoolteacher.’ He waved Susan and Barbara to move under the television screen at the far side of the room. The handkerchief then smothered his nose and mouth as he prepared to open the doors. I tightened the scarf around my own and dashed into thick mist.
The backs of my hands and the line of my forehead immediately began to sting. In the three steps it took to find the fallen body my eyes were already streaming. The sting had begun to claw its way along my skin, under the collars and cuffs and pull at my lungs as I searched for a grip.
The drag created in the glittering dust made the three steps seem like three hundred as I stumbled back to the ship. My nostrils were assailed with the smell of burning not unlike one of my students failures in the lab. It made me light headed and the glare of the ships interior added to my disorientation.
I hoped that I had done enough as the lights around me faded with the passing of consciousness.