Readers Write

An Aspect of Conflict

It was a dark and stormy night when she fled to the wood,

Her golden hair covered by a long dark hood.

Under cover of night, she ran, she fled,

To get away from that scene, still stuck in her head.

In the morning she was missed, still needed at home;

For not the first time she was very much alone.

Next day she started back, still filled with dread;

She remembered those words that in anger had been said.

Yet she straightened her shoulders, pushed it out of her mind.

For the very first time she resolved to be kind.

She pulled off that long, dark hood

And left it in that stormy wood.

Where many a time she had been,

She would never be needing it again.

-by Alexandra, age 13

Resplendent Hope.

A short story by Andrew Epps.

A sharp hiss, a cold draft, and Capt. Martin Webber awoke confused. With condensation obscuring the view port, hot fear griped the combat hardened captain. Where was he?! A cool female AI voice purred into his ears,”Do not panic. You are in a stasis pod aboard the ASC Resplendent Hope.” “What?”, he whispered. “You are suffering from synaptic lethargy due to prolonged stasis. Allow me to refresh your memory”, she said.

A screen slid down in front of him and the words “Stellar Dawn Re-location Program” appeared.

“In the year 3247, Alliance Space Command (ASC) developed a plan to dispose of spent nuclear fuel rods by dropping them into a large gas giant in their solar system. All went according to plan until a malfunctioning delivery rocket, exploded, igniting the gaseous planet’s volatile atmosphere, accidentally creating a second sun. This so called “stellar dawn” caused temperatures to rise catastrophically on our home world, forcing mass evacuation”.

“Now Martin, you need to get up. We have arrived at our new home”. “Really?”, he croaked. “Yes, but there is a problem. An asteroid strike in transit began a cascade of power failures. We are on our last reserves. You must get to the bridge and launch the stasis drop pods and the supply containers immediately.”

Martin pushed the door of his pod open, his senses assaulted by blaring alarms and the acrid smoke of burning wires. He stumbled down the hall towards the turbo lift, the door sliding open as he reached it. Slamming into the back wall, he slapped the button labeled “Bridge”. Seconds later, the doors re-opened and he reeled onto the command deck. “Set the timed evacuation to 3 minutes”, she directed.

He was about half way to Flight Ops when the main screen flickered and an strange armored alien figure appeared on the ship’s viewer, speaking an unknown language.

“Martin, they seem to be powering weapons”, warned the AI. “Yeah, so!? “, he barked. “So, this is NOT a warship. The Hope is a cargo ship, with no armor. We cannot withstand a single hit. Do not wait another second. Eject the pods! I am sorry, this is the way it must be”. “I can make it…!”, he began. “NO. Do it now!” “…Fine”. He pressed four buttons and all the stasis pods and supply containers dropped away.

“They have fired! Press that last button.” she insisted. “You know our people cannot survive down there without me”. “That’s right, run like a rat”, he thought as he pressed the final button, dropping the AI’s shielded computer core. His own hope lost, he leaned back in his chair and watched the pods’ flaming tails drop towards the crater scared planet’s surface. Relieved to have gotten his people safely away he mumbled “Hell of a way to wake up … didn’t even get my coffee !. I hope they’ll be ok down there on … what was this damn planet’s name anyway? So, I guess Captains always do go down with the ship?” Brilliant white light surrounded him and the pods faded from view.

Andrew Epps is an 18 year old life long homeschooler with a love of reading, writing, and video games.

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