This is a piece for the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. (The title is a take-off of Pigs in Space. If you don’t know what that is, click here.)
Bruce pulled himself to the bathroom and squeezed out a few painful, amber drops. The purifiers banged and vibrated and he waited with swollen throat for that tiny cupful of pure water to emerge. He was still twenty-two days away from Earth, far too long to survive like this.
There was a blip on his radar—another ship in range. With trembling hands, he hailed them.
“This is Scout eagle 45AZ. What type of ship are you?” he asked.
“Scout eagle 45AZ, this is Transport 50TS.”
“TS? You’re a terraforming ship? What are you carrying?”
“Water,” came the reply.
“50TS, I need water,” Bruce called. “My tank sprung a leak and I’ve been venting water. I just need a few gallons to get me back to Earth.”
There was a pause. “I’m sorry 45AZ, but our tanks are all sealed. We need permission to open them.”
“Then get it!” Bruce shouted. “I’m dying here.” His voice cracked and he started coughing.
Several minutes passed before there was a reply. “45AZ, I’ve obtained conditional permission. I’m sending you the order now.”
A message flashed on Bruce’s screen.
FROM HIGH COMMAND:
Permission for water tanks to be opened is granted, contingent on the applicant appearing before a tribunal on Earth in two days time to explain the necessity. Thank you for your cooperation.
March 16th, 2014 at 8:37 pm
It appears some things will never change. Nice tight tale – is this a piece of a larger work? Great details!
March 16th, 2014 at 9:02 pm
I guess it could be part of something larger, but I hadn’t thought about it. Hopefully, he gets some water somehow or the story won’t be able to last much longer.
March 16th, 2014 at 9:06 pm
HAHA That’s about right 😀
I used to love Pigs in Space
March 17th, 2014 at 10:14 pm
I was thinking that a lot of the younger readers would have no idea about what Pigs in Space was. Makes me feel old. 🙂
March 18th, 2014 at 6:59 am
You’re only as old as the person you feel 😉
March 16th, 2014 at 11:18 pm
March 17th, 2014 at 5:51 am
! Oh dear. I literally felt uncomfortable reading that first line.
March 17th, 2014 at 6:42 am
Yeah, it’s a pretty uncomfortable thing. I hesitated but it really gets the reader into the story, right? 😉
March 17th, 2014 at 5:40 pm
We have rules and rules are there to be adhered!
March 17th, 2014 at 10:13 pm
Exactly! Even if they make no sense, right?
March 18th, 2014 at 2:24 am
I think red tape gets a bad name.
March 18th, 2014 at 7:22 am
Poor guy. I guess a life threatening emergency is of no consequence.
March 18th, 2014 at 2:49 pm
ahh! sounds so familliar 🙂