Radiation Levels: Acceptable. “Okay, lads, we’re good. Let’s not mosh this up, right?” Lars, encased in a plastisteel suit, stepped his near-weightless form through the breached opening of the hull. The three stripes indicative of a mission commander on his right bicep stood out against the off-white hue of his shell. He glanced back at the three others behind him; his accompaniment on this rubbish of a mission.
The Mir space station had been a pillar of international space relations for decades. It was the meeting place for any mission consisting of combined efforts from more than fifteen countries. Now it was a decayed shell of an old empire. Science couldn’t explain the stationâ€™s rapid decay in the recent years past, only that a hull breach had killed the remaining officers, and put to rest a monument of space-exploration. Rumors would still persist that the ghosts of the crew haunted the wreckage, and the reasons why it hadn’t yet been salvaged after fifteen years.
Lars could feel the chill running up his spine as he hooked up the feed-line to the wreckage. He waved his squad in, taking the time to tug his own floating form inside. The dank, bleak interior washed over him. The luminescent-application on his arm glowed like a night-light, illuminating a floating beverage package, and a few loose wires. The rest of the corridors remained encased in shadow.
“Commander, I’m getting an infrared read off this puppy.” The American, Dotson was always scared of naked space missions.
Lars rolled his eyes and just spoke into the com, “Are you sure ’bout that, private? We are in a vacuum. Best to check your readings, again.”
Dotson pulled himself up closer to Lars, “No, not heat sir… I’m picking up a fluctuating, moving cold.” The scanner he held was showing the appropriate readings.
Lars would rub his chin, but that bulky suit made his common tics impossible. “Hm, take Rustokov and Feugo with you to the core room, I’ll check the science panels around here.”
Private Dotson nodded and was off with the others, three glowing bulbs of arm-light floating down a corridor into the depths of darkness. Lars was left alone. That’s how he preferred to operate, though the hair standing up on the back of his neck was telling him that man should not tread here. The astromarine commander saw a panel up ahead on the right, and began his trek towards it. A low rumble came from around him. The hull seemed to still be collapsing slowly, even after the initial wreckage and ten years of dormancy. “Lads, keep your coms on the ready, I want us out of here in 15, Command Out.” Better safe than sorry, he thought.
Tapping the panel to life, Commander Lars Gallows floated in the center of a tunnel, watching the green menu of a boot-up system.
>>>Mir Core System Reboot
>>>System Functioning at 32%
>>>Enter Authorization Key…
Usually his crew wasn’t this quiet. But Lars was too transfixed to notice they hadn’t come back with anything and were sure to have reached the core room by now. Entering an old military key, the screen came to life with documentation of science research and files damaged from the system shock. His brows came together. He’d hardly realized now that the emergency lights had flickered out.
>>>Science File 0042: We’ve discovered an anomoly on tbrrrrrr zzzzz##%%$^^&. The readings are faulty, we will check them again tomorrow.
The feed-line silently became unlatched, and his craft floated off towards Earth. Lars’ crew had gone missing, and Lars was soon to follow.
>>>Science Files 0101: We’ve been fooled! We have to get out of here! It’s all around us, it seeps in through the hulls and tries to make us kill one-another. We’re staring out into a .. a ghost. My God… it haunts existence. We hav—ddhhfffffggggg@@@###$$$ FILE ERROR
“Private! Dotson! Get your arses back here, on the double, lads. We’re aborting this mission!” There was no answer, only the hull creaking again. Lars looked down the corridor, and was horrified. Space was creeping in, the blackness from it was seeping down the corridor towards him. His eyes could only widen in horror, as the truth became abundantly clear to him, and the world would go on… blissfully ignorant.
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.
"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."
We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We are only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.
Voices of Tomorrow
Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.
If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org