2: Trapped, Ship, Despair, Choice, Alone

09:45 Sun 03 Sep 2006. Updated: 13:54 09 Sep 2006
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Was I alive? Or was this some postmortal dream, the last firings of my neurons?

Everything appeared real, solid, and coherent. The odd grey of warpspace was comforting, normal.

I was still here. And I was angry. The Board would be upset, even if they favored the assassination, by the mess. They hated loose ends and public conflict. I would use that to crush those who made the attempt. Some of them, at least. Whoever thought they would ascend to my Board seat, for certain. They I would kill.

I considered this for a long time before shaking it off. Then I roused myself to switch off the various alarms that were still active. My hands were shaking, and my mind drifted, but again I brought it back to the controls.

The readings were anomalous.

I was off course. The warp drive was damaged in some incomprehensible way, despite the miraculous lack of physical damage during my escape.

I asked the ship to explain the situation. It summarized the problem in some way I couldn’t understand. It told me it was unable to suggest any repair option. And that the drive would become increasingly unstable until (at some indeterminate but approaching point) it would eat itself.

I screamed and ranted at the ship, but it had nothing to offer.

I had to disable the drive. Merely turning it off was insufficient, I had to render it inoperable. The ship could do this, leaving me without FTL propulsion.

I ran it as long as I dared. And then I killed the drive.

The grey surrounding the ship slowly tore itself apart, and colors exploded out of the rents before fading to blackness, blackness punctuated by stars.

The warp envelope was gone; the warp drive was dead. I was alone in space.

(300 words)

The above is part of a series of microfiction pieces.

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