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Retiring so soon?

Spinward Scout

SOC-14 5K
I started this back before Hallowe'en with the idea of making it a bit of Horror. The Horror never really happened. Sorry, just got it finished. Just a short story.
Begin recording

I decided early on that I didn't want to be a Comet Counter. I wanted to be an honest, VACC Boots on-the-ground, Explorer. And I was. I was good at it. Thirteen years as an Exploration Scout Pilot. New Suns. New Worlds. New Creatures that I've seen. And even named.

See the Galaxy, they said.

It'll be fun, they said.

And then it hit me.

Or rather, it hit my Engines.

Sensors didn't catch the small asteroid until the last second. Because it was on a different trajectory until it ricocheted off of the rock I was scanning. And right into the aft section of my Scout ship, the Splendid Horizon.

And after I finally got the Horizon somewhat stabilized with thrusters, I was too far in the world's gravity well to Jump out-system. At least to have any chance of surviving the Jump.

Thirteen years. Thirteen is still an unlucky number back on old Earth. And unlucky for me as well.

I had plenty of time to load up the GravTruck with survival supplies and personal trinkets that I really wanted to keep. The scanners said it was an almost perfect atmosphere. Plants. Animals. But no higher intelligence. Not a lot of geologic instability, so there would be few Quakes or Volcanoes.

Temperate zones where I can set myself up are probably my best chance.

I'd better like it. It'll be my new home for a while.

I sent out a Distress Beacon. Not that it would do much good this far off the beaten path. But it should run in orbit for about a century, if it doesn't suffer the same fate as my ship.

I set Navigation for a water landing near to a shoreline. With any luck, I'll be able to tow the ship with the GravTruck closer to shore and still use it for shelter, or at least spare parts. If the thrusters don't give out.

As I got in the GravTruck, I looked around for anything extra. Nothing I could think of.

I was ready.

I pressed the button to evacuate the air. The dashboard dinged loudly when the vehicle compartment was in vacuum.

It's now or never, I thought to myself. I pressed the button to open the compartment door.


Frak! Did it buckle from the crash? I pressed it again. Still nothing.

Oh, no! What if I can't get the GravTruck out of the ship? I've got no other way to get to the surface except along with the ship.

That's when I finally got mad. Some people would have plugged their ears rather than listen to the words coming out of my mouth at that moment. And I started banging the wheel and throwing things. And I accidentally hit the button with the edge of the electronic clipboard.

A small spark and the doors to the vehicle compartment started to open.

That was close. Wonder what else will go wrong?

After that, things went pretty much as expected.

The ship did land in the ocean. Surprisingly, not a lot of water got inside. But it was more than 17 miles from the island that looked promising.

A rope worked well for towing until it snapped. Then I used 3 ropes and went at half the speed from before. I reached the island with a little time to spare before sundown.

Chopping up some fallen wood with a cutter torch, I built a fire. Maybe something the local wildlife had never seen. The torch will come in real handy.

And the ship isn't at too bad of an angle. But I couldn't get it very close to the shore. I think I can make a walkway with some of the trees around here.

But that can wait until tomorrow. I'll sleep in the GravTruck until I figure out shelter and the creatures in the area.

All-in-all, it could have been much worse. But I'm stranded. The Mission was for Exploration - I'm in the middle of nowhere. It'll be a miracle if anyone picks up the Beacon's signal.

Not the way I wanted to spend my Retirement. But it could have been much, much worse.

Getting sleepy.

End recording.