I drew a Wood style robot for this one, but expanded a bit. The pelvis is very skeletal, and I added some little twists. Robots win!
Story came after the image, as usual. Enjoy
/edit... touched up some linguistic errors.
4h p9 CS notepad
“All drives. Down.” The pilot reported.
I could feel the grimace on his face over the seat mounted comset. My own expression wasn’t far off. The detonation had disabled or destroyed almost every instrument aboard. Any tech higher than basic mechanical was out - begin freefall.
Opposition orbital batteries had shatterblasted our airborne dock during the final stage of takeoff, flinging us out into the upper layers of the atmosphere. The alarm had sounded the moment radar picked it up, hiding a hundred kilometers off in a cloud of debris. At the time, we were in launch prep.
Our suits carried a few comforts, however. 2 Protein bars, a liter of water, 8 sticks of gum, flash dried chicken, a shot of vodka, and a rifle. At least we had our guns. Guns for that fantastic blast to the head, muzzle stabbing at the roof of the mouth, tongue cradling the ashy metallic shaft, trying not to chip a tooth as the jaw shudders and screams in last second comprehension. Pop-crunch-squish, splash, slump. a wisp of smoke
I shook my head. The cabin was dark, lit only by a few thin lightstrips on the ceiling and the dull yellow glow of helmet lamps. The harness tightened and contracted, misfiring with anticipation of another impact. I ripped it off, and lifting out of the chair, I headed up. The others watched me – the numb autopilot I’d seen before, following bright shapes, nodding to themselves. We knew we were dead when the alarm sounded, but the cold never sets in immediately. At times, truth seems to run on a feedback delay, every few minutes dropping more weight on the neck, until eventuality snaps it off. They were of little use to anyone at this point.
The plates in my boots held my feet in place as I reached for handholds, climbing up the floor towards the navigation cabin.
Blue-white light blasted through the windows. By the look of it, we were forty klicks down. “Get aholdofyourself!” Shuddering gasps. “Those sorry bunch of academy miscarriages back there are catatonic, and I could care less- Right now! I need you online.” I pulled back the helmet shield and waited. He took a few deep breaths.
I slapped a couple urgency dermals on his arm and pulled myself into the empty copilot seat.
Anticipating the question, he pointed below. The copilot lay haphazardly on the wall, drooling. “Took every painkiller in the kit.”
“Its fucked. Zero response on eighty percent of systems, gibberish coming over the coms, unreliable depth gauges… It’d take weeks back on the Nautilus
to repair – if she wasn’t blown up.”
“I’ve gotten lowlevel nav up. Other than that, computers are dead. Core reset fails every time.”
Why we felt the need to station a military hub over a gas giant has utterly confused me. Any of the moons would have been easier to defend, cheaper, and cause infinitely less vertigo amongst the men. I assumed the idea was that damaged ships would be drawn into the giant’s gravity well, falling silently, awaiting the crushing depth below. Attacking fleets would suffer the same losses, of course. This would deter outright assaults, the battle engineers concluded.
“How long until-”
“I’ve already ran the numbers. We passed the point of no return five minutes ago.”
In the distance, a series of flashes drew my eye. The darkening clouds made it hard to pick out the shape…