Odd Prompts

Odd Prompts: Preparations

This is a snippet of a WIP, and I’ve just finished up a long story for an anthology. I’ve written about 3700 words so far today!


“First order of business is to reach the engine.” 

The marines nodded. They were eager to get in the ship, and see if there were survivors, but it would do no one any good if they jumped the gun and got killed. Besides which… 

Tressach turned to look at his gunnery sergeant. “Do we have the team ready?” 

“Aye, sir.” The Gunny flashed a brief grin. “Given that Cruz’s response was ‘oh, no… not again!’ I can’t say they were willing volunteers, but they took to the mission once I laid it out for them.” 

Tressach snorted. “Chance of death, high. Chance to actually loot? They get bragging rights, and have permission to grab souvenirs. What marine would turn that down?” 

“Right-oh.” The Gunny’s grin was broad. “Brilliant idea, sir.” 

“Oh, that wasn’t mine. That was the good Captain.” Tressach gestured across the table. “He’s the one that looked up the space law.” 

“It’s obscure, but quite legal.” The captain nodded at them. “And I have no objection to rewarding the men who are going into harm’s way.” 

“I’m going, too.” The chief engineer had been standing there in silence, but now he spoke. “My second can handle the ship if it goes sour over there on the Vibania.” 

“Commander…” The captain sighed, and it was evident that there had been a lengthier, more spirited discussion earlier and elsewhere. “I am not opposing you, but I will register a personal note of unhappiness with this decision.” 

“Noted, sir. I can’t order anyone to make this trip.” The engineer gave a curt nod. “Now, if you don’t mind?” He met Tressach’s eyes. 

“Yes, let’s get it started.” 

They left the compartment together, the Gunny on their heels. The captain looked at the sole remaining officer in the compartment. 

“Lieutenant?” His tone was mild. 

“Sir.” The young man started. “I wanted…” 

“I know.” The Captain said gently. “In this compartment, you may be at ease. I value insights from all of my men. As for why you aren’t joining them, you are navigation. If all goes to plan, you’ll be joining the skeleton crew who will bring the Vibania back with us.” 

The smile was enough response, and it got a whisker of a smile in return. 

In the cargo hold, the small team was doing a buddy check of their suits and propulsion units. Much smaller and more controlled than the ones man had first employed in hesitating forays into space centuries earlier, they would allow a rapid transit between the two ships, which was necessary under the circumstances. The relative velocity would be matched as closely as was possible, and they would leap out into space at that perfect moment. They had to be ready. 

I was prompted this week by John Wyman, with “Oh no…not again!…”

I prompted AC Young with “The altitude control is out on the levitation ship” 

You can read all of the prompt responses, or take part in the challenge yourself, over at More Odds Than Ends.