Mark was assaulted by a truckload of brilliance upon stepping into the bustling spaceport center. Glasses clinking, raucous shouting, rumbling wheels all melding into a sphere of wonder. So this was Earth.
“You’re overwhelmed by this?” the man asks, a twinkle in his eye, “This is only a slow hour. Wait till you see the mall!”
The woman, noticing how unsteady Mark was in this heavier gravity, steadied him, which he noted with a gratified grin. She smelled of roses and freshness, but most of all – kindness. These childless adults had readily accepted to take care of Mark while he was visiting. They would take care of his schooling as well. Sleep finally consumed him as he was led to their waiting hovercraft.
Something rich tempted his nose – richer than anything he’d ever smelled. Bolting upright in bed, the freshly comforting linen slipped away. All he could remember from last night was taking a shower and crawling in bed. The room was well-kept and plain, and Mark noticed some sort of flower in a glass container on the nightstand. The smell was nice, but what purpose did it serve? Back on Mars, the only flowers that existed were those from medicinal or food plants. The lure of frying eggs, though he didn’t know it yet, still beckoned, and Mark eagerly got dressed and hurried downstairs in baggy shorts and a T-shirt. This was yet another welcome difference. The clothes back on Mars were mostly tight-fitting one-piece suits, which Mark always hated. They were constricting and suffocating, though he had never heard of anyone suffocating in one.
Bright sunlight filtered down the windows as Mark descended the spiral stairs, still unused to the Earth’s stronger gravity. His…