Daily Snippit: Science Fiction (Sixteen Tons of Light)

“Carson, I–”

Ship’s voice cut off the same instant everything else shut down. The spaceship went silent and dark in a single heartbeat.

“Shit!” Carson dove for the emergency panel, overshooting as the gravity faded out. He managed to grab ahold of the wall as his insides protested the sudden loss of ‘down’. He’d trained in zero gravity, sure, but that had been years ago. He waited for the gryations to stop, and the biological lights to kick on (nothing like glowing funus to make you feel hightech), then worked his way back over to the emergency panel. There was a backup generator, but it would only last about an hour. He popped the panel open and started the command sequence that would unfurl the emergency sails.

The sails were each the size of a football field, unfurled by tiny robots that paralled Ship and held the fabric taught. The fabric itself was infused with modified solar cells that leeched energy from the starlight. They were too far from a star to be able to pull in the maximum, but there was enough to keep the emergency systems running for weeks (if need be).

It wouldn’t be weeks though. The next thing Carson did was to program one of the pigeons and send it off to the nearest navy outpost. They were about a week out, so it would be a good two weeks before help arrived. The Navy ships were faster than Ship, but Carson wasn’t in any immediate danger, so he’d take a backseat to anything else that happened to show up. The pigeon itself would take much less time to get there, so at least the Company would know where he was.

Now he just had to figure out what was wrong with Ship.


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