Science Fiction

Final Voices

By Kyle Aisteach
Jul 31, 2019 · 459 words · 2 minutes

Burnup

 

From the author: I think every writer has tried to write the "dialogue-only" story (especially those of us who love old-time radio). They tell us it never works. We call the effect "voices in the dark." But, for some stories, all that's left are voices in the dark...


“I’m moving behind Titan.  Hopefully I can–  Nope.  I’m hit. Primary drive system down.  Secondary… Secondary failing, too.” // feedback // “And I’m in the gravity well. Search and Rescue, this is Bravo bomber B-15102, Colonel Irene Cross, callsign Vulture, requesting recovery.”

“You still have your Tango escort, Vulture?”

“Negative, Scar. Lost the last one about five minutes ago. Search and Rescue, please respond. Situation urgent. Repeating. This is Bravo bomber B-15102, Colonel Irene Cross, callsign Vulture, requesting recovery at Titan, urgent. Estimating 3 minutes to burnup.”

“Vulture, punch out.”

“Bravo bomber B-15102, to Search and Rescue, please respond. Search and Rescue, please respond.”

“Vulture, eject!”

“Negative, Scar. I’m in the gravity well. I’m hitting this moon with or without the bird.”

“Hang on, Vulture, I can be there in two.”

“Negative, Scar, proceed on course.”

“Colonel, that’s not a survivable crash.”

“Proceed on course, Scar. That’s an order.”

“I can be back on target in five minutes.”

“Earth may not have that long. Billions of people. I’m one woman and you’re flying the last operational bomber. You have to take out that weapons platform. Confirm!”

     // garbled //

“Scar, confirm! Confirm!”

“Confirmed. Proceeding on course. Good luck, Colonel.”

“Search and rescue, situation critical, please respond. Scar, do you still have your Tango escort?”

“No. Hellcat had to punch out.”

“Well, then, nail that base for all of us.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Look, Scar, I know I’ve been hard on you, but it’s because you’re a damn good pilot, and when you focus you can do amazing things. So just relax, slip in there, and hit them before they see you coming. Skin temperature rising. I’m in the atmosphere.”

     // silence //

“Bravo bomber B-15102, to Search and Rescue, trajectory equatorial. Please respond.”

     // silence //

“Please respond.”

“Just keep talking, Vulture.”

“Not much to talk about, Scar. Just burning up here.”

“Tell me. Why ‘Vulture’?”

“Needed a callsign. Didn’t believe in leaving anything behind.”

“Suits you.”

“Thanks.”

“Vulture, I have– What the hell is it? It’s huge!”

“Just relax, Scar. You’re a small bird, and they’re looking toward Earth. Skin temperature sensors failing.”

“It’ll be O.K., Vulture. Once you’re– Wait– Three contacts. Five. Fifteen. Multiple– Ahead– Behind– Jesus! Those things are fast!”

“Scar, take the shot when you’ve got it!”

“This is Scar, Bravo bomber B-69138, to any surviving Tango fighter. Under heavy fire. Close proximity to primary target, approach 9-1. I could use some help, kids! Whoa! This bird wasn’t build for this! Are you there, Colonel? Hang on! This is Scar under hea–”

“Scar?”

     // silence //

“Scar!”

     // silence //

“Search and Rescue, this is Bravo bomber B-15102. Colonel Irene Cross. Serial number 1ST421D. Going down.”

This story originally appeared in Kyle Aisteach's Blog.


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Little Dystopias

Includes: "Another Generation's Problems," "Clockman," "Eternal Love," "Eternity Undone," "A Fairy Tale," "Final Voices," "The Folklorist's Notebook," "Man of Water," "Nobody Watches," "Nobody’s Ancestor," "Pressure and the Argument Tree," "Promised," "The Survivors' Menagerie," "Too Close for Comfort," "Unforgivable," "Ward and Protector," and "The Wrong Dog." "Highly recommended." -- Howard V. Hendrix “[A] writer to watch.” -- Robin Wayne Bailey

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Kyle Aisteach

Kyle writes science fiction and fantasy and is mouthy about QUILTBAG issues.