Off This Rock

A hundred meters from a busy intersection, the bus depot managed to find its own little piece of gloom in the shadow of an aging office building. The uncovered I-beams and overhead skylights, so trendy when the station was new, were rusting or covered in grime. Half a century of roosting pigeons had not improved the look of the place. “Run-down” was the general consensus — a good term for this whole damn planet, thought Jacob.

He leaned against an interior glass wall, wishing for a cigarette. But there weren’t going to be any at his destination, and he’d spent almost his last cent on the ticket anyway. Quitting had been mandatory. A bus pulled up and Jacob picked up his backpack, containing a laptop and a couple changes of clothes. He had sold everything else.

“Now boarding bus 426,” the automated voice on the loudspeaker said.

Jacob presented his ticket to the driver and picked a seat. There were only a few other people on board.

“Next stop, Mojave Spaceport, Mars colonization training facility.”

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