Earth is a spot in the distance, the Moon barely a bright dot.
Orion to Greeley Control. Come in Greeley.
Greeley Control, do you read? This is Orion.
No. Just dead air. No static. No nuthin’.
The camera dollys back into the command deck. Only a few
controls appear to function. Illumination comes from red
emergency lights. Two figures are silhouetted against the
view screens. Bob is seated. Eddie is standing behind him.
Keep trying. All frequencies.
INT. ORION COMMAND DECK – CONTINUOUS
Not that it’ll do any good.
Any station. This is ISF Orion
transmitting in the clear. Any
station, do you read?
Has to be the arrays.
You can’t fix what you can’t reach.
Anything from engineering?
No. Not much left between here and there.
Yeah. That last hit rattled my
teeth right down to my ass.
Surprised we’re still in one piece.
Orion to Greeley. Do you read?
You think the captain made it?
Doesn’t seem like it. She’d be back
If she could.
You think she even got there?
Eddie turns and looks aft.
Been thinking about it. Lab section
went after she left.
He shrugs and turns back.
I’d say there’s a good chance she
went with it.
Mmm. Maybe so. Bad timing. So now what?
Keep trying, I guess. Closer we
get, the better our chances.
How’s it going back there, Sam?
Just about finished, Eddie.
Sam enters the room, wiping her hands on her shirt. She
stands behind Eddie and Bob.
Same as the last three times. Nada!
Problem’s gotta be on the other
side of the bulkhead.
She takes a seat.
Or the hull. Either way, can’t do
anything about it. Captain took the
Her decision. She knew the risks.
Coulda sent one of us.
I think she felt responsible.
All of this shit? How was that her fault?
Dunno how she thinks. Couldn’t get
inside her head, even if I wanted to.
Eddie sits in one of the command seats. Chen enters the room.
Chen slumps into the other command seat. He runs a hand over
We’ll make it. Just.
He leans forward and peers at the view screen.
They all lean forward.
There. Upper right. Thought I saw
Nah. I don’t see any …
He looks closer.
Shit! There is something there.
Way too far out, I think. Can’t
tell if it’s moving.
He taps the blank radar scope.
Best I can do is keep an eye on it.
Any idea when we start decel?
Maybe an hour. Maybe a day. Maybe
He glances out the view screen.
Looks like we’re tracking straight in.
That can’t be good.
What about orbital insertion?
If auto’s still working, it’s out
of our hands. If not, it’s still
out of our hands.
So we could hit atmosphere and make
a really big flash bang. At least
everyone’s gonna know we’re home.
Everyone who’s still alive. There’s
a reason they build the drive
reactors out here.
Right now, we’re just a big fucking
Chen gestures at the screen.
And that’s the target.
He leans over Bob’s shoulder.
Can we maneuver at all?
If we had manual control. Which we
don’t. And could disengage auto.
Which we can’t.
So what? We cross our fingers and
hope not to die?
Oh, I’m pretty sure auto’s still with us.
Really? What the hell makes you
think so? You got no power on that panel.
Because something got us home, and
it sure wasn’t me. Question is, does it have anything left to
One of those hits took out the port
thruster pods. And you’ve seen
what’s left between us and
engineering. Probably won’t matter anyway.
Decel will rip us apart first.
What’s left of us.
Guess we’ll find out when it starts.
If it starts. Hang on …
A faint crackle of static. Bob presses his headset closer to
his ear. Eddie leans forward.
Bob holds up a hand and listens intently. He leans back again.
Thought I heard something. Guess not.
Static. Louder. Everyone leans closer. Faint, indistinct
voice. More static.
Clear it up!
Gimme a sec, will ya?
He fiddles with a dial. Static. Louder. Silence.
Shit! Lost it!
What about that ship we saw?
All I saw was a flash. Coulda been
anything. Shitload of stuff
floating around out here.
Yeah. And we’re flying blind
without the radar. Can’t see a damn
We’re fucking lucky we got this far
without hitting anything.
I’m not sure I believe in luck.
Must be something to it.
(slapping the console)
This is like being deaf and blind!
We’ll see what auto does. If it does.
So we wait?
So we wait.
The dot flashes in the distance, still too far away to make
INT. ORION COMMAND DECK – LATER
Sam is dozing in a seat. Bob is still at the controls. Eddie
and Chen are going over a checklist.
Why are we even bothering with
this? Nothing’s changed in months.
Just trying to occupy some time. Or
would you rather just sit here and
stare at the walls?
He picks up the checklist.
So the radio’s crappy; we got no
radar at all; manual control is
toast. Auto may or may not be
working. Portside thrusters are gone …
(twirling a finger)
… so best we could do is really
fast donuts and no way to stop.
Life support? Main computer?
Gravity? Well, that’s obvious.
Computer’s completely fried. Most
of it’s on the other side of that
bulkhead. Life support’s minimal,
but online. And don’t ask me how.
It’s controlled from engineering.
So we got lucky there. Looks like
the keel is all that’s holding us
together. Some of the control
conduits run right alongside. What
about cabin power?
Minimal solar and battery, I think.
Most of the lights are blown
anyway. What power we have is going
to the controls. And we don’t have
many of those, so they don’t take
much. But I’ll tell ya …
… this em-red shit is about to
drive me crazy!
Chen sets the list in his lap and looks out at Earth.
So you think they’ve spotted us yet?
Probably. Those big-ass flares
behind us put out a pretty big signature.
Sam jerks awake and looks around quickly, panicked,
terrified. She stares at the others.
Shit! Shit, shit, shit!
The others turn quickly toward her.
What? Look like you’re seeing
Sam calms down a little. She looks around the room.
