Brakes, Scars, and Other Things I Miss

Author : Jae Miles, Staff Writer

Funny how the roar of wind fades into the background after a while.

I loved the wind roar in my rag-top coupe. Drove that antique everywhere, pretty much spent my late teens in it, met the love of my life while driving it, and waved her goodbye from it, too. Which was fitting, as its weak brakes scared her. As trivial irritations do, the fright led to arguments that revealed bigger things; things the passion we shared couldn’t overcome.

A rogue booster rocket cuts a jagged turquoise line across the violet sky.

Ah, war wounds. The scars that proved you had been at the sharp end, and on the receiving end of it, too. NanoHeal sorted that out. Bonded to your DNA profile, it restored you to how you should be. Which was great, except for the first time. While sorting your wounds, it dealt with all the other stuff: tattoos, piercings, and every other blemish, inside or out. I can’t even get a tan. We asked if it could be programmed to exclude trophy marks like they programmed it to ignore cyberware. They replied: “That wouldn’t be cost effective.”

In eerie silence, a burning chunk about the size of a small mansion tumbles past, shedding random bits along with burnt stick figures.

Something I’m glad I missed; being on the impact side of the station when we all discovered the Euripides was a ghost ship, her crew slain by supratrans shock. Usually, that happens on entry to supralight and the ship never re-emerges. Occurrence on exit is rare and can be problematical. Supralight craft are at least the size of old Earth cruise ships. If nobody realises the problem in time and gets an emergency crew aboard, there’s going to be a big mess. In this case, the Euripides emerged closer than expected on a heading that bisected the heart of Plusidra Station. The impact hurled me through the environment field on a loading bay and here I am, imparted sufficient momentum to make orbit impossible, now freefalling from as high as you can get. Yet, I’m still glad I wasn’t on the impact side. I’m sure that was a moment of pain and fear no-one should have to endure, however briefly.

By sheer luck, my selection of cyberware means I’m not blind, liable to suffocate or pass out. I get to enjoy this ride all the way to the multicoloured desert below, where I expect to die and be buried in a spectacular spray of rainbow-hued crystals.

I can think of worse ways to go. The views are superb and the contrasts of debris against sky are quite awesome, their terrible import only enhancing the beauty.

Just in case browsing disaster investigators haven’t already guessed: this is my final diary post.

My name is Jedry Strong.

Her name was Kelly Frea-something. I hope she’s happy, out there, somewhere. For the first time ever, I’m with her on wishing for better brakes.


  1. SimonJM

    I’m a great fan of brakes and have often pressed ‘phantom brake pedals’ whilst being a passenger … 😉 That’s one hell of a way to go, but can we, at least, hope that there’s a sodding great souffle somewhere in his landing site?

  2. xdhz8

    Now that’s quite a ride. Good story. Love the title.

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