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Crucible

By LeeChambers All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Scifi

Crucible

Sitting in a long range shuttle, deployed from a troop transport ship days before, the actor Rupert ‘Rip’ Armstrong, a camera crew, and a retired marine sergeant.  The interior is sparse, bare plate metal flooring, molded lightweight alloy walls, the only luxury on the unpadded seating are a sturdy dropship harness. The camera crew are mostly asleep, the only exception is Seth, the field researcher.  He is relaxed and reading something on a holographic tablet display.  The marine is sat forward, his harness barely able to accommodate his huge frame, glaring at Rip, his dislike towards the man clear.  An announcement from the cockpit grabs his attention,

“On approach. Brace for atmospheric entry.”

Rip’s hands dance frantically over his seat harness, looking visibly nervous, having never experienced an atmospheric entry.

 “Armstrong! Suck it up, think of something else, it’ll be over before you know it.”

“Easy for you to say, you actually do this shit.”

Rip snaps back, immediately regretting it as his gaze meets the glare of the huge marine.

“Just remember, you fuck this up, I don’t get paid.”

 “Point taken.”

Rip closes his eyes and casts his mind back to the call that landed him in his current predicament.

In a plush office, overlooking a vast metropolis, oversized loungers sit against opposite walls, a large glass coffee table that houses a tropical fish tank takes up the centre of the room.  Rip sits casually on the soft red cushions of one of the sofas, looking out over the expanse of the concrete jungle below him as an executive enters the office. He lowers himself onto the sofa opposite Rip and drops a manila file onto the table, startling the fish.

 “Rip, the numbers are down, people are simply not interested anymore.  Let’s face it, you’ve ‘survived’ every environment we’ve been allowed to put you in.”

“So you called me for that? I really don’t care, I could buy half this city and still have change. I don’t need this.”

Rip gets up to leave but the executive slides the file to him,

“You might not need it, but you’ll want it.”

Uninterested, Rip glances at the file, making no move to pick it up.

“What’s this?”

The network executive curls his thin lips into a smile

“The resurrection of your career.”


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