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  • Writer's pictureAaditya Shetty

Lost to the void

“Carefully descend onto the surface, soldier. You don’t want to fall here.” “Yes, ma’am.” “Do you see either of them? The transponder or the log unit?” “I think I do, ma’am. Moving in to retreat.” The spaceman carefully navigated his way to the crash site and searched through the wreck with his signal receiver. The device beeped as the soldier looked around. It got stronger and then became a constant sound. He bent down and dug out the transponder needle and the log box attached to it. “Unit retrieved, Captain. Heading back to transport.” “Hard copy. Preparing for exit.” The soldier boarded the ship and decontaminated himself before heading to the bridge to report to his Commanding Officer and to be debriefed. “So, Lieutenant. Let us see what’s all the fuss about this recorder, eh?” Captain Rey plugged in the log unit and waited. The only sounds in the room were the slow hissing of the pipes and the various boops and bleeps of the machinery of the ship systems. The download procedure was complete after a minute and immediately after, the main screen showed the waveform of the recovered audio. “Captain’s log: 4th May, 3124. We’re on course, heading towards the trading station near Europa. Sector Delta Sigma Charlie. We are a few months out. Supply stocks seem alright. Briggs, Jacob, Anastasia and I are doing alright. We’ll report back soon.” “Captain’s log: 6th June, 3124. The ship is picking up strange signals. We seem to be on course but an anomaly has appeared. Quantum asteroids, I suppose. Just phased in 12 hours or so ago. We’ll slow down as we approach. We’ll need to be very careful here. One wrong move and we will be scattered across the system.” “Captain’s log: 20th June, 3124. Entering anomaly field. Jacob is taking the ship through slowly. Briggs is watching navigation systems. Anastasia is on standby on the bridge. The asteroids seem strange in nature. Quantum superposition might be causing the spatial shifts of the asteroids. Where are we?” “Captain’s log: [Redacted]. Critical system failure. Navigation and time keeper subroutines are down. We are drifting through space. We are lost in time. I hope we pull through. The oxygen system works fine and we seem to have enough food and supplies to last a few more months. I tried contacting HQ but to no avail. We may be in an anomalous pocket. I’ll continue monitoring our status.” “Captain’s log: No, no, no, no. It’s all going haywire. This was not meant to happen. We were meant to be back by now. We’re still drifting through the anomaly. Briggs is going insane. Ana, Jacob and I had to seal him in his quarters. The lack of spatial and temporal awareness is getting to him. I don’t know how long we can hold it together. I hope we find a way out.” “Captain’s log: I can’t….I’ve lost them. Jacob was unconscious on the bridge, near the controls. He doesn’t seem to be fit to pilot anymore. Ana is...gone. I searched the whole ship but when I reached the airlock, I found out what happened. The failsafe had been activated. Ana...she’s in the void. I need answers. I can’t take this.” “Captain’s log: I don’t know where I am. I don’t know what the month or even year is. General relativity. Quantum mechanics. I studied them all. I studied them all just to get stuck in an anomaly! The universe must be laughing at this cruel irony. I don’t have faith in anything right now. All I know is that I need to finish the mission….I need to.” “Captain’s log: Took the rifle from the armoury. Have some supplies and repair tools ready. I think after Anastasia opened the airlock, radioactive particles entered the craft. The radiation is climbing steadily. Dunno how such particles could even exist here, with no apparent source but it seems like nothing obeys physics in this forsaken place. This may be my final log. Preparing to exit the ship with a tether to do external repairs.” “Captain’s log: I survived that trip. Somehow. Been a few days since I did. Feel better that I fixed the ship. Not that I am going anywhere but yeah. Feels good to patch up the ship. Might do a supply check to make sure I have enough to last however long I need to. Ammunition stocks seem fine. Not that anything could attack me in this void.” “Emergency log: Mayday! Mayday! Sudden asteroid shower. They came out of nowhere. I never had a chance to react. Ship going down! If anyone recovers this log unit, please take it to Arcadian Industries and try to deliver any part of the salvage if you can as well. If I survive, locate me in sector Alpha Charlie Echo. If I don’t make it, please, tell my husband I-” The final transmission cut off there and the room’s lights turned on. Captain Rey closed her eyes and rested her hand on the communications unit. “Well, Lieutenant, you heard the log. We’ll go for a second salvage run to see what we can recover along with this unit and transponder.” “Yes, Captain. Anything else?” “No. You’re dismissed. Take a break and report back at 2200 hours.” “Thank you, Captain.” As the Lieutenant left the room and the pressurised doors closed behind him, Captain Anastasia Rey wept. “I’ll find you, Kim. I swear I will. I’ll finish the mission….for us.” She cleaned her face and left to go to the armoury. She still had a mission to complete and she wasn’t going to rest until the job was done. As she boarded the jumpship with a weapon and some supplies, she told herself, “I’ll light a candle for those we lost to the void. As for you, Kim, you can light it with me. Quantum fields aren’t the problem, losing your mind in one is. Heh. I’ll remember that old friend.” The jumpship boosted out of the hangar, leaving behind a blue trail across the cosmos. Captain Anastasia Rey never left a fellow comrade behind.

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