A. Carina Barry Sylvia’s World
Blood, the taste of blood in her mouth? Running her tongue along the inside of her lip, Sylvia confirmed it. Her blood. Stiff muscles knotted with pain while her nose brought the scent of twisted metal and smoke. Their spaceship, it must have crashed. Clearing her eyes of the gummy residue of fallen ash and protective tears, Sylvia climbed to her feet and surveyed the crash site.
The long nose and proud, cupped wings of the space-atmos jet were crumpled and broken in two. Neither Derrick or Tom were in sight. Alice should have been nearby but if she was thrown out, but Sylvia didn’t see her. Sylvia realized just how far she had been thrown. Maybe she shouldn’t be standing yet.
Looking down at her legs, Sylvia found the fabric rent and bloodied. Scratches, small gashes, and dirt covered her knees. She filed it away for now. More importantly, she realized she was holding her left arm straight, unconsciously bracing it with her right. Sylvia’s eyes traveled and saw a slight swelling under the skin.
Her gaze lifted to the ship. Was that a hand? Moving forward something else registered. Nothing looked right. They were on the wrong planet.
(2 of 5) Hank Petterson
Sylvia made her way to the lower access hatch that entered the landing bay. After entering the code it opened slowly and stopped halfway. She saw the small shuttle crumpled in the front of the bay. She managed to get in and made her way to the damaged shuttle. The front shield was toast; it hung from the frame in defeat. Gingerly she crawled in and withdrew the med-kit. After applying the nano-meld to her left arm, she injected herself with a booster shot and made her way back out to the crash site.
She made her way to the split in the fuselage and peered in. There was smoke gently wafting from the engine nacelle and a few wires were hanging out. She walked to the front of the mortally stricken ship.
The JadeStar was history, her crew were nowhere to be found and the last thing Sylvia remembered was receiving a distress signal.
She looked around at her new environment and heard a light humming sound coming from the other side of a small incline.
She returned to the shuttle and took an away pack and strapped on a small assault pistol. She looked around the Jadestar one last time and headed to the sound.
(3 of 5) Paul Baughman – 196 words
What Sylvia thought was a little hill was actually the rim of an immense crater-like depression about five miles across. The bottom half of it was a black substance that flowed down to meet a spire made of the same material.
Sylvia started down into the depression. The moss she walked on had a strange shifting feel, as if the ground it grew from was unstable.
She knelt where the black substance started and rubbed a gloved hand over the slippery surface.
Something caught her eye and she leaned forward, studying the edge. She gripped the moss and pulled. It lifted easily, exposing more of the black material. The stuff must continue all the way up to the rim. The moss must have grown down the slope in a mat. She froze.
Still on her hands and knees, she turned, but even that careful motion was too much. The moss ripped free around her and she started sliding. She scrabbled for any purchase to slow her down, but the black glass seemed to have no friction at all.
She was still scrabbling frantically when she shot into an unseen hole in the spire and started falling.