Douglas (A short story)

If he ignored the hole in the hull of his ship, and all that remained of his air being slurped out into space…the last few minutes of Douglas P Archibald’s life were fine. He wouldn’t have said they were great exactly, he should imagine there were much more glamorous and exciting ways to go, but for him, that just wasn’t meant to be. Flying through an asteroid belt had seemed like such a good idea a few hours ago, it would have cut his journey time nearly in half. Saved him copious credits on his fuel bill and he would have made it to the pub a whole lot sooner. He had run out of rum only a few days into this job and working while sober was not something Douglas wanted to try and get used to.

Things had started to go south pretty quickly. A few of the asteroids in the sector had a lot more magnetic material onboard than was normal. It had thrown his sensors haywire leaving the real business of piloting in his own hands. The main problem with that was that Douglas wasn’t much of a pilot when he DID have all of the driver assist systems running. When they were offline, he was about as useful as a chocolate chair on a hot day.

He swung a right here and a left there, thought he had space between two rocks. He didn’t have space between two rocks. There was a bang, there was some shaking and then there were alarms. Oh so many alarms. Hull breach one of them told him. Critical damage said another but worst of all was the one that kept on saying ‘Air supply interrupted, perform emergency landing in a safe zone or evacuate ship immediately’. He was in the middle of an asteroid belt, there was no safe planet or station to land on so that idea was shot. His only option was to take the escape pod and hope he would be picked up soon. The main problem with that option was that Douglas didn’t just like rum. He REALLY liked rum. He liked rum so much that when credits were low, he would pawn just about whatever non-essential parts of his ship that he could just to buy another bottle. Funnily enough escape pods always seem non-essential when you aren’t stranded in the ass end of space with a hole the size of a small house in the side of your ship.

When all was said and done Douglas had accepted his fate. He was going to die. There was really no way around it. He could kick and scream and cry but what good would that do? There was nobody there to see it and he would just waste his last moments of life in hysterics. Instead, he kicked off his boots, loosened his belt and lit a cigarette. Then a thought crossed his mind and a smile teased his lips. His life had never been anything special, why should his death be any different.

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