Story Time With Tim: The Day The Laser Died Part Six

Welcome back to the blog! I’m Timothy Scott Purvis and this is Story Time With Tim! An ongoing series where I share my old writings and writings that don’t seem to be doing anything more than gathering dust! I have some new offerings that should cover much of this year and am working on new material as well. Maybe this will be the year I get an official publication beyond self-publishing! Or, not. You never know. Gotta keep trying though.

Anyhow, this story is a novella I wrote back in 2019-2020. It’s all about a ship being propelled through space to the nearest star system of Alpha Centauri… I think. I based the plot off of a plan scientists currently have utilizing lasers to push small swarm satellites to one fifth the speed of light in the hopes of reaching Alpha Centauri within twenty years. I thought the concept was fun and came up with a sort of deep space mutiny involving solar sails and stupid people. Just like all great stories do!

Since I have so much going on, I am just going to copy paste these intros and outros. Sure, it’s a little lazy, I suppose. But, I will add some extra thoughts here and there. So, stay tuned and thanks for dropping by, folks!


Check out Part One here –> The Day The Laser Died Part One

Check out Part Two here –> The Day The Laser Died Part Two

Check out Part Three here –> The Day The Laser Died Part Three

Check out Part Four here –> The Day The Laser Died Part Four

Check out Part Five here –> The Day The Laser Died Part Five




HOLLAND CHECKED HIS suit’s monitoring algorithms. Nearby, Merricks checked her own equipment. They were almost completely suited up and ready for the walk. He’d done a dozen walks before and it was always intense. Those other times, he’d been able to see some other heavenly body. Five walks he’d done in Earth’s orbit. Four walks in Mar’s orbit. Two walks around Ceres in the asteroid belt on a mining expedition. And only one in the void of space. And even on that one he could still see the sun far in the distance. This one, though, would just be the depths of space. And the only sun to see was still light years away.

  Nothing like a good spacewalk to get the juices flowing. He took in a deep breath, drew on his gloves, and put on his helmet. He mentally thanked whatever god was out there that spacesuits were now skin tight and not bulky like they had once been when space travel was in its infancy. It allowed for greater range of movement and the more portable oxygen/pressure tank on the back connected directly to the helmet, hardly interfering at all. Maneuvering thrusters lined the bulky portions of the tanks on his back.

  He still wasn’t looking forward to the walk.

  “Okay, take me through this endeavor again.”

  Doug looked over to Colleena locking his helmet into place. “Once through the airlock, we’ll magnawalk up towards the portside sail. At the base, we’ll secure the transit harness and you’ll access the modulator panel. We’ll secure the new panel case to the transit cable and I’ll maneuver down the first solar sail arm. Once at the tip, you’ll trigger the transit load.”

  “Are you sure you can handle affixing the new panels to the extension rods?”

  “Hey, I might never have done this before, but I can follow directions. Spent the last few days going over every procedure.” Doug smiled. “I’m confident we’ll get it done. I just don’t like how much time it’s going to take. Six arms altogether will take three hours. That’s just placing the damn things. Then we have to recalibrate each arm, realign their positions, and initiate the energy outputs. And don’t forget navigating the Starmancer’s hull. We’ll be lucky to get done in six hours. Good thing we have waste pockets. Cause, if I don’t only piss in my pants, there’s a strong possibility I’m going to shit myself.”

  Colleena shook her head with a sigh. “That’s quite the picture you paint, Doug.”

  “I’m quite the artist, what can I say? You ready to do this?”

  “No. I’ve only done two spacewalks before and I hated them then.” She frowned. “But we don’t exactly have a lot of options here now do we?”

  “That’s the spirit.”

  They turned towards another room connected to suit retrieval and walked into the regulator chamber. Here, there was the connection to an airlock that would take them to the exterior of the ship. There was also a berthing dock to the side of the airlock bay. The whole setup was on the belly of the vessel near the cockpit a hundred feet up and above their position.

  In the center of the room was a large six-foot case that held the extra solar panels they’d need to emplace on the sail arms. These were some twelve pads of soft, light weight sheets folded up for transit. It was magnetically latched to the floor until they were ready.

  Doug locked the inner door behind them sealing it magnetically shut. That done he walked over to the airlock door and triggered its inner door. Beyond, they saw the one single door separating them from the depth of space.

  Doug initiated his suit comm. “Okay, Amiko, initiate depressurization.”

  “Yes, sir, Captain Holland.” Her voice came through their helmet speakers tiny and electronic.

  They felt the air in the room diminishing and heard the hiss as the regulator dock took on a zero atmosphere environment.

  Doug motioned to Colleena. “Let’s get this thing up and into the airlock.”

  Colleena acknowledged and knelt down to her side at the box, releasing the magnetic lock. Doug did the same on his side and they both grabbed a pair of handles and lifted. With the diminished atmosphere, the container was lighter. However, they hadn’t disengaged artificial gravity just yet. They entered the airlock and placed the crate down. Doug turned to the inner door, triggered it closed, and locked it tight. then went back and they repicked the crate up. He initiated his comm channel again.

