Author : Kate Runnels

Asker station orbited the now uninhabited planet of Asker II. Yun was the only one left on the station; the only one left in the system for all he knew. No one had responded to his distress signal, no one responded from below and the only craft were on the surface.

The days continued and he had to follow a routine to survive. The continued running of the station was priority and how to continue to eat and breathe were necessities. They continued. He continued. Alone. Always alone.

Day after day.

He tried to lose count of the days, but the stations system continued to inform him of the passage of days into months.

“Asker station respond. This is Captain Riddle of the Confederated Medical Response Vessel.”

It surprised Yun out of his routine when they arrived. He met them at the station dock. Three of them. Crowding him, the smells of other people assaulted him and he had to force his hands away from his face. And then the questions, non-stop questions and talking.

Like, “where were the others?”

And “how had he survived?”

Or “how long had he been alone?”

Over and over they asked him this and that and talked amongst themselves. They overwhelmed him and —

— It wasn’t his fault when one of them died in the fire, caused by too much oxygen building and all it took was a tiny spark.

Yun may have given the next a little help as emergency doors slammed closed from a malfunctioning sensor reading decompression.

The third and last would be harder. Captain Riddle was older and more cautious. Yun could almost forget the captain’s presence, he moved quietly, contained within himself. Almost.

He just wanted it to go back to the way it was before the noise and the outlandish body odors!

Yun crept into the station’s quarters during night shift. A knife in hand. The body of Captain Riddle faced away from him on the bunk. He reached out his free hand.

The captain moved so quick! He had hold of Yun’s outstretched hand. He froze.

Before he knew it, the tac-patch of tranquilizer took effect and blackness took him.

As the sad human sagged to the deck, Captain Riddle shook his head. He should have seen the signs; if he had, Callie and Matia would still be alive.

He picked up the thin body of the sole survivor and carried him back to the med vessel. As he left, he set the beacon to ‘do not approach Asker system, quarantined by order of the CMR Authority’. It would take more than his emergency response vessel to clean up this mess.

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