Thursday, 22 October 2015

#whimword - Featureless

The view from the bunker is the same as it has been for the past ninety six days; endless plains of grey dust indistinguishable from one another. Some days the monotony of the featureless landscape is broken up by a good dust storm, but all that really accomplishes is smudging the grey up into the darkness of the atmosphere.

There's nothing on this moon, just this horrible gritty dust that gets everywhere, no matter how many showers you take. Corporal Eva Rawson doesn't know why the brass even bothered putting an outpost on this deity-forsaken rock.

What she does know is that they're almost a week overdue in relieving her.

Alone in a remote outpost with no one to talk to and nothing to do but monitor machines that are largely self-sufficient, it's easy to come up with reasons that no one has come for her. It doesn't take her long to envision a scenario in which the entire Sol Republic has fallen and she's the only one left. Her imaginings leave her jittery and anxious and Eva has to have a lie down to calm herself. She doesn't know anything. Not for sure.

There's a reason ninety days is supposed to be the maximum for a tour of duty like this. "Stir crazy" isn't the official diagnosis, but it's what the grunts call it and it can be deadly.

Eva Rawson is definitely stir crazy by this point. She knows the hallucinations aren't far off if someone doesn't come pick her up soon but there's not a lot she can do. Communication with this base is only possible within this planetary system and she's right on the edge of hostile territory; no one's coming this way unless they know she's here.

She's on her own.

The bunker has enough supplies to keep her alive for a year, more if she goes into stasis. That's meant to be a last resort, for emergencies only. The Corps being late in rotating her out isn't technically an emergency so she holds off for now.

By day 108 it's clear that no one's coming. She doesn't know what’s happened to the Corps or the Republic but she assumes it isn't good. By this point the creeping paranoia has started; she's talking to herself and jumping at every little creak she hears. Her own shadow is a threat as far as her brain is concerned.

She holds off on going into stasis, for now, hoping against hope that someone is coming.

By day 120 the line between fantasy and reality is well and truly blurred. Eva is still eating ration bars and drinking her own recycled piss but all hope has gone. Her service pistol is starting to look like a more enticing option than this. She knows its time. Eva puts everything into standby and sets up the pod.

As the coolant seeps into her bloodstream she hopes that she'll get to wake up and find out what happened. There's no guarantee though.


#whimword is an informal flashfic competition run by @whimword on twitter.

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