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
Check out Part Six here –> The Day The Laser Died Part Six
Check out Part Seven here –> The Day The Laser Died Part Seven
THE DAY THE LASER DIED PART EIGHT
JAMALA’S BODY TUMBLED out of the airlock and into the depths of space. Doug stood at the head of the rest of the crew watching her disappear out of view from the small viewport. It was silent. Had been all through the admittedly short service. Not even a week awake and already someone was dead. It pained him to his core.
“She left behind a husband and three children,” he said, his words a sudden boom in the quiet.
“I… never knew that about her,” Tyra said.
“All that any of us knew of her was in her personnel file. Just some… catalogued details,” he frowned.
“What do we do now, Captain Holland?” Colleena asked hands clasping elbows tightly.
Doug turned to the group, all looking at him expectantly. “I know it’s tough. Never did I expect to have to be officiating a funeral here and now. So… I’ll give you all a day to settle down, work through your emotions. I’ll ask you to return to your pods tomorrow at seventeen hundred hours. I should think that will give you enough time to prepare yourselves for the remainder of the trip. Dismissed.”
The crew dispersed save for Tyra, Colleena, Doug, and Fredrick. Freddy rubbed the back of his head and took two steps towards Doug.
“This… this isn’t what I wanted,” he said. “I was just afraid. I didn’t want to be responsible for a decision, or bear part of it, over just… now I’m responsible for her death.”
“No, you’re not,” Doug replied his hands clasped behind his buttocks, back straight. “The truth is, she did it to herself. I understand your fear. Take some time. I am going to ask that when the others go in, you return to your pod as well.”
“I…” Fredrick dropped his hand, eyes to the floor. “Yes, sir.”
He turned and left.
“Are you sure you don’t want to send everybody back in now?” Colleena asked, hesitancy in her voice. “What if others are feeling just as… frightened and depressed?”
“Forcing them in could prove to be even worse,” Doug sighed. “In the meantime, we’ll delay the deployment of further sails until the crew has been returned to the pods. Just to keep an eye on them. Ensure their mental state doesn’t result in similar instances. Offer an ear, even. It will go a long way.”
“Okay. Yes, sir,” Colleena said.
She took her leave as well and Tyra followed her. Doug turned back to the airlock window, unclasped his hands, and braced a forearm against the circular window to look out into the depths of space. He hoped no one else felt the way Jamala did.
IT WAS QUIET in the mess hall despite most everyone being seated around the table. Doug picked at his prepared meal of artificial pork chop and rice and lifted his gaze to look around the table. Of the nineteen of them left, only thirteen of them were there. Guile and Sela were keeping to themselves in their room saying they needed time to think. Tyra was holing up by herself in hydroponics. The trauma hitting her hard. He wasn’t sure where Dreki was, but Powell and Nuru had found a room to themselves as well.
Now it was just him and the others sitting in silence trying to eat something and forget about their dire situation. Not that that was very likely. There was a better than average chance that none of them were getting out of this alive. It was a palpable reality.
Fredrick stood up from where he sat at the opposite end of the table, took his tray to the autowash, and then left never saying a word or looking to anyone. Several watched him go including Colleena. When he was gone, she turned to Doug where she sat to his left and pat his arm with a pursed smile and eyes that said she wished this wasn’t happening. Doug nodded.
An hour later, he found himself staring out the second level observation window just looking at the forever of space. Footsteps hurried up behind him. He didn’t turn around until he heard Colleena’s breathing statement.
“You need to come see this…”
Doug looked into her eyes. A fresh fear was there.
THEY STOOD IN shock. Tyra’s wide-eyed gaze stared out of the water tank beneath one of the Cupressus Chengianas. She floated there staring out in a pale faced surprise hands raised as if she had been banging on the glass interior. Doug gritted his teeth and looked to Colleena, her eyes wet and mouth unable to form a response. Doug though had a question.
“You said Fredrick found her like this?”
She could only nod. Doug turned and marched out of the lower hydroponics bay.
“WHAT DID YOU do to her!” Doug gripped Fredrick’s collar and had him shoved up against a wall in the cargo bay.
“I didn’t do anything! I swear it!” Fredrick held his hands up in a gesture of surrender, Doug’s scowling visage right next to his face. “I just found her there!”
“So, you just happen across Tyra floating in one of her own tree tanks not even a few hours after Jamala’s supposed suicide? And I’m supposed to believe that!” Doug’s eyes narrowed. “You’ve been harping on how this mission was doomed since the moment you discovered we’re adrift in space…”
Freddy’s eyes bulged. “What are you suggesting? I murdered Jamala, then, just for shits and giggles, go and drown Tyra? Just because I’m scared of dying out in the middle of space! Come on, man! Be rational! I don’t want to hurt anybody! I just want to go home!”
Tears flooded Fredrick’s eyes and streamed down his cheeks. Doug thrust him against the locker wall and let go. He stepped back and ran a hand through his hair, his eyes clenched and his temper subsiding. Colleena stood nearby out of the way, her hands nervously clutching at one another. Freddy slipped down the wall and ran his own hands over his face trying to stifle the sobs wracking at his chest.
“Tyra didn’t kill herself,” Doug said with an impugn tone then turned to them both waggling his finger in the air. “And she didn’t accidentally fall into that tank, either! It has a pressure lock on it and she knows how to safely operate everything in those bays!”