  “Okay, Amiko, interior airlock door magnetized. Open the outer door.”

  “Copy that.”

  Doug nodded to Colleena and together they started for the exit. At the edge, he initiated their magnetic boots and stepped up and over onto the hull of the Starmancer. They came out and Doug felt slightly queasy. That first step was always disorienting. Even more so since it felt like he was going to fall for a moment. The outer airlock door closed with a muffled click.

  “Outer airlock door sealed, captain. Be careful out there.”

  “Copy that, Ms. Ryūgawa. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.”

  “Have fun.”

  They looked up to see the blackest, star filled ocean of infinity they’d ever seen.

  “You know, it’s even more intimidating on the outside…” Colleena said, the awe evident in her voice.

  “Don’t fall.”

  Colleena looked over at him with a gaping mouth prompting Doug to chuckle. Together they walked across the belly of the ship and towards the portside walkway that would take them to their first task.


“NOW ALL WE have to do is keep Burnes out of the way,” Fredrick said, his arms crossed.

  Amiko turned and looked up to him. “Are you sure she won’t join us?”

  “No. She’s too in with Holland. Keep an ear out for where they’re at. I’ll go sedate Burnes and then me and Guile will start the wakeup procedures.”

  “The three of us can do it faster, you know?”

  “I know. But we need you to keep everything nice and calm up here. So, Holland doesn’t get suspicious if he tries to contact the cockpit and hears no response. It’ll be fine.”

  “Okay.” Amiko nodded and he left the cockpit. Amiko watched him go and felt a shiver of dread go up her spine.


TYRA SAT AT her desk. Right about now, she figured, Doug and Colleena were out on their spacewalk. There wasn’t much left to do. She’d already checked, double checked, and triple checked the hydroponics bay, the botanical reserves, and food stores. If there was a problem it was that not making sublight speeds might cause some of the reserves to go bad. The storage units were designed to keep it all fresh for twenty-five years (five more than necessary, had the trip gone as planned, with the systems themselves being operational for upwards to a century and a quarter). However, they would now take significantly longer.

  Once Holland is done, I’m going to have to go over that with him. Figure out a way to make it last, he says. Well, I’ve jury rigged what I could. Shutting down the more sensitive perishable systems might help some. But I’m worried about the sustainability of the vegetables. The trees will be alright and the algae spheres will still be around. But the crops? That’s iffy. The auto maintenance might make it… that’s a big ‘if’, though.

  “Penny for your thoughts?”

  Tyra almost leapt out of her chair. She swiveled around and found a smiling Fredrick staring back. She hated how stealthy the man could be and it was unsettling.

  “Freddy, what can I do for you?”

  “Well, there isn’t much else to do while we wait and I haven’t talked to you in a bit.” He sighed and chuckled.

  “Last time, I might have come across as a bit antsy.”

  “That’s one way to put it.”

  “So, what’s going on?”

  She stood up and cracked her back. “Just ruminating on how to keep the hydroponics systems running for the next three to five thousand years.”

  He saw her place her hands on her lower back and stretch. He pursed his lips. “Are you saying they might not last?”

  Tyra frowned and waved towards the door to her office and started walking. “Come on. I don’t know if they will or they won’t. I’ve gotten the grove in stable long-term condition, and the algae tanks shouldn’t pose a problem so we’ll have plenty of oxygen for years and millennia to come. But figuring out a way to keep the crops self-sufficient for so long is proving mind numbing. I’ve been toying with a timer for production but the concern I keep coming to, and since any crop we produce can only be story for twenty to twenty-five years or so without going completely bad, is when do I start the timer? If our window of arrival isn’t precise, we’ll still be without fresh foods. If it doesn’t operate soon enough, we won’t have any food to speak of. And what I can reasonably set for timing won’t feed a whole crew for long. There are just too many variables in play and I don’t know exactly what to do about it.”

  She led the way across the bay and towards a short stairwell leading down into a sunken part of the level heading into crop storage. This was open to the Hydroponics Bay at first until the floor led underneath where the planted fruits and vegetables above were stored. They saw the walls lined with massive tanks of liquid. Some blue, some green, others yellow and one brownish red. All lit from internal illumination to allow examination of the contents more efficiently. At the end of this room, which dead ended before traveling underneath the far cargo bay, were half a dozen large, refrigerator looking storage units with polymer glass doors.

  Tyra stopped before a middle one and looked to Fredrick holding a hand out to the unit. “As you can see, the refrigerator units are already three quarters of the way filled up with stored vegetables, plants, and fruits from the crops above. Right now, they’re fine. Being kept at just below freezing.” She took in a breath, exhaled, continued, “We’re a light year short, sixteen years in. The system was programmed to begin growth and cultivation halfway through the journey. It was designed to keep a food supply for twenty people fresh and ready for consumption upon arrival. Right now, we have a two-month supply of fruits and vegetables ready to go. At maximum capacity, which we would have had if we continued onward, there would be a comfortable five months’ worth of food supply. However, since that plan’s now moot, I don’t know how to move forward. Every idea I posit to myself has a drawback and a flaw that will haunt us in the years to come.”

