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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Click (04/18/13)

TITLE: Oops
By dub W
04/20/13


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Okay. Hi. I guess. Let’s see. I guess I should say, whoever finds this, please tell my wife I enjoyed my last few hours reading the Bible, although that might be a lie, I suppose when the water, food, or oxygen run out I will probably pass out, but at least I hope I would take my last gasp while reading Psalms.

You may be asking – what happened? Or, how’d you get here? Truth is, I’m not quite sure, but here is my best guess.

I was doing my job, maintenance on safety equipment on all of the escape pods aboard the HS Mandela, a transport heading for the colony. It was April 18, 2025, around lunchtime. Well, there I was, up checking the seals around the replicators unit when I heard a resounding “Click.” Followed by a “swoosh.” A second later I crashed against the top of the pod. I tried to grab my tools floating around me and managed to snag a long wrench, which I used to hook onto the back of one of the hard aluminum seats and pull myself down. I looked back at the door and I could see the thrusters of the Mandela pushing off into space. Apparently, I had activated the pod while I was working and launched myself into outer space. Oops.

Note: The escape pods use a homing system that sends the craft to the nearest solid mass – one hopes it's a planet and not an asteroid.

Anyway, I sat there for a day (my estimate), strapped into an aluminum chair and fiddled with every dial and switch I could find; only to discover my efforts were moot, the automatic guidance system overrides any fool, like me, attempting to fly the craft.

I really figured that the pod would crash into something and I would dematerialize and become a part of the ceramic tile on the bottom of the pod. However, it did not, and I am not, well, at least not yet. The pod and I bounced gently along the surface of a seemly benign planet.

That’s how I got here. What I can see out the window is dust, brown dust. Even the sky is brown. At least there is gravity.

The oxygen thingy is humming along nicely. I’m no chemical engineer but I was told it uses a chemical oxonide base, which is fortunate for me. The atmosphere outside of the pod, according to a gauge on the wall, is chlorate, another super oxide, and hydrogen. Yea! The oxygen-creating reactor can hum along in perpetual bliss until it chemically dissolves – which I suppose is possible.

Food and water are another matter. This pod carries enough food and water for thirty people for thirty days – or one guy for about a year. The oxygen generator expels a little hydrogen, and the oxygen I am breathing mixes nicely to create a nice puddle of water under the unit. The food rations I can probably survive on halves, although I may experiment with some seeds I found.

I think it is light on this planet for about eighteen hours. I try to sleep when the sky darkens and I am awake when there is light. That tells me the planet is rotating.

Oh, this is really interesting. My waste is incinerated the instant I push the button. I had worried about a smelly pile outside of the pod, but apparently the atmosphere works as a disposal. If the waste management people on earth discover this they will make hourly drop-offs.

For entertainment I can watch the dust, read the survival manual, or my little pocket testament. There is a radio, but it receives nothing. I hoped for at least noise. I think it needs batteries. Other than the hiss of the oxygen creator, the toilet swoosh, or me banging my head on the ceiling there are no other sounds in the pod.

That’s it for now. I guess I will sit here, put my feet up, and stare at the dust. Maybe I’ll read the Psalms and day dream of being home.

“Click.”

“Oops.”


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This article has been read 145 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Patsy Hallum04/26/13
Great piece of science fiction. Your MC was cooler than I would have been.Keep Writing!
Virgil Youngblood 04/26/13
Definitely a well written, fun read. The last "click" suggests Mr. Thumbs has relaunched, or is about to experience another unanticipated event. I suppose that is how you wanted to leave it -- letting the reader ponder the consequences. If so, well done.
lynn gipson 04/29/13
Talk about leaving the reader wanting more! I loved this so much I read it twice. I am left wanting to know where the next click took him! Excellent story and writing.
Christina Banks 04/29/13
Oh dear! What has your MC done now? Thank you for sharing this fun piece with us!
Cheryl Harrison 04/29/13
Ha! Such a fun read. I need to know what happened after the last "oops!"

Great job!
Sheldon Bass 04/29/13
Nice imaginative piece. I'm one who becomes disinterested easily and you held my interest well. Good use of topic, good flow and my kind of ending. Make em think! To coin a redundant phrase, You create very creatively. (<:
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/29/13
Oh I'm not a sci-fi fan, but if you keep writing stories like this I might become one. You did a great job of building the character and doing it in a letter solves the problem of telling the story of a dying man in the first person. I really thought at the end he would discover that he was on Antarctica that had turned to dust because of global warming or something. I like your ending better, though I really want to know what happens next!
Judith Gayle Smith04/29/13
You are a terrible tease. Is our fearless hero transported, incinerated, eaten? I want MORE!
Alicia Renkema04/30/13
I am not usually a fan of Sci Fi either, except I do like C. S. Lewis's Perlandria Series, so you are in good company author-ship-wise with me although the two of you have vastly different writing styles. I found this piece to be extremely informative and entertaining. You write in such a way as to really grab your reader, having them bond with your MC right away. The beginning drew me in because I was like, where is this guy and what is he talking about which of course made me want to read more. I thought initially by your ending that your MC was a goner, totally disintegrated into dust, but then I re-read the one paragraph with the first Oops, and after reading the other comments as well, maybe he did go back home on the second Oops...
Ellen Carr 05/01/13
A great story which left things hanging - what was the 'Oops' at the end? What happened? You've been very creative on this topic and it was an engaging read. Well done!
Loren T. Lowery05/01/13
Missed reading your stories and glad to see you back. Enjoyed this immensely, especially the MC tongue-in-cheek humor (or was it simply resolve on his part). Anyway great, entertaining read!
Cinda Carter05/02/13
I liked your fictional story and how it kept me wondering what would happen next. Then when it came to the end part you kept your readers wondering what happened after the "Click" and then OOPS! I was drawn right into the story. I really enjoyed it.