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Stranded Scott vs the Staring Sensors

“Stranded Scott vs the Staring Sensors”

Scott Coleridge



“Stop it.


Stop it!


“I told you to stop staring at me!” Scott bounded across the barren, rocky landscape until he was mere centimetres away from its mocking, ever-smiling face. Its expression, locked into that horrible rictus, reminding him of the folly of his situation. “You think this is funny, huh? Commander Scott Coleridge can’t get sensors or communications working, hmm?”


The Mark XV Hostile Terrain Complete Sensor Suite did not reply. It was the strong, silent type.


Scott crossed his arms, the fabric of his jumpsuit crinkling in an unseemly fashion. “Fine. Be that way. In fact …” He reached down, picked up a rock. Scored a line clearly in the soil between him and the sensor package.


“This is my side. That is your side. You stay on your side. I’ll stay on my side. Happy?”


Scott was not happy.


His arm hurt, for one thing. He thought it might be broken, but his tricorder wasn’t working. Maybe the wrist was sprained. That, combined with his headache, fatigue, hunger, and mild dehydration, and the incredible rudeness of his companion, and he was not having a good time.


He kicked at another rock. There were a lot of them. So many--Scott shook his head. No good pursuing that train of thought--he was starting to sound like the Pakleds! He could see the appeal of this place to them though.


Sitting down on another rock (this one larger and with a flatter, sheared surface), Scott took a few deep breaths. He began to meditate.


The “landing,” if you could call it such, was mostly a blur. His last clear memory was off watching the rest of the team recede into the distance. He remembered trying to shout something over the comm, only for his words to be reflected back in his ear along with bursts of static. The ground hurtled towards him with frightening speed. He triggered his chute, but he wasn’t oriented properly, or his arm had been in the way, or something … there was a sharp pain, a tugging, and then his arm was free and the chute deployed and his feet soon had solid ground beneath them again.


He glanced over at the sensor suite. It hadn’t moved. It just stared at him. The controls on the side facing him, the ones that looked like an ersatz smile, still showed an error readout. Damaged in the landing, or maybe during the jump. Typical.


Scott had no idea where the rest of the team had landed. With his suit’s communications down, he had no way to contact them or Aegean. With the sensor package inoperable, he had no way to locate them. Fortunately, he had a plan.


From the utility pocket on the leg of his suit, Scott produced his mini-spanner. Shielding it from the sensor suite’s field of view, he twisted the bottom of the spanner’s grip, felt its comforting weight and the hum of its servo mechanisms.


Yes, it would do nicely as a murder weapon.


Scott was almost certain the sensor suite suspected nothing. The whole “my side, your side” thing hopefully threw it off, lulled it into a false sense of security. It wouldn’t expect him to make the first move, and then--BAM. Too late, it would have no time to fight back.


With the sensor package disabled, Scott would tear into its guts and find the power source, then trigger a short circuit in the capacitor grounding mechanism. Forty-six point five seconds later--plenty of time to get to a safe distance--and it would overload and discharge rather violently. The resulting explosion would be enough for Aegean or the team to detect his approximate position.


It would also attract the attention of anyone else out there. But at this point, Scott just wanted to be rescued.


Scott hefted the spanner in his hand. It was a shame the sensor suite would have to make this noble sacrifice. But it was either this, or they would both die out here. Scott wanted to live.


He squeezed the fingers of his good hand around the spanner’s gripped, stood up, and turned to face the sensor package. “Look, maybe I was a little harsh earlier. Let me apologize…”

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