"Space is a big place." Shawn had heard that damn cliché ad nauseum. He’d heard it a thousand times during Flight School. A thousand more times when he joined the military, and a thousand times again when they promoted him to Special Ops. When he was dishonorably discharged for taking money under the table in exchange for cargo protection, guess what, he heard it again. And again when he used his shady underworld contacts to make a living in a piracy outfit.
The last time Shawn heard it? Two hours ago. Fed up with his ship’s profit-hoarding captain, Shawn had organized a mutiny. Or so he thought. He had overestimated two things: the value of his special ops training, and the loyalty of his “friends.” They turned on him. Shawn’s punishment was banishment on an uninhabited planet. The environment was Earth-like but harsh, and he was given only two days’ worth of sustenance.
“Space is a big place, you know,” the captain said, laughing as he boarded his landing shuttle to return to the cruiser.
Shawn stood in an alien desert. The burning sun filtered through dust and sand stirred up by the shuttle’s departure. To all sides lay hundreds of miles of ambiguous, reddish-yellow nothing, broken only by a shimmering sun mirage. Above, the sky emptied into an amorphous purplish blue, a window into the endless void that separated Shawn from his home.
Space was a big place. And Shawn knew that now.
- ampshorts posted this