The Perseus Incident

This is my entry for September’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Shield.

Rogan looked over a panel, checking the readout he looked up the manual. Flicking though a few pages he finally stopped.

“Panel E7.” He looked around, found panel E7 and flicked several of the switches. He looked back at the readout.

“That I think seems to have done it!” He announced to himself. He stood on the spot thinking for a moment. The acrid smell of burned electrics was still in the air, the air processors were sorting it but they we’re no longer working well.

“I need to be careful or I’m going to end up talking to myself! God, Esme would laugh if she saw me now. Mr I don’t need anyone, well right now I would give anything to have them back!”

Rogan slumped down into one of the large command chairs. The control deck wasn’t usually spacious with five people in it, but now. Now there was more than enough room. Now there was just Rogan. His head slumped into his hands and for a moment he as silent, his head raised and his face was wet, wiping it dry with his sleeve.

“Esme, Garad, Jess and even that annoying idiot Anton. I would have them all back right now.”

Rogan waited, as if longing for once of them to suddenlt appear or even all of them as if they had played some cruel joke. But all there was, was the sound of the ship, the air processing, the whirring of machinery and the clicking of relays and controls. The ship was hurt, sounds of tortured metal and staringin bulkheads reverberated as if it was the cries of a huge wounded metallic animal.

A screen flashed red on the master console, Rogan’s face was illuminated by the glow. For some minutes he sat in silence. The alarm unnoticed until the audiable alarm started.

“Oh what now?” Rogan started, looking at what the screen was trying to tell him. “Oh crap, 20,000 millirems! Not good! Looks like the radiation shield has failed!” Looking around the control deck he found a manual and began looking through it frantically.
“Dammit!” He threw the manual into a corner. Sitting down for a moment to think Rogan went back to the manual. Finding what he wanted he flicked a switch and silenced the audiable alarm.

Following through his idea he reached a section titled seperation of command vessel. Even in manuals for spacecraft there was lot’s of useless knowledge, as if some kid of idiot or child was going to perform the operation. Being the onboard technician rather than the flight officer he knew he was no expert. But neither was he an idiot.

“Perseus – this is commander Catherine Lewis of the Hercules, we are responding to your distress call. Please respond if you are receiving this message.”

In shock Rogan dropped the manual – someone heard him out here? Scrabbling around he looked for a headset. Placing it over his head, sweat dripping down his face.

“H-Hello Hercules this is Perseus. I’m Jack Rogan the ship’s technician.”

“I understand and read you Jack Rogan” the cracked reply came. “Where is commander Garad?”

“He’s dead.” Rogan cried. “They’re all dead!” The ship’s structure groaned and creaked, Roagan knew that the ship was drifting out of control towards the suface of Titan below. “I’m trying to seperate the command ship from the rest of the vessel! Can you help me!”

“Undersooood Persu- Sttttand byyyy to” the radio went silent. Not sure if the radiation had shut it down, if he was out of range or just simply broken he had to somehow seperate the command ship. Looking back at the manual again there were all kinds of release this unbilical, unclamp that docking lever. It would take him hours to work it out and he knew one thing. He didn’t have hours, the radiation levels were so high and still increasing.

He was going to die.

“Hello Rogan.”

Rogan spun round. “Esme!” He cried. “Thanks God you’re here! I need to…”

“Shhh… I know Rogan. I know, just stay calm. I’m here now.” Esme took the seat next to Rogan, he fingers working the panels. The groaning from the ship was so loud now, the Persus might not make it anywhere near the surface – it would break up long before.

“Are you ok Esme?” What happened?

“You know what happened Rogan, you saw the mid section destroyed by the impact.”

“I know but….”

“Shhh…” Esme sat round and faced him. “Soon everything will be ok, trust me.” Esme wrapped her arms around him and held Rogan. Rogan unsure of what to do help Esme back, she then released Rogan, kissing him gently. Suddenly feeling very fuzzy Rogan flopped into the seat just as Esme released the command section, for amoment they were free and floating and then engines fired. Rogan felt the force on his body as the Perseus powered ahead, he looked round at Esme and she smiled back at him. Heavier than the G forces on his frame Rogan’s eyes shut.

Dazed and confused, a suited person pushed a mask on his face “Rogan! Rogan! Breathe Rogan! was all he could hear. Two others lifted him from the seat and dragged him. He trid to lift his weight but his legs gave out under him. Dragged through an airlock he was vaguely aware of people around him, the frantic activity as he was placed onto a bed.

“Esme, Esme…” He tried to cry as he pushed the mask away.

“Is there anyone else in there?” Lewis demanded.

“No one!” One of the men replied as he pulled his helmet off. “It’s just him!”

“Sedate him and treat him for radiation sickness!” Rogan struggled as much as he could, then fell flat as the drug took hold. Several peple pushed him away to be treated.

The suited man turned to commander Lewis “There’s no one else in there I swear!”

“I know, I know” Lewis calmly reassured him. “But someone brought that ship here to dock so perfectly and it wasn’t him.”

© Simon Farnell 2013 – 2023

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26 thoughts on “The Perseus Incident

  1. Another fascinating take Simon. Ghosts of the dead steering Rogan clear and yet is he going to process that as real or hallucination. Was it real or did he have some extraordinary feat of skill that allowed him to separate and steer the craft. Once again the short story turns out questions that could easily progress this one…

    Mind you, we’d need several clones and an eternity of time to write books on every prompt piece….not that I clone dropped the next prompt of course!

    Liked by 1 person

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