Lessons in the Void


7/9/20232 min read

Months had blurred into one long, continuous journey, the timeline marked only by the asteroids we passed and the minerals we mined. I had grown accustomed to Gramps's presence, his seasoned wisdom filling the space my dad had left. Yet, with every new asteroid and every mining drill, a rift seemed to widen between us. My dad's techniques clashed with Gramps methods and a storm of discontent brewed.

Our current venture was Zephyrus-17, an asteroid with a rough, iridescent exterior promising a bountiful haul. The familiarity of the drill in my hand was a cold comfort as I set to work, careful, measured, just like Dad taught me.

"Moe, switch the drill speed," Gramps voice came over the comms, as harsh and grating as the asteroid beneath my feet. "You're running it too high."

I grunted in response, my grip tightening on the drill. "This is how Dad taught me."

"And where is he now?" The silence that followed his words was even more chilling than the icy void around us. "Don't let stubbornness be your downfall, kid."

That should've been my warning. But in my defiance, I ignored it, let my anger steer. And then the world exploded into chaos. An earth-shattering quake cut through the rock I was drilling. The world tumbled around me as the asteroid convulsed, and a rogue boulder, caught in the tumult, crashed into Gramps. He lay motionless on the asteroid's surface, his vitals winking feebly on my helmet's display. My heart hammered in my chest as I scrambled towards him, guilt and terror intertwining like a bitter vise around my heart.

Gramps was heavy, a dead weight against the pull of my thrusters. His breaths were shallow, each one a ghostly echo in my helmet. I initiated a distress call, my plea echoing into the void, answered only by the indifferent hum of distant stars.

As we staggered back towards the ship, I felt myself buckling under the strain. Gramps's unconscious form seemed to fight me, his weight pulling us down. But with each faltering step, I spoke to him, my confession a desperate whisper in the void.

"I'm sorry, Gramps. I was wrong. I should've listened," I said, my voice echoing in the silence of space. I couldn't lose him; he was my only link to a life once known, my only beacon in this lonely void.

By the time we reached the ship, my energy was a flickering flame fighting a tempest. But there was no room for rest. Gramps needed medical attention, and I needed to stave off the looming danger. I had barely managed to stabilize Gramps when a harsh, static-filled voice cut through the silence, a cruel punctuation to our unfolding nightmare.

"Attention, miner vessel. You're encroaching on The Black Marauder's territory. Surrender your cargo."

Pirates. As if the situation wasn't dire enough.

"Hold on, Gramps," I murmured, steering our ship away from the asteroid. The pirate vessel loomed ominously ahead. But I wasn't going to let them intimidate us. We were survivors, after all.