Author : Beck Dacus

For most the difference between being stranded on an island and being stranded on a distant planet is merely numerical. But while stranded on the planet Ergingad, I could feel it.

Probes had been there before, so it had been explored. We knew about the atmosphere, gravity, composition and anything else that there was to know. We also knew it was uninhabitable; there was no life, and terraforming it would be a waste. My crew and I went to establish an automated mining base. But when the ships boron-proton reaction chamber ruptured, nearly killing all of us, I didn’t think, “I’m stuck here.” I thought, “I’m stuck 2 quadrillion kilometers from civilization.”

You start to get the feeling that the galaxy isn’t that big, because anywhere you go, you can fly back from. But the instant that’s not true anymore, you realize that the scales you’re talking about are too big for any human mind to comprehend. But if you can comprehend it, you are utterly terrified.

I can see it in the others now. We’re all jumpy, depressed, irritable, and mistrustful. I don’t know if we’ll ever get rescued. I don’t know if we’ll let each other live long enough to find out.

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