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