Final Frontier

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


Space travel has some serious side effects...

Submitted: November 30, 2017

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Submitted: November 30, 2017

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The green covered “pizza” schlopped down from the vending machine and landed on Brax's plate. He rubbed his temples and tried to imagine the food looking more appetising. He missed the real thing. Fluffy, deep pan pizza overflowing with four different molten cheeses. Basil in the tomato sauce, and jalapeños. Brax sucked the drool back into his mouth. Back on Earth, he'd be pushing through the crowds to beat the lunchtime rush at Mizouli's, he had a table there every Friday at 1 pm.

 

Here, he was more or less alone. The original exploration team started out with 25 eager crewmembers, one by one they had dwindled and now only 5 remained. If they thought that their workday would be busy when they landed, their schedule had mushroomed after six months. Everything about space was strictly timetabled, even downtime. It had to be, to get the most out of every trip. Brax picked at the jalapeños on his Algae Pizza, if he ate them separately the rest of the meal would taste disgusting. He wanted to throw the pizza on the damned floor and be done with it but that would make a mess for the team to clear up. More work. He liked picking the jalapeños off and eating them first. Space wasn't “the final frontier”, or “a giant leap”, it sucked donkey balls.

 

A blue light on his smartwatch flashed and he touched the screen to answer. The grinning face of Doc. Brown, the team medic, greeted him.

“Brax, my man, how's things?”

“My man?” Brax pulled a face like he'd stepped in something. “What's with that? Some kind of new patient/doctor bonding thing? If it is, you can drop that shit. It's weird.”

“So, we good?” Brax closed his eyes and took a deep breath before answering. He couldn't fathom what Brown was up to, maybe he was bored, maybe a mid-life crisis. Who knew?

“Yeah. We good. Now, what do you want?” Brax sighed, disappointed that he'd encouraged the doctor.

“We need to talk about your butt.”

“Err, jeez Doc. I've been a bit bunged up but the diet out here's pretty rough, so... ?”

 

Doc. Brown slapped the desk and gave a chortle. He loved how space-crew were so uptight one minute and then “balls out” relaxed the next. It was the ex-military in them.

“Nah, dude. I was talking about your muscle mass there,” he regained his composure. “Good to know though.”

“Squats then, huh? I'll get on it at my next gym session.” Brax gave a nod. Doc. Brown smiled in return.

“Lower body's your priority, my man. That sweet little caboose keeps your spine in place, if ya don't treat her right you'll be rolling around that planet like a spooked Armadillo.”

“Thanks for the heads up, Doc. You paint a beautiful picture. Now, I gotta run. Say hi to the kids for me.” Brax tapped the smartwatch, once again, and the image of his unconventional medic blipped out of existence. Back to the peace and quiet of a Martian midday. Brax stepped forward, ready to step out of the shelter and make for the surface and heard a soft snap.

“Damn it!” he cursed out loud, despite no-one to hear him. Brax removed his boot and looked at his little toe. Another broken one. He reached for the tape in his med kit and splinted it to the next toe before replacing his boot. Brax shook his head and turned to Commander Phink. “Guess I need a better diet, huh? I'm leaking calcium into my bloodstream and that has some serious side effects.”

 

Brax exited the shelter, muttering about rations, leaving Phink's corpse where he'd ended him.

 


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