  Fredrick blinked rapidly and a slight gasp escaped his lips. “This… this is alarming. And you have no ideas?”

  “Not yet.”

  “Then, maybe we should wake up the rest of the crew, see if they can help. There’re too many problems cropping up. More minds at work would be greatly beneficial.”

  Tyra looked at him and threw up her hands as she walked past him. “No. That would be an even worse idea. I’m the only true botanist onboard. True, there are two crew that are designated ‘Hydroponics Specialists’, well, agriculturally related in their mission parameters, anyhow. But they’d be under me. I’d have to train them to—”

  She felt a sharp pain in her neck and the world went dim and echoey.

  “I’m sorry, Tyra. When you wake up, I’ll explain the plan.” Fredricks’ voice sounded far away. “I thought for a second you might… but no.”

  Everything went black and the next sensation she had was being picked up and carried.


GUILE AND FREDRICK rushed into the hibernation bay going straight to work initiating the cryopods. It took only twenty minutes. They worked in silence and with purpose. Before an hour was up, thirteen more groggy crew were awake and ready to eat.


IT WAS THE last solar sail pack to be attached. At least, for the third arm on this side of the ship. The rectangular shape mounted onto the locking cradle. Doug sent the word to Colleena and she activated the connector rod causing the unit to unfold like an old hand fan. Once it clicked into its final place, there was a twelve-foot half circle on this side of the arm. With the half circle on the other side, it looked rather like a giant circle on a stick running through massive golden flags.

  “Alright,” Doug said with a smile, “begin the calibration process.”

  “Initiating,” Colleena replied. “Ugh, we still have the other side of the ship to do.”

  “Now don’t be that way, it’s only been three and a half hours.”

  “I’m just so tired.”

  “Hi, Ms. Tired, mind if I call you ‘So’?”

  “That was stupid, Doug.” He heard her groan.

  “Yeah, but I bet you’re smiling.”

  “Not the point,” she grumbled. “It’s creepy out here.”

  “What the hell is going on here, Doug!”

  Doug stopped what he was doing and stared down the long solar arm towards Colleena. “Speaking of creepy, that sounded like… Derrick? Derrick Mills?”

  “It is me, Doug! Now answer the question!”

  He frowned and let his arm drop to his side. “What are you doing out of your pod?”


Thanks for dropping by and reading! Hope you enjoyed! Read to you again next week! Until then, take it easy!

~Timothy S Purvis


Since you’re here, why not check out the whole work available on Amazon right now? Just click the link below to be taken straight away to The Day The Laser Died novella! It’s cheap and a fun read if you enjoyed what you’ve read already! Please, support the cause:

The Day The Laser Died



I would appreciate if you have Kindle or even if you want some paperback goodies if you’d head on over to my page and maybe show me some love there. I mean, if you’ve been reading a while and see something you like, wouldn’t you like to have it in your personal library? I have some cool short stories available for cheap. Also Tales From A Strange Mind that collects my short stories (there’s also a Kindle edition but, for some reason, Amazon wouldn’t let me link them together) , Tales From A Strange Mind II which collects my old novellas, Red Star Sheriff (Which also has a Kindle edition but Amazon, am I right?) my first novel ever released, though, yes, it does have some grammatical errors and drags on for way too long, sigh. But I still love it and I will be writing a follow up sometime within the next few years. I have a collection of my poems called MisAligned: The Heart Waxes Poetic which collects my old poems but not some of my newer ones included those flash fictions! I’ll probably do that in the future as well. And if you love the perfectly inane, why not check out my Star Cloud scripts presented in book form? Star Cloud The Original Scripts. Another one where Amazon was being difficult with me in connecting the Kindle and PB versions. Still, the paperback they let me sale for cheap and it’s well worth a look if I say so myself. Or, if you don’t want to click on individual links (all of which will take you to my author’s page anyway), just click on my author’s page directly by tapping my name: Timothy S Purvis See for yourself what all I’ve published since I began this venture in 2016.

I mean, if you like my work, of course. No pressure. Just trying to find my way in this world without working menial tasks and suffering physical and mental issues as a result. If only I could merely stay home and write. That would be my most epic fantasy brought to life. Well, if you don’t want to do that, you could also donate to my cause down below after all is said and done. It would help. You know, if you liked what you saw and all. Up to you. I don’t have a lot of reviews on my materials because of low sales. I mean, very, very low sales. In the single digits. Right now, I have to rely on Pubby for reviews and those people only read your synopsis and recap it for a five star review. I want honest opinions. Not mean ones, but honest. So, if you ever find yourself buying some of my work, I’d certainly appreciate some feedback. Again, up to you.

Also, I’m selling my work for cheap over at! Check out that page here:


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