Pegasus Debt – Wendig challenge

Pegasus Debt

By S Rain Lawrence

(The Chuck Wendig flash fiction challenge)

 

 

Dr. Emma Torrez trimmed the edges of the electrical tape meticulously and closed the access panel with a defeated sigh. It would hold for now. She double checked the hatch door and was relieved to find it was working again.

A soft edged explosion shook the corridor of the space station. Warning claxons blared and the few functioning emergency lights that remained in the corridor flashed red.

A string of curses preceded her colleague, Dr. Jack Hardy as he came barreling towards her.

“What happened now?” Emma asked.

“We asked for insulation!” Hardy screamed. He screeched to a halt in front of her, grabbed her by the shoulders and shouted “INSULATION! What the fuck am I supposed to do with more damn pipe fittings?”

“Yeah, I was there,” Emma sighed. “I’m asking what the explosion was.”

“Hardy! Torrez! What’s going on?”

“Landon! I’m so glad you’re here,” Hardy exclaimed as he clutched at her arm. “We’ve got to get out of here.”

Hardy had become increasingly more unhinged over the past few months and Emma was hesitant to take anything he said seriously. His tangle of brown hair was tied back from his face and his beard grew unchecked. Dr. Gina Landon folded her arms across her chest and pursed her lips. Her coveralls were worn and pieces were patched with the same tape that Emma held in her hand.

“Is this an actual emergency?” Landon asked. “I’m trying to finish decommissioning section five before it snaps off the station entirely and kills us all.”

“We have to abandon the station!” Hardy said emphatically, his eyes wide. “NOW!”

“Pretty sure we don’t get paid if don’t finish fixing this place up,” Landon said.

Emma peered down the corridor. Was that smoke?

“Hardy, what happened in the research section?” Emma asked hesitantly.

“I keep telling you! It finally happened! I was rewiring the containment apparatus so it would pressurize properly. But they didn’t send us insulation AGAIN on the last shipment. How many times have we asked for insulation? How many times did we tell them we need properly insulated wiring? But no, the last three shipments we get random shit that isn’t anything like what we asked for!”

“Hardy! Focus!” Landon shouted.

Hardy stopped and blinked vacantly at them.

“Electrical fire,” he said. “Something got into the uninsulated wiring. The whole thing is in flames.”

“Oh shit…” Emma whispered.

“Shit won’t save us now!” Hardy said with a cackle.

Emma glanced down the corridor again as it began to fill with smoke.

“Escape pod! Escape pod!” Landon chanted.

Emma turned and ran, leading the way through the twists of the space station past crumbling debris and half-finished repairs. Only a few more meters. Emma had never been so relieved to see a functioning LED panel. She scanned the readings quickly, making sure the pod was ready to go. She pulled the air lock hatch and opened the door to the escape pod.

The scientists piled into the pod and Emma sealed the hatch closed behind them.

“Do we even know how this thing works, Torrez?” Landon asked over Emma’s shoulder.

“If you give me some space, maybe I can figure it out!”

Emma scrolled through the operation screen inside the pod as it flickered under her shaking fingers. She found the launch sequence and tapped through it as quickly as possible.

The pod burst free of the space station and shot towards the moon base. Emma looked back at the station to see the entirety of the main section crumple with the flames. The pegasus logo next to neatly etched name of the space station melted before her eyes.

“What a fucking joke,” Hardy said.

“What are you talking about?” Landon asked.

“They just stuck us on there for months and expect us to fix the place with no support? The technical debt was an abomination. What were we supposed to do? Patch the holes with our PhDs?”

The pod began to shake and warning klaxons fired.

“Whose job was it to maintain the escape pod?” Emma asked.

Hardy cackled hysterically.

Writing is hard, editing is hard

As I’m going through the process of working with an editor, I am reminded that editing blows. As anyone who has ever tried to string together a few coherant sentences can tell you: writing is HARD. Then, to add insult to injury, you must edit your manuscript. It seems rather unfair.

Right now, I’m going through my MS and removing ever time I used the word, “just.” Why in the world did I use that word so much?? What was I thinking? And most embarassingly, how did I not notice it myself before I sent it off to my publisher? I’m tempted to go back to my original draft and find out just how many times it was, but that might be cruel.

It’s tempting to assert that writing is hard, but editing is harder. I don’t believe that to be true. Pulling the words from nothing and putting them on the page is hard. It’s an exercise in dedication and creativity. Taking the words you’ve amassed and shaping them into a more refined whole is hard. It’s an exercise in perserverance and attention to detail. At this point in my life, I’m still working on how to do both of these things effectively.

Hopefully, I’ll find other things to work on as I become more confident in the larger aspects in the process of writing. I will never stop learning. I work hard to make that happen.

In the end it’s like running and biking. (What, doesn’t everyone do those things??) They’re both physically exhausting if you do them long enough but they work different muscles. They’re similar in some ways, but getting back on my bike in the spring after only running all winter is a pretty rude awakening. My thighs mock me with all the miles I ran on that first bike ride. The trick is that I have to do them both.

I’m okay with that.

Truly Outrageous

As a person who vaguely remembers the 80’s, I was understandably eager about the Jem and the Holograms reboot. Women working together, rocking out with amazing wardrobes – what’s not to love? Then of course there was the inevitable let down. Women supporting each other? We can’t have that. What if women start to get uppity and have ideas? Next thing you know they’ll want birth control and clothes with pockets.

Is that hyperbole? Of course it is! I indulge in periodic hyperbole.

It saddens me that so many people have become crushingly divisive over issues of gender. It’s nothing new of course, it’s just the details and mechanics of how it plays out that changes. Women don’t need to be contrasted against men in order to be defined. There is room enough for people of any gender. The only walls that exist are ones we choose to support.

On a lighter note:

This is a great time to pull out an old photo though. Some friends and I cosplayed the Misfits, the rival band of Jem and the Holograms, at a CONvergence in 2003. I’m the one in black on the left. This was such a fun time. Thank you to libradragonmom for sharing the picture with me.

Misfits Cosplay - Jem and the Holograms

Another lonely blogger

As a veteran of the internet, I’m no stranger to blogging. Back in the hay day of livejournal, I was an avid participant. I reveled in the community, the closeness and the honesty.

In the last year, I’ve fallen astray of my livejournal roots. There were a lot of things that came up and prevented me from continuing to engage with my friends in that way. I still miss it. I’ve added many of the friends I made there on other social media and it’s great to be able to keep up with them in a different way.

I’ve started a new venture. In the process of rededicating myself to my art and creative passions, I’ve come to need another blog. Something a bit more public where I can share with everyone what I’m working on and connect in new ways.

Much to my delight, things have been going really well. I have so many amazing projects I’m working on and I can’t wait to share them with you all! I’m writing, drawing and painting more again and I am beyond thrilled. It’s hard to find enough time but I work really hard at it!

I’m following my passions and I couldn’t be happier.