Wednesday, 13 October 2010

They've got one out!

"They've got one out!" The shout rang out through the walkways, habitats and flyers of the planets, triggering celebrations in every corner of the Federation. People hugged their neighbours, shed a tear.

Two hundred and twenty nailbiting days were finally drawing to a close. When the exploration vessel had veered off course on a heading for the outer rim and the void beyond, a chase ship had been scrambled and sent out after it, knowing well that this was their only chance to escape gruesome death. Eventually travelling at near light-speed, the rescue attempt had used every gravity assist the experts could find, in addition to their powerful anti-matter engines, to reach the stricken vessel as quickly as possible.

Daily tri-vids had kept the populations of the Federation updated on both the stricken crew and the rescue vessel. Psychs had maintained a running commentary - peppered with sage advice - on the condition of the doomed vessel's crew, while the Senators bickered about the cost of the rescue. Ultimately, however, sense had prevailed and the Federation had done the sensible thing: what was in its power to do.

Across the screens, the tri-vid from the rescue ship briefly showed the runaway, and the slender umbilical cord that connected its crew members to life. Barely visible on the screens, the 10-kilometre long link was a mere thread, the circumference that of a slender spaceman. Then the vid shifted, revealing the second crewman pulling hand over hand towards the end of the tunnel.

Written to commemorate the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners.