My foot is stuck! After all these years of space walks, I come out to fix a simple transmitter. And what happens? I get trapped outside our hull half way between Neptune and Pluto!
“Steve to Bob, do you read me?”
Why doesn’t he answer? Doesn’t he know I’m in trouble? You would think a guy on a space walk would have a little help.
Don’t panic. There has to be a way out of this—short of cutting my foot off. Better check my air. Only five minutes left! Okay, focus, think think think...
Pry the boot out? Maybe with this wrench. Not a lot of leverage but maybe enough. Ah, that seemed to move it some. Ouch! No! It slipped! I’ve just added a wrench to the Kuiper belt! Darn, now what?
Three minutes left. “Steve to Bob. Come in! I need assistance, Buddy. Please?” Is this radio broke? Is he not responding on purpose? I know I talk too much, but surely he would never have turned off our two-way.
Hey, what’s this? Is it alive? Looks like a bug, a wormish bug. Landed right on my helmet. What is a bug doing in space? How does it breathe? How did it hit my helmet and not become a splat on my visor?
What is it up to? No, not that! Can’t let it bore a hole in my visor. Shoo fly shoo! Go away!
“Bob, I don’t have long, I need air!”
Oh no! He’s in! My air! It’s escaping! What can I do? I don’t see a way out of this. I’m doomed! Death by suffocation. Can it get much worse? No, don’t say that.
Look, dots in space. Why, they’re getting bigger. Oh no, that’s me! I’m losing air. Feeling a little dizzy. Lungs aren’t getting enough. Starting to collapse. Can hardly see...now. Probably....black.....out......soo.......
Ouch! What.....was that? It feels.....it feels...like the bug is eating its way into my head. Is that what this bug does? Kills space walkers by removing their air and then feasting on their flesh? How insidious.
What a stupid way to die. Foot stuck, bug in my head, no air. I’ll go down in space history as the first person to be suffocated and devoured by a bugonaut. Feast up guy! At least someone will enjoy this.
Wait! Why am I still aware? I should be dead by now. My lungs, I’m feeling air in them again. But how? Why? No air in my suit. My tank is out. How can this be? My sight is returning.
My neck, it feels odd. What did that bug do to me? I can breathe, but not well. I feel like I have a bag over my head. Wait, I do have a helmet on.
Could it be? Did that bug enable me to breathe solar air? Is there such a thing? One way to find out. Let’s take this helmet off. It isn’t doing me any good.
Oh! That is much, much better! Oh yes, I can breathe freely. I’m breathing sunlight in space! Must have been that bug. Must be a symbiotic being that needs me to survive. Did it sense I was in trouble? Is it intelligent life?
“Yes, I am.”
Who said that?
“Your bugonaut, as you called me.”
The bug in my head?
“I’m not really a bug.”
I’m breathing sunlight and talking to a space bug in my head! I must be going crazy. This must be a dream. I’m going to wake up soon and have a great story for Bob.
“If you say so. You were dying and I saved your life. You tried to squish me but I helped anyway.”
I’m stuck outside this ship.
“What about ‘thank you’? Do you only care about yourself?”
I can’t move.
“Just get out of the suit.”
Of course, I don’t need it now. Yes! I’m free! Look! I can move around where I want! Cool!
What kind of bug are you now?
“I’m not a bug, I am a Delusian. I would prefer if you addressed me properly, after all, I did save your life and give you these powers.”
Powers? I have powers?
“You have to ask? You’re breathing, aren’t you?”
Real powers? Like Superman?
“Super who? Isn’t breathing and moving around in space power enough?”
Can I lift heavy things, use x-ray vision, go through walls, turn invisible or something?
“Are you always this ungrateful? Even if you had such powers, what would you do with them?”
I would become a god! I would create races of beings, paint the sun different colors, reshape some planets. I don’t know, whatever hit my fancy I suppose. You are my ticket to ruling the universe!
“What idiot have I burrowed myself into this time! Remind me to never join with a human again, I should have left you to suffer.”
But you can’t, right? You have to stay here. You have to do my bidding like a genie in a bottle. Right? Hey, are you still there? No...no, don’t leave. No, I’m too far away from the ship! I’m out here in space with no helmet and no air! You can’t leave! No, not now, not...when....I.....was......so.......clo........
“Bob to Steve. Bob to Steve. Come in Steve. Respond if you can hear me.
“Dang! This cheap two-way must be broken again.”
© 2005 - 2008 R. L. Copple
Original fiction debuting at Residential Aliens.
R. L. Copple is a father to three children, a husband since 1982, and lives in the Texas Hill Country. He has written for religious purposes but currently is editing three novels. He has been published at A Thousand Faces, The Sword Review, Ray Gun Revival, Haruah, Fear and Trembling, EveryDay Fiction, Residential Aliens, and Dragons, Knights, and Angels. His five chapter fantasy novella Infinite Realities is for sale and has been serialized at The Sword Review, September through December 2007. Visit RLCopple.com for more.
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