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The Return... by Dan Sagmiller
SUMMARY: 2 Astronots on a Mission have been facing death for a weak, until the find a way back that was not expected. (yes, fantasy, once you read the full story)
The time past slowly enough for water drops to stand still in air. But their was no gravity anyway. It had been 6 days since the navigation was broken by a splash of water, and we would soon be running out of food and then water.
I was beginning to think we would die of boredom, if the pannic of death didn't hang over us. Our bot Vector had no concerns. If we died, he would still get recycled into another mission.
Jared seemed to be taking this far better, but then again, I probably made myself look far more comfortable than I was. We all were trained far to well to know that there was any way to repair this in space. We learned that on the ground. It was over emphasized to help us be careful with fluids. This didn't stop us from tearing the navigation units apart and try to fix it.
I was impressed that Jerod didn't express any fault at me. 1 week ago, I set my drink down on the chair next to me and fell asleep. When Jerod woke me, he sat down, and the drink cracked sending water everywhere. I knew the protocol; that was not a place I should have put that. He and I both worked desperately to contain it, but watched helplessly as the navigation unit blew a spark, and powered down. There were no replacements for these things, and no guarantee we got all the water anyway.
Despite his AI, Vector had difficulty understanding why we stopped working towards the goal of the mission. I doubted he would understand what death was.
Something in the Jerod snapped. Maybe he finally busted over that edge of aggression he had been hiding so well. He dove for me. He had the navigation unit in his hand. I reacted instinctively and tried to block at the wrist. This made him lose grip of it, but it still flew at me and hit me in the head. The pain was unbearable, but in the midst of kicks and punches, I saw red blots floating in the air.
I didn't know if it was me or him, but it wasn't stopping me. I starting thinking this would be a quicker death than starving... I welcomed it, but fought on. I almost felt like it would be a favor to him if I managed to kill him.
I don't remember what happened, but I lost consciousness. I could still feel my arms and legs kicking, and his reactions, but I could not see or think.
I became numb to the movements, and started looking around in the darkness, for something, anything. I could was beginning to see again, but everything was blurry, but I didn't see anything that I thought would be Jerod coming after me.
Where was he?
I looked down, but I was floating in space. He ejected me somehow! I panicked, and looked for the ship, but I wasn't in my suite. Why wasn't I dead? Was I breathing? How could I see at all? But I wasn't breathing. Am I dead?
"Who said that?"
"You are dead, and I am your subconscious."
"Why are you talking to me like someone else, and why can I hear you so clearly?"
"I will help remind you of your past lives.