Author : Thomas Desrochers
It’s just me and her out here. Stranded. Helpless.
I was taking her back home. She needed a change of scenery. Hell, we were a quarter of the way there when everything went wrong.
It was a bad wire. The gauge was too small because some stupid color-blind electrician can’t tell the difference between brown and green, and when I sent the signal to cut the acceleration to avoid another ship a few days away the already hot wire vaporised. Acceleration stopped, which was good. But now I can’t start it again. We’re going fast, but not fast enough to get both of us there on time.
There’s not enough food to last that long.
I’ve been over it a thousand times, sitting at the controls, helpless. We can slow down fine when we get there, that won’t be a problem. We can’t really turn without the rear thrusters, and the decelerators are single use. I try to turn around and then we’ll be worse off than before.
I have tools, I have parts. I could fix the wire. That is, I could fix the wire if it weren’t in the sealed tube on the outside of the hull that’s supposed to keep the primary wiring alive. I could switch to back-up systems, if it weren’t for the fact that when the primary wire went it took the whole tube with it. I could call for help but, let’s be honest, I’m not rich enough for anyone to care.
I looked at the food. Even on a survival diet, rationing things out to the very end, we’re a month short. If I just launched myself out the airlock she’d have enough to get by fairly comfortably. The problem is, if she knows I killed myself it’s all over. She’d relapse. She’d hear voices in her head again, see things move that really shouldn’t. She’d be dead a month before the ship gets there. But if she thinks I’m fighting, then she’ll be fine. She’ll fight too.
I really hate to lie to her like this. If she knew what was going on she would probably kill herself right then to save me. I can’t let that happen.
I programmed the computer to decelerate when we get there. It won’t need me for that. I’ve written this note, too. If I make it, fine, she won’t need to read it. If I don’t make it, and I don’t think I will, then she’ll know once she’s with family and friends.
I’ve stopped eating already. I’ll write it off as being sick. She’ll buy into wholesale.
I hope you’re not mad when you read this.
I love you.
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows