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[2009: JUL-AUG] Between a rock and space - by Lt. Cmdr. Tal Tel-ar


Tal Tel-ar
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Between a Rock and Space

"So what are our chances?" asked the slim young man with the long greenish hair. His amber skin was speckled with beads of persperation even though he was from a desert planet and normally use to temperatures much greater than they were now suffering through.

"Honestly." responded the bald ebony skinned man in a tone that was almost impossible to hear as the upper half of his body was stuffed into an access hatch that was frankly smaller than he was.

"Yeah."

"Slim to nill." he managed to say before lapseing into silence.

Standing the young man moved over to look out the front of the small craft. What he saw made him even more nervous. They were drifting through a huge asteroid field. As he watched a massive rock easily 50 times the size of their tiny shuttle blocked out the light from the distant sun as it slowly turned.

"OK. Pull me out kid." came the faint voice from inside the access hatch.

For a second the young man stood still, then he responded quickly by moveing back and bending down. Then after takeing a firm grip he started to tug. At first he could not move the man and he had a momentary flash of panic. What if the guy was stuck? How was he going to get him out?

Then suddenly half of his upper body slid out of the hatch. The sudden movement made him lose his balance and he landed on his [...], smacking the back of his head against the bulkhead behind him. For a moment he was seeing double and felt dizzy.

By the time the feeling had passed and he was able to focus on the image of the pilot, the man had managed to squirm the rest of the way out of the hatch. The persperation on his ebony skin made it shimmer faintly in the soft glow from the emergency lights. However the grim expression on his face did nothing to relieve the young man's feelings of impending doom.

"So?"

"Huh?" the pilot responded as he stoped in mid turn. "Oh... The engines are shot. Completely fried."

The young man felt his faint hope slip away. Now he would never get home. Never see his family again. Worst of all he would leave his betrothed wondering. Did something happen to him or had he changed his mind.

It was only when he noticed that the pilot had moved forward and settled into his seat that the faint spark of hope returned. "I thought you said the engines were fried?"

"They are. I didn't waste my time with them."

"So what did you do?"

"Transfered emergency power to the manovering thrusters. They won't get us to your planet but they should get us out of this asteroid field."

"WATCH OUT!!" exclaimed the young man as he instinctively covered his eye's. He cringed awaiting the inevitable impact as the shuttle was smacked into tiny little fragments by the sudden protrusion of gray stony material that seemed to appear like magik in front of the ship.

When nothing happened he opened his eye's to see the asteroid slowly moveing out of the way. It took him a momment to realize it was the other way around. The pilot was manovering them towards an opening that hopefully would lead to the relative safety of space.

It was only then that he noticed that his hands hurt. Looking down he saw that he was gripping the back of the seat in front of him so hard that his knuckles had turned white.

"Relax kid. 10, 15 minutes tops and we chould be clear of any danger."

"Go..good." he managed to respond. Still it was the longest 15 minutes of his life.

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