Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Microstory 843: Defenestrated

To be fair, everything that happened was ultimately my fault. I am not the easiest person to be around, or to work with, and it’s a character flaw that I’m constantly working on. Still, he chose to escalate our disagreement to physical violence, which I never would have wanted. All I can do is defend myself. Unfortunately for him, I’m a lot better at that than I look. I’m not muscular, and I in no way intimidate people, but I can take a punch, and I know how to avoid a punch. But this guy; damn is he fast. He throws his weight into ever blow he sends, and I’m starting to get tired. I’m thinking this might be it, I’m going to die. The more he goes at me, the less I can remember how this all started. I know I disrespected his heritage, and my remark was completely out of line, but I can't recall exactly what I said, or even what his background is. Not that it matters, I keep trying to get a moment to say something to defuse this situation, but he has no plans to give me that opportunity. All I can hope for is that someone happens to walk into auxiliary engineering, and distracts him long enough to let me escape. As angry as he is, he’s being pretty careful with the equipment and instruments. In an action movie, all this stuff would be completely destroyed by now, then magically returned to working order before they needed it again. He doesn’t want to lose his commission on this vessel, I guess, and I assume if there’s no lasting evidence that the fight occurred, he won’t have to worry about it. A smarter opponent would somehow use this weakness against him, but I don’t know what that would look like. I can’t think straight, of course, and if this goes on much longer, I may stop thinking forever. In a desperate final move, I bolt for the exit, but he takes my arm in both his hands, like he was just waiting for me to try this. He lifts me right up off the floor, and swings me over towards the viewport, which is half the size of a standard adult human. Now, I’m not saying I’m an expert in xenobiology, but I was fairly certain his species was not strong enough to break a polycarbonate window. Maybe that’s not the point, because whether he’s supposed to be strong enough or not, my body shouldn’t be able to survive striking the window that hard. But I just crash right through it, sure I’m on my way to dying in the vacuum of space. Yet I land on the cold, hard floor of the hangar bay. I just lie there for several minutes, bleeding and broken, thankful that we hadn’t actually launched yet. A man hobbles over with a bottle in his hand, and lifts up my arm to check for a pulse, spilling some of his bourbon on my face, burning the cuts under my eyes. The only reason we never left is because the pilot is drunk. My lucky day. I wake up in the hospital hours later, and the Admiral is standing over me. “I’m here to thank you, Ensign,” she says to me. “Had you not let yourself be thrown through that window, we would not have learned how deficient it was...until it was too late. You saved the lives of everyone on your ship.”

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