“I know,” Colleena nodded. “But, if that’s the case…”
“What are you saying,” Fredrick looked up through watery eyes, “we’ve got a murderer on board?”
“It’s beginning to look that way,” Doug retorted. “A murderer you awakened when you decided that you just had to make sure everyone in cryo was let out without my express say-so!”
“Doug!” Colleena dropped her hands and her expression grew fierce. “This isn’t helping anyone! We have to find out what happened and who’s responsible. If it’s true… that… there is someone on board who is killing us one by one… well, that’s a serious problem, isn’t it? Not the least the question that arises with the notion, why would the Ministry send us someone like that?”
Doug paused staring at her. He frowned and his lips tightened as he dropped his glare to the floor. “I don’t know. But we need to get everyone still alive back up into the commons area. Keep them there and only move in groups when necessary. I need to go through personnel records. See if I can see something out of the ordinary. Something hidden, not easily accessible.”
“What if it was just some mistake on their part? Like a criminal rehabilitation program or something?”
Doug looked to Freddy. “The Ministry doesn’t make mistakes. Not like that. However, if it is something as basic as a rehabilitation program, and I don’t see how it could be given once in the system you’re forbidden from participating in government projects, then it should be right there in the paperwork. And I don’t recall seeing any of that when I initially went over everyone’s files before launch. I don’t know. First thing’s first, though. We need a ship wide broadcast to get everyone back to commons. Let’s get back to the bridge.”
“I don’t want to be in the same room as someone who might stab me in the back when I’m not looking,” Fredrick shook his head and pushed up against the locker wall.
Doug exhaled and did his best to put on his professional demeanor. “I apologize for losing my temper, Fitzgerald. That was unbecoming of a captain. Even so, I need your cooperation. If we have someone on board like that, then it will be far safer in a group. I don’t think whoever they are will strike with witnesses. Both Jamala and Tyra died in private. That’s very telling. We can’t offer up the same opportunities moving forward. We need to group together. But, and this is important, you can’t act nervous, afraid, or upset when in the group.”
Fredrick affixed him with his mournful eyes. “You want me to pretend nothing’s happened? I, I can’t do that, Doug.”
“You can. I know you can,” he replied not adding what he wanted to actually say, ‘If you want to live, that is’. “Just concentrate on the others. Find someone to partner with and don’t say a word about what’s going on. There’s enough to concentrate on as it is.”
“Partner up with someone?”
“Yes. Like a buddy system. Don’t worry, I’ll address the crew and let them know that there’s some concern about… radiation or something. That it’s unfortunately hurt Tyra as a result and we need to make sure nobody is alone so that we can keep an eye on one another. Something to that effect. I’ll figure it out as we hit the bridge.”
“This is just too much,” Colleena said, her breath hitching in her chest.
“Tell me about it,” Doug sighed as Fredrick stood up and regained his composure. “Let’s get a move on. Time’s a ticking and I don’t want to give our potential executioner any more time to operate than we already have.”
The two nodded and followed Doug back towards the stairwell upstairs.
DREKI SIGGURDSSON WAS walking down the corridor into the storage port when the loudspeakers squealed to life and a voice blared out.
“All crew members report to the mess hall immediately. There is an emergency situation we must deal with and all eyes and ears are needed on deck. I repeat—”
And she did. He thought the voice was that of the Colleena Merricks woman, but he wasn’t one hundred percent certain. There had been twenty people altogether on board. However, with the loss of two of their numbers, there were now eighteen souls to keep track of. He frowned to himself as Guile Thandan rounded the corner out of the bays and paused upon seeing him.
“Hey, and you are?”
Dreki shook his head and smiled as he extended a hand out towards the man. “Siggurdsson. But you can just call me Dreki.”
Guile didn’t take his hand. Only clutched a tablet in his palm tighter and made a slight nodding motion with his head. “Mr. Siggurdsson, you’re needed up in the mess hall. Effective immediately.”
“Aye, so I just heard. I was hoping to grab a book from my personal effects first, though. I feel like it’s been years since I’ve had a good read!”
“No can do,” Guile shook his head and pointed back up the stairwell down the corridor. “As of now, the cargo bays are off limits. All containers and storage units have been locked down by security protocols until we’ve dealt with our little problem.”
“We have a problem?” Dreki swallowed hard and dropped his hand back to his side.
“The captain will inform everyone on our situation.”
“Can it be worse than being lost in space and out of contact with our great Federation?”
“Not something for me to comment on. Now, if you will, please make your way to the mess hall.”
Dreki hesitated a moment longer, then turned and walked back up the corridor. Guile was right on his heels.
Undoubtedly, Dreki considered, he’d been making sure any stragglers were making their way back upstairs. A knot grew in his gut as he walked. Here they were, all alone lightyears away from their target destination and already they were all at each other’s throats. Not wholeheartedly unexpected, of course. The Ministry had made mention that that was a possible issue should the worse come to pass. And the worse had indeed passed. There were no further transmissions coming from Earth. Which meant, they were completely on their own and the mission was now a wash. There was nothing else for it, they were all that remained of humanity.
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:
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION STARTS!
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 Smashwords.com! Check out that page here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TSPurvis
END SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION!
3 thoughts on “Story Time With Tim: The Day The Laser Died Part Eight”