Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Published: 2018-09-12-10-13)UK.TP

Start of story: A sliver of red

A sliver of red |  There it is |  The barrier |  More than a job | Inside | tba

Todd pressed the button that released the seal on Shuang's space suit. A tiny hiss of air indicated that pressure had equalised.

"You okay?" Todd asked, dabbing her face with a cool sponge from one of the compartments on his suit. "You awake?"

Shuang opened her eyes and blinked a few times. "Yes." She said. "Where are we?"

Todd glanced around. "In the entrance chamber." He said. He had been surprised to survive the onslaught of weaponry that pounded the exterior of the asteroid for over five minutes. But the access point had held, the chamber had held.

"We made it?" Shuang asked.

"Yeah." Todd said and smiled. "Pretty cool eh?"

"Yeah. I guess." Shuang said. "It must have taken quite some control for you not to go exploring the asteroid, but to wait for me to wake up. How long has it been?"

"Two hours." Todd said.

"I'm impressed." Shuang said. "Not like you."

"Huh." Todd said. He wasn't sure if now was a good time to tell her that the only reason he hadn't gone exploring was because he couldn't find a way out of the entrance chamber. He had searched every surface, every crevice, but had found nothing. When he had tried to use his grapple to rip away some of the asteroid material it had made no impression. The other cutting tools he tried had been equally useless. He was starting to suspect that the asteroid wasn't a natural formation.

"So how does it feel? To have made it inside?" Shuang asked.

Todd looked at Shuang. He had to give her credit for continuing to pursue her character piece, even though the chances of returning to deliver it had dropped sharply. "Good." He said. "Ish."

"Ish?" Shuang asked. "How so?"

"I was expecting a bit more." Todd helped Shuang to her feet so that she could look around. "I have a feeling I know why the other species ignored this access point. It's a dud. Nowhere to go."

Shuang looked around and then bounded across the chamber.

"We have gravity?"

"Yeah - a bit." Todd said.

After she had made a circuit of the chamber, playing her head lamp across the rough surface, she returned to stand in front of Todd. "So what's next then?"

"You're not going to like this." Todd said. He had tried all of his cutting tools on all of the exposed rock, but had made only the most superficial impression. He had then sat, trying to work out a better plan than the one that had popped into his head. But to no avail.

"Back outside?" Shuang asked.

"Yeah." Todd said. "If we can traverse to another access point, then maybe we can get further inside."


"That's the problem." Todd said. "The plan has a low probability of success. That and ..." He played his lamp across the access point they had entered. "It seems to be fused. The controls aren't working anymore."

"That is a problem." Shuang said.

James Aston
Story 2018-08-21, part 5 (up to) of N (tbd)
498 words

A sliver of red |  There it is |  The barrier |  More than a job | Inside | tba

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