Spinning to Oblivion

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Image courtesy of NASA

The acrid tang of blood was a pleasant change from the burnt smell wafting from the air reconditioners, Remy decided. He watched in distant fascination as drop after drop swirled away from his arms and body and spun across the compartment. Or was he the one spinning, he wondered, and the blood merely floated quietly after leaving him?

Drop by drop, his strength was ebbing away. He had hoped that the voices would get quieter as he got weaker, but the screaming seemed to be growing louder. At first only Lerin was yelling at him, but now Lerin was floating lifelessly beside the station’s solar-powered stabilizing array. Why had he gone out there? Hadn’t Remy warned him he didn’t have enough oxygen to be Outside for long?

Several blood droplets spun together, merging briefly into a larger globule before smashing into his left eye. Or had he smashed into it? Remy felt a wave of nausea sweep up as he caught a brief glimpse of Earth whirling repeatedly past the viewport.

The screaming seemed to be growing louder again, and this time there were more voices. A few were old friends inside his head, companions earned during months of solitary training, but the others were a mix of male and female voices he didn’t know. They were coming from all around him now.

“Remy, you need to get to the auxiliary panel!” shouted one angry voice. “You need to get the rotation under control now that the fire’s out. See if Lerin…”

He wanted to tell the voices to stop reminding him about Lerin. Lerin had gone Outside to try to save them, he reminded himself, and now he was gone. Another lurch brought him spinning around faster. His leg was tethered to a control panel that appeared to have been ripped free and was ricocheting around the module.

“Remy, where is Commander Tindal?”

Yes, there had been three of them. Three to work together, three to argue. Three to love. Three to fight.

“Remy, we can’t help you if you won’t talk to us!”

Remy felt a strange tug against his leg, rousing briefly to catch sight of a chunk of databoard guts that had smashed into him. A rising shriek drew his attention back towards the auxiliary control panel now being systematically and enthusiastically dismantled by the mission leader. Lerin’s knife drifted past his eyes.

“STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO.”

“But…you…made…us…”

Made us do it, Remy wanted to say, but his strength had ebbed away in the crazy dance of red drifting and careening around the compartment. A brief glimpse of Lerin’s suited body brought him comfort as he drifted towards oblivion. At least he wouldn’t be alone.

Copyright 2017 by Christine Clukey Reece

 

 

 

But It’s Shiny! (Thanks, NASA)

Artist’s concept of Psyche spacecraft, image courtesy of NASA

In tribute to small children and easily distracted people everywhere, NASA will go out of its way to check out a shiny object.

Squirrel! Or maybe Rudolph.

A small asteroid named Psyche appears much brighter than other known asteroids, and NASA/astronomers believe it may be composed mostly of metal. Some are conjecturing that Psyche may be the inner core of a small planetary body stripped down by various celestial forces, and they think that a closer look at the asteroid may teach us a great deal about the inner core of our very own Earth.

Psyche is a Massachusetts-sized, mostly spherical body hanging out in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, where NASA has already managed some wildly successful investigations (the Dawn Treader…er, Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres). Ceres itself handed them some surprises, most notably with the curious shiny patches on its surface that didn’t appear to correlate with anything known of planetary surfaces.

Let’s just declare the asteroid belt a cool place, m’kay? Because it is.

The mission was proposed and discussed back in 2015, and NASA selected it for further review and refining. The final decision on when the mission would proceed was announced this year. Looks like the Psyche mission is one of five exploratory ventures that NASA’s JPL will conduct from 2020-2030, in collaboration with Arizona State University (ASU) and Space Systems Loral. 

The mission director, Dr. Lindy Elkins-Taunton (ASU), has led several other successful NASA explorations of the solar system. Check out an interview with her here.

Fingers crossed that they maintain the budget needed for this exploration.

#Shiny #Psyche

Flash Fiction Friday: Impact

Image courtesy of NASA

Image courtesy of NASA

Impact

Thermafrag bombs detonated across the surface of Minerva IV like bugs splattering across a windshield. They were unlikely to hit anything, the captain knew, but might shake up the mutineers enough that they’d make a run for it.

Minverva IV hung against the silhouette of its gas giant parent, oblivious to the misfortunes of its surface. The moon had been mined and abandoned by one conglomerate or another over centuries, and now the crew members who’d attempted to murder him were hiding in the extensive network of tunnels below.

A vagrant muscle twitched in his jaw as the chilling sound of escaping air replayed in his memory. They’d told him that they’d found evidence of sabotage along the hull, and he’d fallen into their trap — suited up and headed Out to see it for himself. Good thing for him that he never went Outside without a flexoseal kit strapped on at his waist. Bad thing for them that there was more than one way back Inside the Elloran Cee.

He surveyed the two remaining members of the bridge crew, their facial scars standing out in stark relief under the glare of instrumentation lights. They were fine officers, he thought, able to withstand any amount of physical punishment in the performance of their duties. His fingers curled around the short whip at his waist, anticipating their next training session.

 

Copyright 2017, Christine Clukey Reece

 

A Happy and Kind Recommendation

Image found on Daily Kitten

Image found on Daily Kitten

I’ve worked with Digital Fiction Pub (DFP) as an editor for some time now and have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the company and the authors they publish. One of my favorite experiences was helping to select stories for and edit the original Digital Science Fiction anthologies…most especially a happy little story called “The Night We Flushed the Old Town” by Martin L. Shoemaker, in Therefore I Am (Digital Science Fiction anthology #2).

Martin posted a great tribute to Michael Wills, the gentle genius behind DFP, and the final paragraph of the post included a kind reflection on me as his editor. Martin’s a great writer (and you should definitely check out his other works, especially “Today I Am Paul”), and I’m grateful to be thought of so kindly. It takes a special kind of focus to help an author fine-tune their fiction, and I love having the opportunity to do it.

At present, DFP is closed for submissions (and has been focusing on reprints), but keep checking the site if you have any science fiction, fantasy, or horror short stories you’d like to share! Stories under 3,500 words in all three genres fit the “Quickfic” category, and these stories are posted on the DFP website as well as turned into Quickfic anthologies. Michael selected one of my stories to lead the way in the first Quickfic anthology, and I’m hoping to submit more of my own work at some point.

In the meantime…write more!