Author : George R. Shirer

Our Father, Who art in Heaven . . .

Jode eyes the pressure door’s lock. In the lower right corner of her eye, the timer is counting down. The numbers, though, are still green so she’s not too worried.

Hallowed be thy name . . .

The lock is dead and Jode knows there’s no hope of running juice to it. No time either.

Thy kingdom come . . .

She slaps a micronuke on the door, hits the switch and scurries over the hull. The nuke goes off a bit early. Jode’s helmet polarizes to protect her from the flash. She doesn’t feel the heat at all and the rads don’t even break the suit’s outer layer.

Thy will be done . . .

The pressure door is gone. So is a large part of the surrounding hull. Jode swings through the hole and discovers the gravity plating is still working.

On earth . . .

The suit wasn’t configured for gravity. It hangs on Jode like dead weight. Swearing, she lurches down the corridor toward the target while the suit reconfigures itself.

As it is in heaven . . .

The door at the end of the corridor is shut, but it barely slows her. Jode bulls through it and finds herself, unexpectedly, in freefall again. She bounces off the walls like a rubber ball.

Give us this day . . .

The sudden change in environment makes the suit go spastic. It bleats in Jode’s ear and starts to slide into its battlefield mode. She lets it.

our daily bread . . .

In the corner of Jode’s eye, the countdown has gone yellow.

And forgive us our trespasses . . .

She swears, cursing God, the devil and all nine-hundred saints of the Incorporated Church.

As we forgive those who trespass against us . . .

Blinking, she pulls up her map of the ship. It glows against the inner surface of her helmet. Jode glares at it.

Lead us not into temptation . . .

She’s not even halfway there and the damned timer is yellow. The smart thing to do would be to turn tail and run.

But deliver us from evil . . .

But no one has ever accused her of being smart. The target is straight ahead, more or less. Taking a deep breath, Jode hauls ass.

For thine is the kingdom . . .

She jets down the corridor, ignoring the debris that smashes against her. All her thoughts are on the target.

Get to the target, she thinks. Complete your mission!

the power . . .

The last obstacle is another door. Jode slams into it, reducing the door to synthetic splinters.

and the glory, forever and ever . . .

Jode spots the target immediately, a conical object sticking out of a control board. It radiates a soft golden light. Snarling, she grabs it.

The minute her fingers clasp the shipsoul, Jode is aware of its thoughts, its emotions. They rush into her head and, for just a second, the world goes white.

I didn’t think anyone was coming, weeps the shipsoul. I prayed and prayed but. . . .

“Shush,” says Jode. “I’m here for you now, but we have to hurry. Your orbit’s decaying fast into the planet.”

She clutches the shipsoul and lets the suit retrace their path, at speed. The gravity plating near the outer hull is dead now and they burst free of the Caravagio with no trouble. Above them, Jode’s ship, Sister Bertrile, glitters like a diamond above Pistachio’s poisonous green sphere. In the corner of Jode’s eye, the timer has gone red.

“Jode, are you all right?” Sister Bertrile’s voice hums inside Jode’s ear.

Jode clutches the Caravagio’s shipsoul against her side. “We’re fine, Bertie. Both of us.”

“Thank God,” says Sister Bertrile.

Smiling, Jode secures the shipsoul to her suit and echoes its sentiment. “Amen.”

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows

%d bloggers like this: