Industrial Accident


A story for the A-to-Z Challenge. I is for inertial dampers. Don’t leave homeworld without them. (And don’t confuse them with inertial dampeners, because then you’ll be all wet.)

CC9-A opened his optics to full aperture to examine the dark interior of the spacecraft. “You’re slowing down, JR,” he taunted his colleague as metal feet clanged against metal floor. “It never used to take you more than 3500 milliseconds to find the hatch code.”

JR3-55 followed the younger robot through the airlock and into the spacecraft cabin. All the electronics had shut down, but a radium emergency light provided some faint illumination. “This spacecraft may have been launched two centuries before I was built,” he informed CC9-A. “It took awhile to look up such an archaic hatch code.”

“Two centuries? Who built this ship? Asimoid separatists? Or Turingrade warbots?”

“Humans.”

“The progenitor species? I’ve never seen one.”

JR3-55 pointed a spindly aluminum finger at a red blotch on the interior wall of the spaceship. “There’s what’s left of one. The inertial dampers must have failed just as the vessel engaged their Einstein-drive. It spent the next few centuries cruising here on autopilot.”

CC9-A examined the rust-colored encrustation, and four others just like it. “Nuts and bolts,” the young mechanoid swore. “The g-forces must have been incredible.”

“You or I might have survived,” JR3-55 speculated. “Human bodies are extraordinarily delicate. They were probably dead before they even hit 1000g.”

“Is that all?” scoffed CC9-A. “No wonder they abandoned space travel.”

“Indeed. Well, the boss wants this ship cleaned up and repaired.”

“Right.” CC9-A rubbed a cold metal palm against the wall of the ship. “What do you think will remove these red stains?”

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2 thoughts on “Industrial Accident

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    1. There are unfortunate people in the real world who cannot manage the conditions in the world we’ve created. I hope the story was a worthwhile read, though.

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