Nicholas Morin Nicholas Morin
Recommendations: 5

Maybe use a different metaphor than "dead in the water" in that part because you had already used it a few lines back. Otherwise this story was well written.

Leslie Blackwell Leslie Blackwell
Recommendations: 21

Perhaps "The pressure guage showed a vacuum behing the sealed bridge door, indicating (or a similar word) that there was a hull breach." This keeps the momentum of the story flowing instead of impeding its pace with two after thoughts. IMO (in my opnion) though it is entirely up to you how you want to write it.

Leslie Blackwell Leslie Blackwell
Recommendations: 21

maybe stick with something like "in the one place that would stand both me and the ship indifinitely."

Cindy Beitinger Cindy Beitinger
Recommendations: 37

No one (even) considered a catastrophic failure like this.

Leslie Blackwell Leslie Blackwell
Recommendations: 21

"suddenly shattered." Seems a more logical order and avoids having "suddenly" and "violently" side by side which tends to read awkwardly.

Leslie Blackwell Leslie Blackwell
Recommendations: 21

They somehow seemed different.

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James Vandenabeele James Vandenabeele
Recommendations: 0

Alone


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She had a friend.

16 weeks in the deep.  It has a way of playing with a man's head.  Space is big, but you don't realize how big until you're light years from any other living thing.  It isn't a big deal at first, but the realization of absolute and utter isolation starts to gnaw on the soul at some point.  


The money was good, that's what we all keep telling ourselves.  The money is worth it.  Go spend a couple months busting up rocks in the middle of literally nowhere, then come home and live like a king.  Until the money runs out and you have to do it again.  But it's worth it, right?


Right?


I hadn't shaved in weeks, what was the point?  The coffee ran out a month ago, but it hadn't been very good to begin with.  I had settled into a routine - eat, sleep, mine asteroids, maneuver to the next rock, repeat.  I had turned off most of the consoles on the bridge, too far out for comms traffic, most everything else was automated.  Tactical radar was covered with paper notes, for some reason I had left the display on even though I couldn't see it through the mess.


Just a few more weeks and I can head home, I kept repeating in my head.  Just a few more weeks and I can talk to another human being.  


I glanced out the viewport at the rock I was cutting up.  Mostly iron, some other trace elements, maybe a bit of gold buried in there.  Nothing of consequence, but with a cargo hold full that nothing turned into something quite nicely.  There was a flicker of light off to the left, but I ignored it.  Probably just a little outgassing, a pocket of O2 and some heat.  


KLANG!  A chunk of rock smacked hard against the hull.  I grabbed the maneuvering controls and backed away a bit.  This rock had a little more trapped gas in it than I had thought.  I reached for the GeoAnalyzer controls to run a re-calibration.


KLANG!  Another piece of rock slammed into the viewport.  


Before I could react, the rock I had been busting up exploded, shaking the ship violently.  I pulled back hard on the controls, but got nothing.  Alarms began to sound throughout the bridge.  Thrusters were offline, shields were critical, tractor beams were completely gone.  A low pressure alarm began to wail, hull breach somewhere.  I jumped to the damage control console and began shutting airtight doors as quickly as the system would let me.  Then it all went dark.


Impossible.


What about backup power?  The batteries in each console?  There was no way to make one of these go completely dead in the water.  Redundancies had redundancies.  


But it was dark.  Everything was offline.


I flipped the breakers, hit every toggle I could find.  Nothing.  The air started to get a bit stale and I realized that I had been breathing far to heavily.   1 comment


Don't panic, stay calm, stay calm.  I found an emergency O2 recycler and switched it on.... nothing happened.  No oxygen, no gentle whir of the compressor, no lights.  


I looked at the bridge door - it was sealed.  The pressure gauge showed a vacuum behind it.  So there was the hull breach.  Somehow, a piece of rock had found a way to pierce the hull in the one place that would strand me on the bridge at the same time that the ship would magically go dead in the water.   3 comments


I tried to wrap my head around the situation, everything they had trained us for required either power to be online or other areas of the ship to be accessible.  No one every considered a catastrophic failure like this. 1 comment


And that's when I saw it.  A few dozen meters outside the viewport.  It wasn't any hull design I knew.  It moved closer and I could see through its viewports.  


They didn't seem real.  Thousands of years we had been out here searching, colonizing, exploring, and we had never seen anything at all.  Everything that we had, we had brought with us.  And I was now face to face with something we had given up hope on ever finding.  


The viewport shattered suddenly, violently decompressing.  I had been so fixated on what I'd seen that I hadn't noticed a weapon coming to bear.  As the air was ripped from my lungs I caught one last glimpse of them.  They seemed indifferent.   2 comments


Uncaring.  


Another day in deep space.


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