Not Hurt by JakeKerr0

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"Are you hurt, Bradford Thomas?"

"No, but it's a mess back here. That was a nasty crash. What the hell happened during re-entry?"

"Mechanical error."

"Doesn't surprise me with the tin can they gave us. Why'd you take so long to answer, Ecks? You hurt?"

"Not hurt."

"Good. Let me check the supplies, clean up a bit, and then I'll come up and join you."

"No, Bradford Thomas. Much damage."

"No shit. My head still hurts from the impact. Maybe I can help."

"Dangerous. Stay, Bradford Thomas."

"Is it hull damage? Should I suit up?


"Well, that's good, because I just realized the suits are up with you."


"Sounds like a plan. Are you sure you're not hurt? Your voice is a little raspy."

"Not hurt."

"Okay. I'll get everything in order down here and check back in a bit."


"Ecks, you there?"


"No problem. Just wanted to let you know that things are cleaned up and stable down here."


"Should I still stay put?"



"Ecks, I may be hurt more than I thought. I'm feeling a little woozy."


"You there, Ecks?"


"Something isn't right. I feel light-headed."


"I didn't say I was coming, dammit. I just said I'm a little dizzy. Maybe I hit my head."


"What are you talking about? I said I think I may have hit my head."

"Stay. Sit."

"I am sitting. Got any other genius advice?"


"Ecks, I think I blacked out there for a bit. Do you know what's happening?"

"Air unit damaged. Fixable."

"Oh God. No wonder I can barely stand. I'm suffocating, Ecks. You have to fix this now!"

"Fixable. Will direct air to Bradford Thomas."

"You were keeping the air for yourself? You bastard. Send it to me!"

"Not much."

"I don't care. Send it all to me. I'm dying!"


"You locked the door on me, you alien bastard? Don't deny it. You are locking me in here so that you can have all the air! Dammit. I told them this would happen. Put me on a ship with a cockroach pilot? Sure, first thing he'll do is stab me in the back. You hear that, Ecks? I'm going to get through the door, and then we'll see who has all the air."

"No break door. Fixable. Bradford Thomas has air."

"Screw you! I don't have crap. I can barely stand. You have so much air I can hear you coughing on it. Let me out!"

"Wait, Bradford Thomas."


"Ecks. I can't move. I'm dying."


"I'm not breathing as hard. Did you fix it?"

"Not fixed. Gave all air."

"I wish you would have done that before. It's not like we can save it. It recycles, you know?"


"Sorry. I still can't stand, and I have a headache."


"Are you there, Ecks?"


"Almost done?"

"Soon. Fixed."

"You don't sound too good."

"Not hurt."

"I'm not sure I believe you, buddy."

"Rest, Bradford Thomas. Fixable."


"You did it! I just heard the fans hit, and the air is blowing hard. God, I never thought I'd love the taste of filtered air this much."


"Still have a headache, though."


"Ecks, you there? Look, I understand if you're mad. I was out of line. It's just that I wasn't thinking clearly. Not enough oxygen makes you paranoid. So unlock the door, and let's be friends again."


"Damn, I didn't know aliens could pout. I get it. You saved our lives, and I said some things I shouldn't have. I'm sorry. If it makes you feel any better, I still have a headache. Oh, and I'm guessing a rescue ship is, what, six hours out? When it gets here, I'll recommend you for a commendation or whatever they give you guys."


"Ecks? Talk to me buddy."


"Are you hurt?

The End


A short story originally done for Challenge 1 on the Science Fiction profile by Jake Kerr (see dedication), who is a Nebula, Sturgeon, and StorySouth Award nominee.

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