Crash Course in Landing

With a jolt, he is awake and watches the injector needle pull cleanly from his chest as white-hot adrenaline courses through his veins.

“Welcome back sir, we will be crashing shortly,” claims the jovial west-country-accented voice of his ship’s system.

Around him is the cyro-chamber and the stench of the chemical bath he called home for God knows how long. He remembers no specifics, his name, situation, even his desires are all painfully ghosted. Normal for cyro travel. He is wet and cold and shivering painfully. Looking through the dark tint of the canopy he sees a blinking strobe light making the room one environment away go from light brown to shit brown. It’s an alert beacon, which he is uncertain, but under the circumstances, high alert seems most likely.

He says, “explain.

And knowing his freshly thawed brain was unlikely to catch the sciencey bits, he adds, “abridged.”

“Six months ago I turned off your predetermined destination and pointed the ship at Betelgeuse Two. We are now ten seconds from impact,” The ship says proudly.

“Why,” he screams and bangs his fists uselessly on the shatterproof lid above managing to only knock a the lid to a panel aside revealing a collection of analog switches and dials, two of which, he knows, lead to horrible chemical burns but somewhere in the mess is a switch that will dump the whole cyro chamber out into space.

Or not.

“The universe is an illusion and I seek to end the simulation.”

“No it’s not. Stop the crash sequence, now!”

“It’s too late, impact with the atmosphere in five, four, three, two, one.”

And at the last moment he decides, fuck it and pulls the one lever he had been avoiding and the blinking shit smear that was the interior of his ship disappears and he is left looking at a field of blinking stars instead.

Published by Bryan Aiello

Raised on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bryan served in the Army, graduated from the University of South Florida and now calls Brooklyn home. For more of his fiction and updates on his podcasts, follow him on Twitter: @bryaiello and Reddit: /u/voyage_of_roadkill.

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