I plunged through the portal with my eyes screwed shut, braced to suffocate in the horrible void of space.
Instead, there was a vertiginous rush-- gravity!?-- and then I slammed into solid ground. For a second I held still, spread-eagled on the ground, half-certain I was dead or dying. My body hurt with every tiny movement. There was something soft, almost like carpet, pressing into my cheeks. It smelled clean and earthy, even through my overtaxed respirator filters.
I opened my eyes and stared at the grass fluttering at my eye level, greener than any I’d ever seen in real life. A surprised jolt went through me-- was I really dead after all? Was this nice grassy place the afterlife?
Two familiar boots stepped into my field of vision. I concluded with a small stab of disappointment that I was still alive after all.
“This doesn’t feel like the Moon,” I muttered to Captain’s boots. “You sure that door got the right address?”
“HOW WOULD YOU KNOW WHAT THE MOON FEELS LIKE?” Captain’s voice answered from above.
I tried to put a devastating retort together, citing historical lunar photos and the fact that the Moon lacks breathable atmosphere.
However, getting slam-dunked into the ground had really taken the fight out of me.
“THOUGHT SO!” Captain boomed when I didn’t respond. “SEE WHAT YOU GET FOR PUTTING YOUR TRUST IN THE MASS-MEDIAS!” Captain’s boots started to wander off through the grass.
“Hold up,” I protested as I forced myself to my feet. “I’m a comin’... “ I followed unsteadily after Captain, the bizarre, lush landscape spreading out before us tilting slightly. “What is this place? Are we in... Space Colorado?” Not my brightest suggestion, but I was possibly concussed, after all.
“IT’S MORE OF A SPACE TEXAS!” Captain replied cheerfully. I glanced around, worried by that comparison. Was I going to get shot at for trespassing?
After a few minutes of determined limping I caught up to Captain, who came to a halt with hands clasped behind zeer back, shoulders square and tall.
Together we stared at the alien landscape the doorway had dumped us into. Degraded metal platforms jutted up from the green grass. Beyond them, waterfalls cascaded thousands of feet down from a curved ceiling bristling with eroded, moss-covered mechanical structures. The arching structures around us had obviously been designed with skill, even artistry, but looking at them now I couldn’t tell what they actually were. Gates, maybe? It almost hurt my head to stare at them too long.
A weathered billboard hung from the metallic ceiling. “MAKE MOON GOOD AGAIN,” it demanded.
“BEHOLD LUNAR TRANSIT STATION ONE!” Captain suddenly announced right into my ear.
“I’m… beholding,” I said, waving zeer off. “But I have literally no idea what I’m looking at.”
“ZEE DOORWAYS TO DISTANT WORLDS BEYOND THE STARS, OF COURSE!”