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Irene Mincine


Irene found herself in the pilot’s seat of a shuttle. How did she get there? She had a pounding headache. That’s all she knew. She looked down at the panel to figure out where she was. It was blank.

She checked another panel. Out the window now was a planet with a swirling pink and green atmosphere. It was getting big, fast. The sensors said there was nothing there. In fact, they showed nothing at all. No stars, no planets, no location.

“Computer, kill the engines.”



“No computer, either…” She was starting to get worried – especially since she didn’t remember anything about a mission or travel at all. And then she felt a sharp pain in her back. She felt it with her hand. It came back drenched in blood. In fact, there was blood was dripping from the ceiling. And, slowly, coming up through the floor.

The outside view had changed, too. Now it was a stormy atmosphere, the shuttle zooming over an ocean of blood. The flow continued in the cabin, now up to Irene’s ankles. Lightning flashed around her, illuminating the shuttle with yellow light.

Irene felt tired, very tired. The shuttle seemed to know where it was going, avoiding lightning strikes with quantum precision. She didn’t have the energy to do much but watch. She felt like this was the right thing to do, inside.

As she approached the surface, she saw a fleet of Federation starships floating on the red ocean. A few names were visible: the Odyssey, the Saratoga, the Melbourne, the Drake.

It looked like her shuttle was on its way to join them. The blood was up to her waist.

Lightning struck the shuttle. Irene felt it shock her very core. Her world flashed, and then the shuttle was hovering, floating only a few feet over the strange ocean. 

She grabbed her chest, making sure her heart was still beating. It was irregular, but this didn’t alarm her. A sense of calm fell over her as she looked out the shuttle viewport. The landing lights illuminated the Drake. She could see through the hull, the lights illuminating it like an X-ray beam.

Inside were a decaying crew, hundreds of them. All at their stations like nothing had changed. Irene, the calm now long passed, screamed as blood rushed into the shuttle, faster now, up to her chest.

Another flash of lightning and her body began falling apart, like the doomed crew of the Drake. The blood was dissolving her, but she felt nothing. Now it was up to her neck. As it rose above her eyes, the world turned to a milky white.

Then, nothing.

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