Danger Close to Home

I was at my station, sitting between Rosen and Yamashita, when we got hit. There hadn’t been any warning siren or inertial jerk to indicate a defensive maneuver. Hell, Kovacic had been pouring coffee and was halfway through a joke. Maybe if Rosen stopped taking half-hour showers we wouldn’t have to

I remember the sound. Whining metal, like the ship itself was screaming. I’d dropped my keycard and was bent over to pick it up when it happened. Something had been loose, probably a clipboard, and it passed right over me as it got sucked out the hatch, splitting Rosen and Yamashita open like overripe bananas. The venting pulled Kovacic out just as the blast barrier came down. It severed his arm just above the wrist. His hand still gripped the handle of the coffee pot, now shattered.

McCaig survived initially. We got into our environmental suits as quick as we could before the emergency lighting failed. We didn’t really say anything. I guess I was in shock and assumed he was too, but now I wonder if he couldn’t speak. He must have had internal injuries; he was dead in under an hour.

I spent the next 10 hours alone in the dark and the silence until the recovery team reached my compartment. I was the last survivor. They said we lost three quarters of the ship, and even more of the crew. No survivors from the bridge.

Everyone’s saying it was privateers from Corvacruz, but we were well inside our own borders. And we don’t even have the level of stealth to sneak up on a ship like that, so how could a bunch of pirates pull it off? Privateers would have taken something. Why attack a patrol ship? It doesn’t add up. Someone else is in our space, and we’re not prepared.

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