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4 Days Since Crash

A pirate raid. All of their goods and progress wiped out in flame and gunpowder.


10 Days Since Crash

Mel and Scout remain trapped in this small dark room with no doors. The ghost of their friend, Randall, sits across from them on top of his bones. They'd butchered him three days ago, three days after they were sealed inside what's meant to be their tomb.

Randall was their construction worker, and he'd been fatally injured in the raid. The raiders had thrown him in the room last, then taken the door and in its place made a plasteel wall. Neither Mel nor Scout had any construction experience. They'd poked at the walls around them as best they could, but progress would take weeks.

They don't think they have weeks.


12 Days Since Crash

It's the dead of winter, but because this room's inside a well insulated cave--and they'd retained their hyperweave gear--they don't feel the cold. Hungry and half-mad from the darkness and hopelessness a different story.

When they catch glimpses, the ghost of Randall looks both angry and profoundly sad. He'd been the youngest on their expedition. Young, but expert in so many areas.

There is a slight glow only sometimes, which surprises them. They'd thought ghosts would shine and shine.

Another thing about which they'd been wrong.


13 Days Since Crash

The last of Randall digested days ago, Mel and Scout huddle close to each other. Their breaths comfort one another. Their soft words of conversation a balm against the torment their lives had become.

They become new lovers. It's the end soon anyway.

During their lovemaking, they don't hear the faint thumps and scratching.


14 Days Since Crash

They wake hearing pounding on the walls. The room shakes. They cling to each other, whispering trivial succor.

A wall crumbles. Standing there, silhouetted in faint light, is Loyal, Mel's bonded warg. Behind her is Killer, Scout's bonded chinchilla.

Randall smiles and shines.

Mel and Scout sob in relief. Hope.