Final Stand

I managed to fight them off for one more day. It wasn’t easy. Seems like every wave is bigger than the last. Maybe they’re multiplying. Under other circumstances I’d wonder how they’re multiplying so quickly. But right now? I don’t care. I couldn’t care less about these festering piles of garbage or the way they work. I just want off this planet. I’m sick of just surviving every day. If only they’d leave me enough time to actually make some progress on my ship, maybe I’d have been out of here earlier.

Now that I’ve reached another eye in the storm, it’s time to get to work. My crew is dead. The first to go was the mechanic. As the only one left, I have to figure this out by myself. I should’ve paid more attention in flight school. But I’m not ignorant. It doesn’t take long to see what needs to be done and take care of it. The problem is that there’s a lot that needs to be done. I fix one thing, then realize that something else needs fixing. I can’t see the damage as a whole. I can only see the next step.

Hopefully I can get it working today. Though that may seem obvious, I can’t help but say it. I need to get out of here. Food is really hard to come by. I don’t know what I can eat or not. Anything could be poison. I might just have to take my chances soon. Perhaps it’s better that I’m alone here. My crew would only require even more food. Food that barely exists. That wouldn’t fly. And neither will this damn spaceship.

I’ve also noticed that I’m starting to lose it. Something strange is happening to my brain. I don’t know if it’s the food here or what, but something’s getting to me. I’ve been getting mild hallucinations and paranoia. It comes and goes. Just like those festering stink bags that come at me every day. That’s probably part of the problem. Bigger wave after bigger wave keep coming and trying to kill me. Maybe they’ve run out of food, too. But it wears on a man. There’s only so much you can take until you get battle fatigue. Combined with my diet, isolation, and lack of sleep, you’ve got a recipe for disaster. I need to leave this planet immediately. The only problem is, how long will it take to get back to civilization?

We were already out in the boonies when our ship malfunctioned and sent us down here. It could be months before I see another human. Assuming I leave today. But judging by what I see in this engine, I’m betting I’ll be spending at least one more night here. Another two hours of sleep.

This engine is a shambles. But I should be able to fix most of it by nightfall. If I can get the ship to at least turn on I can use the canons. It might not be flight ready, but I’m gonna damn well make sure I can incinerate the next wave of slime balls. Figures. It’s only when I’m almost ready to leave that I make my job a lot easier. Part of me wants to just find where these bastards are coming from and blow the whole lot of them to hell. But I’m not that psychotic and murderous. More than that, I just don’t care. I’d rather get out of here and back home as quickly as possible.

There’s something odd about this engine. I can’t put my finger on it. Guess whoever we were delivering the cargo to is gonna be disappointed. They won’t be receiving the package. I don’t even know where it was going. Only the messenger and the ship’s computer know the destination of the package. They tell the ship which direction to head and we go there. I’ve been doing it for fifteen years. This is the first time something’s gone wrong.

We were right on course, but then one of the engines started powering down. It shut off completely and we began to fall and turn. But even amid the chaos nobody panicked. I have a good crew. Had a good crew. When we first crash landed here I wanted to find out what happened. But it doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve been here too long. My crew is a pile of bones. I’ve got the shakes. Besides, my paranoia would probably just make me jump to ridiculous conclusions. It’s no use.

I remember when we crashed. I wasn’t the first to wake up. The damage didn’t seem too bad externally. But it was enough to keep the ship powered down. Once we started investigating, we found a whole slew of internal problems. Most of the systems failed. We didn’t realize the extent of it right away. It was only when we started on the repairs that we realized how bad things were. We also realized that we couldn’t repair everything at once. The way things were connected, we had to repair them one by one to get from one system to the next. It was a mess. Then every day we had one less person to help. Those freak faced monsters started attacking a few days after we arrived. We made a good effort, but they always managed to kill one of us.

And now it’s just me. Here. Fixing this godforsaken engine. What the hell happened to this thing anyway? It looks like it doesn’t have all its parts. I understand that it was damaged and things probably broke off in the crash, but it looks like there are parts that just were never there to begin with. It certainly wasn’t like that when I got the ship. It’s like somebody took them out or something. Nothing’s broken. It just isn’t there.

I hear scratching. Or something moving around. I swear, if another animal got on this ship I’ll kill it. That’s funny, it sounds like it’s coming from the package. That can’t be right. We weren’t transporting anything living, were we? I didn’t hear anything before. The best thing to do is probably to open it. It’s not like this thing’s getting delivered. Maybe I could at least get some supplies or food out of it. Now I’m kind of hoping that an animal did get on the ship. Then at least I’d have a meal. I’d like have real animal meat.

The second I open the box, something jumps out at me. I don’t get a good look before I fire and take it down. What the hell is- no. It can’t be. Please tell me one of those stink bags didn’t try to sneak onto the ship. Wait… there’s nothing else in the box. You mean this was the cargo? Where were we- you’ve gotta be kidding me. That damn messenger. Son of a bitch crashed us here. Was he trying to kill us? Who would want a delivery team dead? Maybe this is why those things have been attacking me. They were trying to get to this guy. Whoever he was. Doesn’t matter. I’m grabbing what I need, fixing this engine, and getting the hell out of here.

I managed to finish the repairs ahead of schedule. That doesn’t mean I can take off right away, but it does mean I get extra sleep before the next wave. I have a feeling my dreams will be strange tonight.

Three hours. That’s a record. And here they come. Same as always. But at least now I have an easy solution. I can pick them off from a mile away. These canons are fantastic. I’m so happy to have them back. Time to fry their ugly mugs. If you would’ve asked me fifteen years ago where I saw myself in fifteen years, I would not have said enjoying blasting the living daylights out of weird ass aliens. That’s not me. This planet has changed me. Isolation has changed me. Not getting enough sleep has changed me. Getting attacked every damn day has changed me. Eating my crew has changed me. It’s a stink you can’t wash off. And something that doesn’t leave your brain. I beat this wave in record time. Let’s see if I can’t finish the repairs and lift off.

The rest of the damage wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Looks like I’m heading home today. If I survive the trip is another matter. I’m just glad that if I do die it’ll be in space, and not on this stupid planet by the hands of some ugly beasts. The ship doesn’t seem rocky. Feels smooth. Guess I did alright at the repairs. As soon as I get out of orbit, I’m setting course for home and getting into a cryo chamber. Have a nice long sleep.

Finally. It’s nice to see the darkness again.

One thought on “Final Stand

  1. I like the abstract vibe for this character that’s pretty much lost track of the universe and himself simultaneously. Didn’t think he was going to make it, so I’m glad he did.

    If you revise this, I’d like to see more detail in the aliens and the ecosystem.

    Pretty solid, dark piece to start off with. Good job Eric!

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