via Daily Prompt: Prefer


He preferred it that way, his breakfast in the morning out in the observation bubble, alone with a plate of synthesized bacon and eggs, and a glass of powdered orange juice.  In silence he sat except for the hum of the environmental processors and the automated mechanical systems.

He preferred it facing outward towards the bleak landscape of the asteroid, the eerily still mining equipment in the distance, the brightly freckled and vast beyond mocking his isolation-for he was isolated and truly alone.

Neatly he finished his meal, touched his lips with the napkin, then glided back from the table with a gentle push. Standing, he tugged his jacket hem to settle it and smoothed back his auburn hair with a resolved hand.  Formals he wore, dark blue with minimal gold piping with his Station Commander’s rank and nothing else, no medals.  He thought it pretentious for this occasion.

Contemplatively he stepped to the edge of the bubble, his hands clasped behind his back as he stared out into the beyond.  He had liked the assignment, the remoteness appealed to him and the crew a tight-nit family- one that he had never really had, but it was all gone now.

He supposed there was irony in there somewhere, an asteroid mining station struck by a meteor, but he failed to find humor in it, just a mild amusement at cosmic workings.  Most had gone in the strike, hitting as it did the mess hall at lunch and continued through to destroy other vital systems.  Others, off-shift were cut off as emergency systems activated to shut down damaged sections.

Over the weeks, systems continued to fail, more sections became graveyards, and efforts to repair were hindered by lack of sufficient materials.  More died in repair accidents, others fled to the mining complexes that offered limited life support, but would eventually fail without sustenance support from the main base. A distress signal had been sent out but help was still more than half a year away.  There was no hope there.

It was all failing, only he was left, in his commander’s suite with its autonomous life support system. He had worked hard till the end, but all for naught.  He placed the palm of his right hand against the cold of the bubble, closing his eyes as he said a final prayer.  Blaster suddenly in hand, he blew a hole in his bubble.  The structure immediately collapsed, sucking him out into the vast beyond.

He preferred it that way.


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