Stonerise

The airlock opened with a loud flush of air being expelled through the doorway, pulling Adrik along with it. The doors to the colony scientific center closed behind him as he peacefully skipped along the surface of the asteroid, scraping his boots along the rocky terrain to dampen his inertia.

Adrik stopped just short of the first row of cannon pods on the outskirts of the colony perimeter. Life on a mining colony light-years away from Earth was already tough enough given the shortage of available resources. But this was understandable. It was the constant threat of attack from nearby rogue colonies and scrapyard pirates that was truly getting to be too much to take. Adrik was nothing more than a scientist, sent to extract meaning and usefulness out of the ores and minerals the colony was mining.

But since he arrived, Adrik had been forced to take on several duties that were not within his range of expertise. Being a bit of a dabbler in mechanics at one time, he had recently been enlisted to repair a faulty cannon pod. One one hand, it infuriated him that he must take time away from his research to fix a weapons system about which he knew absolutely nothing. On the other, it afforded him some peaceful time away from the painfully overbearing nature of the colonists.

Adrik spotted the number seventeen cannon pod and skipped his way across the asteroid to its position. It was sending a shower of sparks into the vacuum of space at odd intervals. Presumably it had been struck in the last raid orchestrated by a nearby rival mining colony. Despite Adrik's lack of knowledge regarding the cannon pod architecture, it would actually be a simple task to repair the system damage and re-seal the structure. He could be back in his lab within the hour.

The colony to which Adrik had found himself assigned was confined deep within an active asteroid belt orbiting a C-class uninhabitable planet. Being an active asteroid belt simply meant that one had to be careful to watch out for rocks floating about overhead, as one large enough deciding to careen towards the surface could easily kill just about any human being. As such, it was common for the colony to be constantly covered by moving shadows as the asteroids criss-crossed the expanse surrounding the larger asteroid to which the colony fixed their base of operations.

As Adrik tossed himself across the expanse between the science center and the cannon pods, he encountered one of these shadows. It completely absorbed him as he lightly bounced towards cannon pod seventeen.

He thought nothing of it. Had he bothered to think of it, he would have noticed cannon pods sixteen and eighteen turning around, their automated systems targeting an incoming vessel.

The End

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