He stood on the surface of the rough, desert planet; small vortices of sand, like ghosts, swirling and drifting around the ankles of his suit. He stared up at the sky, the familiar stars of home in unfamiliar constellations sparkling back at him, and thought of Susannah. Their time here had been hard, but magical in its own way, and he had cherished every moment of it. Now Susannah was gone, her molecules sent off to mix with those of the nearby sun, and he was alone.

The darkness began to lift slightly, and a faint glimmer appeared. The gently insistent beeping began inside his suit helmet, the warning that the polarisation filters and cooling systems had been deactivated. The horizon melted into a haze as the sun came up, radiating a searing heat across the landscape. -120C to +425C in 3.5 minutes, the training manual had told him, all those years ago. A warmth he had not experienced since the loss of Susannah washed over him. He felt her soft kisses on his skin as he joined her in the sunlight.

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