Writers (in order): Irene Hong, Kaitlyn Chen, Edward Fearon, Nina Li, Irene Tsen, Madelyn Guzmán, pasta, Jane Fairfax, Fiona Li, Eileen Hung, Janus Tsen, Amann Mahajan, and Anton Gous. Editor: Ms. Wilson.

I realized now why that was a terrible idea, but at the time it seemed pretty brilliant, so please hold your judgment.

As my rocket’s red cone nose approached the moon, I realized that landing was impossible, for the moon was truly made out of cheese. My rocket could not steer and did not have a way to stop the engine—it was designed to go straight to the moon. And it continued to head in one direction, its sharp nose threatening to split the moon in half.

There were still at least 197 servings of Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Light Kettle Corn (50% Less Fat & 15% Less Calories Than Regular Kettle Corn) to go before my rocket ran out of fuel. But removing all the fuel was the only way to stop my rocket. I rushed toward the giant transparent tube popping all the popcorn. Only I’d made the glass too thick, and I’d removed all dangerous materials, including my toolbox.

My breath caught in my throat as I frantically scanned the cockpit—last Wednesday’s newspaper, a half-eaten apple, my lucky teddy bear since third grade—surely there was something that could break the glass. At last, my eyes landed on the 900-page physics textbook I had hoped to finish by the time I returned to Earth.

With a jolt, I sprinted to the textbook only to be slammed back by the lack of gravity in the rocket. Flying through air, I rotated aimlessly, knocking into the walls of the ship, my space gear clunking with the metal structure of the ship, until finally landing at my original destination. I grabbed the book with one hand and a metal pipe running across the ship with another, pulling myself back to the popcorn machine. With that, I started smashing the glass with the book, back and forth, over and over, until cracks started to appear. Finally, the glass shattered with one symphonous ear-piercing shriek and the sea of popcorn was let loose.

I swatted away the floating glass pieces from the machine and turned my attention back to the control panels. To my relief, the fuel gauge was depleting at a reassuring pace. It worked! I looked out the window to confirm that my rocket was slowing down—the tiny white dots in the distance didn’t budge, but the moon was crashing into me dramatically slower. I quietly thanked my physics textbook for saving the ship as the adrenaline started to wear off.

But I soon realized I had a bigger problem. I would (probably) get to the moon, but how would I get back to Earth? I only had the apple and popcorn that was now floating out into space to eat, and I hadn’t brought any clothes. You see, this is the point where I realized I was well and truly in deep trouble.

My heartbeat began to quicken as I realized how unprepared and alone I was for my journey to the moon. The whole reason why I had pursued this trip in the first place was because I was tired of my life on Earth; it was boring and monotonous. I needed a change for once. So, while quarantining for a year during the COVID pandemic and having absolutely nothing to do, I thought it would be a great idea to explore the moon. How smart of me, I sarcastically thought to myself.

As I stood in place, immersed in thoughts of regret, I watched the apple float in mid-air. However, eventually it came to a stop and hit a button. After processing what had just happened, my eyes got big and my veins felt as if they had turned to ice, for the button that was accidentally pressed was not just any ordinary button… It was the button that controlled the oxygen levels for the space shuttle!

I gasped and then immediately covered my mouth. Silently panicking, I looked around. Nononononono I thought as I floated and flipped towards the button. There was a button reset I had made in case of emergencies, but I hadn’t accounted for my giant gloves. I scrambled to take them off, ripping off the Velcro straps and throwing them on the ground. As I felt more and more light-headed, everything seemed to blur. I struggled to stay awake as I pressed the button again. Password… there… was a password? But I couldn’t remember the password for the life of me. 3… 8… 2… ah dang… 23… 5? No… But with another try, a ding sounded above my head and all I needed to do now was verify my fingerprint. With one last breath, I stretched to reach the fingerprint pad, and then, I fainted.

When I opened my eyes, all I could see was the color yellow, glaring and bright. All around me I could hear a loud, rhythmic popping.

The next thing I heard was a cacophony of alarmed squeaking. It sounded like… mice?

Oh no. I sat up as quickly as I could, and sure enough I saw it. Amidst the sea of popcorn I was sitting in were a lot of mice, all looking at me with varying expressions of alarm and excitement.

Upon realizing that I was awake, they all started squeaking even louder. Unsure as to what to do, I started backing up, but that only seemed to agitate them further.

One mouse that was particularly smaller than the others scurried up to me and reached for my hand. Instinctively, I pulled back, but the mouse was quicker, reaching my hand and running up my arm before I could do anything. It then reached my ear and squeaked. However, this time I could understand it.

“Please don’t be frightened. We only want to help.”

“How did you… were you on this ship the whole time?” I was so shocked that I might’ve let an entire family of mice stowaway on my rocket, it took me a moment to notice that the ship had impaled itself into the moon, looking a lot like a cheese knife stuck in a wheel of Parmesan.

There was agitated squeaking among the mice, and I hoped I didn’t accidentally just insult the only living creatures within a 238,900-mile radius. The little mouse on my shoulder told me, “Actually, we live here. After you crashed into Camembert Crater we thought we should come see if you were okay.”

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