Fiction: Listening Post

(a chained story writing prompt from Chuck Wendig’s blog: )

Listening Post

Greg Evans slapped off the com alarm while he was still prying open eyes gummed shut by sleep.

The vacc-suited figure in the screen was standing at the near relay station, by the visible background.

“Lieutenant J.G. Jenna Ballard,” the woman’s voice said. “I have an emergency and I need directions to your station.”

“Uh,” Greg said. “Just follow your inertial tracker.”

“I don’t have a tracker,” the lieutenant said.

“Who sent you here without a tracker?”

“No one sent me!” the woman shouted. “I told you it’s an emergency!”

“Listen, lieutenant, protocol is that anyone coming here be equipped with a tracker. What was base thinking of?”

“Shut up, you civilian moron! Base is gone! It was cracked by a meteor strike and I’m only alive because I was out on a maintenance run when it happened. I’m down to ten minutes of gases and I need directions now!”

Greg could feel his face go white. “It’s an hour’s walk from there to here.”

“Listen, he said after some frantic thought, “there’s an emergency tank in the base of the relay. It’ll give you an extra ten minutes. Take it and head sunward through the canyon. I’ll meet you.

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