Science Fiction

The steady flashing of the red light overhead was growing quite monotonous and irritating on the eyes. At least Maimun had finally managed to get the blaring voice of the A.I. system repetitively screaming, “System Breech. System Breech. System Breech,” to stop. 

Xion massaged his temples, attempting to ease some of the headache he could already feel forming.

 Beyond the ship’s viewing ports was an endless expanse of stars, each their own untold story, winking and flashing at him as if mocking the fact he was stuck here instead of farther out there. Swirls of bright pinks and deep blues and rich purples blended and mushed together in clouds that could be found in each reach of the cosmos. It was breathtaking even after all the years of experience he had under his belt, but that red flashing was going to become a problem, one he would likely have to fix.

A loud crash sounded behind him and he flinched, groaning into his hands. He had come to the port to get away from her for a moment, but it hadn’t lasted long. 

Maimun rounded the corner and drifted right up to him. Drifted, because there still wasn’t artificial gravity in this part of the ship, and therefore you couldn’t walk. Obviously. 

Small metal parts and screws floated around and bumped into her as she moved, sun-kissed skin having faded from an abundance of time indoors and a shaved head for more mobility in difficult situations. Like this one.

“Oh shut it,” she said in response to his grumbling about her existence. “While you’ve been moping around in here, I managed to find our navigation system.” She opened her hands which had been cupped in front of her, and a variety of pieces of what were undeniably scrap metal hovered where her hand had left them.

Xion looked at her with raised eyebrows, mouth thinning. “That isn’t functional or fixable--”

“Or fashionable,” she interjected, twirling a ring around her finger and then up her wrist. “But seeing as you’re a man of style,” she gestured to his suit, “I think you can manage.”

“This is a uniform. We’re wearing the same uniform.” 

“You should change the color of your uniform, just saying. I think a nice baby blue would compliment you’re narcissism quite well.” He made to respond that she, in fact, was the narcissist and that she should have brought more mirrors to admire herself in, but she was already drifting out the door, pulling herself along using the walls, humming louding to block him out. 

Maimun drummed her fingers along the table in the center of the room. Thankfully this part of the ship still had gravity, meaning all the blood that had rushed to her head could return to the remaining appendages of her body. 

Now she could begin to repair--or at least make functional-- this section of the spacecraft.

They had rather unseredipitoudly crashed into a very large and very avoidable asteroid about five hours ago, resulting in a breech in a sealed off part of the ship. 

She had been telling Xion it would be more fuel efficient and frankly quicker to go on the right side of the asteroid, and had plotted a course to do so. He had insisted it would be best to go left, and steered them in that direction. The argument had gone back and forth until they hit the hunk of rock dead center, and the pressure busted the craft.

Now it was up to just them--and by them she meant herself--to fix and safely arrive--or crash land--at a habitable planet before Xion ate all of her food packets because ‘he was older.’ Honestly she didn’t know why she kept the man around, it would have been much easier to simply eject him into space a few planets back, but alas, his broody outlook on life continued to darken doorways. 

She picked up the communication system she had left on the counter earlier and resumed repairing it. Perhaps they could call for help.

Clomping to her right indicated that Xion was moving in this direction, and fairly angrily if the look on his face meant anything as he came into the room. In his hand was a grimey bit of metal, coated in oils and leaving his hand covered in the substance. 

“What the hell is this,” he ground out.

Maimun smiled sweetly and replied, “It’s a bit of scrap metal now is what it is.” He scowled at her and chucked it onto a nearby counter, where it clanged and slipped and made a general mess. “You’re cleaning that up,” he said in regards to the oil now coating the previously clean surface.

She scoffed, “Am not,” and turned back to the communication system, fiddling with the wires to see if it would gain a better connection. 

“Oh yes you are,” he said, taking the system from her. “That was my personal database, which you decided to deconstruct for parts. You didn’t even tell me you needed it.”

“It had a few parts that proved to be useful, I’m sure you understand.” He sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose, and threw the comm system down on the counter. She winced as it clanged. Couldn’t he be just a little more careful, especially considering that very system he was so careless with was the only chance they had at reaching others in this vast cosmos considering all the others had been broken or used for parts? Now that she thought about it, using comms for scrap and parts was the worst idea she had ever heard of, why hadn’t Xion stopped her?

Oh, right. She hadn’t told him. 

“Couldn’t you have used anything else for parts,” he asked, interrupting the whirlwind of thoughts and regrets spilling throughout her head. 


He blinked. “What?”

Maimun stood, dusting off her lap. “I could have used anything else for parts, your database was just closest and I didn’t wanna get up.”

Xion’s accepting defeat turned to white hot rage inside his chest, and he turned his gaze onto Maimun, who took a step back, a wince on her face. He had thought she had only scraped his database because it has essential parts that could be found nowhere else--not that he knew which parts those would be. 

But she had done it just to spite him. “I suppose it’s fair,” he drawled, and she looked at him with suspicion written all over her face, “considering the things I’ve done to your belongings.”

