« So are you game? » The crack of a radio communication followed the crisp feminine voice that pronounced the interrogation.
Drops of sweat were floating in his helmet. Earth was bellow, Space was behind.
“You have strange ways of asking me if I’m willing to put this ship and the life of everyone in it on the line”.
“Even if we do explode in a blur of shrapnel and death, it’s a lot better than a slow agony while being adrift in space, a few thousand miles from the surface!” She was getting frustrated. Everyone was on edge.
Saying the situation was extreme would be an understatement. Language was no longer a tool quite capable of describing it. The Synergy was a military transport ship patrolling Earth’s orbit. It was a prototype. Clearly the design was flawed. One of the nuclear fusion engines had failed. The crew ejected the core before detonation. Half the ship was vaporized. The other half was now floating around earth’s orbit, its captain walking around the surface along with some survivors, looking for anything useful. Life support had failed. Comms were down. The orbit seemed stable, but it was unpredictable, unable to reach quickly. Rescue was impossible. In two hours maximum, not an atom of oxygen would be left on this glorified flying piece of junk. And now the captain’s second in command was asking him if he was willing to attempt reentry.
“Our chances of success are almost negligible. We have nukes onboard. If we miss the Atlantic, half of South Africa will either be wiped off the map or contaminated for at least 900 years, and that’s IF we even make it down there! The heat of reentry just might detonate them above the surface! If that happens, radiation might kill people in the Middle East!”
“This ship is made of the most resistant alloy known to man!”
“We have a gaping hole in the back!”
“Can’t we purge the nukes out here!?”
“Right and leave nuclear bombs just floating in an unstable orbit? If that doesn’t start World War IV, we’ll still get executed in court martial! Besides, half of them are buried behind a wall of rubble made of the most resistant alloy known to man!”
A short silence followed. Getting mad would bring them nowhere. The woman spoke up.
“Listen, we have 1400 survivors, most of them with a family to return to. If we act quickly, we’ll never even make it near the coast.”
Her plan was simple. Detonate the bombs they still had access to far away enough from the ship so as not to cause any damage, but close enough to push them into Earth’s gravity. The flanks and hull of the vessel were intact, and reentry was possible if they could control the massive structure with the still functional auxiliary thrusters. The crew could hide in the bunkers, away from the intense heat. The command room was also isolated. The armory where part of the nukes were was hit by the shockwave of the initial blast and multiple leaks where made in the isolation. Furthermore, that room was blocked by a pile of rubble and could not be moved by hand. If temperature in that room rose too high, the ship and all those within it would become smithereens. The same would happen if the ship crashed on land. However water could short circuit the trigger and activates the safety mechanism, putting the bomb on lockdown, preventing any detonation.
“We might even be able to land somewhat safely if we deploy the wings and guide the ship with those!” She added.
After an hour of reflection while he went back inside and took off his suit, the captain walked into the command room.
So Dragonspark is my illustrator friend I talked briefly about in my last post; I challenged him to try writing a text for the speakeasy and this is what he came up with 🙂 (he also came up with a title and a cool name along with the suggestion I try writing steampunk that he would be willing to illustrate).
This is the first time he actually wrote a story (in English because he did one in French for a project) and I applaud him for letting me put it on my blog where accomplished writers follow me and (usually when there’s a link to it) comment on my posts.
Dragonspark you have no idea what I’m dragging you into 😉
Above is the unedited, untouched post that started it all for me. This was written in a day when I didn’t have a Gravatar, when I didn’t know anybody at YeahWrite, and, for that matter, when I didn’t quite know how to write. Was that really a few months ago? Feels like forever… This post holds a special place in my heart, so it will stay as is. I’m plopping this at the end to give you guys a little context. Feel free to leave thoughts, questions, criticism, and anything else in the comment section below. It’s always a pleasure reading those!