In hindsight, the solution was obvious. They had sat there for nearly half an hour, staring up at the stars. She'd tried to figure out why he was so quiet. He'd picked her up at 7, right on time, survived her dad's "look of death", and taken her out on the river in his boat. Now, sitting on the little sandbar, the remains of their picnic sitting in the basket beside him, he'd gone silent. She wondered if she'd said something wrong, something that made him regret ever asking her out in the first place. Or perhaps he was bored;...

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Silence. Stillness. That's all I wanted. The screaming, the yelling, dishes breaking, I had to get away from it all.

This was supposed to be a family vacation, we were supposed to take time away from the every day to get to know each other better, to 'talk about our problems'. Thanks, Dr. Freud, but I don't think that's going to solve any of our problems. This little cottage overlooking the lake isn't going to make us understand and love one another.

Nobody notices when I walk away - they're too busy arguing. I've always been the quiet one, they...

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The noises that, at first, filled every pocket of air, immediately and harmoniously silenced. The overcast sky of smog and gas cracked open like chick which has been waiting weeks to hatch, the yellow feathers shined through. And all was quiet. The men did not speak, they dropped their arms, but their guns' falls were muted by this minute of peace. Even the men dared not to speak. Enemies were no longer so, there was no definition between men, just as there are no barriers between the birds which were the first to make a sound. A song which awoke...

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Well, I said I wanted it to be a quiet vacation. You can't get much quieter than this. Even if this atmosphere were thick enough to conduct sound waves, I'm the only sentient being on Mars.

Yep, nice and quiet. Finally.

What have I got, eight more? Ten, maybe?

No, eleven. Eleven protein-carbo bars and four liters of water. The fusion pack is good for another twenty-eight years, so if the waste recycle unit continues at ninety-eight percent efficiency...

That means I can keep re-eating my own feces and re-drinking my own urine for another twelve years.

I guess I...

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