Author : Gavin Raine

It’s ironic, but I’d been having having such a good day. The children all had their heads down, working on their numbers, and I even had a little time to daydream for once.

Then, I had that strange feeling that my chair had just sunk six inches into the floor – you know the one – and I knew it was real because the children reacted too. I was just about to reassure them that everything was OK when the gravity went off and all the lights went out and everybody started screaming.

The darkness only lasted a few seconds, of course, but it was terrifying for them – and for me too. If I hadn’t been shouting at them to be quiet, I think I would have been screaming myself.

Anyway, the emergency lighting came on and I started grabbing children out of the air and pushing them towards their lockers. They were all very good really and they remembered their drill perfectly, but it’s not easy getting into a pressure suit in zero gee. Most of them were crying and one of the boys was sick and Molly Davis got it in her hair and… well it was just a god awful mess.

We were just about getting organized when that idiot Lieutenant Birch started talking on the PA. “Wow that was a big one!” he said. “The engines have cut out because we’ve got a bit of spin,” he said. “We’re going to have a nice new crater after that one,” he said. He talks to us like were a bunch of kids on a fucking fairground ride! I’m sorry, but it’s just really inappropriate.

Listen, I know we’re inside an asteroid with a shell ten meters thick, but this is happening far too often. Inter-stellar space isn’t as empty as they told us it would be and traveling at 80% of the speed of light is just plain suicidal. We’re still six months from the turn-around and we can’t slow down, or we miss our target, so you know it can only get worse.

I’m sorry Captain, but you’re going to have to find yourself a new schoolteacher. I’ve made my decision and I’m going into the freezers tomorrow. All things considered, I’m not prepared to sit around and wait for the big one. I think it would be better to die in my sleep.

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