October 14

Fictober, Prompt 14 – “Your information was wrong.”

Original fiction, sci-fi.

Warnings: none.

“But I thought—”

“You thought wrong.”

“But the information—”

“Your information was wrong.”

“You can’t just—”

I stopped and spun to face him. “I can,” I spat, out of patience. “I can and I will, or a lot of people are going to die.”

He shrank back, wringing his hands. “How was I supposed to know? You can’t blame me! I couldn’t have known.”

“You could have,” I said, merciless. “You could have, but you didn’t.” With that, I turned my back on him and strode purposefully for the hangar bay again.

Fortunately, someone had listened to the emergency message I’d put through scarcely half an hour ago, and my ship was already most of the way fueled. Rayen was there too, even though she should have been sleeping during this cycle. I shot her a grateful look as she handed me a half-completed pre-flight checklist and quickly looked over the first half for myself before moving on to the rest.

“Will you make it in time?” she asked. Word had spread, then, about the looming disaster. Dust and flares save us from petty bureaucrats and their delusions!  

“I think so,” I said, but couldn’t keep the grim edge out of my voice. Rayen grimaced and went to grab me basic supplies. I looked up at my Wailing Wind, just for a breath, taking in her sleek lines. She was the fastest ship on this station, and the only one that had any hope of reaching the Odyssey before they activated the faulty deep-space drive.

In a feat of coordination and effort on the part of the hangar bay team that I was going to buy them all a round of drinks for when (if) I got back, it was less than another quarter hour later that I was strapped in and running final checks.

“Smooth run,” Rayen said, clapping my shoulder once before climbing down so I could lower the canopy.

The marshallers directed me through the remaining ships and through this side of the hangar bay’s massive airlock, which whirred closed behind me much faster than usual. The doors ahead began opening almost before the inner ones were closed, also sliding open quicker than was probably good for the machinery.

We all knew someone on the Odyssey, and most of us gave a damn what happened to them.

Then the starfield yawned dark before me, the last go signal chimed through from traffic control, and I eased Wailing Wind out of the bay and just far enough from the station to not cause any damage before slamming the throttle wide open.

Stars streaked into lines of light around me, and the station fell behind into the dark.

I was going to make it, I promised everyone silently, no matter what.

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