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

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

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




EVERYONE WAS GATHERED within the mess hall. Doug made sure of it this time. He had both Guile and Sela checking each floor and every nook and cranny for possible hideaways. Now, there were eighteen of them mostly gathered around the mess hall table, but a few milling about in agitation. If there were any other soul on board, they’d yet to find them which made it the most regrettable of realities that their killer had to be one of them.

  “Okay, here’s the problem,” Doug started, pacing a tight little circle where he stood near the stairwell leading up to the bridge and far enough away that should their attacker decide to make a move there’d be plenty enough time to deal with the person. However, nobody moved. All watched him intently as he continued speaking. “We’re still trying to mount the extended solar sails. Due to some… recent developments, that progress has slowed considerably. There’s no need beating around the bush any further, we lost two of our fellow travelers today.”

  Low murmurings broke out and someone shouted out, “Wait, who was the other one?”

  Doug cleared his throat, “In addition to the apparent suicide of Jamala Wan Qiān, it would seem that we also lost Tyra Burnes. It would seem that she managed to drown in one of the habitation tanks.”

  There was an uproarious cacophony of yelling, crying, and anger from those within the room. Doug paid close attention to three who showed no signs of particular surprise. Dreki Siggurdsson, Ignacio Loyola, and Natalie Kingston. None of them showed any sort of remorse or concern. An interesting observation.

  “Okay, okay. Calm down, everyone,” Colleena raised her hands suing for some sort of peace. “I’m hearing a lot of speculation among you but the captain needs to finish his report to you so that we can make the best decision possible in regards to moving forward and getting out of this mess.”

  The room settled to a degree but there was still conversation here and there. Doug figured that was the best he was going to get and cleared his throat.

  “Anyhow, we figure that there’s an issue that needs to be brought up with you all,” he nodded as they quieted further. “Readings suggest a higher penetration of solar radiation against the hulls. It’s why we had you all meet here in the mess hall. This is the most central part of the ship and less likely to be as bombarded by those radiation rays as other parts of the ship. The working theory is this, the radiation compiled with our distress at being stranded so far out in deep space has resulted in mental breakdown causing poor decision-making functions and accidental death. It’s just a theory as of the moment. But we don’t want to take any further chances.”

  “Or, someone is going around killing us one by one!”

  Someone shouted out and Doug looked to see who it was. Charles Emmett, he believed it was. A very panicked man who looked around at those surrounding him like a gazelle surrounded by jackals.

  “Let’s not jump to those sorts of conclusions, just yet, Mr. Emmett,” Doug tried to assuage his fears. He wasn’t their killer, that was for sure. “I doubt the Ministry would hand pick all of us for this mission just to allow one individual onboard with murderous tendencies. What we need to do is keep calm and stay measured in our approach to handling our predicament. Therefore, we’re going to suggest only moving about in groups of three or four. Solitary wandering will now be restricted to personal quarters. If you move about in the ship, it’ll be in a group. We’re doing this because some of us may be more susceptible to the radiation than others. And the buddy system will help us keep track of these issues better. Any unusual findings are to be reported directly to us, immediately. If it’s a particularly dire situation, both Guile and Sela will be on patrol making sure all is well.”

  “And what are you going to be doing?” Shura Utkin asked, her eyes wide and her husband trying to keep her calm.

  “Ms. Merricks and I are going to be trying to get those solar sails into place so that we can get back moving. I won’t promise this will be easy. Not by a longshot. But if we do nothing, well, I think you know what the end result will be. Therefore, I ask that you all cooperate and assist us in getting this vessel back into motion,” Doug nodded.

  “That’ll be all. Please find your grouping associates now.”

  Doug turned away from them and started up the stairs towards the bridge. There was a stash of rum in one corner he was eager to break into.


“IT’S ABSOLUTELY PREPOSTEROUS,” Charles said to Zia. “The very notion of solar radiation being the cause of, what, a mental breakdown? It’s just absurd!”

  Zia shook his head and raised his hands up into the air before him as if he were surrendering to the argument rather than answering it. “Perhaps it is, Mr. Emmett. However, Captain Holland is trying to keep us all safe, alive, and as sane as possible. These are extraordinary circumstances after all.”

  “Be that as it may, have you ever heard of such a thing being true?”

  Dreki followed close behind the men as they spoke in hushed tones and walked along the pathway encircling the upper deck with its view out unto the eternity of the cosmos. Captain Holland and Ms. Merricks had yet to start their finishing procedures on installing the remaining solar sails leaving the vessel looking like a lionfish with only fins on the one side of its body and spines on the other end where they’d collapsed the solar sails already there to allow the transference of the new additions. Dreki had his hands clasped behind his back and listened intently to the two men yammer on about how Holland’s excuses were unbelievable, offering nothing of consequence from his own thoughts and letting his own gaze drift in and out of whatever happened to catch his eye next.

  Guile watched them closely from an alcove within the entryway into the upper observation bay. This was their fourth round of the upper decks and none of them showed any sign of getting bored with their constant bickering over the subject of the day, which was, of course, being adrift in the depth of space. This having the effect of boring the living piss out of Guile as he crossed his arms and watched them walk past once more.

  The Swedish man, Dreki, had barely said a word since following the two upstairs and had only once cast a glance in his own direction along the second walkthrough. It was barely a glance at that. It was as if Dreki were more concerned about the layout of the deck than he was on the conversation.

  There you go again… Guile sighed and leaned his head against the wall, closing his eyes briefly as his face tilted up towards the ceiling. Always seeing issues where issues don’t exist. They’re all scared, man. Just like you. We don’t know how we’re getting out of this. Shit. Be honest with yourself. We’re not getting out of this. They have every right to be paranoid. Earth isn’t responding, the fucking laser is gone, and those solar sails will only get us up to quarter lightspeed at best. We’ll be lucky to wake up after such a trip in five thousand years or so. Nope, that’s it. Game over, man. Game over.


COLLEENA SAT ACROSS from the six of them. Her own mind awash with the insanity that they were dealing with and she felt on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Sure, Doug was likely right. That all they had to do was fix the solar sails, go back into stasis, and they’d arrive relatively unscathed thousands of years later at their intended destination. Yet, the very idea of being at the mercy of the cosmos for so long filled her with the sort of dread reserved for survivors of a horror flick.

  Her hands reached across her arms and rubbed at her shoulders and she watched the six conversing with one another. None of them looked her way as they were so involved with their own concerns that it didn’t seem to dawn on them that she was sweating profusely and had the look of a woman getting ready to toss herself out of an airlock.

  An airlock… that’s an idea… Her eyes bulged as she absently listened to them speak. All of them were sitting in the lounging area on deck two that looked out into the void. Colleena found her eyes fixating on the stars twinkling brightly in the billions (maybe even in the trillions) beyond the viewport. She felt out of her head, out of her body. Like she was looking down upon who she was but wasn’t a part of her being. Maybe never ever was.

  “If we don’t take this situation seriously, we might not live long enough to even accomplish such an endeavor…”

Shura laughed at Derrick’s comment. Though, Colleena barely heard it at all. “If you’re saying that going back into stasis is a good idea, you’re having one over on me, sir.”

  “Mrs. Utkin, you can be remarkably hostile when it comes to these matters. There is just no other course of action that Doug can take,” Derrick shook his head and sighed.

  “We’re light years away from anywhere. Our source of propulsion has been eliminated. We’re effectively stranded out in the middle of deep space. Our options are, A), stay awake and march through our resources like there’s no tomorrow. Which, honestly, there won’t be if we take that option. B), go back into hibernation after assisting the crew in fixing the solar sails and regenerating the engine core to start us back on the forward path. Or, C) just all commit suicide and say to hell with it.”

  “How dark of you, sir,” Shura scowled and leaned back into her chair to stare back out into the infinite cosmos.

  “This is all pointless arguing,” Powell Jabari said with a deeply exaggerated sigh. “There is really only the one option we have available—”

  “I’m not going back into that tube!” Natalie Kingston shouted and stood up, her hands balled into fists at her sides. “I’m not doing it! I refuse to die in that tube pretending that we’re ever going to reach that promised sanctuary of Therseus! It just isn’t realistic!”

  “Realistic?” Prentice leaned forward and glared at the woman. “Realistic? There’s nothing realistic in anything we’re doing here! We signed up to be sacrificial lambs to the slaughter! We gave up our rights to ‘realistic’ the day we agreed to the Ministry’s demands!”

  “Agreed? Prentice, none of us agreed to any of this! They told us to do it or that was that! Hell, I even heard tale that the Ministry murdered Captain Holland’s family just so he’d captain this suicidal mission to nowhere!”