Something like that. I think I was
Her eyes are still wide. She looks around again.
Everything in here was all busted
up. And cold. And you guys were all
dead. I mean, fuck, it felt so
real, except — not real — at the
same time. And I – I think I was dead, too.
Well dammit, Sam! Don’t dream
anymore! Scared the shit outta me!
You aren’t the only one. Orion to
any station. Come in. Orion to
Greeley Control. Do you read?
Try that ship or whatever it was.
Still can’t tell, but I think it’s
bigger. We may be closing on it.
(presses headset closer)
Orion to approaching ship. Do you
Eddie squints at the screen.
Yeah. Still can’t make it out.
Maybe a patrol cruiser. We’re
probably entering restricted space.
What if they don’t know it’s us?
Shoot first; pick through what’s left.
They’d kill us?
Way I look at it, unless auto can
put us in orbit we’re already dead.
Try the radio again.
This is ISF Orion. Greeley Control,
do you read? Any station. This is
Orion. Do you read? Approaching
vessel. Do you read?
Dammit! Can anybody hear me?
I don’t think they can. Best give
it a rest, Bob. Try again later.
When we’re closer.
Is it me or is it getting a little
stuffy in here. Harder to breath.
I’ll check the scrubbers. Still got
a couple of cannisters left.
Been saving them.
Saving them for what? An emergency?
What the fuck do you think this is, asshole?
Chen ignores her. He moves to the rear and opens a panel. Sam
moves around the cabin. She looks aft through the port.
So do you think they knew what was happening?
The rest of the crew. Amidships. It
happened so fast. Do you think they
had time to feel anything?
That’s a cheery thought.
Some of them, maybe. More like a
split second of surprise. Explosive
decomp is pretty much instant, and
probably painless. I doubt any of
them had time to be anything other
Sam sits back in her seat.
I don’t want to die.
Not many do, Sam. Most times it
isn’t a choice. We all knew the
risks when we signed on.
That’s something I don’t plan on
doing again. I’m gonna find me a
lake and a fishing pole, and my
feet’ll stay firmly planted on the
ground. And that’s where I want to
be when my time comes.
If I’m gonna die, I just don’t want
it to be slow and painful.
Not my first choice, either. But it
won’t matter in the long run.
They’re all quiet for a moment.
I wonder what it’s like? Being
dead, I mean.
You wonder a lot. Do you have to be
Chen returns. He wipes his hands on his shirt.
I guess we’ll all find out …
sooner or later.
He sits in the command seat again and pulls up a small
folding table from the side. He takes an old deck of cards
from his pocket and starts dealing solitaire.
(holding up a diamond)
Fucking emred! Can’t read the
Do you think there’s a Heaven? Out
here? Are we closer to it? Or
Or does it even exist?
Heaven, Nirvana, Valhalla. Maybe
nothing. Whatever, I figure
someone’s gonna be really surprised.
I hope there is.
I think I’d like Heaven.
She slumps back in her seat, lost in thought. Eddie stares
blankly at the back of Bob’s head. Chen gathers the cards,
starts to shuffle, stops. Earth is closer. Chen stares
somberly at the cards in his hands.
We should have started decel by now.
Looks like it.
Bow thrusters may be gone.
We can’t slow down?
Or stop. So yeah. We’re fucked, if
that’s what you’re thinking.
There’s gotta be something we can
do. Something we haven’t thought of? We
can’t get this close and die!
Maybe we’ll miss. Just pass real
Yeah. Maybe. But I wouldn’t count on it.
Even if we did, then what?
One side, we could hit the Moon.
Other side? Gravity slingshots us
around and we could still hit the Moon.
That’s if we don’t hit a station
first. Three scenarios. None of
them good. We die.
A butcher’s bill no matter what.
Four or …
(gesturing toward Earth)
… four billion. Give or take.
I don’t like any of the choices.
What about self-destruct. If we’re
gonna die anyway.
Computerized. And the manual
control’s in …
… engineering. Yeah. Figures.
Another masterpiece of design.
Only other chance I can see is they
get someone out to us. Take us off,
blow the ship.
Shoulda spotted us by now.
So why haven’t they? Not much left
of us, but we aren’t invisible.
They’re all quiet. Somber. Lost in thought.
Orion to Greeley. Do you read?
In the darkness, a floodlight shines over the wreckage. It
moves slowly forward.
INT. ORION COMMAND DECK – CONTINUOUS
No one has moved. Chen gathers up his cards.
Nah! Orion to Greeley. Come in,
Me either. Can’t remember the last
time I was.
Yeah. Just a thought. Rations
aren’t exactly memorable.
Funny, though. I can’t remember
what a steak tastes like. I always
loved a good steak. Medium rare,
inch thick or so, big baked potato.
That’s what I want when we get
back. Refresh my taste buds.
I could go for a cold beer. And a
pizza from that little place on
43rd. Moretti’s. But you’re right,
I can’t remember what they taste
like, either. Been out here too
I’d like a cigar.
You don’t smoke.
Still want one. I just like the way
the tobacco smells. Reminds me of
my dad. Didn’t say I wanted to
inhale that shit.
What about you, Bob?
Orion to Greeley. Blackened redfish
on a big pile of dirty rice, side
of gumbo. Courville’s in the
Quarter. Sometimes, I think I can
just about smell it all.
Weird, isn’t it? I mean, like none
of us can remember the last time we
ate? I can’t even remember the last
time I pissed.
Well that’s not exactly something I
keep track of myself.
No. I guess not. Still, it’s weird.
An audible metallic clang. The crew jolts up and looks toward
the airlock. Another loud clang. Scraping.
TO BE CONTINUED
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