Western Short Story Submission

This submission is from Will Norton, whose standalone character Spencer gets everywhere in the Galaxy… in this installment, Spencer tangles with some western-inspired technologies in the middle of his old-fashioned heist scheme gone wrong.

 

Space Stranded

Will Norton

His space duster shimmered in the starlight.

He thought he had seen movement on the outside of the ship and had suited up to go out and take a peruse.

His ship was now officially a piece of shit. Spencer hadn’t even managed to get the hyperdrive fixed and he was stuck out here until he found some way to come up with the cash for parts. The nubulizer vacuum was shot and there wasn’t any way to fix that.

His own fault. He had been trying to make the HyperDrive go a bit more efficiently. He had really barely been in hyperdrive, more like a slightly manic cruising speed. The nubulizaer vacuum was dark blue and filled with the light of what looked like dozens of stars. It was a beautiful piece of equipment and it slipped from his drunken fingers and smashed on a bolt on the seamed metal floor.

That was it for him. No more HyperDrive and he was stranded in a remote region of the Gamma Quadrant.

His standard equipment was working fine and he had enough dried food to last him for several months, especially all by himself, his engines were fine for cruising around at sub-light speed, but he wouldn’t get anywhere fast. He had set a course for the nearest planet, some mining dump he had never heard of before. The alcohol shortage was his number one concern.

He was worried that when someone finally picked up up his distress beacon signal and rescued him that he’d be sober. That was the last thing he needed.

Spencer had considered blowing the air lock and blasting himself and the contents of the ship into space. He decided to finish off the liquor supply first.

The problem was that the ‘Jump Junker’ wasn’t his ship. He had stolen it and had been on the run ever since. It hadn’t gone well. He had tried to disengage it from the cruise ship where it had originally served as a limo for Berger Bergenbanks.

He had a great plan for the heist and it hadn’t worked out according to plan at all. The surveillance had been wired into the cruise ship’s security system and when he had tried to disengage the system alarms and lights had gone off. The locking mechanism had taken his aging fingers longer than he had planned to disable and the security guards had been up his ass when he fled from the ship’s wake.

He had spent days getting out of range, dodging and hiding and had first noticed that the HyperDrive was due for maintenance and wasn’t functioning anywhere near peak.

“Cheap billionaire bastard,” Spencer muttered under his breath as he checked the console inside his suit for fifteenth time since he had put it on.

He hoped a rescue would come soon, he wanted to be out of his mind drunk when they locked him up.

The atomic gemstone collection that he had been assured by his source would be in the safe in the Jump Junker wasn’t there. He didn’t know if Bergenbanks hadn’t brought it with him, or if he had taken it on the cruise with him or what had happened. He had seen pictures of it, even watched a documentary on them on Holo-8. They would have been his retirement, but now his retirement was going to be handled by the GAGA court as soon as they read the identification number on the distress beacon. It would read hotter than the vodka was on his raw throat.

There hadn’t been any gems atomic or otherwise on the ship that had started off as being well put together and now, a meteor storm and a constant drinking binge later, was a floating scrapheap.

He had put on his space duster, a beautiful piece of equipment that was coloured much like a nebulizer. Dark and looking as though it was covered in magic dust or starlight, it gave protection from the cold of space and was a perfect camo against anything space had to offer. Crawling on the outside of the ship, drunk and convinced that he had seen something out here.
There were closing in on him then. He could hear them.

He could hear the sound of their ships.

But he couldn’t see them. Where had they gone? There wasn’t anywhere to hide out here. He whipped around, there was no one there. He had to get back inside. The nearest planet was still a distant dot, more of brighter star than anything that looked like a aplace people could live. Space was spinning around him…

Space wasn’t spinning, the ship was spinning. He scrambled along to ship’s slick surface to the hatch door, he couldn’t find the hatch door. He was too drunk to handle this. He felt his way along. He thought he was going to be sick.

He knew he was going to be sick.

He opened his eyes briefly to try to settle his stomach and caught a spinning star in his sight. He threw up inside his expensive space duster.

Vomit blocked the view screen. There was a terrifying whistling noise. It was the sound of the air vent being blocked with chunks of the pea soup he had eaten with is lunchtime vodka.

Spencer flailed at the screen frantically with his hands, forgetting that it was sealed from outside ingress. He tried to shake his head and felt an even more terrible thing, the feel of his magnetic boots slipping away from the side of the Jump Junker. He was gently and surely spinning off into space. His air would last him for another ten hours, long enough to sober up, he thought bleakly. He could see enough out of the corner of the screen to think of how much it looked like the nebulizer out there. He thought he was going to be sick again.

 

Thanks, Will, for your great contribution!

 

More story submissions coming up later this week!

-Tony Stark.

 

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