This is the start of my entry for the Gay Science Fiction Group on Goodreads. There were 12 prompts to choose from and I picked the enemies trapped on a planet together having to get along.
So far in my head, the MCs has just been “he” or “dude.” I guess my next step is to come up with a name for him.
He woke to the smell of singed hair and the sense that something was very wrong. Everything was stifling hot and the heat level was rising even as he tried to blink his head clear.
There was the blaring of warning alarms and everything was cast in hues of orange, the cockpit looking nightmarish and strange. “Wha…” he coughed, his lungs filling with acrid smoke. It smelled like toxic chemicals and his confused brain tried to remember if the ship’s interior was made out of anything that was going to kill him as it melted.
He felt strange, his hands awkward as he fumbled his crash harness off. He grabbed the handle of the emergency kit and pulled it out from under his seat, slinging the strap over his shoulder crosswise so it wouldn’t get lost. There were other things he felt like he should grab and some part of him didn’t want to leave the “safety” of the ship at all, which was currently a burning deathtrap.
He stumbled passed Steve’s already bloating corpse, the slanted angle of the deck nearly sending him tumbling. “Sorry buddy,” he rasped. The smoke was rising to choking levels and he covered his mouth and nose with his sleeve. The slick material of his shipsuit didn’t breathe very well, and as a result neither did he, but it wasn’t like he had much choice. He had to get out of the ship.
His eyes stung and burned as he left the cockpit and faced a raging inferno. The entire aft section of the ship was nothing but flames and oily black smoke, though he was just relieved to see the glowing Emergency Exit sign within stumbling distance.
The fire systems seemed not to have kicked in and once again he vowed to find the guys from Hephaestus Corp and kick their asses. A malfunctioning fire suppression system was a bit more serious than the nonstandard sized cupholders though his anger about it was tinged with hysteria. There was a more than good chance that he was goign to die scrabbling at the door like a rat.
Coughing and fighting the urge to retch, he stumbled to the emergency hatch. The skin on the right side of his body felt like t was trying to curl in on itself away from the heat of the flames. He might have thought the sight beautiful if he wasn’t the one currently facing death by roasting–orange and yellow and purple and green flames writhing and twining amongst the supposedly fire resistant seat cushions.
He reached out to grab the door handle, then cursed and jerked back as he felt his skin sizzle. The handle was burning hot and he couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed that the plasticene sheath had melted off, leaving just the bare metal.
Tears stung his eyes and the heat and smoke levels were rising. The panicked alarm had risen to a teeth jarring squall and the orange warning light was blink-blink-blinking, urging him to get the hell out before it was too late.
He pulled his sleeve down over his right hand and reached out quickly to grasp the handle and give it a hard shove down. Tears stung his eyes at the pain in his already burned hand but he was running on survival instinct and there was no way he was letting himself burn to death, not without a hell of a fight.
He jerked on the handle, then hurriedly let go. His sleeve had melted to the handle and pulled away with gooey strings fluttering like the tentacles of a clarphod.
With the release of the handle, the door sensors kicked in and he briefly saw a scrolling message pass over the glossy blue material: “Brace yourself for saturation.”
He didn’t have time to puzzle out what that was supposed to mean before the door blew off its seams with a muffled explosion and shot away into the darkness. And about a million gallons of seawater rushed in.
There was no chance to brace himself as the wave hit him and slammed him against the far bulkhead, the back of his head bouncing against the wall painfully. Water choked down his throat before he managed to close his mouth and he coughed and gagged as more water flooded in.
First death by burning, now death by drowning. He once again cursed the day he decided to join the Reclamation Squadron.
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