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The Nebula's Tide

By Piper Cleaveland All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Scifi

Spotting Stars

A golden comet, that was the last thing that Doctor Kala Leahy saw before her ship was struck off course. An orange halo cradling its burning treasure through space, cut suddenly through the spangled darkness, offsetting the doctor’s equipment as it passed. Kala hardly heard the ship’s warnings before she caught a glimpse of the rare sight. Comets in the beta quadrant were ten a penny, but even the most diligent of star chasers would not likely find an orange one in their entire lifetime. Though its beauty only served to amaze her for a brief moment, it kept her eyes away from the controls just long enough for the comet’s debris to come racing toward her starboard engine. The space rocks hit, and as they shattered the fiberglass like particles were instantly sucked up into the forward compressor, jamming the rotary propulsion and sending the doctor's ship spiraling out of control.

Kala tore her eyes away from the cockpit windows as she grabbed at the handles of the steering mechanism. Amid the flashing of red safety lights and wailing alarms, the metallic voice of the ships computer proceeded to inform her that her autopilot had been disengaged and that the manual steering override was now in effect.

“Tell me something I don’t know.”  She cursed at the computer through gritted teeth, trying desperately to find a center point among the whirlpool of stars that spun around and around before her. But no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t right the ship out of its cork screw dive.

~Obstacle approaching. Crash imminent. Prepare for impact.~ the voice called again.

Kala could just barely see the dark shadow of something large emerging beneath her. Abandoning hope of control, she took the computer's advice and released the wheel, snatching at her safety belt and pulling it toward her. But her haste was in vain for before it could be fastened the small ship collided with the object, one of many asteroids that were drifting in the past comet’s wake, and stopped the capsule and its passenger in a violent crash.

Doctor Leahy was thrown from her seat. Her forehead met with the hard metal surface of the ceiling controls and she was knocked brutally unconscious.

All was silent in the small federation shuttle. The navigation equipment lost power as the ship went dark. Losing all systems except for the backup oxygen cells, Kala’s body now floated free throughout the cabin. Small droplets of her blood beaded from a large cut on her forehead and drifted out into the suspended air.

Her ship was drastically off course, and in these outer channels of the quadrant, federation patrols would not pass by for weeks. She would likely be doomed, if it were not for the other population of space travelers that roamed in these parts; seedy species who traveled under the law, and were often on the prowl for the broken remains of ships like these to scavenge upon. It was only a matter of time before Kala would be found and taken.

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