Monday, May 28, 2012

Scout's Honor - Chapter 1

                                                                                                             Chapter 2 >

“Wormhole ejection in one minute,” warned the nav computer.
“Acknowledged,” I said.  "Computer, verify message drone is receiving sensor data feed and ready to launch."
"Verified," the computer responded.
For the remaining few seconds, the computer was silent, leaving me to concentrate on preparing for as many of the possible wormhole endpoint hazards as possible.  Unfortunately, there are some hazards you simply can’t prepare for; exiting into the middle of an asteroid field is one of those.
The collision alert began wailing at the same time.
“Computer, launch drone!” I said, firing thrusters to avoid an asteroid larger than my ship.
“Drone launched,” responded the computer in its oh-so-annoyingly calm voice.
“Tell me when the drone enters the wormhole," I said.
“Unable to comply,” said the computer as I spun the ship starboard as fast as possible, barely sliding between two large asteroids.
"Unable to comply?" I asked.  "Why?"
"Ship's sensors are blocked by the asteroid field," the computer told me.
"Acknowledged," I said for the hundredth time since we first entered the wormhole.  Then I tuned out the computer and worked on staying alive.  I almost made it out of the field without taking major damage, too.  With the edge of the field only a short distance away, my scout ship shuddered from an impact.  It was a small asteroid, just a few meters across, but it was more than enough to breach the hull and damage internal systems.  With air rushing out of the breach, my ship tumbled out of the asteroid field and plunged toward the planet below.