Flux Hunt

Author: Kate Runnels

Tan sighed as he turned course, with the gimbaled piloting stick, following the search pattern. They needed to find a flux field. Even a flux point. That would take them somewhere. Somewhere not here. They were running short of, well, of everything.

They needed a complete flush of the CO2 scrub system, needed food, water and oxygen they could process at any rocky planetary system. But flux fields were found near systems. They were out beyond the Oort clouds, in deep space. And right now they were drifting between systems near the Medusa Nebula.

Alone.

Just the two of them in their ship. So far out from any colonized planet, deep space station and flux points! The flux gave them the means to colonize more planets and big corporations and planetary governments paid huge prices for undiscovered flux fields.

Reese shook her head from the other seat. “I don’t know.” Her long dirty blonde hair was tied back in a tail as she scowled down at the information on her sensor screen. “This area should have a Flux. No, a Flux field. The data are known and it should be here!”

“Then I’ll keep to the pattern.” Tan stayed on the course they had plotted to get the best sensor sweep of the area.

#

Hunger gnawed at him, along his bones, twisting his stomach in ways he never imagined. Reese was sleeping at her controls. Seat back almost flat. Hunger had taken its toll on her too. They had counted on finding a flux here. The deep dark space between systems, not just two systems, but eleven. There had to be one here.

He clenched his jaw to keep the yell of frustration inside. But he pounded his fit on the metal console.

A light began blinking, as he blinked away the pain. “Oh, thank god.”

A flux. They were almost on top of it. He steered the ship that direction, inputting the coordinates of the nearest inhabited flux system. There would be a station there. They could eat. Sell the coordinates to this site and be rich.

He grinned at his sleeping partner. She’d want to upgrade the sensors and do this all over again. As the Flux took hold of the ship, he knew he’d complain all the while, but head back out here into the dark with her.

3 Comments

  1. Jae

    Oh yes. Like that a lot.

    One minor glitch: “…data are known…”, needed to be “is known” or “is solid” etc.

    • dmatos

      I’m afraid the author is technically correct here. “Data” is a plural noun. The singular form is “datum.” Colloquial use now tends to treat “data” as a singular noun, so both would be fine in informal writing. I think that having Reese use the technically correct but unusual grammar helps describe exactly what type of person she is 🙂

      • Jae

        Fair comment, but, in my defence: “data is also standard in denoting a singular mass entity (like information), especially in writing for a more general audience”. 😀

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