Just in Time

He just made it. The thrusters were scorched and worn, and the fuel was almost exhausted. The windshield (an archaic term, when you really thought of it) was pitted with cosmic dust. The re-entry shield was smoldering with the heat of atmo, baking the macadam underneath the landing gear.

He punched the airlock release and the stale air left with a sigh. The boarding steps crashed down, kicking up a tiny plume of dust.

He paused at the top of the stairs, even though time was still of the essence. On his wrist, the chronograph was mercilessly counting down the seconds that remained. Maybe he wanted to get used to the gravity, after all that time in space. Maybe he was exhausted by his 4G braking maneuver. Maybe the goo food he'd eaten for lunch wasn't sitting right.

Then he moved. One deliberate step on the ladder, a second . . . then he leapt the rest of the way down, crouching as he landed. His hand was always near his blaster. Could never be too careful, even here where it was supposed to be civilized.

100 yards to go. He moved across the ground with a deliberate stride. 50. He risked a look at his chronograph. Still time left. But so little.

20 yards, then 10. Three more strides, and he banged the door open, flipped his face shield back. No time to take off the helmet, even if it would be more comfortable. Another door. Then a quick left turn, half a step. An outstretched hand. He takes the object, places it in the hand. A scanner examines the object.

"Just in time."

He nods. Just in time, indeed. He turns, heading back towards his ship. 'Just in time' was all he was expecting, of course, but then, as he opens the door:

"Thank you for visiting Blockbuster!"