Orion Station Nine

Orion Station Nine

A Story by Blue Notebook

Just a short story. I had it on here before, but it got erased. Please critique it.


“Total system failure in: One. Minute. Ten. Seconds.”
  Kalar’s steps quickened. As captain, the duty should have fallen to him to make sure his subordinates made it to the escape pods. “Leave no man behind,” the popular military motto of the twentieth centuries, did not apply in this case. It could only be expected that many of the crew would not make it to the pods on time, but it was best they did not know this. The last of the senior officers and necessary personnel had just been crowded into the few remaining pods and only one remained docked, awaiting the captain.
“Total system failure in: One. Minute. Five. Seconds.”
  A young engineering officer smiled at him as he strode past. He smiled back at her. “It’s a damn shame,” he thought, “such a pretty little thing.” It was imperative that he remained composed. Should the general crew discover the station was so near disaster, the panic might prevent him from reaching the pod in time. He turned down his ear piece as he passed through the crowded hallway. Just around the corner.
“Total system failure in: Sixty. Seconds.”
  He glanced out the window as he rushed past it. How long, he wondered, would the projected image last? He shrugged off the rising terror when he thought about what those “windows” should have shown. What would the crew think when the bright clouds of the nebula and the gleaming side of the new Orion Station Nine disappeared, replaced by Dark Matter and the accelerated corrosion that was quickly disabling the most populated, non-planetary colony outside the Earth’s Solar System? He decided he didn’t care. He’d be long gone by then. When he got home, he’d have to suggest more escape pods were installed on the other stations.
“Total system failure in: Fifty. Five. Seconds.”
  He was running out of time. Bent up nervous energy forced him into a run. He knew he shouldn’t have gone back to his room, but the thought of leaving all that platinum in his safe made him sick to his stomach. Sure it would take up the space of one extra body in the pod, but surly the resident psychiatrist wasn’t really necessary? He shifted his pack. Not more than five steps away, the pod stood waiting for him.
“Total system failure in: Fifty. Seconds.”
  Kalar heard the warning too late. He gasped as his head flew forward and his pack was launched across the hall, sliding to a stop a few feet away. He cursed silently as he jumped to his feet, turning to see what had struck him.
  “S-sorry, Ca-captain!” stammered his assailant.
  “Tamic!” The young engineer hurried over and swept up the child, softly scolding. “I am so sorry, Captain. I told Tamic not to fly his Cruiser in the halls. I hope you’re alright?”
  “Fine.” Kalar grumbled. He had never approved of having children on his station.
“Total system failure in: Forty. Seconds.”
  The lights flickered.
  “Captain! We’ve got to go, now!” The first mate called from the doors of the pod.
  “Oh! Is there an away mission?” The young mother implored, admiringly, “I’ve never been on one before.”
  Grunting in reply, the captain swept up his pack and stepped up to the door, but was stopped by a small hand on his sleeve. Kalar looked down, impatiently.
  “Ca- captain?” Two small eyes looked up to meet his.
  “What!” He snarled.
  Water welled up in the his eyes as the young boy’s head sank. He shuffled back.
“Total system failure in: Thirty. Seconds.”
  “I’m sorry, captain. He doesn’t mean to be in your way.” His mother said, placing her hands on her son’s shoulders, “Its just that ever since his father died, Tamic’s looked up to you. We wont bother you now, but if, perhaps, when you get back… Well, could you sign his Cruiser for him? We’d be forever in your debt.”
  “Yes, of course, whatever. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” The two stepped back as the captain stepped forward. He took a deep breath, trying to ignore the look on the boy's face, as his first mate reached for the button to seal the door…
  …He froze. “Captain, we don’t have much time…”
  “Miss? How would you and your son like to go on an away mission?”
  “What?” The engineer’s eyes grew wide.
“Total system failure in: Twenty. Seconds.”
  “I just remembered I had a previous engagement, that leaves an open spot, and we hate to waste space. It’s not a very long mission, and it’s rather routine, but Tamic might enjoy it.”
  “Captain-” a look silenced the first mate.
  “Oh, really? Are you sure?”
  “I’m sure.” Kalar stepped out of the pod, and picked up the toy. He held it out to the child. “Enjoy yourselves.”
  “Oh, thank you so much, Captain, we’ll never forget this.” Smiling broadly, the young mother hurried her son on to the pod.
  With a nod from his captain, the first mate pressed the fatal button, sealing off the pod from the rest of the station.
“Total system failure in: Five…”
  The little boy looked up excitedly as his mother introduced herself to their companions.
  The pod broke away and began to drift off.
  Kalar watched as the faces began to grow smaller, soon they would be too far away to see.
  One small hand lifted up to the window, giving a final, excited wave.
  Kalar sighed. He hoisted his bag back on to his shoulder as the lights gave one last, desperate flicker.
“Total system failure in-”
  He ripped out his earpiece and turned from the window. Screams rang through the halls as lights went out and realization hit the suffocating inhabitants of Orion Station Nine.


© 2008 Blue Notebook

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Wow, scary coincidence. This story ends a bit like one of mine- Starman!
I liked this, very much. It's a brilliant short piece. It didn't end the way I thought it was going to do, either! The captain sure did surprise me at the last moment. I don't have any criticisms, other than that it was a fantastic, well-written story, with interesting dialogue, a fast pace that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and a great twist at the end. Will you do a sequel?

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Added on June 10, 2008
Last Updated on June 10, 2008


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