He hadn’t actually done anything--yet--but she didn’t need to know that. He looked down at his ruined database, which had housed personal information and files and pictures of his family, which was now unrecognizable. “How did it even get this soiled?”

Maimun didn’t respond for a moment, no doubt itching to run and see if anything of importance to her had been destroyed or harvested for scraps.

“I think it’s art,” she said, poking it and watching it slide until it fell to the floor with a wet clang.

“That’s not art.”

“It’s art to me.”

“You don’t know what art is.”

“Art it what I want it to be, and you can’t say I’m wrong.

“I can and you’re wrong.”

“I am an artist”, Maimun said, scrunching her nose and pinching her fingers together like a prized chef, pronouncing the word more like art-eest. “And I am better than you so I get to decide.”

Xion crossed his arms, looking her up and down. “I don’t see an artist.”

 Maimun gasped and put a hand to her chest in over exaggerated offense, the other draping across her forehead as if she felt faint. “You and me,” she said, a glint in her eye, “an hour time limit. We’ll see who’s really an artist.”

He would best her so thoroughly. “You’re on.”

Time was ticking, and the red flashing light no one had bothered to fix quite yet as they were distracted by unimportant and trivial pursuits flashed in time to the seconds passing by. Both Maimun and Xion were sweaty beyond believe, partially due to the rising temperature in the spacecraft neither of them had bothered to notice quite yet. 

Xion sat in a chair with an array of different metal wires, a pair of pliers in his hand being used to sculpt the wires into intricate forms and delicate swirls. 

Maimun on the other hand, was in the dead center of the room, hammering away at random pieces of metal that had rolled into her path. Screws, disks, metal plates, the antique carving of Vincent Van Bro III done exclusively in gold filigree that no one knew where it came from. Everything. 

The hour ticked away, and Maimun’s hands shook from the weight of the hammer, Xion’s fingers indescribably sore from the detail work he was doing. Finally, a ding sounded and they both dropped their tools, groaning as they stretched their muscles. 

Maimun grinned as she sauntered over to where Xion sat, plopping down next to him. He frowned and pushed her onto the floor. 

“Hey! What was that for,” she asked, slightly offended once again.

“You were on my side of the couch.”

“There aren’t sides.”

“This is my couch, it’s all my side.”

She grumbled a moment before pausing, and stood. Then she sat directly next to him, throwing an arm casually around his shoulders and cuddling up close. He glared down at her, but she just smiled right back.

She glanced at his hand, in which his art piece was clenched. “Since I’m already over here,” she began, “why don’t you show me that little thing and then we can get onto the real treat--which is me.”

Xion didn’t bother to say anything, and simply opened his fingers, where a small amulet rested. Her gut clenched, it truly was beautiful. She hadn’t even known he was skilled in that department.

Gold and silver wires were braided and looped together into an intricate teardrop about half the size of her thumb. Accents of copper wires sparkled in the red flashing lights, and a small loop at the top showed where a chain would go if they had one. 

Maimun regained her composure, and stood. “I must admit I’m impressed, but it still was impossible for you to ever compete with me.” As she spoke, she draped a hand on her chest and bobbed her head side to side, turning quickly and walking to the other side of the room where her work lay. She hadn’t been as detailed as she wanted, and it was rather rough, but it would do.

“Art is about the fine details, I can’t imagine you’d ever be good at something like that.”

Her voice was aloof as she responded. “Oh?” She turned to face him now, gesturing with a broad sweep of her arm to the metal shining on the floor. 

She had spent the last hour tediously hammering small and large pieces of metal into relatively flat sheets, and then laying them out to form the curves of a willow tree. They were the most common tree back home, and the drooping vines had a vague resemblance to the gold wires she had used. 

It was actually unrealistic that she had gotten such detail and precision in such a short amount of time, almost as if someone were controlling her every move from afar and simply didn’t know how long something like this would take and wanted the story to move along semi-realistically without offending artists but without dedicating too much time to a single event with no humor or purpose. 

Xion likely felt the same. 

In fact, he was about to comment--likely on how spectacularly she had done--when a faint crackling sound could be heard throughout the ship. She looked around, terror coursing through every cell in her body, before she realized it was coming from overhead, where the intercom system was. 


Oh. Right. The ship was broken. They were supposed to fix it.

Xion said as much. “Oh. We should have fixed that.”

“How long do you think it’s been saying that,” she mused. She had temporarily turned off the intercom to get it’s endless squawking to finally end, but who knows how long the system had been trying to speak while being blocked by her sheer brilliance.

Xion shifted from foot to foot, listening to the message again and again. “It’s saying something about room three.”

“We’re in room three.”

“This isn’t room three.”

“Well then where else could we be?”


“Oh. I must express my eternal gratitude for the clarity you have bestowed upon me in this moment. Truly, all the stars have aligned and I can see the truth once again.”

He flexed his fingers and moved away, heading towards the command room where the intercom could be accessed and controlled. “You’re not going to be seeing anything ever again if you don’t get to work.”

“Eek, who put you in charge?”

“You applied for this position.”

January 17, 2020 16:51

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