These things tend to be short pieces that may or may not be the beginning of something else. Originally they were 101 words only. I’m less strict about that now. They dont always finish, I just like to try and evoke a certain feeling or scene.
I’m going to tie them to M’s prompts this month. The prompt was “Time blossomed then shrivelled”. The idea filled head with thoughts of time passing and age and forgetting the important things that have gone before.
Henderson looked out into the void of space, the moon now disappearing into the distance as the Callista prepped for her faster than light jump.
“FTL Jump in twenty” barked the Comms, the service deck eerily quiet save for the odd scurry of activity in prep for her first leg on the journey back home.
“We had to, you know that right” came a voice, causing him to start. It was one he recognised and one that made his stomach churn and his fists clench. “Marcus told me you’d were down here.”
Henderson turned around and stood to attention. “Captain, yes sir” he answered, shoulders and chin up.
“Carl, at ease” Grenville said, “It’s just you and me you can drop the Captain shit.”
“You had to? Really?” Henderson snapped. “Christ on a bike James do you have any idea how many people you just fried?” He took a step towards the officer, fists still clenched.
“You think I don’t know that?” Grenville replied, “You think I did this without a thought for those that might still be alive down there? You know as well as I do that if that thing gets off planet all the colonies will suffer the same fate.”
“There were people we could have saved, we could have helped them still.”
Grenville paused, loosened his jacket and pointed out across the deck towards where the moon. “You know I’m second generation colony Carl, you know I probably still have people down there just like you do.”
“Then why the hell couldn’t you wait?” he asked turning to face him. “I guess you’re going to tell me you were following orders.”
Grenville looked old. Older than he ought to. He was barely recognisable from the man he had known for so many years – and as a boy for as many before that – and that he had served under on the Juliana, the Aiden and now on the Callista.
He put a hand on his shoulder. “So what now James” he said turning to look back out into space. He wanted to help, to tell him it was okay but it wasn’t. They weren’t kids anymore and sometimes you needed to knwo that things weren’t going to be alright.
“We’ve burned the earth’s atmosphere, saved the colonies and now we head home to a heroes welcome?” he said sarcastically.
Grenville buttoned up his jacket again and sighed. “It’s not quite over yet Carl” he said, a new sadness in his voice.
“Command are still nervous and despite wiping out every living thing they’ve just sent new orders.”
Henderson balled his fists. “Why the hell are you telling me this James, why me? Serious don’t you have a first officer or a dozen senior officers you could tell?”
Grenville turned to walk away and then stopped, pausing before speaking again.
“Five minutes after we jump the entire store of Fed nova clusters in the bunkers just outside Berlin, Shanghai, Los Angeles and Singapore will detonate and rip the whole damn planet to pieces.”
“My god James, I don’t want to know okay.” Henderson snapped, his eyes wide and nostrils flared. “Just do what you have to okay and leave me be. Please.”
Without turning around Grenville headed off towards the service deck exit.
“Sorry Carl” Grenville said and the service deck blast door began to close and the comms confirmed 5 minutes to FTL jump. “I’m just sorry…”