Holly reclined in her small cruiser leather seat, deciding that if she was to die on the other end of nowhere she might as well do it in comfort.
The heat of the nearly dead star ahead of her was beginning to find its way into her small vehicle. She had only taken her helmet off a few moments ago and was now working on the rest of her suit, but already her body was breaking out in an uncomfortable sweat. She knew it likely wouldn’t be long now. They had tried rescue missions like this many times, and had failed just as often. Once your preferred mode of transportation had entered within a certain radius around a dying star there was simply no way to pull it back out safely.
This wasn’t just any star, either. It was the sun of the Droh’Lak system, and she had known the risk she had taken. That’s why she had left her team behind when she had snuck out in the middle of the night. That’s why she had to do this alone, without their help.
She smiled to herself. The data they had needed had been sent off, it would reach the station very shortly. By the time someone finally read it hours later she would be burnt to a crisp, but at least her small self-imposed mission had been a success.
Holly closed her eyes. She had made peace with herself and her imminent death. She had not always been a good person, but she had tried in her final years with her crew. And what a good seven years it had been.
A small tear ran down the length of her cheek as the heat became nearly unbearable. Her systems had died long ago. Not built for things like this it hadn’t taken long before they had gone out. All this she had known before she had set off, but it was worth it. She lived a dangerous life. This would be a worthy ending, and maybe it would just be enough to atone for whatever sins she hadn’t atoned for already.
Her breath caught in her throat when a loud rattle shook her cruiser. She wanted to turn around and see what was going on, but she would have to get to the back of her ‘small’ cruiser for that and she knew her body was in no condition to dash anywhere. Slowly, with more effort than the brief movement should have taken, she shifted her weight slightly to see in the side-mirrors. Another purchase she had loved which Kayjack had seen as frivolous, but it was her cruiser and she would buy whatever she wanted for it – whether the old captain agreed or not.
Finally, the large ship behind her came into view and her heart gave out for just long enough to get her voice back.
“No! Damn you!” Why did her crew have to be this stubborn? Couldn’t they get the hint when she had sneaked out in the middle of the night, only leaving a small note? ‘Thanks, it’s been fun.’ What else was there to say?
Slowly, but steady, her cruiser was pulled away from the blistering heat of the star. She was still drenched in sweat but she could feel all new sweat receding. The temperature on board cooled down to a more bearable level, and her head was beginning to clear.
For the first time in the last two hours, Holly could think clearly. Had she really been ready to die? She was so far away from home, no one would even have known what had happened for a very long time. She had not seen Earth in years. Holly wanted to see Earth again before she finally bit the dust.
Around her, her crew’s ship closed in around her small cruiser, and she felt the whole thing dock. The door opened with that beautiful sound Holly had fallen in love with the first time she had taken her for a spin.
On the other side, Kayjack was staring at her, her usual disapproving frown on her face. Holly began laughing hysterically, glad to be home.
All of my 10-Minute stories are improvised, unplanned, and unedited apart from spelling and grammar mistakes. The idea is to kick-start the dreaded Monday with a short, creative exercise without thinking about it, and simply writing for the sake of writing.
For all other 10-Minute shorts, take a look here.