About: This time I was prompted to write an interpretation of a classic fairytale. Word limit was 500 words, no other particular restrictions. My choice was Sleeping Beauty, since I felt I could tie it in nicely with a set of sci-fi shorts I’ve been working on.
The distress signal had been almost undetectable with all the static interfering with the comms, which no doubt had to do with the relatively close proximity of a nearby black hole. In spite of risking significant time debt, it had taken Locke Pavel very little effort in convincing the rest of the crew to investigate. After all, there was no telling what kind of profit a hundred-year-old derelict ship would yield, especially a military grade vessel. As he drifted toward the object of their greed, Locke’s gaze was involuntarily drawn to the dying star far off in the void as it was being devoured by the black hole. It was almost as if the star and hole were frozen in time, a still inferno lighting up the dying solar system. August’s static-mingled voice over the comm snapped him out of the enthrallment.
With gentle bursts from the thrusters attached to his suit, Locke traversed the remaining distance and found himself facing an open airlock. He took a steeling breath to calm his nerves, but not even knowing what he might face did much to diminish the gruesome reality of the vessel’s past. Frozen bodies hung suspended in the dead stillness of zero gravity, along with bodily fluids from ruptured lungs. A moment of silence followed his report. Locke did not linger long, but set about performing his task. Trying the main console proved futile, which was disappointing if not surprising. The vessel would have had to be out of both power and fuel by now. Sooner or later it would end up being pulled into the black hole, unless they towed it away.
It did not take long for Locke to find the armoury. Thankfully, ship design had changed little aboard military vessels in the last century. He made another attempt to report back but heard only white noise and interference. In spite of the tension lock felt straining on his sanity, he smiled, at least the excursion had been profitable. Staying still, however, was too much for him with only a static-muffled comm for company.
His smile broadened after inspecting the engine room, but his heart-rate did not go down. FTL Drive aside, he still had one more room to investigate. There were other dangers than gravity-monsters outside of Federation space.
When he entered the final room, August’s voice returned as the comm cleared up. After a quick inspection of the chamber Locke breathed a sigh of relief. His heart slowed down, until he noticed a blinking green light. Out of twenty pods all but one had powered down. Pushing his way over to the active pod, his eyes opened wide.
“All clear,” he announced over the comm. “Send over the docking tube, and bring the back-up generator. We’ll need to pressurise the ship and restore the oxygen. Over.”
“Excellent news, Pavel,” came the captains voice. “I take it she’s fully operational then? Over.”
“Yes,” he replied. “What’s more… cytogenetic chamber… woman in fugue. We’ve got a survivor. Over.”