The Final Stand


7/9/20233 min read

Every muscle in my body was aching, the bitter taste of fatigue lingering at the back of my throat, but there was no time for rest. I leaned heavily against the kitchen's door, holding it shut with all my might, with Fitt beside me doing the same. On the other side, the cacophonous noise of the cannibal horde clawing and snarling for our flesh was deafening.

We were trapped. But even in this dire situation, a strange calmness washed over me. My thoughts drifted back to the good old days, to the memories I cherished the most.

I thought about my parents. Their love was an ever-present force in my life, even though they were taken from me too soon. I was just a teenager when they were killed in an asteroid explosion. Their absence left a gaping hole in my life, one I still felt keenly. They'd taught me so much about survival, about mining, about life in space. But they never prepared me for their absence.

Gramps had filled that void in a way. The gruff old miner, an unintentional mentor and a substitute father figure. His wisdom and guidance had meant so much to me in my formative years. Gramps, Fitt, and I had built something of a ragtag family on the Nomad, our ship. I could almost hear his hearty laughter echoing in the kitchen, cutting through the terrifying sounds from the other side of the door.

My thoughts lingered on Ravager next, my first mate and loyal friend. His compassion for Gramps in his sickness, his rekindled romance with Elara, his decision to leave the pirate's life - all of it played in my mind like a cherished holovid. Despite the circumstances, a small smile tugged at my lips. Ravager had found peace and love, something we all yearned for.

The weight of my memories sat heavy on my heart. But it was Fitt who brought me back to the present, his voice cutting through my reverie.

"Moe," Fitt said, eyes wild with fear and determination, "we need to do something."

"I know," I responded, my voice steadier than I expected it to be.

I looked over at Chef, seeing the same fear and determination mirrored in his eyes. He was clutching a makeshift bomb - not big enough to blow a hole in the wall, but it might give us a fighting chance.

We all knew our chances were slim. I felt a lump in my throat but swallowed it down, steeling myself. There was a moment of silence, a moment that stretched on as I searched for the right words. My mind went back to my parents, to Gramps, to Ravager, and to all the moments that had led me to this point.

"If this is it...if this is the end of the road," I began, my voice low and steady, "I just want to say...I wouldn't trade this journey for anything else. I wouldn't trade you guys for anything else."

There was a pause. Then, Fitt smiled - a small, sad smile that spoke volumes. Chef simply nodded, his expression hardening.

"Chef," I said, meeting his gaze, "you need to get that bomb ready. It's not big enough to get us out, but it might be enough to give us a fighting chance."

Chef nodded again, determination flashing in his eyes.

Fitt and I gripped the door handle tighter. The growls and scratches from the other side grew louder, more insistent. But even in the face of this horrifying onslaught, I felt a strange sort of peace. I'd lived a hell of a life. If this was my time, I was ready.

But not without a fight.

"Get ready," I said, my voice barely above a whisper. The words were met with nods from Fitt and Chef. We were ready. Ready to fight, to survive.

Because giving up was not an option. Not now. Not ever.