Well, that's it then. No options left. We've had a good run,Mark and I. Years of scrounging the trade routes, planet by planet. A good haul of ore here and there,always making enough to just re-supply for the next run.
But this one was different. A simple run to a remote system, chasing a rumor of large deposits.Crappy little moon,airless,lifeless,orbiting a crappy little equally lifeless world. But for a change,real paydirt. Our hold was full of enough minerals that the prospect quitting this business was real for the first time in fifteen plus years. We hadn't left the surface yet and Mark was already loudly planning the construction of his 'dream villa.' I just grinned and let him ramble,finishing the take off prep. Two jumps after lift-off and we could cash in and start celebrating.
That's when we were hit.A brief but intense meteor shower hammered the ship.We suited up quickly and waited it out,patching many small hull punctures and cringing at the thought that the next one would tear suit and flesh. Just as it ended,we thought,five or six ship rocking impacts were felt,both of knowing these were no grains of sand that hit us.
We waited,surprised at no hull puncture,but sure there was serious external damage.After a good ten minutes of no further activity,Mark went out to check the hull,while I did a careful internal inspection for any missed breaches or equipment damage.A half hour later,confirming the hull was secure,I restored ship's pressure and unsuited.A few minutes later the airlock cycled and Mark returned.
As he removed his helmut,the look on his face told it all.Our jump engine and maneuvering thrusters were intact,but our liftoff thruster was destroyed.Without it,we could not get clear of the moon and use our jump.
We spent the next two days running every concievable calculation.It came down to one choice,off-load our heavy cargo and plant charges at a precise depth below the ship.The combination of the charges and full thrust of the maneuvering jets should break us free of the moon's weak gravity.We could then head home,damaged,broke.
We argued. Charges planted,hold still full,Mark wouldn't abandon the cargo.My only answer was,give us an alternative,I'll listen.He couldn't.I said let's sleep on it,and one way or another a decision has to be made when we awake,our resources being limited.
I awoke to alarms going off and a repeating auto message: "LIFTOFF IN TWO MINUTES AND COUNTING." By sheer reflex I strapped into the control chair and hit the intercom; "Mark! what the hell's going on!"
No response,I glanced at the internal cameras,cargo bay still full.
"LIFTOFF IN NINETY SECONDS."
I switched to external cameras,there he was,on the surface under the ship,surrounded by fuel cells from the useless main thruster,holding a device.
On the control panel in front of me was a note:"Jim,I'm holding a deadman switch,I calculate the time between the charges going off and my releasing the switch, you should be clear enough for fuel blast to give you extra boost needed without damaging the ship.Too late to stop.I'm going to do it.I don't know if it will work,but I'm going to try.Have one on me buddy."
write a story using the phrase;i'm going to do it.i don't know if it will work,but i'm going to try.