1. Dark Symmetry


    Date: 6/29/2016, Categories: Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Author: Varrick, Source: LushStories

    I’m not sure if my eyes remained closed due to the effects of hibernation, or simply because I feared what I might see if I opened them. Even in such a perplexed state, I knew that if the proximity alert was sounding it couldn’t be good. Still, force them open I did. As I stumbled from my stasis tube, the only light came from the spinning yellow emergency beacons set into the ceiling. I struggled to keep my balance as I made my way to the bridge. I was dizzy from sleep, anxious about the situation, and disoriented by the yellow light strafing the corridors. It was then that I noticed the blood. There was a handprint on the bridge door. When it slid open, I observed another on the wall and then footprints. I stumbled after them, past the navigation console. I saw that the bloody trail stopped at the hatch to the avionics compartment. I wanted to see what was down there, but I couldn’t. With Icarus tumbling into the planet’s atmosphere, I had to tend to the far more pressing matter of righting the ship. After I got my bearings, I managed to recover the vessel and place it into a low orbit, though why Icarus suffered the power loss that dragged us toward the planet was unclear. Another problem was that I was unable to leave. Initial tests showed that Icarus had suffered little damage, but I had been forced to use all but the last dregs of the power reserves when saving the ship. Without power, Icarus would be unable to break or maintain orbit. I was stranded. ...
    -------------------- The image from the probe’s camera was plagued by static. This was undoubtedly due to the closeness of the planet, but knowing the cause didn’t help matters. I peered through the miasmic haze whilst I controlled the camera with my left hand. I was searching the ship’s exterior for damage, so allowed the camera to wander across the titanium alloy segments that made up the majority of the hull. I pulled the probe back to give me a wider view, until the camera glared up towards the dark spires mounted at the top of the vessel. Sprouting from these was an immense array of communication masts. With them reaching out in all directions, they resembled the shrivelled, gnarled branches of a long-dead tree on a forgotten moor. When the camera caught a glimpse of the immeasurable vastness of space beyond the ship, it emphasised that sense of loneliness and isolation. Scanning along the hull, pockmarks became visible in the ship’s skin. Though space may appear still and serene, the truth is very different. A constant barrage of dust and rocks would lash at Icarus like a persistent drizzle from a leaden autumnal sky. The fractious sound of this debris spattering against my cabin’s viewport would sometimes keep me awake at night. Once I’d recalled the probe and set diagnostics, there was nothing else I could do. With little to hear but the stippling of minor impacts, the faint beeps of instrumentation, and the soft murmuring of the life support systems, it was easy to lose myself in ...
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