  Colleena looked over to the group some ten feet away as every one of them started murmuring louder and more vehemently at Natalie’s comment. In fact, Colleena had heard those same rumors. And now they were all out there with nowhere to go. Even Doug had no one left. He would never have come if his family had survived. She clenched her eyes trying to fight back the tears brewing behind her eyelids.

  “Okay, okay. We don’t really know that that is a fact or not,” Ignacio said leaning forward and raising his hands trying to pray for any sort of calm. “Rumors are good at spreading but never good at meaning anything substantial. The truth is, we’re here now and we need to do our best to help the captain out. If that means going back into stasis, well, isn’t it better to die asleep and dreaming than in a waking nightmare? I for one would rather go back into stasis. I’m scared out of my mind, but, I mean, there really are no other options. Just like Mr. Mills said to begin with.”

  Natalie sat back down, tears streaming from the corners of her eyes. Next to her, In-Su Gim reached a hand to her back and rubbed as her hands came to her head and she leaned forward onto her lap. The room suddenly got very quiet.

  Colleena stood up then, turned her back on them all, and walked down the hallway. Nobody seemed to notice her leave. She walked down the stairwell connecting the second deck to the lower decks and made her way towards the docking bays.

  Where the airlocks were.

  She approached the place where they’d sent Jamala and later Tyra out into the great empty abyss of space. She triggered the inner lock to the airlock and walked inside, closing the door behind her. She sighed as she thought about their predicament.

  There is no other way. They’re all right. We are doomed and never going home and never reaching our new home. She smiled to herself and reached a hand out to the inner panel that controlled the outer airlock doors. A command sequence popped up on the screen just above the control panel.

  ‘Warning, there is a human lifeform detected in the airlock chamber. Do you wish to proceed?’ The words flashed across the screen in a lifeless, uncaring white against a black backdrop. Colleena laughed out loud.

  “Yes,” she said pushing the input command and reaching into her uniform to pull out two pills she had stowed away earlier. She dry swallowed them and waited for the pressure to decrease and the outer doors to slide open.


DOUG WAS JUST finishing up some paperwork (well, computer work if he was being honest with himself) when his emergency depressurization alert sounded. He looked to the computer readout affixed to his office desk and triggered the warning display. It immediately showed him footage of Colleena standing within the number four airlock triggering in commands to open the outer doors. She swallowed two pills and he saw the countdown to opening pop up.

  “Jesus!” Doug leapt to his feet and raced out of his single person office and down the corridor leading to the lower decks where the airlocks were located.

  An eternity passed as he maneuvered down the hallway and around several people meandering along the corridors trying to stay away from the outer walls of the ship. Most asked what was wrong. None of them he answered as he hurried down towards the airlocks. He reached the number four airlock just as Colleena was turning around and saw him. She smiled.

  “Computer, override depressurization!” he shouted inputting several commands into the wall console just beside the airlock door. “Colleena!”

  He pounded his fist on the round glass window as the override commands didn’t seem to be working. Colleena raised her hand and waved as the outer door opened and she was blown out into deep space.

  “Goddamnit! No! Colleena! Damn it!” he kept pounding his fist on the window knowing it was too late. The doors closed slowly and he leaned his head against the window. Tears flowed down his cheeks. “Goddamnit… why?”

  Nobody else came down after him. He remained there, his head against the glass, crying for half an hour. Only after he realized there was no more he could do did he turn away and walk back upstairs to inform the crew that they’d lost Colleena Merricks as well.


CHARLES, DREKI, AND Zia stood next to Natalie, Shura, and In-Su Gim discussing the whole situation onboard the vessel. If Dreki had to guess, discontent, fear, and panic was brewing rather fast all across the ship. With the sudden suicide of Colleena Merricks on their minds, a deep depression had settled across the crew. The truth of the crisis that they all were facing had hit home in a very sudden and extremely harsh manner. And, if Dreki were being honest with himself, this was one of the better outcomes to be presented based on everything transpiring.

  His mission was a simple one. Monitor the situation of the colonial efforts while being a general construction worker. It would put him in the best position to keep tabs on what the mood, condition, and reality of the feasibility of the sustained colony once arriving at the target world. However, there would likely be no target world now so his job became exterminating the colonists. Mostly, this was the Ministry’s notion of containment of a failed endeavor. It would be written off as a nonstarter and never mentioned publicly again.

