Author : Thomas Desrochers
A distress beacon blinked softly in the night, the quiet red light weakly calling out “help me, help me.”
Around it pale white snow swirled through the air, gently eddying around the dark shape of the crashed cargo hauler, lazily working to cover it up. Nearby the downed craft the snow had nearly covered up a smaller shape, a body. As the burial neared completion the wind nudged something out of the sprawled lump’s hand.
It was a holographic projector, and the short fall had awoken it.
The ghostly image of a man sprang to life, tinged blue by the old machine. His features were kind, and his build was average. One of his hands was clumped over a bloody wound on his stomach.
“Annie,” he coughed. “I’m sorry I haven’t made it – won’t make it back. I know I told you that I would be safe, and that I would come home to you alright.” He paused as more wet coughing racked his body. “There was a storm coming, and I didn’t want to get caught in orbit for the next cycle, because I had something I wanted to ask you.”
The man paused, swaying, then fell to his knees. His face would have been bone white if not for the ever-present blue tinge. “Annie, I -” he paused to cough several times “-I wanted to know if you would marry me. You make me the happiest man around right now, and to call you my wife would be the best thing since the day I met you.”
He smiled ruefully as blood trickled from the corner of his mouth.
“I guess the old adage is true. Curiosity killed the spacer. Now I’ll never know for sure.” He swayed jerkily for a moment. “I’m getting tired now. I’m sorry, love. I really am. I love you so, so much. You made me so… So happy.”
After a moment more the man fell forward, softly crunching into the snow. He lay there beside himself a few moments more, then flickered and died.
The night was quiet again, and the snow soon swallowed the body.
The distress beacon blinked softly in the alien night. “Goodbye,” it said. “Goodbye, goodbye.”