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Category Archives for "Space"

Negev

Do you remember?

We swore to make the desert bloom, you and I.

We all did. Each and every one of us.

What greater desert can be found than this? This world, this galaxy… It will all bloom one day. First here. First Negev. First our world, so far from earth and the ancient battleground, where we are, perhaps, safe from those older than man, should they come back to finish what they started.

Then the galaxy. We will heal the ancient battlegrounds, and they, too, will bloom. And should Avaddon return then…. Well, maybe then we will be able to beat them.

I saw the first wild flower today.

It was lovely. Just a small, frail thing, clinging to life in the desert, surviving only by virtue of its enhanced genetics. It was the only plant in sight, as far from Ben-Gurion and the ruins of the Merkava as Negev is from earth, it seems.

I knelt next to it, cupping the blossom in my hands for just a moment. The petals were broad and blue, thin like tissue. A gift from the posthumans, a preview of what our world could be like. With the Merkava’s resources gone, we could not have done it ourselves.

I wrenched it from the ground, crushing the flower in my fist.

Not at the cost of our son.

I’m so sorry, Ester.

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Major Hunter

Darkness gives way to flashes of red, blurred forms. The throbbing pain in his head increases. He closes his eyes again. Major Trace Hunter remains motionless hoping the sick feeling in his gut will soon subside. The smell of smoke and ozone from the burned circuits fills his nostrils. The memory of what happened escapes him. He wonders; ‘How much can I move? Should I move?’ He opens his eyes and tries to focus them to no avail. Slowly, he rotates his foot and then the other. ‘So far, so good. Legs? No pain.’ He raises an arm. “AAH!” A stabbing pain rips through his upper chest and shoulders. Pushing back into the seat, he braces himself. His head reels as flashes of light dance in his head. While sucking air through his teeth in an effort to deal with the pain, a burning sensation fills his lungs. A coughing fit brings about dizziness that overtakes him. He closes his eyes once more. His line of thought drifts into disarray.

A familiar voice over his earpiece jolts Hunter awake. Trying to focus his foggy mind, he is not certain what was said. ‘What time is it? Where in blue blazes am I?’ Looking out the cockpit windows, he is greeted with a starless, dark void. A flashing red indicator light on his dashboard illuminates a broken dial. His head and shoulders still hurt, but at least the nausea is gone.

“Blue-7, this is Rescue-2. Do you read?”

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The Fourth Fleet

You haven’t felt fear until you’ve been left to die in a giant tin can, one point two billion kilometers from home. The last thing we heard from the pirates was their laughter as they slammed the hatch shut. Then we watched out the tiny windows in terror as they flew away.

We did a thorough inventory of everything they’d left us. It wasn’t much. Our batteries would last us a day or two – and we could probably extend that to a week if we powered down everything non-essential. But they hadn’t left us any fuel to get anywhere, and they’d taken most of the oxygen, too. We weren’t sure yet how much they’d left us. Our harvest – hydrogen and helium rich gases we’d mined out of Neptune’s upper atmosphere – was by far the most valuable thing we’d had on board. They’d taken it first.

They hadn’t left much beyond that, either. Not that we’d had a whole lot to start with. Every ounce of weight was extra money. Lots of extra money, when you shipped it all the way out to Neptunian space. Our little gas mining vessel didn’t have a lot of extra niceties. Just enough to keep me and my two brothers alive for our two year contract.

We had about a day’s worth of food in the crew stores. My brother John had a handful of meal bars that he’d brought on at our last resupply. We’d mocked him at the time for spending most of his per diem trying to put back on all the weight that a tightly rationed space diet had finally helped him shed. Now we wished he’d bought more. A couple of flashlights, the clothes on our backs, two rolls of spacer tape, and a smattering of random tools that hadn’t been properly put away fleshed out our meager belongings.

We did what we could anyway. We powered down most of our systems, instituted emergency food rationing, and limited our activity to preserve the little water and air we had left. We even deployed the solar panels for extra juice, although they wouldn’t do us very much good this far into the outer solar system. We’d take anything we could get. But we didn’t really have any hope. Without any propulsion, we weren’t going anywhere.

Everything changed when Simon tried to power down the harvester.

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