A Private Mutiny


Colonists and crew crammed into a freight ship destined for a distant planet must find a way to survive when it turns into a plague ship… and the plague isn’t the only kind of sickness they must overcome.

EXCERPT:

Captain Savola fell ill to ‘The Purge’ this morning. He collapsed at breakfast, vomiting up the green, matty substance we have all come to fear. The doctor, as we call Mr. Lane because he’s the only one who stayed awake through the first aid course, used up most of our pain killers in the hope that the captain could fight off this cursed thing. If only we had some simple anti virals.

The captain made a brave show of announcing to the crew and passengers that, with the death last week of the First Mate, should anything happen to him, I, Second Mate Errel Golder, would take command. He expressed his complete confidence in my abilities, and avoided mention that my entire eight months’ experience in space has left me an expert in nothing except optimizing cargo stowage and duty rosters. He made me promise publicly to do my utmost to deliver the passengers.

Captain Savola lapsed into a coma before noon.

If the captain had any secret plans of turning the Hector back to Prince Hanory’s World as some of the crew have demanded, he has left me no clue in either his cabin or this log. I have, unfortunately, observed in this log his distress regarding the incessant air leaks, and his doubts whether the ship can survive the HyperJump. I’ve tried contacting the docks on PHW, but the comm unit has been broken since just after we left. On his desk I see calculations I believe indicate a return to PHW would take forty days, compared to the sixteen he stated until planetfall at Nova Glasga. Only four days remain until we must either Jump or steer toward some fuelmass so we can turn around. I have no idea how to make this choice.

If I’ve done the calculations right, my dear wife should be giving birth to our twins today. I so want to return home, but I mustn’t let this affect my decision.

I pray to God for guidance.

~~~

In the silence following the end of the recording, the barrister stood before Errel and the court, head bowed in contemplation. The live audience shifted uncomfortably in the momentary silence. “Mr. Golder. Captain Golder,” the barrister began in a slow, sonorous voice, “do you affirm this is your first entry in the log of the freight ship Hector, which is the subject of this trial?”

REVIEWS:

“Particularly vivid” – Critique.org

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