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Breathless


The blast sent me hurtling through the vast, empty void. There was nothing I could do.


I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been out here, but it’s been long enough that I’m almost out of air. I was trying to conserve my breathing but then figured, what’s the point? It’s not like the rest of the crew can come back for me. But it’s a small price to pay if everyone else on the ship can survive.

If it wasn’t for the faulty thruster—the one we’ve put countless request in to get replaced—none of this would’ve happened. Since those request fell on deaf ears, someone has to go out and restart the engine every so often so we can keep rotating. If the engine stops for too long, well, the ship goes to hell—and fast.

Normally, it’s a quick fix. But this time it happened during the sleep cycle. No one saw the alarm going off until it was almost too late. It was a mad dash to get our safety gear on. By the time everyone made it out of their cabins the oxygen supply was already dwindling and the ship was losing gravity.

I decided to fix the mess myself. I wasn’t going to put my crew mates in anymore danger if it could be helped. That’s why in the confusion I hurried off to the airlock before anyone could try to stop me. The airlock drops down a good 20 feet below deck where the engine is located. There’s no air or gravity down there to save cost—a fact I’m quite familiar with as I’m the head of ship maintenance.

When I put my helmet on I heard my cabin-mate Victor shouting at me through the Hel-Com system. He was pleading with me to stop what I was doing. But deep down, he knew I was the only person who could fix the engine.

It took me a few minutes to travel down to the malfunctioning shutoff box. The airlock went pitch black as I hit the 15 foot mark. After that I had to rely on my night-specs to see what I was doing. The fix was easy enough: I popped open the latch to the outside, adjusted the faulty thruster, then pulled the manual restart lever.

But that’s where it stopped being easy. The engine restarted with a roar, but the one thruster fan was stuck. If I didn’t pop it back in place the engine would shut off again and couldn’t be restarted for an hour. Everyone would suffocate before then. So I had to act quickly.

I pulled my body through the latch into open space—one arm gripping the side of the hole. Without the use of a safety strap this was an incredibly dangerous position to be in. But I didn’t have time to mess around. The lives of my whole crew depended on me fixing it immediately.

I stretched out as far as I could but the fan was just out of reach. I had to let go of the latch opening and drift over to the fan. It would take precise maneuvering to unstick the thruster fan and glide back to safety before it started back up. All in one motion I pushed off the side of the ship, grabbed the thruster, knocked the stuck fan back in place, then pushed back off toward the opening.

Unfortunately, the thruster kicked back on immediately—hitting me with an intense shock wave. The blast sent me hurtling through the vast, empty void. There was nothing I could do.

That was at least 30 minutes ago and I’m still out of control. The ship is so far away now—rescue is impossible. I don’t have much air left, so I’m leaving this recording to make sure my crew doesn’t blame themselves. I did this of my own free will. Not sure who—if anyone—will ever get this message. But I have to try. Honestly, I doubt they’ll ever locate my body, but I think it would be nice for my mom to have something to bury. Even so, floating through the infinity of space is a peaceful final resting place. Yeah, it’s not so bad. I even kind of like the idea.

floating in space.jpg

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