  He had to admit, though, the loss of contact with Earth was unnerving. It had the sort of shades behind it that led one to conclude that maybe the Federation got itself into a war that it couldn’t win. When they’d left, the Western Hegemony was a growing superpower controlling vast majorities of the Americas and Europe. He’d even heard tale, during one of his many visits with the higher ups, that there was a unit of special forces soldiers known as the Archangel Consortium that was decimating organizations not in line with the deeply religious Christian Coalition in charge of the Hegemony gambit running rampant through several Federation outposts along the European border regions. Were that the case, then the Hegemony would have been quickly broaching territories controlled by the Ministry all along the Russian and Mongolian reaches.

  This led Dreki to muse that maybe humanity had wiped itself out and this tiny ship in the middle of nowhere was all that remained of his species. How poetic it was, then, that he was the deciding factor in whether or not they all survived or perished into the great unknown as was their right as the noble apes that they were.

  “I just… I just can’t take it anymore,” Natalie said taking a seat in the cushioned couch at the edge of the observation bay of deck two. It was a place the crew were more and more coming to congregate simply to stare out at the trillions of stars littering the sky of an infinite space as they ruminated over how far their lives had fallen in a span of so many years. “Ms. Merricks threw herself out of an airlock…”

  “Hey, let’s not focus on that fact, okay?” In-Su Gim said with a sigh. “We still have the promise of—”

  “Promise?” Natalie stared up at him from behind watery eyes. “There’s no promise here. Only death. We signed our death warrants. If even Colleena gave up… what chance do the rest of us have?”

  “It’s a sign of weakness in leadership,” Dreki said, seeing an opportunity arise that he hadn’t anticipated. Yes, Holland had made it difficult to pick them all off one by one once he ordered the grouping of individuals into no less than three (after all, Dreki couldn’t just run amok all across the ship stabbing and faking deaths like he was trying to before, now could he?). Yet, promise rears its head in the most unlikely of circumstances. “Captain Holland doesn’t seem to appreciate the dire straits that we face.”

  “How do you mean?” Zia frowned. And Dreki could tell that he wasn’t looking forward to the answer.

  “Well, if Ms. Merricks, our second in command, gave in to the depression that is our failed mission, we can only assume that he’ll keep plodding along in an attempt to keep morale high or level and promise that this whole added solar sail endeavor will succeed. Yet, Merricks seemed to have believed elsewise. Why else throw herself out of an airlock? If there was even a hint of success in the idea, wouldn’t she have been in complete lockstep with the captain?”

  The sudden murmurings of those gathered was encouraging, he felt. Surely, he’d hit the nerve when it came to concern about what the captain was planning. Oh, sure, it might have a margin of success, he considered. However, there was that whole uncertainty angle of being in stasis for millennia with a hope and a prayer that they’d all arrive safely at some world still a lightyear and some change away. He resisted an urge to smile.

  “Okay, okay. What are we all saying here? What is the point of this line of talk?” Shura asked looking at each in turn. One by one they’d gone quiet as they contemplated what was being said.

  Charles cleared his throat. “Well, aren’t we talking about insurrection? We take control of the ship, try to find a star system nearby that can harbor life and—”

  “Are you serious, Emmett?” Zia shook his head. “There are no star systems nearby that can harbor life. If we were to do such a thing, it would be to bring a swift end to all of us. A suicide pact to end the suffering. You heard what Merricks said before. We’re still lightyears away from our new home. At the speeds they’re talking about with the sails added, it’ll be a good four or five thousand years at minimum before we arrive. All assuming that we survive that entire time in stasis which is as good as suicide anyway. We’re dead. That’s it. Lost in space with nowhere left to go. We should take control of the ship and… well, just blow it to hell. Make the end swift and painless. There’s nothing else for it.”

  “Holland will not just let us seize control of the ship and ‘blow it all to hell’, as you say,” Shura said pursing her lips. “Is there nothing else we can do?”

  Natalie looked up, her eyes nearly twinkling in her decision. “This is the one thing we can do. I don’t want to die slowly on some hopeless venture. We have to do this. We have to destroy the ship. It’s the only way to find some sort of peace. At least, as far as I can tell.”

  “You know,” Dreki ventured quirking his brows. “I heard tale that there are weapons stored in some crates down in the cargo bay. Guile was talking about it with his wife not so long ago. If we were to acquire those weapons…”

  He let the intention crawl across those gathered, a look of shock crossed some faces, the determination of need across others.

  “Let’s finish the mission, shall we?”


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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