Starlight Dance

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An officer attempts to carry out her ship's final mission as her ship dies around her.

Submitted: January 17, 2013

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Submitted: January 17, 2013

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The smoke and flames were everywhere and the captain was dead. The Dancer, or rather what was left of it, was now falling towards the planet below, whose defenses were busy pounding the rest of the attacking fleet into oblivion.
On the bridge, Lt. Samara stirred, the only sign of life in all the wreckage. She tried to call out but what came out was little more than a hoarse cough that burned like hell. Scorched lungs. Isn’t that just fucking great, she thought as tears began to sting her eyes. Well its not like you actually expected to survive this shit anyway, right? No she hadn’t, but as she was starting to realize now, she had hoped to anyway.
After taking a moment to assess her injuries, which were minor aside from a small throbbing in her left knee, she got to her feet and made it gingerly enough to a control panel. It was as bad as she had thought.
They were carrying the last hope in the war against the invaders who had not only driven them from their own homeworld, but were now laying siege to their last colonies. The bomb was a Planet Buster, and they’re backs were against the wall. The mission was simple, hit back at the Invaders homeworld with everything they had, with the whole thing hinging on her crews mission to deliver the bomb past their defenses. The biggest Hail Mary in the history of worlds.
The main fleet would bear the brunt of the planet’s forces while the Dancer and two escorts would make a run for the planet. They would get far enough for one of the escorts to take heavy damage at which point the Dancer would power down and float in as close as possible masked as debris, waiting for the last possible second to power up again, arm the bomb, and launch.
Unfortunately, an enemy ship didn’t buy the act and would have completely annihilated the Dancer if not for the surviving escort’s dead man’s run right into their hull. The Captain’s last statement had been the last statement on that marvelous act. Fuckin’ beautiful.
Fuckin’ beautiful indeed, the Lieutenant thought as she eyed the ships status from the Captains console.
Now they really were just debris, with parts of the ship hanging together by threads and hull breaches nearly everywhere only a few vital sections were still capable of life support, and the one she was hoping to be intact was now exposed to vacuum. She checked for the closest accessible escape pod, which would have a spacesuit, and set out on her path. She had thirteen minutes before the Dancer burned.
He was almost done loading up the pod when she found him. He was young. Far too young for a suicide mission, but like the Lieutenant he must have had had other plans. Unfortunately they involved her suit. She drew her sidearm.
The fear in his eyes was raw and wild, but he somehow managed to speak with a deadly calm. “There’s only one suit.”
She made a gimme motion with the gun, and mouthed the words, I need it, for the bomb.
“No. You can’t shoot me anyway.” he said returning to his packing as if she wasn’t really standing there and this wasn’t really happening.
He might’ve been crazy, (Where the hell was he going exactly?), but he was right. She tossed her sidearm over her shoulder. She couldn’t afford to puncture the damn thing, but maybe she could beat him out of it. The Lieutenant turned and walked over to a piece of pipe jutting out of the corridor and tore it loose with a vicious yank. He turned and stood, staring straight into her eyes now. The stakes were high for both but Samara felt her cause was a hell of a lot more noble. She asked once more, Please.
Nothing.  She let her eyes run over the suit now, looking for weaknesses. Even though the suit had no armor she couldn’t just go to town on him, for fear of causing a rupture. She’d have to watch the tank, and of course the helmet. For a moment she wasn’t sure what she was going to do, then she saw it. The collar wasn’t reinforced and should give just enough for her to choke the life out of him.
She started towards him wearily and without a seconds warning his young eyes turned from wild and scared, to wild and angry as he pounced on her in a manic fury only felt by the insane and those on the very edge of survival.
In the next moments she fell away from herself almost completely and the struggle became only a blur of raw terrible emotion. Desperation, then sharp fear as he momentarily gained  the upper hand, then triumph as she finally got the pipe over his throat. He uttered one last word, one last plea, and as his struggling ceased, Samara felt something so far beyond shame and guilt that she considered not even bothering to get up. She would lay there and just let the end come to her, instead of the other way around. . But that would be the cowards’ way out. So with tears streaming down her face and in the deepest agony of body and soul that she had ever been in in her life, she got back up.
After she had the suit on she checked her time. It had only taken six minutes, and she was now left with another five to finish it. To make it matter.
Fuckin’ figures the damn thing would be on the ass end of the ship, she thought now with real anger as she neared the galley door. Just past this there was only one more corridor that would get her to the cargo bay where the bomb was being kept and which was now depressurized. She thumbed the door pad and was immediately slammed into the side of the door as the atmosphere rushed out of the corridor and into space. She made no attempt to grab hold of anything except for her own chest which had exploded in white hot pain when she banged her way out of the ship. Oh fuck, my heart! This is it, and it was all for nothing too. Ain’t that a bitch. FUCK! It hurt too much for her to open her eyes but the tears came nonetheless.
When she did open them she was treated to a spectacular view. It was light, a vast white light, and there were other colors too, blue, green and gold. It was beautiful. She could feel her pain fading and for the first time in a long time she felt all her burdens lifted as she realized she wasn’t alone in this beautiful haze. All around her were tiny points of light. It took a couple of tries, but she was finally able to blink the bleariness out of her eyes in time too watch a spoon lazily float across the face of the alien planet. There were more things drifting around her, more silverware for instance, a book, a bottle of ketchup, and even a boot. What a weird ending I get, she thought as she floated into darkness once more.
But it wasn’t the end. Instead she floated right into the maw of the back half of the ship, which she didn’t realize until she bumped her leg against one of the dining tables. She hooked her foot under the tabletop and pulled herself down to it. Holding onto it she oriented herself. Yeah, this is the damn cafeteria alright, how the fuck are you still registered as intact though? I almost died, she thought. For a moment she started to laugh, but all that came from her throat was a ragged hacking and searing pain.
Moments later she hit the door the door at the far end of the mess hall. She’d have to use the manual release, but at least it would it would give her something to hold onto on the off chance there was still a damn atmosphere on the other side, and anything (or god forbid anyone) that wasn’t nailed down came flying at her. She pulled the lever, and the door slid open to reveal the last corridor, depressurized, but still lit by the emergency systems. She checked her time once more, one minute and forty three seconds.  She climbed into the corridor and then positioning herself with both feet on opposite sides of the door jamb she kicked off as hard as she could. The home stretch.
She hit the last door hard, but still managed to quickly catch hold of the release lever. A second later the doors started to slide open agonizingly slow, but she finally had her eyes on the prize.
The Bomb sat in the middle of the now largely ceiling less room twenty yards from her current position. For a moment she considered another launch in the zero g but then caution caught the better of her. She couldn’t afford to get this close and miss.
She activated her mag boots and took her first step. One…Two…Oof. The damn things always pulled down harder than you expected after floating around in zero g.
One… Two… Oof. Fuck. She thought again.
She made her stride longer.
One… Two… Oof.
One… Two… Oof.
One… Two… Oof… Fuck.
When she reached the console she allowed herself one last luxury as she checked her wrist display for the last time. Thirty-One seconds.
Everyone on board had been given the codes for this last mission, should it need carrying out. Samara took one last look at the planet rushing towards her and hurriedly punched in the access code. As soon as that was done she punched in the priming code, which needed an additional ten seconds
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
Then in a dull monotone the computer asked her to kindly, “State the Final Arming Authorization Code.”
FUCK.
“Err, Ayen.”
“Invalid Code. Please state again.” Fourteen seconds.
“For-” A sudden coughing jag stealing her strength.
“Invalid Code. Please state again.”
Samara took a moment to take in one last good breath. Then swallowing a final mixture of saliva and blood to soothe her fiery throat she spoke her last words, in a ragged whisper that was all she had left.
“For Europa.” She said looking up once more at the planet the invaders called home. Earth.
“Authorization Code Accepted.”


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